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Posts Tagged ‘Durban’

Sunday July 19th 1942

Two days ago we set sail from Durban (4) after spending a glorious two weeks on shore. The journey from our first port of call down to Durban was uneventful and we all breathed a sigh of relief when South Africa and then Durban itself came into view. As soon as we got off the ship at the docks we were taken by train to a camp Clairswood, about eight miles from Durban. Here we spent our two weeks on shore and they were indeed two weeks of real pleasure. I was in Durban almost every day and the first day I went there I experienced the hospitality of the South African people. No praise I can give can possibly be high enough for the way the people of S. Africa treated us. Many canteens were opened for us beside the regular ones, and they were all literally stacked with food and fruit of all kinds. The best meal possible consisting of two eggs, sausage bacon, mash, bread and butter, tea fruit salad and ice cream could be bought for ½ (5) , and the women who served the food were always very pleasant. One canteen in particular was exceptionally good. St. Pauls and it was here that I bought some photographs of Durban and sent them home to Evelyn. and Nan. The manager never tired in his efforts to help the troops and he said that after the war he would be going to England. He can be certain of a warm welcome from my family if we meet him. I went to two services in St. Pauls and also to a gramaphone recital during the week. Although I enjoyed myself very much I never forgot my darling Evelyn. and my family and I prayed for her and them many times.

The city of Durban is far better than any city I have seen in England. The buildings some of them almost skyscrapers are white and picturesque. The streets are wide and the town planning is perfect. Indians roam about the streets pulling rickshaws, they look very out of place in such a modern city. The camp was the biggest I have yet seen, half of the tents were occupied by the R.A.F. and I have no doubt that it was where Stanley (6) spent his shore leave. Indians and natives were always at the camp gates waiting to sell us fruit, and consequently I always had a large stock. I have even got some oranges left now. I would have given much to send some fruit home. I know Nan and Evelyn. and Gerald. (7) love oranges and bananas. I wrote to my darling wife twice by air-graph. I do love her with all my heart and I am always thinking of her. Without her inspiration goodness knows what I should do. It seems like years since I heard from her and I am hoping to get some letters from her when we reach our destination. Please god keeps her safe for me until the end of the war.

Now we are on the last stage of our journey wherever that may lead us, and the ship we are on is even worse than the last one. The other was clean, this one is filthy and bugs and cockroaches are everywhere. I sleep on deck where the air is fresh and clean. All I am hoping for now is a safe and extra fast journey to our destination.

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