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Date: November 13th 1942
Mother & Dad - (Wilhelmina & John Gray)
Hampton Gray

Box 512.
Kilindini, Mombasa
Nov. 13.

Dear Mother and Dad,

I hope you will continue to use these things when writing to me. They are much faster than anything else that has come along so far. The best I have had yet has been about three weeks which is not too bad at all. But the sea mail is very bad indeed and I believe a great deal of it has been lost. I got about eight letters from different people today including Nos. 74,77,78 from yourself. They were all written in June and July which is really some time ago but they were nice to get nevertheless as they included some pictures of my beautiful little niece Jane. You are, of course, quite right in saying how much I should like to see her. In one letter you asked a lot of questions numbering them. I think that by now they will all have been answered. The answers to 9,10,11 are all “No.” This may relieve you, but we are working up to something. I am afraid that I really cannot tell you much about our work but as we censor these ourselves, we are on our honour not to divulge anything which is against regulations. All I can tell you is that I am quite happy in the work I am doing and am in a good squadron. We have a good C.O. and the chaps are all quite decent. We have a very large percentage of Scots in the squadron, about 40%, I should say. I got a letter the other day from Tibbetts (you will remember him as being the Fellow I saw a lot of in Kingston). He wrote me day after Jack Diamond’s being reported missing. They were still hoping something would turn up. But it looked hopeless. I was very sorry to hear of Syd Horswill, too. Nelson and Trail are taking the knocks I am afraid. Do express my sympathy to Mrs. Horswill when you see her. I am going to try to write to her but it is hard to know what to say. Phyllis was telling me of the cemetery keeper in Doncaster writing again. He seems a very decent sort of chap and I know you will be glad to get any information you can get. I was just looking around our squadron today and thinking how many of the chaps are younger than Jack was. It hardly seems possible. He was such a good type. But there are so many going. All I can be thankful about is that though it has become much more personal it is still not as bad as the last war and I only hope it does not get like that. Though I expect a lot of families lost members at the Dieppe business. – I got the birthday telegram Dad thanks very much. It is nice to get really up to date news that everyone is O.K. Incidentally I am getting quite used to birthdays now. I have had 25 and I nearly forgot all about this one. I am afraid the years are telling in one way. My hair is still going back slowly but I fear steadily. Sill I still have some left and I don’t expect to come home looking like a billiard ball. – You will find Cheer’s picture in the Yeovil group. He was lost in Madagascar and was buried by the French. I hope you don’t mind me telling you about things like that. He was a nice little Irish chap and we all feel quite badly about losing him. I am glad to hear about [?] baby arriving safely. I expect she is a cute one too though of course not a patch on Jane. I do hope Jane has some hair by now. I was telling the chaps about her tonight and they all assured me that babies at two months don’t have hair but get it later. That relieved me a lot. I have the picture of Jane and Phyllis standing in the front lawn. Phyllis looks quite pleased with herself and has that enormous great grin on with the eyes nearly closed that seems to be rather characteristic of us. Jane looks quite pleased, too. I hope you are not spoiling Jane as that is to be my prerogative as an extremely proud uncle. I am sure I boast about her as much as if she were my very own child. In one picture I think she looks like Dad and Phyllis (the one on the rug) and the one with Phyllis’ head nearly cut off I think she looks like Ed. But I must see her in person, you cannot tell from pictures.

The heat in this place is ennervating I never feel like doing anything. I am always perspiring. I can assure you that we will not have a snowy Christmas is we are still here, The sun here is always overhead as we are near the equator and if you stand in it for even half an hour without a shirt it just about burns the skin off. Various diseases, too, are prevalent here, dysentery, malaria, skin diseases etc. but so far I have fortunately kept free of them, thank goodness. There is quite decent swimming though even the water is luke warm. But as I said before I am reasonably happy, as happy as I can be outside Canada so don’t worry about me.

All my love,


[Editor’s note: While no year was included with the written date, the letter’s contents and censor stamp date indicate it was 1942.]

Original Scans

Original Scans

Page 1 of WWII letter of 1942-11-13 from Lt. Robert Hampton Gray, VC, DSC