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Date: January 10th 1945

H.M.S. Ajax
C/O G.P.O. London.

10th. Jan. 1945.

Dear Shirley,

Having survived the celebration of Xmas and the successful ushering in of New Year, I have returned once again to normal health. Routine also is again normal so I know have time to think about answering a few letters. Due to mechanical defects of one kind or another in my pen I am reduced to this infernal machine as the medium for my thoughts. Please excuse, bearing in mind the obvious advantages of typing such as conversation of space, neatness of outlay, etc. Without further ado I will get down to the meat of this letter.

First, many thanks for your letter and Xmas card. I found the letters most interesting, - especially the description of your billets and the owners. It must get on your nerves a bit at times. Had a Xmas card from your mother and sister also a card, letter, and papers from your grandmother. (Her lawn must need mowing again!) The DeVanys have certainly come forth with the Xmas spirit!

Life as I say has returned to normal. Nothing exciting has happened since Xmas. Xmas day was well celebrated. Missed female company but endeavoured to make up for that lack by consumption of liquid refreshment. Great excitement was caused by the arrival of Mr. Churchill and Mr. Eden in the evening. They stayed for three days while squaring up the Greek situation. Didn't see much of them but Mr. Churchill's secretaries were in great demand. One was a Canadian girl. Lost no time in good liaison! New Year's Eve was pretty quite. I had time to recall the New Year's Eve for last. Remember first the Guildhall, then the Polish Barracks. What a night that was - you were -oh no you don't agree with that, do you?

Had a lot of Xmas parcels form home, pity you're not here to assist in the "demolition" of same - or don't you like fudge? A very large cake survived one sitting at the wardroom tea-table. It was delicious.

Well, how's broadcasting and stuff. Tell me, are you responsible for some of the records which get stuck and keep on repeating You might suggest they change the needle, too. No, I guess you just press button, pull plugs, tap speakers or say "testing 1 2 3 …… testing" Maybe I'm wrong again. Still I should thing it's rather fun. I would like to cause a shambles in a place like [?] that guess they wouldn't like it though, would they.

You know, I'm pretty good at typing, aren't I? Maybe I could get a job as a stenographer to some young thing after the war. Women are supposed to be running the world then aren't they? ‘course I've only been a couple of hours doing this letter, but then who wants speed anyway. Just think, if I could write like this I wouldn't need a typewriter - or something.

Work is going well, my department hasn't anything wrong with it, much! Of course a lot of valves leak, and a few things are falling to pieces with rust but then you can't be perfect, can you? Am sitting in the Engineers Office doing this job. Just now the Senior Engineer popped his head in. He smile, - must have thought I was working, I guess. Did I ever tell you about the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway? Well, draw up a chair, while I relate to you a saga of the pioneering North West. Once upon a time, so it seems, a guy named Watt invented the steam engine. Well, they heered tell off this new fangled machine way out in Canuckland, see. So they ups and starts to build a railroad. Well, history relates rightly or wrongly, that that the fellas what's making this here's railways starts from both ends and meets in the Rockies. Well, to cut a long story short, they finished the railway with a bit of a ceremony they called on Lord Stratchcona to drive in the last spike. Well, Lord Strath. Did his stuff and drove in a golden spike. ‘ Three hours later the spike was missing. ‘ Two days later it was back in place with a tag on it saying "I didn't think it was!"

How's London these days? Sure would like a fling there right now. By the way you step around in high class places, eh? Hungaria, Bagetelle, Grosvernor House, ‘my, my. Guess one can't get thrown out of much better places than those. You'll have to show me around when I come back. Mind you I want a few nights slumming.

Well, Shirley seems to me that I'm getting low on information so must think of packing up this communiqué. Be good and have fun. Sorry, better delete first part, they say you can't have it both ways. Weather has been fairly reasonable out here. I know of like the Med. In summer time but there's not much to be said for it in winter. So you have put on seven pounds, no I'd better not comment. Ouch Sorry. You ought to try work. Yeah, I ought to too.

With a florish of keys I8LL (that's what I get for showing off) I'll finish off this note. Hope this finds you full of beans. Solong,

Lots of Love, (This typewriter hasn't got the letter between "w" and "y")

Dave - NOT Davey Boy or Hughie or BeanPole- Just Dave or Hugh

P.S. Where does ones lap go when one stands up?!