R.H. Gray Lt., RCNVR.
Box 517, ℅ F.M.O. Kilindini
Dear Mother and Dad,
This is Saturday morning and I am still in the hospital after seventeen days but am due to go out fairly soon. When I got this injury I must say I had no idea that knees could give so much trouble but there it is. They are still treating it but I can go out in the afternoons to give it some exercise so it is not as bad as it was. – On the 20th of this month Charles Atkinson, Mac Brown and myself are going to a place called Malindi on ten days leave. It is supposed to be a good spot with the best swimming on the coast. I should come back from that feeling perfectly fit once more. It will be nice to have a change as we are all getting very tired of this place. In fact we are all very fed up with all of East Africa. It is no wonder as it is on the whole a most uninteresting spot and we have been here for fourteen months now with very little to break the monotony. – Before I forget I got an airgraph from Phyllis the other day. I had not thought that they were in use between here and Canada but now that I know that I shall use some of them. They are useful to fill in spare time for short notes – some of the chaps (Ralph Norris, Rob [Collinge?], Mike Gerrish, and Roy Cowan) left yesterday to climb Kilimanjaro. If you have not heard of it that is the highest mountain in these parts (about 19000 feet). It is not really much of a climb because a truck takes you a good part of the way and you spend three days on the rest of it walking for about three hours a day and staying at huts in the night. As far as I can gather you hire dozens of native porters to carry your stuff for you and all you do is just walk up a fairly gentle hill. The only trouble is that some people apparently cannot stand the thin air at that height. Still it is something to be able to say you have climbed it. – Nurse Harrow from Aberdeen sends her regards to you, Dad. She knows Edzell and Brechin very well having nursed there. She wants to know if you know Stracathro where her hospital was. She is a tall nice-looking girl with red hair but is fed up like most people out here. She says that she is going to marry the first man who asks her but I imagine she is more sensible than that. She annoys me by calling me “Bunny”. She says my nose screws up like a bunnies whenever I say anything. I must say it is the first time I have ever been told that. – Naples fell yesterday. I wonder if the Germans are beginning to worry at all with us coming from our side, the Russians from the other and Mr. Churchill saying that the Italian is only the third front with the second yet to open. I don’t suppose they will crack for some time yet but the time cannot be so very far away. I wonder too if Japan will be so very difficult if we can turn everything we have got against her. Maybe it won’t be as difficult as most people seem to think. Still, I suppose we must not be too optimistic about things. That way just leads to disappointments. We shall probably have several setbacks before it is over for after all we have been going for a year now with nothing but successes. We must avoid getting swollen heads. I hope business is staying fairly good, Dad, and that your store is not so empty of things to sell as some of the Jewellry stores I have seen out here. Much love to you both,
[Editor’s note: While no year was included with the written date, the letter’s contents indicate it was 1943.]