May 20, 1945.
One day last week my crew had its first official day off since arriving, though of course there have been countless other half-days. This one amounted to a half day too because we had to go to the rifle range first. It was a half hour drive to here which was quite pleasant. On the first 25 rounds one of my gunners whose name is actually Sgt. Yorke scored 122 out of 125. However he fell down toward the end and the 2nd engineer and first wap [?] tied for first.
After this we drove to town for lunch and shopping. I bought several postcards but nothing else. These natives drive a hard bargain for rather inferior goods but I must get some mementos of this place. The afternoon was spent at the beach as usual and I took some photos of the natives; finishing the roll. We allways buy bananas at the beach but this time I got a pineapple as well. They seem rather scarce just now.
I spent the weekend at one of our diversion bases. It was a tiny camp with funny little buildings made of cane with thatched roofes. We got quite a surprise when we looked around the mess to see a chimpanzee sleeping on a chair under a blanket. It is quite a pet but only five months old and so too young to do much besides sleep. There was also a young crocodile tied up at the waters. It was about eighteen inches long.
Last night I went to a show in an American theatre at a nearby camp. First time I have seen a clear screen since I have been out here. The show was called “Roughly Speaking”. Perhaps it is quite a new one. Yesterday we spent the afternoon in town, going in on a bomb scow. It took nearly an hour to get there but was fairly interesting. The town is the second largest in this large country but still pitifully small with only two half decent stores, one Dutch one Syrian, and with nothing worth buying. There is also a missionary and, on a nearby island, a leper colony. We had a couple of natives, about 8 or 9, showing us around to their delight. At times we had many more of their friends and one of us got them singing the songs they’d learnt in school. It was very funny. When any newcomer came strolling by he or she would be roped in to sing a song.
Also had the opportunity to go over a clipper. What an immense marvellous thing it was. I had never dreamt one could travel in such luxurious splendour. Right afterwards we had to clamour aboard our lovely boat. What a contrast!
Five cartons of cigs have turned up but not the other parcels. Perhaps they went to the Red Cross in England. Archie was of course right in saying I never finished my first tour before the course. I only did 8 of the 18 months. Out here a tour was 12 months and I wondered whether I would get a proportional credit for the first part. I don’t think it will matter now.
Someone had a little monkey in the mess tonight. It was quite young and very lively. Very amusing to watch. Much nicer than the huge land crab someone put in the mess bar some time ago. The doctor has a chameleon and a lizard looking after the flies in sick quarters. Someone else has a parrot. It is quite a menagerie.
With love from
[Editor’s note: Transcription provided by collection donor.]