The last letter I had from you arrived before I went to sea last time which was shortly before Christmas. I was rather disappointed when I returned this time not to see your now familiar handwriting on an envelope. Your letters seem to be getting fewer and fewer. I wonder why? I hope you have been getting my letters. I have religiously answered all your letters at the most convenient opportunity – some have been written at sea a week before it was possible to mail them. The date on your last letter is September the seventh. Your family were on holiday at the time in one of those places in Wales with the unpronounceable names, and you were having some bad luck with a ginger cake that wouldn’t lift out of the oven or something. Anyway that is a long time ago and I suppose your ginger cakes are quite edible by now.
Before I forget it thanks a lot for the silk handkerchief you sent me. Rather a nice design and admired by the boys, who of course wanted to know where it came from. Of course I can’t wear it now but it will keep! Did you get the little present I sent you? I’ve wondered since if you had to pay customs duty on it. If you will tell me what size stockings you wear (also the shade) I’ll get you a few pairs. There is plenty of them out here and all well known American brands and also quite cheap. I know they are rather scarce in England now.
You will be interested to know I have started to grow a set of whiskers. It looks rather scraggy now but with a little time and cultivation it might come to something. As one seaman remarked ‘it looks like a handful of dirty oakum’. When it is in full bloom I’ll have it photographed and send you a reproduction. Since I wrote to you last I have been promoted to Chief Petty Officer. It isn’t much but there are a few privileges attached to it.
I have just finished reading a most interesting book – ‘The Great Trade Route’ written by Ford Madox Ford. A history of the effects of climate on culture in Europe and North America. Cleverly written with a fine sense of humor. I was always under the impression that Ford was an American but I discovered in this book that he is English. You recommended ‘The Long Week-end’ to me and I was lucky enough to pick it up ashore in a book shop. Those are the only good books I have read lately – books are rather difficult to get.
From the news on the radio it would seem that England is having a comparatively quiet time just now. I’m glad to hear that and I know you will appreciate it. By the time you get this letter the winter will be almost over and you will have the spring to look forward to. I would so much like to be in England in the spring again but I’m afraid it won’t be this year.
Please write to me when you get an opportunity. You would be surprised to know how much I look forward to your letters.
Feb 5th 1942