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Date: May 15th 1945
Wanda Gill - (wife)
Leslie Gill

letter 98

HMCS Iroquois
c/o GPO London
May 15/45

My Darling

I seem to have been caught off base this time Mail closes in a very short time, so I’ll just scribble away till the last minute and see what happens. There is so much I can tell you this time too. Censorship regulations have been relaxed and we may now tell where we are and what we’re doing etc. Three guesses, where am I? That’s right, your wrong! We’re in Oslo at the moment, having escorted Crown Prince Olaf back to his native land. Arrived day before yesterday.

Before I go any further, I should tell you I’m worried about my last letter. It was a mighty poor effort, wasnt it? I’m sorry, darling, but I was feeling low that day. Dont worry about anything in the letter at all. I love you. I always have loved you, and I always will. Past, present, and future! That should explain every thing, and I do hope its an acceptable explanation.

To continue with our travelogue (as per regulation) after our last action off Stavanger Fiord, we returned to Scapa. That was April 4. We stayed there about one day, and Hughie and I worked like fiends, getting our gear straightened out after the “ten minute action.” Then we left for Rosyth, Scotland (my darling) for a couple of days. We often went to Rosyth. Overnight leave to Edinburgh. Picked up part of a convoy to Russia and escorted them to the Faroes. Stopped there a few days and proceeded to Polyarnae, Russia, with a huge convoy and escort. Some fun! Enemy aircraft shadowed us and attacked fairly often. Subs all the time. We lost two aircraft and one escort vessel (no names!) and bagged two – submarine for sure, and one JU 88. The Fleet Air Arm got that, and all the poor old Iroquois got was a lot of false alarms and hard work.

Lots of subs for a day or two near Polyarnae (my darling!) We had to practically blast our way in with depth charges. Stopped there a few days and got back to Scapa in time for VE day. I told you about that so can carry on. Left Scapa and went to Rosyth again about the 10th. Shore leave but I didnt go. Convoy of cruisers, destroyers and minesweepers formed the next afternoon and we steamed out under the Firth o’ Forth bridge en route to Norway with “Kronprinse Olav.” I still dont know what ship he was on! We had to go slow on account of the sweepers ahead of us. We steamed safely through minefields, through which we had passed in fear & trembling just a few weeks ago. Passed many severed mines all the time, which we sunk by gunfire. Mines are safe(?) once they are released from their moorings, as they were just a source of amusement and target practice for us.

Started to enter the Fiord the other morning early, and proceeded triumphantly up to Oslo. It was beautiful weather, warm and calm. At first glance the country seems exactly like the Brentwood and Saanich Inlet and Ten Mile point combined. Like the Gulf Islands and Malahat too. It made me desperately homesick! It’s a bit more precipitous and rocky than Saanich Inlet, but more houses same style as Ten Mile Point and Oak Bay. Do you get the picture? Really lovely country I think. People came out in every conceivable kind of craft shouting “Velcome to Norway!” and “Hooray for the English-man.” We yelled back “Hello babe!” also “Hello Mom Hello Pop!” and “Vote for Mckenzie King!” Mostly “Hello Blondie, whats your phone number?” I never knew there were so many blondes in the world! One beautiful Sonja Henie type came aboard while we were still under way and kissed some of the sailors (I was too far back, dammit!) Her boy friend came after her and gave her hell when they were back in their boat.

Arrived in Oslo about noon and went alongside a jetty. There are two Jerry ships, a destroyer and a T type traveler ahead of us, crews still aboard moored just ahead of us. The crews haven’t surrendered yet, but will at any moment. They aren’t causing any trouble and the local authorities seem to have the situation well in hand. I went uptown today to see the celebrations. We were practically mobbed of course. Never was so popular before in my life! Met a middle aged couple from Camrose Alberta, but lost them in the crowd. They were marooned here when the Jerries took over five years ago and have had rather a poor time. Then I met a university student who spoke very good English, and he took me home to meet his folks. His name was Terge Saettem and they treated me royally in spite of rationing and shortages etc. I have a standing invitation to return at any time and will do so if we stay very long. The Quislings are still sniping up town but the Nazis are completely subdued. Pardon the poor composition, darling, I tried to get too much in. It would take pages.

All my love

Original Scans

Original Scans