Posts Tagged ‘Gerald’

Once again I am in a very fed up mood and this one is worse than ever. The reason is the lack of mail. I haven’t had a letter from Evelyn for nearly a month now and for once (though I can hardly believe it myself) I am beginning to doubt if she still loves me as much as ever. I know she doesn’t like writing but a month without a letter is more than I can stand. A soldier out here must have letters from home if he is to survive at all. This Christmas has been pretty poor for everyone but it would have been much brighter for me if I had one or two letters from Evelyn. At the moment i don’t care what happens, for once the girl whom I love with all my heart has let me down.

In the past few weeks I have been at R.E.M.E. workshops for a change and I am expecting to go back to the battery anytime now.

Last week we moved into Catania and we are all billeted in a hotel near the docks. We have plenty of room and the rooms are clean and it is a welcome change from being in tents. We are supposed to be here for a rest but thanks to our O.C. (blast him) we aren’t getting much time off.

Today i got my first decoration, the Africa Star‘. I am wearing the ribbon but will have to wait until after the war before I can get the ‘Star’.

I feel like getting blind drunk but no one will drink with me so i am going to have a go myself when I have written this. If I were back at the battery with Charlie Johnson we would be blindo together because he is more fed up with things than I am.

In spite of this feeling I remembered everyone at Christmas, Gerald especially, bless him, oh for the day when I shall see him again. I hope our little boy is like him.


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The main reason why I am writing again so soon is because I want to record my experiences in Qum before they fade from my mind. Qum is the third holiest city in this part of the world and I had the good fortune to pay it a visit last Saturday afternoon. The first thing I noticed about the place was the fact that the people seemed to be much more civilized and the class of the people was much higher than in any other town I have yet seen out here. Parts of the town are fairly modern and I certainly saw in one street a shop window. At the head of what seems to be the main street is a very large Mosque with a beautifully coloured dome and four great pillars round it. It is a very fine sight indeed and such a pity that it is out of bounds to troops. In one bazaar I bought two yards of cut silk for 40 Rials per yard and in a very nice shop near to the Mosque I bought a pair of fancy slippers to send home to Evelyn. along with the silk. Some of the women here especially are very well dressed and very clean too. They seem to be happier than most of the “women” I have seen out here and unlike the women of Baghdad and Kermashan every other woman is not pregnant. The people are at the moment definitely pro-British but they are very queer and dislike anyone staring at their places of worship or taking photos of their women folk. One American has been stoned to death recently for taking a photograph of a Persian woman. There is a shortage of food in the country and the army has issued orders forbidding any soldiers from buying food. Bread riots break out quite frequently and the M.Ps. have to clear the town of troops by 5 PM.

A few days ago I had a letter from Evelyn’s cousin Molly who is out here in Habbanya as a sister in an RAF hospital. Habbanya seems quite near Baghdad and I have written to Molly telling her what a fool I was for not seeing her while I was in Baghdad. She seems to be very like Aunt Polly judging by the way she describes things. I am going to try to get her to take my presents with her when she goes home to England in a few months time. She must be a brave woman to face this country for two years and I wish I had the pleasure of escorting her back to dear old England.

The situation at home seems to be improving a little. I have had one or two letters from Gerald. which quite obviously have been sent by mother and the last written by dad though it was supposed to be from Gerald. I write home regularly and I am hoping for a complete settlement before long.

The news from the middle east gets better every day and at long last I think I can start to think of the end of the war now that we have taken the initiative. I have had two letters from Stanley during the last two days and thank God he seems to be out of the war so far.

My first Christmas card came this week from Nan, bless her.

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Once again the unexpected has happened. I thought we were going to stay in this location for some months but now we are about to move again in about another 12 days or so. I think this time we are going nearer to the capital of Iran, Teheran which is about 333 miles from here.

Last week was a very good week for mail. I must have had at least eight including the long awaited photographs and two letters from Evelyn’s mother. The photograph is lovely and my darling looks so lovely and beautiful. I could kiss her photograph which is placed before me as I write this. Never did I think that she had such lovely eyes and hair, even now they are smiling at me from the photo. More than ever she must be happy and by heaven she will be after the war.

This morning I went for a ride into the nearby town of Kermashan.
(“Kermashan My Sweet Town” is a song by legendary Kurdish singer,Hassan Zirak. Located in the Eastern Kurdistan,historic Kermashan is one of the most populated Kurdish cities in greater Kurdistan.)

It is much the same as any other town, dirty streets and shops though in this one there are one or two quite decent ones. I tried to get a frame for our photograph but was unsuccessful. Everything is so very dear. There are 128 Iranian Rials to an English pound and these don’t go very far when such articles as bottles of ink cost 10 Rials, and paraffin stoves 250 Rials. Such fruits as walnuts, grapes, apples, pears, plums and radishes are plentiful and I make full use of this fact. Eggs are also fairly cheap and we get a fair amount of these.

Last week I had a letter from home written by Gerald. though it was obvious that my mother was behind it and I am glad because this may mean that she is coming round to my way of thinking and that is all I want. I replied with an air-graph and I shall probably send another later. Roland. and Frank. (10) are both doing well and I wish them more success and luck than I am having.

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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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