January 6, 1943
Telegram: Best wishes for Christmas and New Year. I wish we were together on this special occasion. All my Best Wishes for a speedy reunion. Sgt. Swinton
Just a few lines to let you know that I am alive and kicking. I received the three pounds just a few days before Xmas and had the best possible Xmas under the circumstances. I mean by that, the best time I could have and still be away from the family circle. I also received the Oxfords which fit perfectly and are a great comfort to me.
During the holidays, Kay and I saw the film at the London Pavilion, called “Squadron Leader X,” which turned out to be the one Bob Conn and I saw during my leave last August. I saw yours truly in two scenes and Kay made me sit through it a second time, as the shot was so short that she almost missed it the first time. It wasn’t a bad show on the whole, in fact it received quite a good write-up in the Sunday papers, so just be on the lookout for this picture.
Well, things are going along much the same as usual, and the weather has been very mild. Yesterday was almost like a May day and much too nice to be wasted doing the usual maintenance tasks on an old blunderbus on wheels.
As you probably know, we are about to receive an increase in pay soon. However, there is a slight catch, we must first pass exams in all branches of our training, much to the annoyance and disgust of the boys.
We lost our Major today and the usual rumors are flying around as to where he is headed. Chief among these is that he has gone to North Africa with a mission of officers and N.C.O.s to get a little experience in actual warfare. You know what these army rumors are, so you can best judge for yourself as to their truth. I, for one, would like to see a little action soon, or at least while we are still young enough to be of some use in the cause.
I received a nice long letter from his nibs Squire Alan, the other day in which he gave me rather a pleasing picture of the situation on the old farm. He mentioned, among other things, that you expected to make a substantial payment on the farm this year. I must say that this came as very good news, as I had imagined, due to the fact that the grain was down and the current crop only half threshed, you would be in anything but a favourable position this year. In my opinion, this speaks very well of your managerial ability, so kindly pat yourself on the back.
Alan made the statement that he doubted if I would ever be contented to settle down, after all the excitement over here. To this I might say that, to date, the excitement has been negligible and the only thing which might stop me from going back to the old life, is the wanderlust. I only wish I was twenty instead of nearly thirty, and I would certainly travel around the world before I settled down. All this kind of talk is a little silly under the circumstances, as I haven’t seen a blasted Gerry, let alone kill one, so how can I say how I feel until such a time as I have.
Well, they say that ’43 is destined to be the big year and I’m inclined to agree, so there is every chance of your pet baboon seeing action this year. I am looking forward to getting this dirty job done and getting home again.
In case you are wondering about the typewriter, I will explain. I am on guard tonight and, as the guard room is in the same building as the office, I borrowed the machine from Sgt. Walker, my former boss in my office days.
I go on leave again on the twenty-ninth of this month and as usual I will be short. I am sending a cable on payday and hope you will be able to wire the required amount on time. I hate to have to ask you for any kind of assistance after you coming through so nobly at Xmas, but I expect this will be the last leave in this country and I wish to say “Cheerio” to the Aunts, not to mention one last fling in the old town.
Liulf and I plan to make the trip to Devon together if it can be arranged this time, so must write to him tomorrow and make the necessary arrangements. I have an invitation to the Fireman’s Ball at the Hendon Fire Service on Monday night, which should prove a very lively affair as well as an opportunity to try out my new kicks. My partner will be Firewoman King, “Kay” to you, so a good time is assured as she is a lovely dancer. Kay is really a fine girl and if I didn’t feel certain that we were going into action, I would ask the Colonel for his kind permission. As it is, I think it would be foolish and unfair to Kay, so we must content ourselves with a gay time while I’m here.