August 5, 1941
Just a few lines to let you know that I’m still alive and well. My letter writing has been rather neglected of late I’m afraid, but I will try to do better in the future. I just returned from a nine-days leave. I went with Art McLaughlin and we divided our time between London and Southampton. We had a very good time and saw considerable of London. I’m getting to know my way around London quite well and can get along fine on the “tubes” now.
I had dinner with Mr. Ravenscroft in London on the first day and believe me, he certainly showed Art and I a real time. He took us around to all of his favorite haunts and wined and dined us to the tune of three pounds ten shillings. We bade him farewell early in the evening and set out to see what we could of the town before dark. The night was fair and warm and we decided to save money and sleep in the park (Hyde Park). This we did, making ourselves quite comfortable on our ground sheets.
We had intended to hitch-hike to Northampton the following day, but, as it started to rain, we changed our plans in favor of the train. We caught a train at Euston station and reached Northampton by two p.m. After eating a hearty dinner, we set out in quest of lodgings, preferably at the “Y.” The “Y” had no room, so we stayed at a bed and breakfast place recommended by the “Y.” The old lady in charge proved to be a very nice person, so we were quite comfortable during our four-day stay. Most of the afternoons were spent at the local swimming pool and the evenings at the dances. We spent one afternoon visiting the people I was billeted with last year and found them in good health and glad to see me again. At this stage, Art and I held a council of war and decided to finish our leave in London. Accordingly, we took the morning train to the city, arriving there three hours later.
The last four days went very quickly and before we knew it, we were back at work. Well, so much for the leave. I would have visited the aunts except for the fact I don’t wish to make a nuisance of myself and I didn’t get a travel warrant this time.
Today we had a special manoeuvre for the benefit of Third Div. officers, who wished to see a regiment of artillery in action under the new organization. I don’t know how impressed they were, but I do know that we were glad when it was all over as the weather was wet and cold. Tonight, I went to the local church canteen and spent the evening quite pleasantly playing darts and ping pong (table tennis to those who consider themselves expert).
I had a very nice mail waiting for me when I arrived back from leave, which included cigs from Mr. and Mrs. S. and letters from Dad and one from Mrs. S. It was very nice to get them and I’m glad to hear that you are all well and that the farming is still paying. I do hope the kids all get through their exams with flying colours, as usual. I will keep my fingers crossed until I get the final results. You can tell Miss Shirley that I don’t consider it very lady-like to go sprawling on the road, even if the horse does happen to fall. With regards to Pat, don’t feel too sorry for me, as I don’t take any of these English girls too seriously. In fact, unless I meet something very different from those I have up to date, I am afraid I will return wifeless. I meet some very nice ladies, but usually they range in age from thirty-five to seventy, so you see I’m really quite safe.
Art McLaughlin and I were sitting in the “Locarno” dance pavilion in Streatham while on leave, when a very nice lady about your age invited us to have tea at her table. It would have been rude to refuse, so of course I accepted. She seemed an exceptionally fine type and, during the course of the tea, informed me that her son was a flight Lieutenant in the R.A.F. and had twenty-two victories to his credit, so you see we do meet some of the better class.
During my stay in London, I made a fairly thorough tour of the damaged area, which is considerable. I know just how mad Dad would be if he could see his dear old London battered and ragged after these raids. I saw the statue of Richard 1st with the sword in his hand bent from a piece of shrapnel. You really must excuse me rambling from one subject to another without warning, but I’m afraid I’m hopeless on that score.
At the present moment, our friends the “reds” seem to be doing very well with themselves and I only hope they can hold “Gerry” until winter sets in. If this can be done, I feel sure that the War will soon be over and Old Adolph and his boys properly hanged, drawn and quartered, as they justly deserve. I’m afraid I won’t be able to keep that date for Xmas 1941, but who knows, it might just surprise us all and end quite suddenly. Oh, by the way, I saw Liulf a short time ago and will see him again soon. I understand he intends to spend his leave with the aunts, so that should suffice for the family.
I received a letter recently from Aunt Margaret in which she told me that Major-Gen. Sir E.D. Swinton is staying in their neighbourhood. It’s almost twelve a.m. and my eyes are getting very heavy, so must close for now.