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Date: May 15th 1943
Wanda Spencer - (fiancée)
Leslie Gill

HMCS St Laurent
c/o FMO Halifax
May 15/43

My Darling

This is not a particularly good time to be writing to you, but I just received a letter from our sister and she enclosed your last letter and an airgraph! The airgraph was one you sent April 22, just three weeks ago. Its been so long since I heard from you last it gave me a big thrill to see your beloved scrawl again! Hope you dont mind me reading Marge’s letters do you? After all its in the family sort of.

In my last letter to Marge I was moaning about not hearing from you for months so she says she has written you serving out a blast. Please disregard it. She must have misunderstood because Im sure I explained to her the irregularities our mail is subject to. I was rather disappointed when the last big batch of mail came in, absolutely nothing from you and the time before just one medium sized letter. I’m sure you write as often as ever so there must be a lot waiting for me somewhere. I send cables and things every now and again. In your letter to Marge you say you received one so I guess they are being sent OK. Some of our fellows try to wire flowers but, although the cable office accepts the order, I’ve never heard of a case where the flowers were received. I havent tried it yet I think I’ll just stick to cables and we can pick the flowers ourselves some time.

Speaking of “flowers” reminds me of Bambi and the little skunk and Thumper. Did you see that? I think it was just about the cutest thing they ever made. Remember the little fawn learning to talk? (“Say bird!) I saw it last week and really enjoyed it. I must confess that I also enjoyed the company of the sergeant I was with. She belongs to an A.A. battery and Im interested in A.A. so the conversation was very safe. And she knows more about A.A. gunnery than I do!

Whats this about green brocade bedroom slippers and housecoat? How will they go with our “old rose” bedroom? Good job my passionate blue payjamas are done for! How is our bottom drawer filling up? I have a few items for it myself, but I dont know for sure what to get. I asked you once to tell me but you never did. I wont get anything else till I get instructions from you.

Last payday I drew £8, and the same day nipped off up town and spent £5-5- for bottom drawer stuff – I probably got cheated too, because it seems an awful lot of money for a few small things. If it were tools I was buying now, I’d have a better idea of values. Im still proud of myself for those tools I told you about. They should last a lifetime and even before the war cost about three times what I paid for them.

Getting sleepy. I’ll do one of your tricks now and go to sleep on you! Night.

May 21/43

Hello Lover

Here I am again. Did you listen to the wireless tonight? Apparently we’re giving the Axis hell in the Mediterranean. More planes than that being [?] down. Good oh! Also the great admiral Yamamoto has been done in. Seems to me Yamamoto used to run a clothes-pressing business on Yates St. When did he join the Navy?

Should I apologize for the peculiar writing? I am lying down (just like you do) but dont seem to be very well organized. Also the pen is on its very worst behavior. Hope you can read it.

To continue with the war news, it sounds as though it was just about all over but the shouting, doesnt it? Maybe I’ll be a civilian again before we know it! On the other hand it may be a hell of a lot longer. Just to be on the safe side I subscribed to another bond (receipt enclosed) today and depending upon how much I draw this payday may get another $50.00 for cash. It will just about break me but that’s O.K. Ive been so absolutely stony for so long now I’m quite used to it. Its a bad thing for me to have money on my person. I cant be trusted with it, sooner its salted away out of my reach the better. I’ve made an awful chump of myself on payday a few times, maybe you have an inkling?

Speaking of bonds, did any more turn up at the bank lately? I’ve paid for $250.00 worth now, and you say only one little one turned up. Have you still got the receipts? Hope so, because we dont want our children to be illiterate, do we?

Stand aside and let a salty wave roll past! I saw the Captain the other day and was awarded my first GS badge to date from May first. Dont wear badges on my rig but get paid for them. Nickel a day for this one, not much account but it shows I’ve been in the regiment three years now. By the time you get this I will have been a year at sea. Doesn’t seem like a year does it? Seems like ten years! It cant be much longer now, people get drafted off every trip, some day it will be my turn. Soon as the table is cleared the Yeoman and I are going to take on the Chief Stoker and VPO. Deadly cut throat bridge. Its an exciting game the way we play it. If you made a faux pas your partner is entitled to clout you. And if you trump anyones aces they thump you. Try it sometime. Buy a bottle of liniment first though, its very bruising.

This is a bit of a flop as far as it goes but cant do any better tonight. No material. I think I’ll dig out one of your old letters and answer it again, but not this time. Toodle pip and all that. More later. I love you.

May 23/43


Time for a few lines before lunch then back to work again. Im annoyed darling. The last two days have been very exciting and interesting and Id just love to tell you all about it but Im afraid it would not be passed.

However, everything is OK and the good old Sally acquitted herself nobly. (As usual) This is important. Be sure to produce this letter when I get back and prompt me, so I can tell you all the gory details.

I saw our man Sherriff yesterday and he showed me a picture of Sally sitting on a Carly float aft. It’s the cutest picture of her thats been taken yet. Shed just had a bath and was drying herself in the sun. I ordered three copies of it. Maybe I can get Ban to enlarge it and make a companion picture for that masterpiece of Tony. Of course no dog could be as wonderful as Tony, but I think you’d like Sally too. Shes cute in spite of her temper.

I’ve been trying to get a few snaps of things but its hard. Camera’s are banned of course and only Sherriff and Walkey are allowed own them. They are the official ships photographers. I went through Walkeys collection and picked out 120 that were passed by censor, but they aren’t the best. Most are very poor in fact. Developed and printed on board under adverse conditions. Shortage of chemicals, cold water, poor paper etc. Not so hot.

This is positively the best pen in the mess. Belongs to our messman, Lucky Steele. He consistently refuses to loan it to anyone, but this morning he broke down and offered it to me. Wonder what his angle is? Must be something he wants from me.

What do you hear from our chums? Hargreaves, Sullivans etc. I met Barr a few months ago Did I tell you? Id rather like to hear what the old bunch is doing.

Someone I know is having a birthday very soon. Will you wish her many many happy returns and tell her that a salty old sailor man loves her very much? So much that I cant possibly express it in a letter Youll have to guess.

Is Mum OK? I hope so. Give her a small portion (about 0.5%) of my love. Thats all I can spare this time. All the rest is for you. What will you do with it?

Wore your Indian sweater for the first time last night. Its swell. I was very careful with it too. Sweaters usually come to a bad end aboard ship, paint and grease you know, but I managed to keep clear. Wont wear it again as I found my old filthy turtleneck again.

Must close now and will write again soon. No doubt I will have millions of letters from you to answer then. Oh boy! Goodbye now darling

I love you

Original Scans

Original Scans