March 21, 1942
Many thanks for your letter of the 23d and the parcel of cigs which reached me yesterday. I am sorry my letters aren’t arriving, as I do write quite often, though I admit I do back-slide at times.
We just got back from a nice 24h manoeuvre at noon yesterday, and believe me, I was very glad to get back. It rained the whole time we were out, with the net result we got good and wet. I spent my night in the back of a fifteen cwt, keeping warm by shivering and shaking. I arose just as soon as I heard the cooks moving around and could have kissed the old cook for the cup of coffee he gave me. This particular old boy is somewhere in the neighbourhood of sixty-seven and hasn’t a grey hair on his head. He is mostly native son and dangerous as a side-winder if you approach him in the wrong manner. I, for one, pride myself on knowing how to handle him, so I always get pretty well what I want out of him. All the cooking on the scheme was done on petrol burners, and I must say, the cooks did extremely well under adverse conditions.
Most of the time we were in sight of the sea, which never fails to thrill me just a little, even after two years of it. There were several heavy tanks doing their stuff on the common adjacent to ours and, believe me, they are certainly a formidable piece of fighting machinery.
I’m sorry Liulf’s letters have been suffering from censor’s clippers lately, but that is the price one must pay for stating one’s views too freely. As yet, you haven’t mentioned anything about any of my letters being cut, although I sometimes say too much myself. I get “browned off,” as the Tommies say, every now and then, but try to keep my rebel thoughts to myself. There are times when I am forced to think that we are being led by as fine a bunch of old fools as God ever saw fit to inflict on one country, but perhaps we might think better of them if we had all the facts.
After two years as a very interested bystander in this scrap, I must say that no other country on earth could make such costly mistakes and still live to carry on the scrap. The accounts of the fighting in the East and the subsequent failures don’t make very pleasant reading, particularly when you consider that the territory involved is the richest in the world. I think that most of our old “Empire Builders” must be turning over in their graves about now, or perhaps whirling would be more apt.
I see by the papers that the American troops have arrived in Australia to the apparent delight of the Aussies. It certainly would be a capping calamity if Australia fell to the Japs, and I think the Americans are fully aware fully aware to the danger.
I often wish we could share in the defence of the East as, apart from wanting to see that part of the world, I should like very much to take a crack at those little brown-bellied devils.
Oh, before I forget, your cake arrived yesterday, trimmings and all. I must say the cake was very good and left little to be desired. I also noticed that list of Swintons on the wrapper, my, aren’t there a lot of them. The tin pan I intend to give to the ladies of the local W.V.S., as tinware is getting very scarce.
Well, it’s dull and foggy again today but quite mild and of course the snow has all gone long ago. We took part in a parade last Saturday which opened the local Warship Week here. Wes Taylor and I were in the front rank and I must say we looked quite smart with our brass all ashine and our web freshly cleaned. Well, I think this pretty well winds up the news on this front, so I had better close now before I bore you to tears.