Search The Archive

Search form

Collection Search
Date: July 11th 1942

Dear Family

I received all the parcels and the draft for my birthday, thank you all very much. I havent spent the draft yet, I'll let you know what I get when I do. I may get an exposure meter for my camera, I think I know where I can get one. The socks arrived in the knick of time and are just the right type.

By the way, theres a new air-mail service going now. The old one was no better than ordinary mail, but some fellows have been getting letters in 7 days, which is darn good. I'm going to send this airmail and let me know what happens.

I spoke a short piece over the radio the other day to you, it was recorded, so you'll probably be hearing it soon. I hadn't much time to write out anything very good, so I just said whatever came into my head.

We had a very interesting two weeks a little while ago. I had my platoon out in a tiny little village doing some work with the Home Guard. No one to bother us, so we worked quite hard, in our own way, and relaxed a bit, and got a heck of a lot done. The Home Guard were darn nice to us. I could have been out for dinner every night if I'd wanted, and had the run of about 4 houses for a bath or tea or swim etc. These Home Guard are amazing people. Amongst the privates was an ex-clergyman and a very well known City lawyer, the Quartermaster Sergeant was a retired stock-broker, and the platoon commander was the local gardener.

The retired stock-broker used to salute me and call me "Sir" on parade, then I'd go down to his house for dinner and call him "Sir"!

The whole of my platoon used to troop down to the local pub every night, because the landlord was in the H.G., and wouldn't let my fellows buy a drink at all. He also used to say, "Well, you fellows in the regular army -", which was a bit of a change for my fellows, after a couple of years of being told how lousy they are by the NCO's and myself.

At the moment, I'm acting as second-in-command of the Company, as Capt. Lynch is at Corp. HQ learning to go on Staff. I don't think I'll get the job permanently as some of the Subs are senior to me as yet, but I'm working pretty hard at it just in case. Good experience for the future anyway. Promotion is very slow in this battalion for some reason, there are still some Subs who came over with the regiment as lieutenants. As I wasn't even among the first bunch of reinforcements, I'm still about 4 or 5 from the top.

Are you down to the bicycle stage at home yet? How about a vivid description of life in Montreal in AD 1942. This is England at the moment:-

No cars on the road except doctors, delivery vans and other necessary trucks. Big signs in railway stations saying "is your journey really necessary?" Just about everything rationed. Food, coal, electricity, clothes, etc. No air raids at the moment, except at places like Canterbury and Weston-Super-Mare which are just tiny places and practically no A.A. guns. Austerity clothes for everyone. American troops by the thousands in London. Thousands of Canadians everywhere. Not very much whiskey or gin, but lots of beer (near-beer) in the pubs. Everyone talking fiercely about the Second Front. People still refuse to take cigarettes from others although there are lots again; its a habit now. Salvage, salvage, salvage. And that's about the picture.

Well, I'm going to sign off now, let me know how fast this takes, and if you start air-mail again Ill let you know. Love to all Geoff