December 21, 1943
Well, here I am safely on good Italian soil after four weeks. <….censored….> I know how anxious you will be now that you know I am finally entering the arena. I don’t want you to worry though, as I think my chances of coming through are pretty good. You see, Mom, we have quite an advantage through superior equipment and a total control of the air, that our chances get that much better every day. I am still hoping to run into Liulf, as he might quite easily be sent here too. When you next write him, please tell him where I am and suggest he write me a letter.
Well, I’ve had a chance of seeing something of Mussolini’s Italy. I must say I never saw such filth and squalor as I witnessed in these Italian villages. I think I would be safe in saying these people are barely a step above the Arabs. They all seem very friendly, but I don’t quite forgive the beggars for their treachery. I was just talking to the Padre, Capt. Millar, and he was saying that he had just completed the regimental purchases for Xmas. He really had quite a job dickering with the natives, but managed to get 17 turkeys, 75 chickens and 7 geese. So you see, even in Italy, we are going to have a good Xmas dinner. He has also made all arrangements for a Xmas service and Holy Communion. Captain Millar is a very sincere chap and goes to no end of trouble to make our lot easier.
I expect by now you have received my letter describing North Africa so I won’t go into that again <Letter missing.> I do however recall a rather amusing sight I saw in Algiers and will pass on. I actually saw an old Arab marching down the street in an old army pair of winter underwear, just as proud as you please. You can well imagine how he got these, as many of the boys found the Arabs a good market for what they considered excess baggage. I met several chaps from the 8th Army who were on their way back to England after five years of campaigning in Africa and of course they were in grand spirits.
I really take my hat off to those chaps and feel they certainly deserve any breaks England can give them. I only hope it won’t be our lot to spend another four years out here. I don’t, however, think there is much chance of this, in fact, I will be very much surprised if the European War isn’t over by this time next year.