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There are among the letters some quotes which are worth pulling out to sum up how people felt about the war and their hardships. A few are reproduced here. 


You know dear, it's at night after dark that I miss you most and yet somehow feel closest to you. I expect that it's due to me in peacetime generally being with you in the evening and knowing just what is happening at certain times. On the pictures I saw a chap and a girl eating chips and it took me straight back home and me asking you to make a few for supper. 

It doesn't seem over seven years since we were married and so much has happened since then. We have had a happy time together even if I did appear to take things for granted and you've not had much time to spare with bringing up three kiddies besides looking after me.

Will you be able to get the fairy lights mended as I think they went wrong last year. Of course we had other things on our minds then didn't we love. I'll never forget sitting in the kitchen that night with Mrs. Brown waiting to know when the new baby would be born. I hope he doesn't cry at the sight of the strange man when I come home.

I've only seen a few miles of North African scenery since I came here and although at times it looks grand, especially around sunset, I'd rather see the sun setting over the back of Brading Road. 

We went for a walk last night as it was a lovely night with nearly a full moon and some of the scenery is grand. One of the chaps says it reminds him a little of the Lake District or the Yorkshire Moors and it was pleasant change after sitting down most of the day

We have had some experiences at Christmas, dear, and I pray with all my heart that next year will be spent with you and the kiddies. You know love, I've missed a lot of Sheila's lovely ways since she was small and Keith's progress at school. I know how hard it has been for you sweetheart on your own and you will always be able to look back in the years of peace ahead at the grand job you have made. God give you the strength to carry on till I return to share it with you. I know you will also feel lonely this holiday and I will be thinking of you all the time.. 

We went as walk up the road from here towards the hills and there are several Arab dwellings scattered about. You would feel sorry for the kiddies as although it is not as cold here as it is at home, they wear little good clothing and are always barefooted. They have nice eyes and are very friendly.An Arab lad who was not much bigger than Sheila came and squatted down near us and we tried to get him to talk. He knew several words of English and proud dad thought he would show him his family photographs so he could seen what kiddies in England looked like. 

He was delighted and repeated 'boy' after me for Keith and 'Girlee' for Sheila and ' mummy and baby' for you and Michael.  I would love you to have seen us, four chaps just sitting watching over a valley about five or six miles wide with the hills stretching all around. It reminds me more of England at this time of year as grass in growing in some parts and plant similar to buttercups and daisies are growing and there are a lot of birds which look like Wagtails. 

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 Did you know love it was our wedding day yesterday. I thought of you but I bet you didn't remember. Let me know. When Sheila had had her sleep this afternoon I said to her "Come in Sheila, see who's downstairs" Her face beamed and she said "Daddy". Poor kid, it was only Mrs.S. 

I see you have started arguing already with the local lads, still it's the proper thing there. Don't get paying outrageous prices for any thing for me as much as I would love something, I don't want you overcharged

Keith has been weighed at school today and he is 3½ stones. I don't know if that is good, I shall have to look it up. He is being a very good boy at present and for over a week he has eaten all his dinner up. There was a water main burst against their school and the water was a foot deep down Buckminster Road. Of course he had plenty to say about that and I had to rake up all I knew about water mains and the reasons for quick bursts and the mending thereof. I think mothers are supposed to be books of knowledge. I'm glad I'm not too dumb ! 

I'm beginning to think I must love you a little bit somehow or I should never miss you like I do. I keep carrying on but my heart doesn't seem to be in what I do and I sometimes wonder if it's worth cleaning when there is no-one there to appreciate it, not that you ever showed that you did, but you know how it is. I feel I am living only half a life, 

I have seriously thinking of new curtains but they would cost at least £3. What do you think, love, shall I leave them until things are a bit cheaper and there is more choice. 
 I think I'd better save all my money and then we will spend it together, it will be more fun. I want a new dress. They have some lovely one in town and they are quite cheap, anything up to 28gns. 

Well love, I almost forgot to tell you that we had a siren on Friday night at 10 o/clock although only for 15 minutes but it made me a bit worried as we don't want flying bombs here and on Saturday night I was woken up by the planes going over. I have never heard them so heavy or so many and it made the houses vibrate. I was very alarmed but they were ours so the Germans must have quaked knowing that the bombs they carried were for them. There were 1500 that night and they carried 12,000lbs of bombs. 

I had my usual Guinness tonight and I had to go upstairs and tell Sheila to be quiet. She just looked at me and said "What you been having eh?. Drink of beer?" She must have a good smeller as the width of her bed was between us (even better than her mother !) 

I took Keith to see a musical comedy at the Opera House on Sat but I wish I could have had a better seat as we went up in the Gods. It's 2/- now. We went to Mabel's for tea as usual and we were in town by five. Mabel then took Sheila and Michael home and got them off to bed. She is such a good pal to me Eric, we shall never be able to repay her.

The news has just come on and Mr. Churchill seems to think that we have a hard struggle but promises us victory. He says the Germans still have 400 divisions. I should have thought they would have had less the way the Russians have been polishing them off. It made me feel that the end is a bit further off still. 

Well love I feel hungry and I have not got a bit of bread in the house. Keith went to fetch it from Mrs S but could not make anyone hear and I don't like to go now myself and leave the house. I thought she might bring it as she knows I haven't any. I guess I will have to make a few chips and fritters

I bet Berlin is wondering if the RAF are paying a visit again tonight, thank the lord we are not there. 

I bought Michael a grand little coat on Friday in Teddy Bear cloth- a pale blue. I thought it would be warmer than a knitted one. He looks quite a bruiser in it. I thought it would do for Christmas from us (33/6).I have made him a teddy bear and Winnie and Iris bought him a penguin. I have a book, pencil box and paints for Keith and Sheila and have got a skipping rope for Sheila and a writing set for Keith. That is all so far. I want to get into town during the week to get Sheila something for her birthday

Another damp washday. Sheila had a happy birthday, she had 13 cards and over six shillings. By the way love your card hasn't arrived but she will think as much of it when it does come. We had Eric, John, Billy and Bernice for tea then Nora and Alf called in and we had a good time (although I say it myself). There was prunes, blancmange, cress with dried egg and chopped ham sandwiches, tarts, small cakes and a cake from the baker which I put a frill round and three candles. I covered it with milk and sugar to make it look like snow. 

Let's hope this war will soon be over for I for one have had just about enough of it. I little thought what it would mean to us. Do you remember that night after Chamberlain had been to Munich and I said then it worried me that there should be a war little knowing that we should be separated by the beastly thing. 

I have made two Christmas puddings and I told Keith to stir and wish. I asked him what he had wished for and he said for Daddy to come home then I had my wish and he asked me what it was and I told him the same as yours. He said, No I wished for that, you wish for another little Michael this Christmas. 

I have got a nice pencil case and I shall put 'from Daddy to Keith on it. Here is a list of things they are getting. 
KEITH. Pencil case, 6 pencils, 6 refill paints, pair slippers, bar of chocolate, jigsaw puzzle, writing set, reading book and a cut out book. 
SHEILA. Skipping Rope, Golliwog, Elephant, Knitting set, Bottle scent. hair band. paints, 6 pencils, Ten little niggers book and a book of ship pictures from her daddy. 
MICHAEL.a Teddy, a penguin and 2/6 


By the way love do you keep my letters? I wondered as I don't keep a diary and they would be useful to read together by our own fireside and would help one to remember some of the things that happened at various times. I'm keeping all of yours so we will have lots to reads and laugh about.

I only want love to be able to sit down in our own kitchen (and living room) with peace I'm my heart and love all around me. It's funny love how I always think of our happy moments in the kitchen and not in the front room. I don't know whether it's because we use it a lot more, but it always seems to hold all the memories, some of happiness when we are bathing the youngsters or drying them before the fire, some worrying when I was waiting that Christmas night when you brought Michael into our lives, and when you were in Westcoates and I was looking after Keith in his cot in the kitchen owing to the raids. The time we slept on the floor

I had a letter from Faire Bros telling me that a further £48 had been put to my credits and there is now £92 in the bank for when I get back, quite a little nest egg, eh love. It will all help to allow us to get those things we can do with to make our home complete. They say it is liable to income tax if I have to pay tax they will deduct it from the  sum if I let them know.

I should think that all told including the savings certificates and the bit you have in the bank we should be worth about £200 and it should cover a good holiday for us all, a nice garage, and several other improvements you will no doubt want. I think I shall have to learn to drive in case we find we should like a motor car. I think  a piano would be a good investment and a new radio when things get a bit normal after the war.

When you feel low again love just sit for a minute and think of the blessings we've ahead. A chance to get a home together which a lot of couples haven't or have had their homes blitzed, a family no parents could be prouder of and when the wars over a steady job and a life together with the children, all the more in love with each other if that is possible through the troubles and partings. Don't think too much dear about some peoples marriages going wrong, it isn't always the war to blame.

The best news is the statement today that Hitler had had a near squeak from being assassinated. It's a pity they didn't do the job properly but it's a good sign and it shows the way the wind is blowing.

I know I shall have to cut my smoking down as I seem to smoke about 25 a day and that would  mean about £1 a week in England. . 

We often talk about the meals we would like, generally when it is corned beef and rice pudding and you  would think we were used to dining at the Ritz at the meals we say we would like. One of the chaps has sent some garlic home and his wife likes it but I guess if you don't like onions you wouldn't like them.

When I think of the nice little suppers I had at home, fritters or chips with a bit of cheese and a nice mug of cocoa or ovaltine I feel browned off with army  feeding. 

Don't blame me love if I start folding the blankets when I get out of bed from force of habit and line up with my plate, knife fork and spoon for my breakfast.

I've not bought any fruit for over a month now and yet I've always got more than I want to eat. I think  that I shall be that fed up with them, I shan't want any when I come back home. I know you'd like some love but they taste much better tinned.

I'd just love a bit of shoulder of lamb, new potatoes peas and mint sauce instead of the usual stew which is hot going in this climate 

 I think all the lads will return looking older than their years in a way and with a different outlook on life.

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We have had our oranges this week and I'm going to cut a couple up for tea and pour custard over them. You might send some custard powder if you can sometime and we have bit of cake left and some Frears Biscuits. We had an egg each this week, the first time for a month. I get three each week for Michael. I give them one each for their dinner.

I don't know whether I mentioned it before but Keith has a comic now each week and he is just like you when he is reading it. I might just as well go talk to the wall.

We had the siren for half an hour on Tuesday at 11 o/clock. I had gone to bed early and didn't get the kiddies up and all was quiet. 

We have Butlins fair here. I think it's from April to August and it's opposite the Blackbird pub, quite handy. They are putting up a lot of big things. I hope there is something for children. Keith and Sheila are thrilled about it.

We had an egg again this week at last so we will have egg on toast tomorrow dinner and as it's a washday quick dinner we will have pancakes as Well. No lemons though as I made lemon  water yesterday as Sheila has a cold but we shall have orange juice. We had four pounds of  oranges at 8½d (3P) a pound a fortnight ago and they say we may get another lot next week and lemons as well.

The daffodils are coming out in the garden but we haven't many. I asked the price on Saturday 3/6 (17P) and 6/6 (32P) a bunch. It's too much so I'll wait until Mrs. Hill has some of her own.

We didn't know  how well off we were in peacetime did we ? I think that this war will at least help us to be thankful. 

I see in your mother's letter that the ashtray was made of lava and comes from Pompeii. I hope you haven't been in any danger round there. Have you seen anything of the Vesuvius eruption ?

We lost a lot of planes last night and in your country we don't seem to be doing very well. It's a good job the Russians know how to move.

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You say love you don't know how we wives stick things but we are in the same boat as you, we don't have any choice so we just grumble now and again and get on with things hoping and praying that one day it will all end. One day we will laugh about the trials we have.

I didn't feel anything of the earthquake but the planes last night were a picture. They were fairly low and in close formation and looked like a lot of coloured lights darting about. I bet Munich did not enjoy seeing them as much as we did.

The news has just been on and the Russians are doing fine, I do hope they get into Berlin before us. 

Well love it's ten and I feel hungry. Shall we have some brawn and cheese and a cup of cocoa made with Gill's milk. That time will come love and we shall appreciate it more than those who have never been parted.

The fairy lights have just gone over again. They are American as they are in close formation. Our planes went over about half an hour ago so Germany will have it once more but I'm like you, love, I can't help but feel sorry for the women and children and I should think that what's left of them will endeavour to see that this will never happen again.

We were fortunate this week and had four eggs each on the ration. 

Keith was talking about V day and said something about you coming home. He said he knew you wouldn't be home as he said you had to fight the Japs. I said you might get home but not for good and he said he wouldn't mind you going back if only you came home. He misses you, love, but it can't be helped but all the lads he plays with have all got their daddies at home.

I had a rather bad time with the kiddies as we had a thunderstorm lasting two hours. The kiddies were late going to bed and they were not asleep when it started. Sheila was terrified and Michael was just quiet and but clung to me with all his might. Keith almost cried but was very brave and said God wouldn't hurt them when I explained That God sends the storms and of course you know I was trembling at the knees really !. It made me thankful that they had not experienced any bad bombing as it is a job to comfort them on ones own.

Together we have £130 in the bank so we should be able to have some fun later.

Mable took Keith into town to see the flags and as usual has proved herself a good pal to me and has been up every time she could spare. I really don't know what I should have done without Mabel all the time you have been away. I've been able to take all my pleasures and troubles to her and have a good weep on her shoulders when I couldn't keep it back any longer. I only hope I can repay her some way one day.

Italy looks a grand place I can't understand you not being happy there. Even the army think of your pleasure by sending the A,T,S. They will make a few more partners at your next dance but don't fall for their flattery, it's not worth while as there are enough homes broken up already.

Everybody is taking holidays. I wish I could take the kiddies to the sea. 

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It's the thought that I am so far away and can do nothing to help that gets me down so often. 
I'm glad Ethel is able to help a bit and Evelyn and Ann know enough trouble of their own to be grand neighbours and pals. I know Mabel will be spending a lot of time coming up Barton Road and I thank god that we have such standbyes. I don't know how we would have managed without them. I know debts like that cannot be repaid except by deeds and if we are in a position to help them I will see that we do

I don't think I'd bother with a Yank love, you might think what a dull husband you have now and I'd come home to find you'd found your wings and fluttered off to America. I don't think though love there's any chance of that on either side, we have built up too much together to be parted now.

I am sorry Keith has had nervous bout again and it's funny that yesterday I was telling one of the chaps here about that night when I had to hold him in the shelter for about half an hour after the bomb had exploded.

You ask me if there are a lot of married chaps out here untrue to their wives. Well love I look at it like this. It takes all types to make an army and the chaps who did or would do the same sort of thing in civvy street before they were called up, carry on the same without of course the risk of being found out, as you say.  A few others may have found the strain of being away too much without messing about here and there and no doubt some have, during their service, found their homes have been broken up by the wife going off the rails but the numbers in the case of married men in a unit of this sort is very small

I am sure you put an X for me at the election  and I think it's not a case of voting for a good party but for the least of evils. All of them have made promises at various times which they know they are unable to fulfil but we will hope for the best and if the winning party don't give us the leave in the next six months they have  promised us then it will be up to you wives, mothers and sweethearts at home to kick up a fuss and put things right..

Today we were able to book or rather hand in our names hoping to get seats for the Opera to hear Gigli who by all accounts is the most famous Italian tenor and as it cost us 10/- for a seat he'd better be as good as they say he is. It is just to be able to say I heard him like the trip to Vesuvius.

We had heard about the new bomb and what a terrifying thing it must me but it seems that the Japs knew what it would mean to continue the fight with such weapons against her 

I'd better make your mouth water for a change love. On my table at the moment are four very nice peaches. I had five and have eaten one and may eat another before I go to bed It's a shame isn't it love but we can get them so easily but to be honest I'd sooner have a nice juicy pear from an English tree as all the fruit here seems to be watery and rather tasteless. I had a few grapes the other day. The oranges are as big as plums so far but melons are plentiful and I had a big slice of one today,

I want to be with you more than ever today, 9 years after we decided to face life together and you took me  for better or for worse not knowing that for your life for more than three years would be such a hard one. I know, though, whatever trials you've had, your love for me has kept the same as mine for you and if I were with you tonight it would be the happiest day of my life. Try not to think too much about the luckier chaps (I know there are thousands) but let us thank god that the end of the war has come and we can at last see daylight.
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