Dad’s letters – January to March 1946

9th January 1946



To Herne Bay



Hello darling,

Thanks for the letter (I’m being generous when I call it that!) which I received just before the back day when I returned to Bulford. You appear to have had a somewhat strenuous time at Christmas. Of course, I never inflicted any pain on my parents when I was young. Actually, I was an exceptionally dutiful child!!

Well, I am now back in the Army and, hell, it’s a lousy feeling. However, the RSM was probably highly delighted to regain his star subject.

Sorry I don’t feel very brilliant today so don’t expect too much of this letter. I am probably affected by the church parade (compulsory of course) from which I have just returned.

I had quite a good time for the rest of my leave, but rather quiet. It was a pity you didn’t have some leave but still there was a war on and I suppose my disappointment is part of the aftermath. Before we go over, though, I hope to get some more 36 passes – I intend to take them anyway, pass or not. Every time I get one I’ll phone mamma and pray that you’re home. I’m a very persistent guy!!!

Afraid I must close now, there’s just isn’t anything to say (at least, nothing interesting) Don’t mind me, though please write as often as you can – I love hearing from you.

So long, darling

All my love




13th January 1946




C Coy




Darling Barbs,

Honestly, sweety-pie, I am sorry! I received your package yesterday and your somewhat indignant letter today – both of which thanks very much (the ties are wizard!). You see, I enjoy getting your letters so much that if some time elapses between them I get considerably upset – so all I can do is hope you will accept my apologises for the “scathing remarks”. And, Barbs, I do welcome even short, browned –off epistles. So keep writing, please, I am damned fed up myself – maybe that’s the reason I was so nasty. By the way, if you ever put SWALK on the back of an envelope you will get some really snooty-cracks – I somehow can’t imagine you doing that, though.

Do you remember I told you that we were going on a scheme soon? Well, I’ve heard rumours that it starts in a week’s time, lasts 14 days, and takes place in the mountains of South Wales! My God, 14 days on the open on a b—-y mountainside – still I think we do some drops so it won’t be too bad. All this week I’ve been on fatigues in the cookhouse, not as a punishment, but we are orderly company. From 06:30 to 18:30 every ruddy day!

Sorry you are having a lousy time, old girl, never mind, it won’t be long now. Your New Year celebrations sound very exciting. How thrilling to knit the New Year in! I celebrated it in the accepted fashion.

Well, darling I’m afraid this is only a very short note but I’ll write again very soon and I promise a really good long letter. Whether I write long epistles or not, though, darling, I think of you a hell of a lot. You and my parents are about the only people I write to – so consider yourself honoured.

So – long

All my love



17th January 1946


To C Coy




I promised you a long letter and here it is. At last I think this will be in a little more cheerful strain than the last. I sometimes wish I could write a really lush (a very apt word!) “lettre d’amour”, like those that some of the boys seem to be a veritable genius for. But my literary attainments seem to be lacking in that sphere. Perhaps you could coach me in the art one day.

As I said before I am a little happier today. All the boys are actually. This sudden rise in our failing spirits has been caused by two pieces of news (a) we are having a drop next Wednesday weather-permitting & (b) parachuting pay is being increased from 14/- to 21/- per week extra. This regiment is pretty lucky really, you know, because we get extra pay for what the authorities term “danger money” and since we jump comparatively seldom and when we do there is sweet Fanny Adams of danger, it is really money for old rope. This drop we are doing next Wednesday will be over the plain not far from Bulford. The Dakotas will take off from Netheravon ‘drome and, unless the weather proves awkward, Dessie will jump at precisely 11.05 hrs. The only trouble is we will probably have to march back from the DZ, a distance of about 4 miles. Anyway, pray for good weather, darling, because you will jump with me. I hope you understand what I mean. Maybe there will be an airborne ATS one day and then we could go out in the same stick. I am sure it would imbue me with a lot of confidence if I knew you were around. They could call you “paragirls” or something. Naturally, you wouldn’t jump in skirts – the slipstream of an aircraft travelling at 110 mph is no respecter of persons and I would probably feel inclined to get playful! Hell, if I go on in this strain you’ll think I’m jump happy or liverish or something, so I will drop the subject of paradames, intriguing though it is.

By the way, having arrived at that unhappy stage where I am heartily sick of pornographic novels (i.e. “You took me, Keep me”) I bought a play in Salisbury last week. It is called “Man of Destiny” by good old G.B. Shaw. It is about Napoleon and is dammed good. If you would like it, let me know, and I’ll send it. You used to be very “Partial to a bit of the old play” and I hope you still are.

I trust you are a little happier than you sounded in your last epistle, dearest honeychild. Whenever you feel blue, just think of me slopping about in a ruddy great sea of mud which this camp has become because of the utterly vile weather we have been having latterly.

Thank God this week is over. I don’t know whether I told you in my last letter, but all this week I have been on cookhouse fatigues. However, that is now over so back to the normal grind. Never again will I say that a housewife has an easy time. Darling, you now behold in me a thoroughly chastened being who realises at last the hard time a woman has. Hell, I think I even peel spuds in my sleep. “Spudsomnia” – what??!

Well, Barbs, I must get to bed – PI first thing tomorrow. Write soon, please.

Goodnight – God Bless

All my love


22st January 1946


To C Coy



My Darling,

It’s no use telling me not to swear! When I read your letter (for which thanks a lot) a long loud and exceptionally lurid stream of invective pours from my unsullied lips! It was a mixture of French and English with a smattering of school Spanish, and even Bert was shaken! Sorry, Barbs, but I was so fed up. I so seldom see you that when I think that last Saturday I was in that blasted cookhouse, while you were in London, I could cry. I miss you very much, darling, and although you would probably still have been bored if I was there we might have had some fun. Still, it’s just my luck. Anyway I hope you pass your tests OK.

You say you will be going to North Wales if you pass. Well, for 14 days starting next Friday, I will be in South Wales, near Brecon. How’s that for another piece of absolutely putrid luck – you in the North and me in the South. At least we’ll be in same country (cold comfort – to me!) We are going to do a pretty big scheme down there. I hope to God it’s warmer in the mountains than it is on the bl—dy plain – it’ll probably pour with snow when we arrive!

We did a jump yesterday – I believe I told you we were going to if the weather was ok. It was a pretty good drop although there was a hell of a drift. Since it was a Dakota from 700’, though, the drop was really cushy. There were some newsreel people there taking films of us emplaning, jumping and landing – so yours truly will probably be a film star!! If you see any pictures of paraboys dropping on a newsreel, I will be one of them. It was a lovely day, although cold, – very bright and sunny, I had a few seconds to look around when my chute opened and it was a wonderful sight. I think, Barbs, that yesterday, looking round on the end of the chute, I realized properly, for the first time, what a beautiful place England is! Bellow was the plain and on the right, ten miles or so away, I could just see the spire of Salisbury cathedral lifting to the sky. To the left was a little hamlet of old thatched cottages and the sun was reflecting on their windows. I suddenly felt very happy and contented – I don’t know why. Hope you don’t think I’m screwy, darling, being like that, but I think if you had been there you would have felt the same. I am not usually given to making speeches about the beauties of nature etc but I thought you’d like to know what it was like. Please don’t laugh at me.

Well, I must close now, creep into “kip” and dream about what might have been last weekend. Good night, Barbs.

All my love, always,


23th January 1946

Gordon Barracks



To C Coy



Darling Barbs,

Thanks for both letters. I received one last night and one a few minutes ago.

Why does every lousy thing happen to me? I think now I am just about as fed-up as any guy can possibly be! We are going to Wales on Friday and we are staying there for 14 days – while you are on leave. When we get back we will get a 48 hr pass (that’s on 15th Feb) – which will be just after you go back. We also get 7 days from 28th to March 5th and you’ll be in Scotland. If we weren’t going to Wales I’d come for the weekend, pass or not, but as you can see, darling, it can’t be done. Oh hell, Barbara, life is really BLOODY. I want to see you so very much but nothing ever seems to go right. Please write whenever you can – I think a letter from you is about the only thing that will cheer me up. I think about you very much, darling. After Friday, my address for the next 14 days will be:

17th Parachute Batt.

No. 6 RA Practice Camp



South Wales.

Well, having got that off my chest I will endeavour to become a little more cheerful. I could not quite make out whether or not you wanted to be a DI – your remarks on that subject were a little vague. In your second letter, the one I received just now, you say you don’t think you will be a DI. Consequently, I am rather nonplussed as to whether I should commiserate with you or congratulate you, darling – anyway, whichever is the one, count me as having said it.

Dear child, I don’t give a damn how you sound in your letters – happy, browned-off or just living – as long as I get them. When I receive a letter from you I go forth into the world, happy as the proverbial sandboy, fully fitted for combating the wrath of one irate and unfeeling RSM or facing the rigours of the really stinking weather which we always seen to encounter when out on the range. Thus, you will, I trust realize that your affection is extremely necessary to my well-being, and this at if you stopped writing to me I should go nuts and sign on for seven and five. The latter possibility fills me with horror, so for Pete’s sake don’t stop writing!

We keep hearing more rumours and occasionally a bit of “gen” about Palestine. Yesterday afternoon the MO gave us a talk on the various diseases we are likely to encounter. The first ten were utilized in discussing malaria, sand-fly and dysentery and during the remaining fifty an extremely heated argument ensued as to the cleanliness of the female population of that part of the world. We also learnt a lot more than we knew of methods of combating the much-publicized disease which is not confined to the East. Who in hell would have thought that an involuntary amorous action could have such nasty consequences. I came away wondering! The MO has soldiered all over the world and, oh boy, he certainly knew how to hold the attention of the lads. His knowledge was so extensive that I rather think it is the result of years of experiment. The way we feel at the moment after that lecture, I very much doubt whether any of the chaps will ever again admire a picture of a girl with pretty legs, let alone be tempted to discover more hidden feminine attributes. I’ve put it as nicely as I can, old girl, and I hope you aren’t offended – I just thought it might interest you (don’t get me wrong, for God’s sake!) Lots of narrow-minded people would think it horribly blatant, base, brazen and what-have-you, but I don’t care a damn, – I think it’s a darn good thing chaps should know all about that sort of thing, because after all, we are only human and “to err is human”. If my Mother knew I ever mentioned such things to a nice girl, she would be very shocked! Are you shocked, darling? Please forgive me if you are!!! I should imagine, however, Barbara, mon chou, that you know me well enough by now not to be offended.

Gosh, this letter seems to have grown to considerable lengths. Excuse me, old girl, I am afraid I must close now. So long, maitresse de mon Coeur, please write soon and have a good leave.

All my love, Barbara,

P.S. Please note the French. Don’t want to lose touch with the old line!!!





27th January 1946




To C Coy



Darling Barbs,

Take my advice, honey, never come to Wales if you can possibly avoid it unless you are a civvy and very religious. The joint we are stuck in is near a tiny village in the middle of the mountains. The camp itself is not so bad – it was originally a REME depot and Artillery camp – but these ruddy hills! The nearest town is Brecon, about nine miles away. Brecon is a city because it boasts a cathedral, but actually it is only the size of a moderate English village. It has several pubs (no whiskey) two tiny cinemas and a generous sprinkling of ladies of easy virtue. We can get there once a week – Saturday – the rest of the time we enjoy the peace of rural Wales! God knows what these people do on Sundays – the only places that are open are the churches. “How green was my valley” – hell!! We don’t have to worry about Sundays, though, they are all mapped out for us. We were told yesterday we are here for a fortnight’s toughening up course prior to embarkation. We commence the session by a forced march (i.e. wearing full equipment, carrying a rifle and doubling most of the way) this afternoon, 10 miles in 1 hour 40 minutes – on a Sunday afternoon!! And to think I used to grumble about going to Sunday school. So please write me some tender, encouraging epistle, darling, I’ll need ‘em! Sorry this writing is all over the place but I am lying on my bed writing this.

Afraid I’ll have to finish now, sweetheart, we have a church parade. Blimey, what a weekend. Still, I’ll get by somehow (Don’t quite know how, but somehow). Write soon, please, you may not believe it but I get quite a kick out of hearing from you.

All my love



30th January 1946



To Naafi

Hallam St

London W1


Barbs. My Darling,

Thank you for both letters. You really are a darling writing so often – it makes a hell of a difference to me, and I mean that.

Tomorrow you go on leave. Oh Barbs, you don’t know how I want to see you and here am I stuck in the middle of nowhere.

We are having a hell of time. For three days I have been soaked completely through. We go out into the mountains every day for battle training, and every day it teems down with rain. Apart from this when we come to a river (which, by the way aren’t rivers any longer – they are ruddy torrents) we cross them by the simple method of wading. Today I have waded through seven different b—dy rivers, three times. I had to swim part of the way. Sorry about the language, honey, but if only you could see us in the morning, creeping out of bed and into soaking wet clothes, you would understand how I feel. Still it’s no use moaning and although it’s tough, I’m as fit as a fiddle – not even a cold. Getting quite a little Tarzan, aren’t I? And about this “irresistible appeal which is so obviously” mine, do you really think I have it. I mean, a feller likes to know what he has or has not!!! I’m leaving myself open for a whole series of cracks there – do your worst, woman!!

And as for the “letter d’amour” I just couldn’t write one. I admit defeat! (That should allow you indulge in quite a bit of self-satisfied gloating or smirking – or do those wonderful features scorn to twist themselves into so common a grimace?) It isn’t words that have me beat. I’m still as glib as ever – it’s just that I haven’t the nerve. Maybe one day I’ll tell you a lot of “lush”. At least, I can’t be blackmailed for word of mouth. At this point, I feel I must lodge a very strong protest about being accused of being the type who goes bald. I object to this form of abuse, Miss Francis, and I sincerely trust a recurrence of such insults will not be forthcoming.

Well, darling, I must close now. I’m really dead tired and, honestly, that’s no idle excuse. Anyway, I actually like letter – writing when I’m writing to you. That’s about the nearest I’ll ever get to telling you just what I do feel. That sounds a bit mixed up but I hope you understand.

Cheerio, darling

All my love


P.S. Will you be gone back by the 15th? We get a 48 then. I am keeping my fingers crossed.



10th February 1946


To C coy



Hullo, Darling

Poor child, you have my deepest and most sincere condolences – you return off leave today (or do I have to remind you!!) For the sublime to the stinking, as it were – or from Piccadilly to porridge. I realise, of course, that this moment of bereavement is no occasion for foolish flippancy but I trust you understand that it is all done with a good heart. Seriously, though, sugarfruit, I hope you’ve had a good leave. Write and tell me what you did and who you loved!!

As you will notice we have returned to Bulford, praise be. At least we are back to semi-civilisation. It’s been a hell of a fortnight – raining all the time we were footling around the mountains. Still, I suppose it’s good for us in some obscure way, although I’m darned if I know which way.

Well, we have been given a little more gen about overseas. It’s the real thing, though, this time – no false alarms. The sailing date is March 9th but owing to rather awkward shipping circumstances it might be as late as 14th – anyway, between those dates. Next weekend I get a 48 (Friday to Sunday night) – I don’t suppose you’ll be down South but I’ll phone Mamma on Saturday morning anyway – if you were in town and I missed you I would just about die. Then I have seven days from 28 Feb. to 5th March. If you look at the calendar you will see that a weekend comes in the middle of the seven days, and please Barbs, try and make it, as this will definitely be au revoir for a year or so. I know it is very difficult to get away – I tried when we were down in Wales – but they wouldn’t let me go as we were on a toughening up course. If you can’t get away – well I’ll just have to write goodbye, but it won’t be the same without seeing you. I want those seven days to be really good, but if I could see you for just an hour and all the rest of the time was rotten, I would be happy. Hell, the way I’ve written it, it sounds as though I were just off to Dartmoor for a lifer. I want to go to Palestine but I sometimes get a queer feeling when I think of leaving England for a couple f years. I’ve phrased it very awkwardly but I hope you understand what I mean.

Apparently we are to be a kind of mobile force, based in the Middle East and equipped to take off and drop anywhere in the world where we may be needed. The CO told us that there is an idea being discussed by UNO of an UNO police force which will consist of my battalion and the 82nd American Para Brigade, based in Palestine. We are to be stationed in quite a hot spot (in more ways than one!) anyway. A camp about 10 miles from Tel Aviv with Jews to the north and Arabs to the south, so we may have some fun.

I hope you will excuse me now, I must get a bit of shut-eye. Please write soon.

All my love




18th February 1946


To C Coy



One & only,

Your – er- note was waiting for me when I got back last night. As you said, it was short (I trust none the less sweet!) but, still, it was something from you. Strange though it may seem I do think quite a bit about you, and if any length of time goes by without hearing from you, 1490835 becomes a trifle concerned. What I mean, old girl, is that this is such a wicked world and peopled by wicked beings that a young and charming girl must be exposed to all kinds of horrible dangers!! Although Scotland appears to be a hell of a place to be wicked in – even my pal in the Fleet Air Arm says it’s a terrific struggle to wander from the straight and narrow. He doesn’t seem to have done so badly though – been hitting the town with an artist’s model. His poor mother is frightfully upset and one of his uncles has refused to have anything to do with him. As Tommy himself said “What the hell have I to worry about? The girl makes about £60 a month, I get £500 gratuity when I leave the Services – I’m set up for life!” As you can imagine he is quite a bloke. His ambition for quite a long time has been to buy a little tropical island, people it with seductive damsels (no colour bar!) and live on love and pineapples. Trouble is he can’t strum a guitar.

I had quite a nice weekend – quiet but enjoyable. I phoned Mamma on Saturday morning and she said you weren’t home, phone some number in the evening – a WAAF officer I think – she said she would be there. Well faithful me phoned the number – Mamma had not yet arrived – please phone later. Phoned later – Mamma still AWOL – phone later. Phoned later and couldn’t get through. Got quite frantic and cursed the operator (a man, of course) but as you said in your note you wouldn’t be home, it appears I didn’t miss you.

Do you think you’ll be able to get down south between Feb 27th and March 5th. I know I ask every time I write but, Barbs old girl, maybe if I keep asking My Lady Fate may smile on us for a change. Add your prayers to mine!!

I told Mamma we were doing another drop soon. It was scheduled for Friday but it has now been changed to next Monday. Good job I am not suspicious – it’s the thirteenth jump and I am no. 13 in the stick.

We have had 3 inoculations today – two in the left arm and one in the right. Consequently, my arm is a bit stiff so please excuse the shocking attempt at writing. Looking forward to receiving the badge, darling, thanks a lot. By the way I have obtained a beret and a pair of gaiters for you – I’ll send them to Hallam Street. Please excuse me now – being a human pincushion makes one a little drowsy.

Goodnight, darling, God bless

All my love



25th February 1946


To C Coy



It’s wonderful, cherryblossom, you’ve made a darn good job of it – it’s right in every detail and the colours blend beautifully. I wish I could wear wings like that on my shoulder. Thanks a lot. I received it today – Dad didn’t know what it was so he readdressed the package and sent it here.

About neglecting me – well, I guess I know what it is like to be really fed-up. You don’t want to write or read or do anything except mooch around feeling miserable. It’s OK, just drop me a line when you can especially when I’m abroad.

We were going to do a drop this morning but a thrice-accursed fog closed in over the DZ (Dropping Zone to the ignorant!) and the RAF Flying Control cancelled it. We were hanging around for two hours before they made up their minds. I suppose nowadays most of the boys are pretty well used to parachuting, but I don’t mind admitting that hanging around waiting for take-off is a bit of a strain. Still, I’ll dry up about that or you’ll get bored or think I’m shooting a horrible great line and I’d hate you to think anything but good of me (I mean damn it. I really am a good little boy!)

Well, today they gave us the definite pukka gen. about sailing. We embark on the “Ancona” at midnight on March 9th at Liverpool so this leave is really the last. It’s a bit of a blow knowing that I shan’t see you and – oh hell, why say “a bit of a blow”. Darling, it’s a helluva blow. You see, every time I’ve been on leave up to now I always knew I would see you and that was the sort of centre of things. It’s rotten saying goodbye on a station but it’s a lot harder to write everything one would like to say. Of course, I know you would come down if you could, old girl, but I shall miss you terribly. I know I am generally pretty slick with my old pen but somehow I just can’t think how to write what I want to say. You dislike wet sentimentalism, I know, but good-byes usually are a little difficult so if I let up a trifle from our usual mode of correspondence please try to understand. Even a tough (??) paratrooper has his weaker moments and Lord knows. I don’t feel so good at the moment. I’ve wanted to go abroad for a long time now, but now that I actually know the date we are sailing and that I shan’t see you again for about two years – well, I could curse the Army and say to hell with Palestine. Let the Jews and the Arabs fight their own way to the devil without me. I bet by now you are getting fed-up with all this but you don’t know how hard it has been for me to write it. Two years sounds such a long time and I suppose I’ll be quite a different chap when I come home but there’s one thing that won’t change and that’s the way I feel about you. It’s no good, I can’t write any more tonight or I will make a real fool or myself. You said at the end of your letter you couldn’t write in a letter what you wanted to say. Please try, Barbs, I guess I can take it.

Well, good night darling, I won’t say good bye because I’ll be back.

Au revoir, old girl, take care of yourself – you are wonderful.

All my love


P.S. Better address any letters to my home, please. I’ll let you have my new address as soon as I know it. I’ll go up and see Mamma when I’m on leave.



11th March 1946



To C Coy



Hi-ya Honeybunch

Thanks for the letter. Once more I will repeat the now somewhat hackneyed routine and forgive you for being erratic with your correspondence. I realise, of course, that it is very good for diminishing my apparently overwhelming ego, but, dear old girl, do you have to be so snooty? I am now referring to your perfectly repulsive crack about “getting” a blonde – it’s “getting” that gets me. The word is almost blasphemy – one does not just “get” a blonde – it is a long and sometimes difficult process and success only attends those who have completely mastered the art. I have it on the highest authority that one must either be born to it, or trained from infancy, to be able to overcome all the subtle intricacies which the sport demands. Anyway, who in the hell ever heard of a blonde Jewess?

Well, we were supposed to have sailed last Saturday, but, as you can see, this supposition did not materialize! However, we are now told that we sail this coming Sunday from Southampton and, please God, this won’t be another fallacy. We definitely know, though, that we are on our way, and that the time is pretty close, and it’s rather a queer feeling, Barbs. Can’t exactly explain it because I want to go very much, but, at the moment, a couple of years seems a hell of a long time. Still, I’m going with the best bunch of pals a chap could wish for so I guess we’ll have some fun.

Of course, I understand what you said about hurting my feelings, old girl, and forgive me if I said anything which upset you in any way. Please believe me when I say that I don’t often let myself go like that – in fact you are the first girl I have ever spoken to in that way. That sounds horribly naive and like a rather cheap American film, I know, but I guess I’m a bit tongue-tied and I’m making a helluva hack of this. I am very fond (I hate that word!) of you Barbs, but I promise that I won’t ever say any more about it. Nevertheless, don’t forget that date in two years time, or I’ll get really nasty!

It seems I won’t be seeing you again before I go, but if you get a pass – remember me to London. You know, you don’t really appreciate things and paces and people until you are about to lose them. Oh Lord, there I go again – I’ll have you thinking I’m scared or something soon. They tell us we probably won’t stay in Palestine all the time – we may go to Greece, Spain, Java or anywhere in the jolly old world so when I come home I’ll be the complete personification of that well-worn phrase “a well-travelled man”!

Well, I must close now. Give my love to Mamma and the two boys. Be a good little girl and please write whenever you feel like it. Au revoir.

All my love


P.S. I have procured a camera so I will send you some photographs from Palestine.



17th March



To C Coy



Well, light of my life, it’s little me again, and still ruddy well broadcasting from Bulford in the heart of rural England! On Friday night we had the happy (?) news that our ship, the “Orontes” was back in quarantine again for smallpox. It had already been quarantined once but apparently had not been completely cleared. It is a 23000 tonne and can comfortably accommodate 16 or 17 hundred men. When they found that some 3500 men were to embark in her, they thought that since everything points to a somewhat crowded journey, they had better give the old lady the once-over again just to make sure. Consequently, I am now deep in the depths of depression and anxiously waiting for the next Saturday, which is the latest gen. on sailing. The trouble is, you see, everyone has all their kit packed and the accommodation stores are already on their way to Southampton, so all we have to do all day is sit and play cards or brood. Honestly, Barbs, we have been like this for nearly a week and if nothing happens soon I am damn sure some of the boys will start trouble. It isn’t that they are scared, but sitting around all day twiddling your thumbs is enough to get anyone down. We are allowed out till reveille every night, though, and Salisbury is already showing scars (in more ways than one!)

Darling child, I was very sorry to hear you are in CRS – hope you’re OK now. I don’t mean to be unkind, but I can’t help wondering whether mauve legs suit your complexion. Are they mauve all over or is a striped or spotted effect – I’d love to see them. I love to see your legs at any time, of course, but I have a feeling that maybe mauve tends to enhance their already wondrous beauty. Don’t get me wrong, adolescents will be adolescents, you know! (I now await some really subtle crack – don’t disappoint me!)

You need not have mentioned the stockings, old girl, far be it from me to pass any pair by, whether they are occupied or not. Anyway, I’ll see what I can find (even if it’s only a sarong).

The other address on the top of this letter is our MEF address. If you write after next Saturday please address the letter there. I shan’t get it till we arrive but I’ll write on the boat – maybe the boat will call at some port where we can post mail home.

Well. I’m afraid I must dry up now – bed is calling.

Goodnight, God bless, and for God’s sake come out of CRS and let the world once more feast its eyes on the modern equivalent of Venus, Aphrodite and… (blast this Greek) Psyche!!


P.S. You realize, of course, that lobe is not the dying moan of a violin – it is the triumphant twang of a bed-spring! That, I think, is crude without being corny and, paradoxically, rude yet refined!!



22nd March



To C Coy



Hullo, glorious, thanks for the letter. Terribly sorry to hear you are still in the CRS. You must have hurt yourself pretty badly – I wouldn’t have made any nasty cracks had I realised, but, you silly infant, you made so light of it in your letter that I thought it was just a little accident. Anyway, I hope you are better now.

Well, this is definitely it at last. We move out of Bulford at 3 o’clock tomorrow morning and get straight off the train on to the ship at Southampton, consequently this is the last letter you will receive from me posted in England for some little time. I’m damn glad we’re definitely on our way, but I feel a bit browned-off – don’t know why – just a bloody fool, I guess. However, I’m damned if I’ll make this a gloomy epistle as I will light a cigarette and get cracking in the good old style.

Permit me, darling, in all humility, to state that your knowledge of Ancient Greek mythology is sadly lacking in several essentials. I am now referring to that part of your letter where you say mention a goddess who possessed the “golden touch”. (a) The person referred to was male, not female & (b) he was a king, not a god, and was called King Midas. I trust you are not too annoyed with me but I could not resist this opportunity of gently reminding you of the superiority of man to woman. That’s a challenge – accept it, my sweet, or admit defeat!

Sorry you are in a boring joint and I was glad to know my letter helped to brighten things up a little. Proper little ray of sunshine, ain’t I, eh? (Pardon the lapse into Cockney – wait till I start on Arabic, then I’ll really shake you!)

Afraid I must sign off now, old girl, got a hell of a lot to do in the next few hours but, believe it or not, just writing to you has cheered me up.

Please write to MEF so there will be a letter waiting for me.

So long, be good



6 Responses to Dad’s letters – January to March 1946

  1. roweeee says:

    Love “the talk” to the troops about the disease front.With our son going to high school next year, I thought we’d better have a bit of a talk on this subject. He is only 11 and I suspect a bit off being interested in girls but some of his friends are very smitten. I’d worked as a communicator in the HIV Sexual Health unit of our local health service and administered a survey of at risk youth around the local youth services. This one youth worker mentioned to me the transition between year 6 and year 7 and how things can change and kids fall through the cracks. I’d only just got married back then but his advice stuck. Now, seemingly all of a sudden, we’re almost there with our boy. So we had the safe sex talk and given that the lad is good at maths, I hit him with the cost of raising a child and how you really want to give your children a good life and I think that hit him like all that talk of diseases. That said, I’m sure he’s forgotten by now. As much as his obsession with Minecraft bothers me, at least I know where he is. xx Ro

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ThingsHelenLoves says:

    Fascinating. ‘Bulford in the heart of rural England’. I’m living just by Bulford Camp now as my husband is military, although he doesn’t write such great letters! Been doing some research into the WW2 history of the area after falling down the rabbit hole on a slightly different topic and it is really interesting. To think your Dad was down here writing letters all those years ago. Amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      He used to talk about coming back from leave, late, and jumping off the train at some nearby station to avoid the military police, before hiking back across country and breaking into the barracks. I assume your hub doesn’t feel the need to be quite so reckless (but then again Dad was 19 in 1945 so not exactly at the height of his maturity). If you ever want to know more, let me know Helen. The letters are a resource you’re welcome to use any time. Mostly as you may have seen they cover his time in Palestine pre partition but they do give an idea of life as a buck private in the Army in the 40s. By the way do they still call spending time in a military prison ‘doing jankers?’ Dad had the occasional visit, usually when it doubled as a drunk tank.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ThingsHelenLoves says:

        The letters are a fascinating insight. Erm…husband isn’t so reckless these days being a bot older and up the ranks a bit. He was a bit of a lad when he was younger!

        Time in military prison I’ve only ever heard referred to as ‘in the glass house’, a phrase I think comes from the old military prison in Colchester. I’m going to get my husband to have a read of the letters, I think he’ll be interested. And charmed by how much army life was very different but in some ways very much the same.

        Liked by 1 person

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