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Date: August 4th 1941
Mother & Dad - (Wilhelmina & John Gray)
John (Jack) Gray

Mon, August 4/41

Dear Mother and Dad

I sent a very short note home with a lad today who was going back. I enclosed a couple of snaps in it which are pretty good.

Received two air mail letters on Friday which had gone to Bob Sheldon. One from mother and one from Bob. There was an ordinary letter from Bob, too, and one from Pauline. Just to give you an example of the difference the air mail and private address makes. Bobs letter was mailed on June 23rd and arrived on July 31st. The air mail letters were both mailed July 17th and arrived here July 31st. Quite a difference isn’t it. I am going to write Bob today also. I think I will send you a cablegram tonight since I have a half crown extra just now. It will be a long one which they mail from Montreal I think. Did you get the other long one I sent giving Bob Sheldons address

I’ve told you all about Bob and Hilda Sheldon in earlier letters. They sure treat Harry and I wonderfully. This last weekend we were going into London for the night but dropped in there to see if there was any mail. They talked us into staying the night with them although we felt we shouldn’t – they really are nice and are one of the finest couples I’ve ever met.

I had Mrs. Leverton send Hampton’s clothes to Bob as she is moving to a new town – I think Bournemouth.

The clothes were swell so we all wore civilian clothes on Saturday night and Sunday – it certainly is a pleasure to get into them again. There was a pair of flannels, that grey suit, three or four shirts, a bunch of ties, two pair of garters (which I sure needed) a belt, a pair of shoes, some light socks and a few handkerchiefs. There was also that fine red sleeveless pullover. It is good to get decked out again in the civilian clothes although some of the people look at you as if to say “why aren’t you in the army?” We went swimming Sunday morning in a huge pool which I told you about in a previous letter. Before I forget it please send me a few pairs of light black socks which I can wear with my oxfords. I bought myself some pyjamas last week so I’m alright with them. I repeat again though to please send me some jockey shorts and a couple of shirts (15) as the shirts of Hampton’s can’t be worn with the uniform. The pyjamas are worth 10/ and use 8 coupons

I’ll now use up a page or so answering the numerous questions you ask in your letters, Mum and Dad. First the weather here is not very good in fact right now it is terrible. Far too much rain and it never gets very hot like you say it is at home – I’d like a bit of that heat. Next thing is the mail which has been well discussed already. I am writing a lot more now than I did now – in fact about four letters last week. The mail is coming more regularly now too and will be even better now that it is going by way of the Sheldons. Don’t send anything to Canada House as they don’t handle mail anymore. Sorry to hear Phyllis had to leave you but I guess it will be swell for her to get back to Ed. You must have enjoyed having her there for three weeks and to have Hamp home as well. I don’t know when I’ll make it.

You will pardon me if I use all the available space and write small as I will send this air mail and can’t use too much paper. You ask about the Sheldons and where they live. They have a nice little home in Heston which is about twenty miles from the heart of London but is really more of a suburb. They are about 80 miles from where we are still stationed just now. The condition of the country is not too bad now as the Germans are busy in Russia and the R.A.F. is going on steadily increasing offensive raids now. The nights are getting longer all the time and last night was the first large scale bombing of Berlin for many months. The people of Berlin will soon know what the Londoners went through only they are going to be given larger doses of it from us.

Speaking of the parcels – as yet I have only received one which included writing paper, envelopes, pair of socks, and some gum and a large block of chocolate. The others will be here in time although there is a chance they were sunk by the enemy – I hope not though. Don’t forget to send me a can or two of Planters peanuts and also a jar of olives – I love ’em. I think I received the list of addresses which Dad sent – at least I received a letter which had a pile of them in it. Was that the one which had some of Syd Haydon’s people in it? I put all these addresses in my book as soon as I get them. Most of the people are sort of hard to get to see as they are out of the way. Havent seen Henry Hartridge yet but at Heston on Sat night I met a fellow from George Wallacks troop so I know now where he is and will probably get to see him some of these times. Glad Phyllis has fixed up the album – I have been taking a few pictures over here from time to time but it is rather hard to get them developed. Yes I knew that you had a new Plymouth but would sure like to test it myself. Glad to hear Wilhelmina Ellis is married – did she marry the lad she has been going with for some time. By now you know my impressions of England. Simply they are this – they country is fine for a visit and I admire the people very much even if they do give me a pain. It is like you say Dad they are either the tops as people or else they aren’t very nice. Some are too superior or think they are. Sorry about the crowding but I love you.


[postscript added to top of first page] P.S. Wrote Grandpa a good letter on Saturday. The other war started 27 years ago today but will be over sooner. J.B.

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