RH Gray S/Lt.
c/o Fleet Mail Office
Kilindini, East Africa.
Dear Mother and Dad;
I am trying these things an in case you did not get the last one will you let me know how long they take as I was told that they are rather good. You can also use them from Canada. Another thing I heard that you can use is sending mail over by bomber. If you make inquiries at the P.O. they should know something about that. I told you all about seeing Gus, well since then I have spent a couple of days on his ship. It was a short run just to see how it ran. It was just grand to be with someone from home. While I was there he got an appointment to Halifax but I don’t know whether he is going as I have not seen him since he has seen the authorities. I would not say anything to anyone about this because if he is not going they will all be disappointed and if he is he may not want them to know until he gets home. I got some mail the other day. One from you Dad. Thanks very much. It was the usual excellent letter. The only trouble is that it was just about four months old. But since you got my address in Capetown that mail should be coming through soon. I also got a letter from Phyllis. She tells me a lot about Jane and I expect their thoughts dwell a lot on her. How I wish I could see her for a bit. I want to write to Mrs. Diamond but I feel I should wait until I find out more about his death. They will be very broken up about it I know but we can realize how they feel and sympathize more with them. – I have not told you much about this place. It is in East Africa and used to be German property before the last war. There is at the moment quite pleasant weather. It is hot but there is usually a cool breeze off the sea which compensates for a lot. But I think we are here at the best time of the year. We are staying at a place called the New Hotel which belies its name but nevertheless is quite clean and comfortable and the food is good. We are waited on hand and foot by natives who seem to be better types than those in South Africa. The hotel is run by Greeks who speak no English but who seem to like the Naval officers and try to do their best by us. There is one English woman who sort of acts as interpreter. She is an evacuee from Cyprus and knows Greek well. She seems to spend most of her time giving us all the gossip about the Greeks around her whom it appears she knows well. She also tells us she is interested in the Occult powers of the Indians. She is I think maybe just a bit touched but is always nice to us. – We have to be very careful of Malaria here and keep behind mosquito nets. So far I don’t think I have had any bites. We have to, by order, wear long trousers and long sleeves at night and put Citronella ointment on.
There are thousands of Coconut trees, owned I think by the big soap companies. But for a couple of pennies the natives will climb them and get you a coconut. I don’t care much for them although the milk is very thirst quenching, especially when water is hard to get and must be boiled before use. There are a lot of Indians around here and they seem to run most of the shops. They make wonderful shoes and they are very inexpensive. Also they make clothes which are quite good. One has to be careful or they will try and cheat you but outside of that it is O.K. There is not really much to do. There is swimming which is not too bad and there is a golf course but a serious shortage of clubs. But we are quite happy here for a bit. We could be in worse places.
My friend Sutton seems to be recovering rapidly. The people I told you about where Ogilvy and myself stayed were very good to him. I told Sutton to write to them when he was convalescing. He did and apparently they drove in eighty miles to get him and out again to their place for two weeks leave. That is rather good considering the petrol shortage.
I can’t get much more on this so I really shall have to stop shortly. All my love goes with this. I am afraid Jack does not any mention in this letter but it is hard to speak of him. All we can do now, as Phillis says is remember him and try to carry on without him.
All my love to you both,
[Editor’s note: While no year was included with the written date, the letter’s contents indicate it was 1942.]