Capt GS Andrews, RCE
HQ FIRST CDN ARMY OVERSEAS
21 April 1942
Have just returned tonight from the trip which I mentioned last week. Thought I would delay this till now, where I could write is my own shop so to speak, and so I could give you a full account of the trip. Also there is a grand mail which was waiting for me upon my arrival, of which more later.
It was a weary trip up last Sunday week, slow trains, crowded, and several changes. I must admit, the railways in this country never cease to be a mystery to me. I am always relieved when I finally get out at my destination, never sure till then, that it is the right train, the right part of the train, for sometime they have a habit of bifurcating enroute, part going one way, and part t'other, and sometimes you discover too late, that "this train doesn't stop at that station". At some of the junctions, the guards, call out various instructions about changing trains, but notoriously in the extreme local dialect, hopeless, -- and there you sit, wondering what you should do, and find the train is moving off, and there's nothing but to sit back, and hope for the best. Spent two days at Cheltenham, where I met Mr. Calder-Wood, the man who really was instrumental in my coming to this country two years ago, and who signed the letters I received at Woodstock Ave. Met some of the other bright lights there, of whom I had often heard, but had not previously met.
My week at the RAF station, was most interesting, and worthwhile. Will have to tell you about that after the war is over. I met two boys from Victoria, one P/O Peter Palin, a pilot, fine young lad, his parents live in Oak Bay. He was a corporal in the gunners in Victoria before transferring to the RCAF, and spent XMAS out at the end of the breakwater in 1939, knew Al Phipps, and Bill Hall. The other was a Sgt observer, Moriarity, who was an junior clerk in the Finance dept in the buildings. He knew me, having seen my name on my pay cheques. I didn't get finished with the RAF till Monday night, but Sunday, the instructors were otherwise engaged so I took the day off, and went over to see FD Mulhollands brother. We had a fine day together, and I got a few interesting details of FD's early life. Like Fred, the brother is a very cultured man, and fond of outdoors. We had a fine hike in the morning, up to the top of the hill at Malvern, like a miniature mountain. I think he enjoyed the day, and I certainly did.
The weather was perfect the whole time away. Almost like those lovely May days in Victoria. Just right for astronomy. We had some fun too, last night there, I was included in "those invited" to a party at the W.A.A.F. Officers' mess. They were very charming, and good fun. However, am afraid I didn't make much of an impression, as I do not shine at parties.
The mail included copies of your letters of 1st and 5 March, original of 15 March, Airgraph of 5 April, and another wonderful parcel from my indulgent wife. This one had not been "salvaged from the sea", so again, the navy is on top, -- thank god for them. With the extra shirt and pants, I now am well fitted out for this year. First thing I did was to mark them with my brand. I find the size of the pants is just right afterall, maybe my equatorial is expanding after all. Dear dear, I shall have to watch my diet. The coffee and milk and lemon juice are just the ideal thing. The milk we get now is hardly milk at all, I think it is liberally waterd to make it go round, and is horrible in coffee, so the Klim does make for a good old luxurious cup of coffee. The bulf of the milk is the country is reserved for children and the hospitals, and for that reason I could do without it altogether quite cheerfully. Really when I think this country has been fighting submarines for 2 Â½ years, it is amazing how well we do fare.
Your letters are swell, and extra good after a fairly long spell of little news. I gather from your airgraph that you are still with Dorothy Phipps, but are having mail sent to the Garman's. I think the change has been good for both of you and Mary. Its very easy to slip into a rut, even the best of us, especially if we are living more or less alone. Sorry to hear about the Swannells Perhaps the news of Lorne's promotion will buck them up a bit. I have practically no opportunity to get over to the regiment where Arthur and George Korsvick are. Nor have I had an opportunity to look up Dorothy Phipps' father. I should like to meet him very much, he sounds interesting from what Dorothy has told me,
Am sorry that I got so excited about the house, everything is OK, and we can both put it down to experience, and our mutual concern for each other. I think you folks at home perhaps have a tendency to think that we over here are so busy with 'very important' affairs that we foreget and are preoccupied. but back of it all, there is a very vivid and powerful background of deepest concern for our families back home.
Well its late, and I should get to bed. You will notice the change of address. I don't quite know what it all means myself just yet. At any rate, things have apparently been happening while I was away last week. One of the clerks in the office here took a snap of "the Captain" which turned out better than the one I sent you last. Have asked him to get me some prints which will go forward in due course.
Well dear, be a good girl, and thumbs up!