Major GS Andrews, RCE
Svy, HQ First Cdn Army,
England, 28 Oct 42
I thought it would be better to wait till I got back from my leave to write this, instead of trying to scribble out a scrawl in some hotel lounge, and too, as I had hoped, there was a wonderful mail waiting for me when I got back. Your airletter from Victoria dated 28 Sept, and your airmail from Auburn of 10 Oct, also a letter from Mary E. with distinctly improved kitties and ducks etc of the 21 Sept. Also a letter from Grahame with two sweet pictures, one of him and Mary, and one of Mary alone, in the yard at 935 Heywood, looking at books, also a lovely airletter from Mary and Eric Garman, and one from Lashley Haggman, from Newfoundland, also a parcel from you, with biscuits tobacco hairbrush and comb & mirror. These are well, there were some sox from the keyhole at the bldgs, and some tobacco. Found a willing recipient for the sox, which were of the coarse knit variety, which I cant wear and the tobacco was for cigarettes, which I will keep in reserve for some of the boys when the supply is low.
The letter from the Garmans was written the evening after you had left, and it was a fine letter, Evidently you had left them a nice gift, which pleased them very much, You and Mary certainly seem to be considered "of the family" Mary said that you and our Mary looked very smart in the new outfits you had made.
As you know, sent reprints of my Alaska article to Frank etc some time ago, and the delay was because the printers took a long time to send them. I sent a copy off to Caroline Beck recently, so it will probably reach her sometime. There are only a very few left, so I will have to hang on to them for very special cases which may come up in the future.
Your account of your trip down was fascinating, and some morning you and I will wake up together, and watch the dawn steal over the grand old mountains. Am so glad you had Ruth with you, and I hope that she will always feel that she has a home in Victoria whenever she can come. It was pretty good of Elsie Richards to phone you at Seattle about the Lieff's vacating the house, she is a pretty good business head. It will be nice for you and Mary to be back in our own home, and I wish you could find the right person to stay with you. Glad Mrs Bergtholdt is well, and so comfortable in her new home. Its going to be a veritable fairyland for Mary, with so many new experiences, and reelaishuns. It ought to develop her social faculties beyond all bounds. No doubt Eddie and Vera are big enough by now to defend themselves against their aggressive little Canadian cousin. I'll bet there will be a lot of fun.
I was very pleased at getting Lashley Haggman's letter, he must be a fine fellow now, and very modestly said nothing about his injuries last year.
I hardly know where to start in telling you about my leave. Anyway, it was one of the best I've had, and did me a lot of good, because I got every day out doors and must have averaged about 30 miles a day on the bike, which was pretty good considering I stopped at innumerable little villages and quaint little old churches. My ecclesiastical education has been very much extended, and real history, because in an old country like this, the history is bound up inseparably with the churches. Abbeys, etc. I think I succeeded in finding the parish where the Andrews family must have spent at least 200 years, and there are descendants there today, good solid farmers and fishermen., and millars. Three of them were in the Navy in the last war, and one in the Army. And there are several in the navy now. I took down a lot of inscriptions from tombstones, and some from the church register of the little thatched roof church at Henstead, where the records go back to 1307, but of course I couldn't read them much beyond 1700, as the script is Gothic and not too legible before that, and earlier still everything in Latin. Some day if I get another opportunity, I'd like to do some further investigating, but not till I'm more certain that those people really are connected with my family. When you get back home, I wish you would copy out the inscriptions in the old Andrews Bilbe, and the data about the two generations of Andrews in that Family tree I had around the house, rolled up, if you can find it, and send them along. With that to compare with the notes I made here, I should be able to learn definitely if there is a real connection. I may write Uncle Ashton or Bessie, his daughter to see what they know. There were some quite interesting details turned up, which I have noted down, and will tell you about when I come home. I bought a nice book on Suffolk at Cambridge, where I started with the bike, and will send it along soon, when I have finished it. Also met a rare old chap in an exquisite little village called Lavenham, who is a real antiquarian, he seemed to take a bit of a shine to me, and gave me a remarkable set of photographs which he had taken of the local churches. The Hun is doing quite a bit of sporadic bombing in Suffolk, and some of these priceless old relics will no doubt be destroyed, and have been, as usual, I kept thinking how you would have enjoyed the trip, because you have a much better brain for this kind of thing than I have. At least it has given me an incentive to read up the history of East Anglia, as Suffolk and Norfolk are called. Also I went into so many churches, that I'm sure that Saint Peter will not even look at my identity card at the Pearly gates, even if I never go to church again.
Near the end of my trip I met a most delightful family, a fine old man and his wife, their married son, who is evidently a very good pilot on these long range flying boats, his wife and two of the grandest little boys, age 2 and 5, they were real Saxons, fair hair, and made me think of our Mary. They wanted to see all the snaps I had of my wife and little girl.
Had good weather on the trip, except the last day, which has bitter cold, and a steady downpour. Rode about 25 miles that morning into Cambridge, where I got my train in time to ride my bike across London from one station t the other before dark. It has been cold and wet since, so I was pretty lucky, as the whole time was dry except two showers.
Am going to try sending this regular air mail, and I hope it doesn't take too long, and reaches you before you start for home. Hope you will be able to stay down for a good long visit, and that you will take time for some fun as well as the work. It seems to me it is just the change you needed.
Well dear, must stop now, and give my best to all the folks and a big hug for you and Mary E.