Dad’s letters – Oct 1944

8th October 1944
Caterham
Surrey

To No3 coy
Camberley
Surrey

Dearest B
Thanks very much for the letter, which, as always, I was very pleased to receive. Sorry I’ve been such a helluva time answering it but last week was crowded and then some!
Your apologies re the love affair have been accepted after due consideration, but I didn’t like the way you apologised for likening your love for me unto anything else you have ever felt. In some obscure way I feel that there is a subtle ambiguity, or at least, an implied slur in that statement. However, when you get your leave I shall ask you either to amplify your remark or prove you didn’t mean it.
So the little lady had DINNER? Mark ye, oh gods, she had nothing so blasé as supper – oh no. She had DINNER! Also, not content with this extravagance born of an apparently overwhelming opulence she proceeded to the theatre, or, to quote her own airy rhetoric – “on to the Duchess”! Having been “on to the Duchess” she and her mother, who, I suspect, was more led than leading, had a box. Seriously, though, B, I’m glad you had a good time – you certainly appear to deserve it. When I see these lousy warts who call themselves men hanging around in nice, easy, reserved occupations, I think you girls who had the guts to volunteer deserve the best of the best. This sounds a bit tripey, I know, but you understand what I mean, and I rather thing you feel the same way.
You ask me if I could contribute to your packing so much into your leave as possible. Well, I’m as patriotic as the next guy and thus I cannot resist the call for help from the Forces. As our Yankee friends would say “I’d be tickled pink, honey”. (N.B. Should the tickling part be taken literally?!!!)
Well so far I’m still in the R.A.F., or at least I haven’t had my second selection yet. Actually, I feel a little more optimistic about it as I have heard that they are accepting a few more blokes into the R.A.F. now. Of course, I don’t care a damn what I am so long as I can be air-crew. Another thing, a Fleet Air Arm lieutenant told us that the FAA were still accepting boys for aircrew with no restrictions at all. He said that with a little “wire-pulling” it was just possible sometimes to transfer from the R.A.F. to the F.A.A. without being grabbed for the army in between the two. I had a chat with him afterwards and I hope he will be one of my “wires”! Anyway, as I’ve probably said before, I mean to fly somehow (even if it is only to carry out my promise to you!!)
I was very sorry to hear about OCTV. Never mind, sweetheart, plenty more fish in the sea. So just cast your eye around!
Last night I went to a WJAC social. It was very nice as was the jane I took home afterwards. She was a bloody cunning jane, though, for she told me that she only lived a mile away. A mile away – hell! It was more like three miles and I felt damn browned-off. Still, there’s one redeeming feature although I was not wearing an overcoat I did not feel cold, and I’m damn sure she didn’t!!!
The good old A.T.C. is still going strong and on Nov. 4th yours truly is organising a dance in an effort to bolster up the squadron funds. I never thought there was so much to do or I wouldn’t have done it. As it is, I’m quite certain I shan’t get a full night’s sleep till it’s over! Wish me luck!
Please find enclosed poem sort of thing, also take note of the challenge at the end. The line about you being unreasonable is a reminder that I still think men are superior to women (remember our old arguments? I wish I could have some more with you, because although the other girls up here are O.K. all they can talk about is the latest film or Cesar Romero’s wavy hair!)
Because of old Bertie’s putting a good word in for me, I am now a member of the Rifle Club. Thus every Wednesday evening I proceed to the seventh floor, Main Block to shoot. We are usually watched by bevies of young females whose glances range from the warmly admiring (generally wide-eyed brunettes and peroxide blondes) to the frigidly crushing (usually immaculate be-costumed young ladies with sheer silk fully-fashioneds and a helluva temper). I’m a mediocre shot but I hope to improve with practice.
Hope you don’t mind this epistle in pencil bit I’m writing it in my knees in front of the fire.
Please give my love to Onyx and kiss her for me
Well, Cheerio, honey-bunch
All my love
D
P.S. Dont hold this against me. I’m merely repeating a suggestion which Christine told me to make. She says why don’t you take me out. Its a lousy suggestion though on only 13/6 a week even though you now get 1d extra!! Congrats.


18th October 1944
Caterham
Surrey
To
3 Coy
Camberley
Surrey

My Dear B
Here come the formalities which you apparently so dislike! Thanks etc. for the letter. As always, of course, I was very pleased to receive it, but this time I was even more pleased than usual. This was because I was able to read it without any more than the normal 95% eyestrain!
Well, I kept my fingers crossed for you yesterday and I trust that the hole in the pit of your stomach has now been successfully filled up. I suppose when I next see you, you will be all technical, talking about internal combustion engines crankshafts and so forth? It must be a most revealing and entertaining sight to see you clad in a pair of oily overalls wallowing in grease and sweat, with your muscles (???) bulging and pulsating, (and the rest of you just bulging! – sorry, maybe I shouldn’t have said that, but I just couldn’t resist the temptation.)
Re the “adventure in my soul”. Lady, my soul is full of it, and it’s always wanted to be an “explorer” since the tenderest age. I wonder if you are “polar” or “sub-tropical”. Probably the latter! Anyway, it doesn’t matter – one can always wear gloves if one’s hands get cold!!!
Thanks for the compliment about “able-bodied men”. It was very nice of you, but, hell, I don’t want to be one of the “couldn’t-quite-make-its”, I want to see something of this ruddy war! Anyway, it won’t be the blokes who did anything, who’ll run this country after the war. Oh no, if our b – silly government have their way we’ll be bossed by Italian prisoners and “conscientious objectors” (please note the inverted commas, because I don’t think there is any such thing).
Hell’s bells, what’s happening to this epistle – it seems to be turning into a political debate. Sorry!
I’m not quite sure why I’m running this damn dance, honeybunch, it appears that the other blokes don’t mind helping, but they don’t want to “take the can back” if anything goes wrong. Still, things seem to be going O.K. so far. We’ve got a band, about 9 players I think, and we’ve hired a hall, the notices are printed and we’re having 200 cigarettes given us for prizes, so we don’t seem to be doing so badly. The worst thing, so far as I’m concerned, is that I’ve got to announce the ruddy dances etc.! Hell!!
The “reporting” is going O.K., but I’m afraid the C.O. didn’t appreciate a little poem I wrote about him, which he unfortunately found! However, these little things are sent to try us.
Well, sweetheart, there’s no more news so I will close (more formality, I’m afraid!)
All my love
“Je vous aime toujours, ma Cherie”
D
P.S. Please write soon and let me know how you got on, I’m very anxious!
P.P.s. This is written on knees in front of the fire so please excuse filthy scrawl.

20th October 1944
Caterham
Surrey
To
3 Coy
Camberley
Surrey

Dearest one – your card and my letter must have crossed, but I had to write and congratulate you. It’s really wizard news, and I think you are wonderful (that’s NOT sarcasm).
All I want now is to show you how pleased I am at the news, probably as pleased as you were yourself!
Cheerio, sweetheart,
All my love
D
Barbara’s now a driver
In the ATS:
A second “Miss Godiva”
In a khaki vest.
(or don’t you wear a vest!)

23rd October 1944
Caterham
Surrey
To 3 Coy
Camberley
Surrey

Hail, sweet spirit of loveliness,
I will commence the epistle by wishing you many Happy Returns etc for your birthday, and I’m extremely annoyed you didn’t tell me before about it. You are quite a big girl (should this be taken literally as well as metaphorically, do you think?) now, although I thought you were older. Still, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a damn good job you’re not! Anyway, I really hope you had a nice time!
Barbara, ma petite chou, I admit defeat – I withdraw my tattered forces from the battle-field of words and sit and sulk. Yes, I, even I, the Mighty One, cannot cope with the overwhelming spate of technicalities which flow from your pen with such ease and elegance. I refer, of course, to such phrases as “I check up on the H.T. leads and coil ignition”. I know what the H.T. leads are, but what the hell is the coil ignition. You must tell me gently some day. I say “gently” because although it is a shock to read such an encyclopaedic perambulation, it would probably give me pink eye and paralysis to hear it “straight from the horse’s mouth”, as it were. A subtle implication there unless you are too much of “a busy little girl” as you put it, to perceive it!
So she drives officers about, does she? I wonder if this is one of the reasons why she is getting slimmer (no, I don’t mean what you are thinking!!!) It does not suffice, sweetheart, to merely state you drive these blighted officers about. What I mean is, do they or don’t they, or, to put it a little more clearly, are they, or aren’t they?
You ask for bright suggestions. Well, I can think of some brilliant ones, but the point is, if I told you, you would probably come after me toting a gun! Seriously, though, it’s your leave – you make the suggestions and I will endeavour to improve on them. I mean, you want to pack your leave full of the best moments, and, if I can be of any assistance either personally, paternally or poetically, I will do my best. Those last few sentences are shockingly clumsy, but you know what I mean (I hope!).
Well, Barbs, I must close now, because one of the boys has just arrived to cart me off to an N.C.O.’s meeting. At the moment, he is engaged in a rather vain argument with Dad, on the subject of hot swing! Dad, I’m afraid, seems to be winning!
Cheerio,
All my love
D
P.S. I’m afraid you must think I’m awfully rude about the bright suggestions, lovely one, but what I want is, that you should spend your leave doing just what you want, because, hell’s bells, you’ve certainly earned the best time ever. I really mean that, so if I sound a bit queer, maybe you’ll understand. One thing is certain, however. If I don’t see you somehow, somewhere, there will be TROUBLE, so you remember that young Barbara!!!
P.P.S. This paper is from an old school exercise-book, so please don’t think it is some kind of glorified toilet roll!!!

5 Responses to Dad’s letters – Oct 1944

  1. roweeee says:

    Your dad had me smiling away through this lot as well. I particularly loved the phrase “encyclopaedic perambulation”. There are a few of those in my family but I think their perambulation becomes rather an extensive journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      I keep forgetting as I read these that he was only 18 in November 1944. Old if not wise before his years.

      Liked by 1 person

      • roweeee says:

        You’re right. He does sound a lot older. I was listening to the voice talking and it was actually my grandfather because your father’s letters, written around a similar time period, talk about such similar things. Of course, for me, my grandfather’s voice is that of an old man and, of course, an Australian.

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        That would have amused Dad. He loved people, basically and while he talked like the worst sort of little Englander he loved meeting anyone from anywhere and, especially, visiting them in their ow countries. I took him to South Africa and the US and planned on a trip to Oz but he became too ill sadly. He would have loved it.

        Like

      • roweeee says:

        He would have loved to have a blog like us and be chatting to people all round the world by the sound of it.
        Such a shame he didn’t make it to Australia. What is there not to love? xx Rowena

        Liked by 1 person

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