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Posts Tagged ‘Basra’

The most important item to record since I last wrote here is that I have at last started to get regular mail from E. Since those first three inspiring letters I got at Basra I have had a further 8 or 9 including about 5 airgraphs. I shall never fully realise the value of those life-saving letters. I have had letters from Nan, Benny and Stanley and what I am most needing now is the photograph of Evelyn. and myself which I know must be nearly here by now.

The big disappointment is that I am still without my own job after all this time though it has been on the way for weeks now. Brian and I are both fed up to the back teeth and we are seriously thinking of putting in for a transfer back to the workshops in the near future. I have almost given up hope of ever getting back on my own job and at the moment I don’t give a hoot what happens. I am no longer called private now. The R.A.O.C. is now known as the R.E.M.E. and all tradesmen are now craftsmen instead of private.

Since leaving Basra about 3 weeks ago we went to Baghdad for a week to join up with the road party which was waiting for us with the lorries and guns etc. I had a glorious time in Baghdad, the city itself is fairly modern and it is as everybody knows world famous. Other cities which are mentioned in the Bible, such as Nineveh and Babylon are situated not far from Baghdad. Broadly speaking Baghdad is much the same as Cairo except that the people are slightly more intelligent. We left Baghdad nearly a fortnight ago to come to this place which is in the mountains of Persia. I don’t have the exact position but we are not far from the Caucasus Mountains or from the Turkish border. Kermashan is not far from here though up to the present I have not visited this town. There is absolutely nothing here, no entertainment of any description, all we have got is a small canteen which quite often has nothing to sell. It looks as though we shall be here for months and already I can see that if I remain here much longer I am going to get into the state where I don’t care what happens. Again it is a good thing that my darling Evelyn. is writing again. Without her letters life just wouldn’t be worth living. Please God keep her safe for me.

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Wednesday 9th September 1942

During the past month much has happened to me and fro the most part they are events which I would rather forget. We left Egypt almost a month ago and came by sea to Basra in Iraq. The voyage I want to forget as soon as I can because I never believed the British Government could treat its troops in such a shameful manner. The ship, a Norwegian passenger was filthy from stem to stern and we were packed so tight that we couldn’t have been better off than those people in the black hole of Calcutta. The weather was so hot that even when on the open deck the sweat poured out of us all day and at night it was stifling. Down below it was unbearable and I only used to go down for meals which were the best part of that nightmare voyage. Goodness knows how I should have managed if I hadn’t had such a darling wife to think of and give me inspiration.

Basra and district, the only part of Iraq I have seen so far is much the same as Egypt although it is much hotter. The natives are the same dirty disease ridden people as those in Egypt, and on top of their many other vices they are experts at thieving. As before we are in a desert camp miles from anywhere and we are much worse off here than we were in Egypt. Water isn’t easy to get, we have no entertainment, the food is lousy and the only bright spot is that we have got a small canteen where we can buy lemonade, tins of fruit etc. Our money has had to be changed to Iraqian, 1 English pound = 1 Iraqian pound which is divided into various amounts of ‘fils’, 960 of these fils are worth an English pound and 1000 an Iraqian pound.

Very soon we shall be moving to our gun sites and it won’t be long before I get back on to my own job. And now I must record the best news I have received since I left dear old England. This month I had my first three letters from my darling Evelyn. and they have made me so happy that all my worries and discomforts vanish into oblivion. I am so glad to hear that she is safe and well and happy. Also that my allowance is through and it appears now as though our only bar to perfect and complete happiness is the war, and I pray to God that he will bring it to an end soon.

Darling I love you more than ever for those lovely letters and I shall always look upon them as my first ray of happiness out here in this foreign country

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