Feb 17. Thursday 1944.
# 195561 Pte. J.F. Watson
A Wing #2 c.I.R.U.
Canadian Army Overseas.
Dear Mom & dad and Helen.
How are you all keeping, huh?
Fine I hope. I’m doing okay. Well my hopes have just about come true Dad. I’m going up for a reload (a medical) to see if I’m fit for the field or not. I hope the M.O. finds nothing wrong with me because I want to get to the field or be sent out to Italy. I’m not trying to sound like a hero but I’m getting pretty well fed up hanging around camp with nothing to do and lots of time to do it in. If I could only get to the L.S.K. I’d be satisfied As long as I had something to do, something to keep me busy. I heard there was a shortage of transport drivers I might try and get a course in driving or a driver mechanic. That way, if I was given a driver’s course, I’d be able to get to the reg. very easy.
You remember that girl I went with while we were in Geraldton? Well she is writing me now. I’ve had two letters from her. She tells me everything she does and what everybody else does in Geraldton. She wasn’t a bad kid when I was with her but I could never understand her. Anyway I get letters from her and the main thing is letters.
Has Helen still got that dizzy idea in her head about joining up Dad? I wish I could convince her myself but going by one of her letters to me I might just as well talk to a barn door for all the good it’s doing. We had some C.W.A.C. at a company dinner we held the other nite but most of them were Canadian girls who had been in England before the war started and so they joined up with the C.W.A.C.
I got talking to one who said she was from Ft. Wm. She saw the L.P.R. flasher on my tunic and she says she was from Fort William. So, we got talking and I soon found out she knew nothing of Fort William and that she wasn’t even there. that’s [?] of the racket with these dames have over here They get a little info from listening to the Canadians talking in the pubs and then they go and hook some poor sucker who doesn’t know anything about them and first thing you know your robbed for your cash. You tell Helen if she want to travel tell her she don’t have to join up. When I was at Mary and George Nesbit’s place in Glasgow they asked me to bring Helen back after the war. So tell her to save her nickels and dimes and we might get to Glasgow when this is all finished. They said they’ve seen all the family now except her. So I told her I’d do my best.
Was I telling you about the time when I was in Glasgow I was walking up Jamaica St. and I seen this old gent lying on the sidewalk? Well there was lying on the sidewalk and nobody bothering with him at all. So I thought to myself that maybe he was trying to get pennies from the folks but when I got closer I noticed him shaking and shivering. I stepped on the gas and got up to him and took a look at him, then I saw his hands and they were blue and his finger nails were pure black. So I went over to the guy and tried to find out what was wrong. I knew from my first aid training that he had shock. He was trying to tell me something with his hands but I didn’t catch on. So I called over a couple of guys standing in the queue to see if they could understand him. Then a cop came over and looked at him and told me to clear out. Well I got kind of mad and told him off. I told him he must be blind because he wasn’t standing far from where the guy lay and I said if he wasn’t then he wasn’t much good as a cop to anybody and walked off. You know, I bet that fellow would have laid there all day if I hadn’t noticed him. the people just looked at him and walked past. I was pretty mad after seeing that.
I kidded Aunt Mary a lot on account that she is pretty fat in case you don’t know. So I told her one day, just fooling you know, that she wasn’t fat exactly but that she is just pleasantly plump and boy she got raving mad. I told her on the train too and all the guys started to laugh in the car and did I get a bawling out or did I. I even got a poke in the ribs for it. But inspite of all I said about her being fat she took it all as a joke. George and a fella named Jim, who stays at Mary’s house, joked with her about her being fat. This guy Jim is going to take me through the Clyde shipyards on my next leave if I get one and if I’m still here. I might try to stay till I can get another leave. I’d sure like to get to see the clyde docks etc.
Did I tell you that I was in the oldest pub in Glasgow. Boy Dad, you got the wrong idea about Dave Watson, in Glasgow, when you told me not to get drunk and the wrong idea too about the Watson with the humped back. The first thing I got when I got in Davie’s house was a good slug of whiskey. And the Watson with the hump was no vegetarian either. I got pretty well lit up in the Empire Theatre at a pantomime called “Shipmates Ashore” and I laughed wether the joke was funny or not and everybody was looking at me in the show.
Well how are the kids doing Dad? I suppose they are getting into mischief one way or the other. How is the weather there? I guess it’s mighty cold by now. We are getting lots of rain right now. It was pretty cold here today and we couldn’t have a fire on in the hut until 4 in the afternoon and the hut gets very cold during the day. We haven’t had any snow so far but we did have some snow at Xmas time, but it melted as soon as It hit the ground. We all thought it would be a white Xmas but was disappointed.
Well I’ve experienced my first air-‘raid’ about a week ago. It wasn’t much and never lasted very long. There was only one Jerry plane over the camp and the searchlight had him in their light in a couple of seconds then the ack-ack opened up on him but he never got hit. Not until our own boys got on the scene then he had some worrying to do. In about 3 minutes the planes had him down. He still had his bombs on him at the time. We never saw him bit but we felt him and heard him. the explosion from the bombs going off shook the windows and even opened some of the doors on some of the huts. We had to wear our steel helmets because there was shrapnel falling all around us and machine gun slugs I never got hit but they were falling all around us. It was quite a show while it lasted. The searchlights and ack-ack went off when our own planes came on the spot. We could see the tracers going through the air at Jerry. He (Jerry) never went down in flames but his motors were backfiring a lot. That’s the first exciting thing that’s ever happened around here so far. It’s the only Jerry plane I’ve seen so far too.
Well I guess this is about all Dad. I’ll have to write Dave and Andy tonite too so I’ll be pretty busy. I’m on duty now and I got a chance to catch up on my mail. So good-bye for now. Keep the mail coming etc.
Lots of Love & xxxxxx’s