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Date: June 13th 1944
Elsie Henderson - (wife)
Kenneth Henderson

June 13, /44

Hi Darling! Here I am again, I haven’t written anything the last 3 days because all we have been doing is sweeping and Dan Laying. One of the sweepers and our flotilla just blew up a mine about 5 minutes ago and it woke me up. I was just having my beauty sleep after dinner and it’s about time I get up anyway. Out flotilla has swept up about 8 mines in the last 3 days. We sank one with gunfire the day before yesterday. The mines we have been getting don’t seem to be very big, but they really pack a wallop and I don’t mean maybe. If we ever run into one I doubt very much, honey whether you will ever get this letter or not. We got pretty close to this one and we could see the horns on it. Every one of these horns has a little bottle of acid in it and if one of these horns is struck or crushed in any way, the acid bottle is broken and the acid mixes with some carbon inside the mine and this is turn generates enough electricity to set off the T.N.T. inside the mine and causes the explosion. This process takes just about 2 seconds in all from the time the horn is struck until the actual explosion. The horns are made of very soft lead and they are not very hard to break.

Ever since the invasion began the Channel has been full of ships. There has been nearly an endless line of ships running from England to the French coast and another line coming back. Our job is to keep the supply open and free of mines. A couple of nights ago there were a couple of L.S.T.’s sunk by mines on there way over to the coast of France. Our job is pretty monotonous, doing the same thing day after day, but it is kind of exciting, too, because we always have a bit of fun whenever they bring a mine up. Everyone grabs a rifle or a machine gun or whatever happens to be handy and we have some target practice. It is kind of dangerous too if the mine happens to explode too close to the side of the ship we might have a few plates loosen or someone gets hit with shrapnel, but that is all in the game I guess honey and anyhow only one in ten is ever exploded by gunfire they tell us. They usually sink after we punch a few holes in them. The only time they explode is if you happen to be lucky enough to hit one of the horns. Most of the time we have just been laying Dan Buoys. They are just round canisters about 3 feet high with a long stave or pole down through the middle of them and a weight on one end of the pole to keep them up right and a flag on the other end so that they can be seen about a mile or so away.

After the sweepers have swept a channel clear we come along behind them and pack the channel with Dan Buoys so other ships will know which is the clear channel and which is dangerous waters. I don’t know how long we are going to be down here on the Channel, but they can clear out anytime they feel like it now. I would like to go somewhere where we have not been before. It has been nearly a month now since I have been ashore. The ship was sealed a week before invasion day and I hadn’t been ashore for over 2 weeks before that. I could have been if I had wanted to but nearly every night we were anchored out or tied up to a buoy in mid-stream, and it was to much trouble to get back to the ship. Anyhow there was always a pretty fair breeze in the bay and I used to do a lot of sailing. We had some friends on one of the L.S.T.’s and I used to sail over to it and take the guys out on a sail now and again. We had lots of fun without going ashore. Weymouth is a very small place anyhow and there were so many soldiers there, that you could hardly get into a pub for a drink.

Well sweetheart, I guess I will close again for awhile until I have some more news, so good-bye for now.

All my love,


[Editor’s note: Transcription provided by collection donor.]