Aug 17. 1945.
The big wigs around here finally relented sufficiently to give us five days leave. It was to start Saturday but I just managed to catch the 3:00 train on Friday and spent one night in London before going to Ditchford. Uncle Geoff was away but came back that night. He is away about four days a week but even when home spends a very great deal of his time in his ‘office’ on the handicapping. Sunday morning Valery and a young friend of hers played some tennis on Mrs. Jamesons court. Mrs. Jameson is a great friend of the Freers and spends most afternoons on the farm. After my long absence from the game I was much better than I expected and beat them both. Valery has dropped some of her farm chores and no longer milks the cows in the morning. Instead she goes riding her show horse and grooming it which takes a good deal of time. So far she has got a third and a fourth place in the two show she has entered. The next two days were really busy. I don’t know why my hands didn’t get blistered but I had many aching muscles. We were hauling and stacking barley and oats using two wagons. There was as many as eleven of us at one time. I tried all the various jobs except on the stack. Pitching off the load was the worst so after one of these I would drive the tractor for a rest. They use an engine driven elevator for stacking so they go up pretty high.
On Monday night Tom came over for supper. He had just got home and was off the next morning to some station to take up his duties (though he hasn’t the vaguest idea what these might be). He seemed very fit so the P.O.W. life didn’t seem to harm. He is debating whether to continue flying if possible after the war. The following afternoon Uncle Reggie and Mina were over. The following morning Valery woke me up with the news that the war was over and that all on leave were to have an extra two days. Unfortunately the 9:00 news said this didn’t apply to those on embarkation leave which seemed to apply to me so I caught the train that morning. Found out when I got back however that all parades were cancelled until tomorrow morning. I only had about two hours in London on the way back—early afternoon. The King and Queen had driven to parliament in the morning in a terrific downpour but when I arrived there was rather a lull. The crowds were beginning to gather though. I walked through St James Park and coming back along the mall met celebrating crowds storming towards the Palace. No doubt I should have stayed on the off chance of seeing the Royal Family but I guess Bournemouth was just as good a place to do so as any. There were terrific crowds down town dancing and singing in the streets accompanying the P.A. speakers dispersed along the way, fireworks and flags and coloured lights. The second night was just as hectic as the first but the crowd was never unruly. No taxis overturned. Nothing like that—though cars trying to push thru the crowds picked up passengers like a magnet all over them. Tis a wonder there weren’t any accidents.
Love from Tony.
[Note: Transcription provided by collection donor.]