Search The Archive

Search form

Collection Search
Date: September 3rd 1944
Wanda Gill - (wife)
Leslie Gill

letter #25

HMCS Iroquois
c/o GPO London
Sept 3/44

My Dearest

There used to be an old saying “the squeaking wheel gets the grease.” I’ve had it changed to “the moaning matelot gets the mail! As I mentioned several letters back, all I have to do is moan, and sooner or later the mail comes pouring in. Three in number, two letters and an Airgraph. Thanks a million, darling, and please disregard the various complaints, squawks and drips I’ve been imposing on you for the last few letters. Therese three make up for everything and Im almost happy again. I wont be entirely happy of course till I’m walking up Belleville St. Speed that happy day!

The Airgraph was your 10th and came in between the letters, 12th and 13th. Who said I was “siperstootious”? Taint true, I just dont believe in taking chances, thats why I avoid the number 13 and black cats and ladders and things. Im also scared of ghosts, but dont you dare call me superstitious, cause I aint! In your last letter you refer very disparagingly to your Airgraph. You said it was “sappy” and the “stupidest Airgraph ever written.” Honestly darling, you dont know much about literature, do you? In my opinion now, it was a very superior Airgraph. A very delightful and delicious manuscript, so there!

Of course I remember last September 1st. You were less than one day old then! Seems to me we went out looking for food at 3 AM or thereabouts! What else did we do that day? Lots of things, from what I can remember. You escaped me this time, but dont think you’ll get off so easy next anniversary! William wont be big enough to protect you, so you’ll be entirely at my mercy. Good eh!

Who has the horriblest handwriting, Zora or me? I’ve got a great mass of letters in front of me, including the two from her, and frankly Im having a bit of trouble trying to answer everything at once. Better I should slow down a bit and go back to letter 12 page 1. But while were on the subject, Zora cant write for nuts, can she?

No sign of swim trunks or cigarettes yet. I’m not surprised about the fags, they often fail to turn up, but the other parcel should have been here same time as the letter almost. If it were still possible to send EFMs, Id have had no 150 worn out by now. That’s “Your parcels not received” Get it? Theres a few others we could have used too, but since they arent in use yet we’ll just have to get along without them. Hope you received the telegram all right. I was too late for the postie so I had it censored on board and sent it ashore by the PO Tel. If that was me now, I’d tear the telegram up, and spend the money for bitter beer, but our PO Tel is not at all like me. Its what he threatened to do, so I’m therefore quite sure he didnt. There is no doubt that the telegram is properly dispatched, so if it doesnt arrive this time I’ll just toss a brick through the window of the telegraph office!

My old man finally broke down and sent me a short note from Lucktown. About 6 lines altogether, but it shows he meant well. I’ll write him soon as I find time. Kind of working against time right now. Our spells in port arent very long and there so much Hughie and I have to do that cant be done at sea.

On page three you say you received my Air Graph of July 22nd and think its “very good service”! Honestly darling, I dont often contradict you (scared too!) but think. Thats exactly eighteen days! Bloody awful service, I calls it. They shouldnt take more than a week at the very longest. I’ve had some of yours in ten days and thats not soon enough to suit me. I could deliver letters on a bicycle in that time! What are aeroplanes for anyhow?

Disquieting news about the cottage. Damn the Saanich Municipality! Refuse to move till your husband gets home, if they start anything. Then if they insist on us shifting well find a new location and demand that they pay for moving us. Is it space they want? From what I can remember theres acres and acres for them to put their silly park in without bothering us. Phooey on them, we wont worry. As you say, it will be a long time yet, and if Randles own the property and says its OK, what can Saanich do? Of course, if they sell the land to Saanich it will be different, but we’ll have a legitimate protest. I think it will be safe enough to rent the place for the winter. Choose your tenant carefully, of course. Some little meek bloke that I can browbeat or “fill in” if necessary. Tell them what a tough, bad-tempered husband you’ve got etc, and make them agree to vacate upon reasonable notice. We really cant afford to leave it vacant, can we? Not only the money, but people will wreck the place if no one is living there. All that glass to throw rocks at! I used to be a bad little boy myself, once upon a time, and vacant houses are fair bait. There’s something irresistible about rocks and windows in vacant houses from what I remember!

Sweetheart, the only reason we saved any money in Annapolis was because you were working! And I wasn’t “beefing” as you so quaintly put it! Nuff said.

Too bad about the watch darling, but dont worry. Put it away till I get home and I’ll get some extra smart repair man to do a job on it. You deserve a new one, of course, but please wait awhile. I’d like to keep that little fellow in the family for a while yet, wouldn’t you? If William turns out to be Evelyn we can give it to her on some suitable occasion! Sixteenth birthday for example. Maybe she wont want an old watch, if so we’ll just keep it for old times sake.

We both seem to have received news of the same things at the same time. Examples. 1. Gunnery School being shifted to West Coast 2. Tony and Berns troubles etc 3. Post War Gratuities and several others. We’ve both discussed them in our letters pretty thoroughly and arrived at the same conclusions. Odd, isnt it? That we should both choose to write about the same things. You did notice that, didnt you? Shows how eminently suited to each other we are. Our interests lie in the same direction, a most important part of a successful marriage! It has been successful, dont you think my darling? Only improvement I can think of is that we should see more of each other! We’ll have to arrange that soon.

Congratulations and thanks for the snap from Parksville! How do you manage to look so glamorous at such a time? Im not kidding and you know it! I almost believe you’re better looking than ever. If its your “condition” that we are to thank, dont you think it would be a good idea to keep you in that condition? What at thump on the ear I’d have collected if I’d been close enough! That was a mean one. Im sorry if it hurt your feelings, and I hope it didnt. Its just that I love you so much, and Ive been worrying about how you look and everything. When I see you are even more beautiful than before, well I’m so happy and proud of you Im liable to say anything. You do understand, darling?

The candid camera one was not so good but they seldom are. Your ‘proportions’ are still good although, as you say, the face wouldnt win any prizes. The Parksville one is really a honey though. Can you get any more of them? Zora asks in a letter to you for a snap “just head and shoulders” Send her one of those and she’ll go round the bend completely (When a person is “round the bend” it means their bars are down.)

The clippings all arrived in good order for which many thanks. Sufficient reading material for a long time. Please keep it up, they’re very welcome (especially the ones referring to Iroquois.) The account of the first engagement is very much distorted, and we got lots of laughs out of it. We’re also very disgusted with the credit that particular ship claimed. I’ll explain it all to you some day if youre interested. Its not very important so dont let it bother you. The good ship Iroquois has still done more and seen more and been more places than all the rest of the Tribals put together. Bagged more Jerries too, and thats the most important thing nowadays.

CMO isnt so smart after all. Just about everybody knows what the highlight of 1943 was. Far as Im concerned I think it was the highlight of the past thirty-five years, and I ought to know! I was there, wasnt I? Seems to me I saw you standing around somewhere in the crowd too. Who was that with me in the plane? Looked like you, but it’s a whole year ago now and I was pretty excited that day too. You werent excited, but you certainly were (was and are!) pretty. Remember the rice and confetti? And how the room looked? Oh my hat!

Been writing fast as I can but havent finished the first letter yet. Im afraid I’ll have to let it go as it is and finish the other letter at leisure. This has to be posted pretty damn soon. You see your letter #13 came to a bad end after all It didn’t get answered promptly!

Tell William that Im fond of him in a paternal sort of way (long as he keeps on behaving himself) but I dont exactly love him. Cant spare any love as Im saving it all for his Mama. I’ve got an awful lot saved up now, when would you like to accept delivery?

Pardon all the haste etc, I’ll go slow next time. I love you some more now


Original Scans

Original Scans