c/o G.P.O. London

July 21st 1942.

Dear Jim,

My last letter to you was June the thirteenth – over a month ago. I’ve just finished the longest patrol I have yet been on.  It was not quite as successful as the last one but we didn’t come back empty handed so to speak.  On returning I found two airgraphs from you – one congratulating us on our late success which was very pleasing indeed. I didn’t expect any mail this time at all as we have had a bit of trouble here lately. Unfortunately I have lost all my gear and all the little personal things that I really valued.  Of course one has to accept a bit of bad luck once in a while and it could have been much worse.

At the present moment I am on five days leave at a rest camp.  This rest camp is up in the mountains overlooking the sea.  It is very pleasant and cool and is quite a change from being at sea.  It is roughly twenty seven hundred above sea level and I have just finished arguing with one of my messmates how far the horizon is from here. (no conclusion in spite of the pencil and paper). This is our second day here and I’m beginning to feel the benefits of the sunshine and fresh air already.  Three of us went for a long walk in the hills this morning and I thought I would never be able to get back – my legs were so tired after so much unaccustomed exercise. At this moment my two companions are sleeping it off. It is by far the best holiday I have had since leaving England.

            In both your letters you mentioned the lovely weather you were having in Cheshire. It is good to know that you are still able to enjoy it. Though I suppose in a way even the sun and air is rationed these days – with less time and fewer facilities to get into the country people will be getting less than their peacetime quota. How about the caravan in Wales? You have not mentioned it since Easter. It would be good to spend a summer evening wandering around Wales in a caravan. It would be almost as good as summers spent in the Canadian backwoods.

            So you are a godmother now? It sounds very imposing indeed. A boy no less – that is a bit of a break don’t you think? Girls are all right but boys are better. I think I’ll have all boys myself.

            Have you received the two photographs I sent you? You will note the lack of whiskers. They were taken in the pre-beard days. I was going to send them before but lacked the courage. By the way I have shaved the beard off again as it was becoming very uncomfortable in the hot weather at sea. I have a couple of snaps of the set in full bloom and I’ll send you one later.

            You were asking when I expected to return to England. It is really hard to tell but I should say that about nine months out here should be about the maximum. There is no definite period, some are luckier than others.

            If I don’t seem to have answered some of your letters you will please excuse me as I am certain there is quite a few that I didn’t get. At least I am very grateful for the two I received this time as it was more than I expected.