#2 Mess

HMS Dolphin.

 Gosport, Hants.

Feb 9th 1941

Dear Miss Roy,

By this time you will have given up all hope of hearing from me again, but, since I last wrote to you circumstances have been such that it has been almost impossible for me to write to you. Just after writing my last letter to you I was drafted and left Devonport in a bit of a hurry. I have been drafted to the Submarine Service and I know you can realize the difficulties of trying to keep in touch with people under these circumstances.  I’ll be in Gosport for a few more days, a week if I’m lucky, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to drop you a few lines and let you know I haven’t forgotten you entirely.

Thanks for the Penguins – they were very much appreciated. The one complaint I have against the Navy is that they don’t supply me with enough to read. Lately I’ve been reduced to ‘borrowing’ out of the officers’ mess. I have no scruples about books. Reading becomes a sort of drug after a few years. It seems I can’t sit down for more than five minutes without a book in my hand. I have just finished Aldous Huxley’s ‘Eyeless in Gaza’ – very modern but quite good. I enjoy such writers as Thomas Mann, W. H. Hudson, Hugh Walpole, T.E. Lawrence, John Buchan and any sort of modern verse. A short time ago I read Lewis Mumford’s ‘Technics and Civilization’ – very interesting but rather heavy.

There is still no word from Ian Fraser yet. I wrote to him again about the same time I wrote to you. I put my Devonport address on the back of the envelope hoping some kind person might give me some information about him but still no dice. All sorts of queer things happen to one’s mail in these troubled times.

You will be interested to know that my brother has finally gone back to the States. It took some persuasion but it worked. My family is quite pleased about it but I know my grandmother will miss him. I told him not to inform my family that I was serving on a submarine – my grandmother doesn’t even know. It is rather hard to convince people that submarines are a lot safer than most people think. They are very interesting to work on especially if one is mechanically minded.

It is surprising how one’s ideas and point of view changes in times like this. Things that one takes for granted in ordinary life acquire a new significance. For instance, a bath, something one considers as a necessity, becomes a luxury. A tubful of hot water is something to look forward to. Yesterday I went ashore for a walk in the country and somehow it seemed different. The trees and fields – even the air – seemed different. One is amazed at the indifference of nature. The seasons come and go war, or no war, and life in the country is disturbed very little. Spring will be here soon and I know you will be looking forward to it. I have read about spring on the Deeside and I know it must be beautiful. How I envy you!

I’ll close this letter now as I have a little work to do before turning in. Please write to me again as I very much enjoy your letters. I hope you and your family are all in good health and not suffering too much from the long winter. Cheerio.

                                                                                    Yours sincerely,