JAN 19TH 1943

Dear Jim,

This is the first opportunity I have had to write since my letter on December the fifteenth. I just received your airgraph dated December fourth  – rather good time I thought. It was rather a surprise to get any mail at all this time in as there has been a bit of a change since last I wrote and I didn’t think the mail would catch up with us so quickly. Perhaps the G.P.O. in all its wisdom anticipated our move and acted accordingly. It is a long time since I have returned from patrol without hearing from you in one form or another, and I’m afraid I’d be a bit disappointed if there wasn’t something with your handwriting on it waiting for me.

So you are training to be a Fire Guard Instructor?

It is surprising how many women are displacing men in their jobs these days. Quite efficiently into the bargain!  It is rather a blow to most men you know.  Some time ago I was reading about some W.R.E.N.s who were manning naval picket boats.  Enough to make old Nelson turn over in his grave!  Who said it was a man’s world?  Just think it is only about twenty-five or thirty years ago since women were fighting for the right to vote, and now one finds them displacing men in all sorts of jobs, owning more than half the property in the world and whose opinion carries considerable weight in the political world.  Not bad in twenty-five years.  Now that they have been given their heads I don’t see how the curb can be applied – not that I’d care to see it myself.  If women had been in a more influential position years ago perhaps all this rotten mess would never have occurred.  Still it is a bit of a shock to find women doing a man’s job efficiently and still remaining quite feminine.

The year just ended was a very successful one for us and we closed it in a rather fitting manner with a touch of humour tagged on.  This year started well and I hope we can keep it up.  There was no rest camp this time in, for reasons I can’t explain here.  We had forty-eight hours general leave which turned out to be quite enough under the circumstances.  The weather has been quite cold and I seem to feel it more now after the steaming heat of last summer.  Did you notice the battle-dress I was wearing in the photograph I sent you?  It is rather odd garb for a naval man but it was issued to us to keep warm in, and also because we had very little else to wear at the time.

What do you think of the news nowadays?  Most encouraging don’t you think?  The Russians are doing very well and Rommel is about thru in North Africa.  Italy would chuck her hand in tomorrow if it wasn’t for the Germans. The general feeling is much more optimistic.  Our air force is beginning to bear some weight now. We seem to be on a more nearly equal footing with the Luftwaffe.  Taking it all in all things look much better than they did a year ago.

You were saying in your last letter that your brother was in Scotland at the present time. It is a grand country to travel in, but like you, I prefer the softer climate of England. When I return I expect to get at least a month’s leave and I intend to do a bit of travelling if that is still possible. Perhaps you could suggest a few quiet places that are worth visiting. I’m looking for something quiet and peaceful where I can get away from all this for a while. It will be about June before I return to England but that should be about right for me. There are so many places in England worth a visit that it is hard to know where to begin.

According to the radio England has been subject to more than the usual number of air raids lately. I hope none of them have been too close to home. It is hard to get accustomed to them again after a period of comparative quiet. I don’t suppose they are anything like the mass raids of a year ago – I hope not.

Just heard a news broadcast of one of our late successes and it sounds strange having someone else describe it. Not much like the actual incident I assure you! You were asking me some time ago if I ever listen to the radio. Yes I do. Every night at sea we listen to the news at 2200 G.M.T. The broadcast is quite clear and we get some good musical programmes at times from the B.B.C.

In the line of reading there is nothing to report this time. That last bundle of books you sent me came in very handy. I hope you have received my letter of thanks for them also the Christmas present you sent. By the way did I make a ‘faux pas’ in that letter? I’ve an idea I did. Have you received the stockings I sent you? I’m afraid there will be no more for some time to come.

I’m sorry to hear you are suffering from the cold weather. Never mind it won’t be long before spring is abroad in the land and the sun will be warm and bright again.

Tell your family I was asking for them. Keep fit and well. Looking forward to your next letter.




P.S. Don’t let the date on this letter lead you to make any wild guesses.