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Date: November 2nd 1943
Mother & Dad - (Wilhelmina & John Gray)
Hampton Gray

RH Gray Lt.
No. 2.

Box 517,
℅ F.M.O. Kilindini,

Dear Mother and Dad,

I am continuing on a second one like you did. I hope you get them together. In the last one I was telling you about being at the [Frenches?] farm on leave. As I said our seats got pretty sore but Pussy had no mercy and they came around O.K. before the end of our stay there. I played a lot of tennis with different people, a thing I have not done for a long time now. All in all I would have got quite thin if it had not been for the food. – The farm itself outside of our own activities was quite interesting. Their main crops are wheat and pyrethrum. The pyrethrum is an important crop all of which used to come from Japan. It is a sort of daisy which is picked, at a certain stage and dried. The dried flowers are processed and from them is extracted all sorts of insecticides like Flit and tree sprays, etc. It is a rather nice crop to grow at the present time because they make a profit at 15¢ per pound and they have a guaranteed price from the govt. of about 30¢. So unless something destroys the crop (that seems very rare in this country) there is nothing to it. Besides those two crops they have all sorts of other things, oats, barley, vegetables, sheep, cattle and horses, etc. In fact it is an ideal mixed farm. Due to the lack of managers Pussy, the daughter looks after the sheep so of course we had to take a hand there. They were in the middle of shearing when we were there. That is done by black boys at the rate of six shillings per hundred sheep. That is a pretty low wage you will think but they are perfectly happy and make enough money for all their wants. They are a grand family and have had a tough time with their family. Their oldest boy was killed in the Air force about a year ago. The other boy of fifteen is a very sad case. He apparently stepped on a nail when he was very young and poison set in. This apparently went to his brain and completely stopped his mental development so that although he is a big chap now he needs constant care and attention, has to be bathed and fed etc. The two daughters are alright however one 21 and the other 6. Nevertheless they are all very cheerful and I must say my short stay there did me a lot of good. We all wished it could have been about a month. I shall have to stop now. I hope the allotment is through

Much love to you
Your son

[postscript at top of first page:] The allotment should have started at the end of September

Original Scans

Original Scans

Page 1 of WWII letter of 1943-11-02 from Lt. Robert Hampton Gray, VC, DSC