Tuesday 25th June 1946 – “The heat doesn’t worry me so much as insect bites”

14400541,
Sigmn. Moore J.,
Royal Signals,
HQ 2 Inf. Bde.,
M.E.F.

Tuesday
25-6-46

Dear All,

Well here we are, past midsummer’s day and the longest day in the year. You’ll begin to notice the days “drawing in” soon!

Thanks for the two letters received today, one from Mam and one from Gwladys, both posted on the 21st.

The weather wasn’t very kind to Gwladys and Kath but no doubt they enjoyed their holiday in spite of that. Really a week isn’t long enough though. I read in the paper today that the weather in England last Saturday was very warm and summery and I imagined the returning holidaymakers feeling very miserable. In another part of the paper I read that at Wimbledon yesterday the weather was “gloomy” and “the sky overcast”. I’m getting the biggest variety of holidays, 1944 in France, ’45 in England, ’46 on tour in the Middle East, ’47——?

I know how much you look forward to holidays. It must be a treat to get away from things if only for a week. Now they’re talking about rationing bread it makes you wonder what next.

Mam and Dad are certainly doing it in style this year. I remember that 1939 holiday very well. Gwladys didn’t write and Dad had to ring up – with much muttering! Then there was the war scare and thousands of people rushing for home. It was a good holiday in spite of all that.

I should think you did wonder who was at the door at 3.30 in the morning. I bet when Dad saw the police outside he thought they’d got him. Crane – black market!!

I was very sorry to hear of Mrs. Warrington’s death. That’s the second piece of bad news I’ve had recently. A few days ago I had a letter from Alex saying that one of the boys had been knocked down and killed in town.

The weather is still the same here of course. The heat doesn’t worry me so much as insect bites. You know how they used to bite me in England. Ordinary flies don’t seem so plentiful here as in Egypt but there are mosquitos and ants.

I’ve been to another meeting of the photo’ club this evening. The dark room is now fitted up but the difficulty seems to be getting supplies of Hypo and Developer. They can be bought locally but at terrible prices. The only alternative is to place an order with a firm in England and that is likely to take a few weeks.

The army run all sorts of courses for men and women nearing demob and I’m thinking of going on one. There’s a month’s course for such subjects as book-keeping, commercial english etc. I don’t know if it would do me any good but it certainly wouldn’t do me any harm, and if I arranged it so I went about six weeks before demob it would help to pass the time away. I could go on one for subjects such as woodwork, art, not repairing or bricklaying. The scheme is an opportunity I intend taking advantage of.

Well I must close now. Hope you are all well

Lots of Love,
Yours,
John
xxx

5.30 a.m. Wed. (duty)
You’ll be interested to know that I spoke to Ron on the phone last night. We had quite a long chat, the first one since last November. There’s not much chance of us meeting for a bit. He’s in Tel Aviv and can’t get out and as the town is out of bounds it’s impossible for anybody to get in.

No more now,
Love,
John

Posted in 1946 | Tagged | Leave a comment

Friday 21st June 1946 – “we can’t even go out of the camp without rifles and even then there has to be at least three chaps together”

14400541,

Sigmn. Moore J.,
Royal Signals,
HQ 2 Inf. Bde.,
M.E.F.

Friday
21-6-46

Dear All,

I’m afraid there’s not much news as nothing special has happened since I last wrote.

Anyway thanks for Dad’s letter (of the 15th.) which arrived this morning. Letters are coming in quite steadily now. Yesterday I got a piece of birthday cake which Kath posted in April, it was still quite nice.

As far as I can see I shan’t see much of this country. As you know the Jews are causing a lot of trouble and look like doing so for a long time yet. This is upsetting leave and we can’t even go out of the camp without rifles and even then there has to be at least three chaps together. If this continues probably all I’ll see of Palestine is what I saw on the way up, what I can see from the camp here and what I see on my way back to Alex for demob. I hope it won’t be as bad as that but there’s not much hope of getting around just yet, and I’m certainly not going round just looking for trouble at this stage of the peace!

There doesn’t seem to be much improvement in the weather in your part of the world. You know the English climate is rotten when you come to think. If there’s a fortnight of warm weather people call it a hot dry summer! Mind you this is too monotonous. Every morning about 5 a.m. the sun comes up and scorches down until 8 p.m. We know it isn’t going to rain, and the only change we get is when a breeze blows. It’s a pity you can’t have some of this sunshine.

Sounds as if the house has been smartened up considerably. What wouldn’t I give to be at home now. Remember this time last year? If my memory is OK it will be a year ago tomorrow since we went to Stratford for the day. Remember the old gal in the café – Mrs. William Shakespeare!? It’s a year on Sunday since Curly’s wedding. Time flies doesn’t it? That’s how I’m helping to pass the time away now, comparing this with “this time last year”. It will soon be the anniversary of VJ day and when I rushed home on that forged pass! June to November last year flashed by and if it goes as quickly now I shall have no complaints.

I shall only be too pleased to help in the garden when I get back. After this I mean to be out of doors as much as possible and in any case I’ve got to learn a bit about gardening for future reference. Kath’s Dad has already said I can serve my apprenticeship with him!

Interested to hear about the prospect of a new car. Do you mean a brand new one?

That’s all for now. Must have some supper.

Love,
John
xxxx

Posted in 1946 | Tagged | Leave a comment

Wednesday 19th June 1946 – “perhaps you’ve never even heard of Frank Sinatra, but I enjoyed it”

14400541,

Sigmn. Moore J.,
Royal Signals,
HQ 2 Inf. Bde.,
M.E.F.

9.45 p.m.
Wed.
19 June ’46

Dear All,

This will only be a short letter as you can see it is pretty late now. We seem to be fairly busy now when we are on duty and don’t get much time for letter writing.

Since we got here I have written quite a few letters to people who have been neglected recently so I’m hoping there’ll be a bit of mail coming in soon.

On Monday evening we went to the pictures and saw Frank Sinatra in “Step Lively”. It wouldn’t appeal to you, perhaps you’ve never even heard of Frank Sinatra, but I enjoyed it.

Last night I went to a meeting which had been arranged for the purposes of forming a Photographic Club. This will be run on similar lines to the one at the office. They are fixing a dark room up and members will have free use of the room and apparatus, and films will be available at reduced rates. In addition there will be meetings, lectures and discussions, possible outings and competitions. Needless to say, yours truly is a member. I’m afraid working in a dark room in this climate won’t be too pleasant though. One thing there’s no need to bother about warm water for developer and fixes, the difficulty will be keeping it cool enough!

Well it’s time I packed up now. I’ll probably write again tomorrow.

Cheerio,
Lots of Love,
John
xxx
xxx

Posted in 1946 | Tagged | Leave a comment

Sunday 16th June 1946 – “Apart from the pictures there’s nowhere to go”

14400541,
Sigmn. Moore J.,
Royal Signals,
HQ 2 Inf. Bde.,
M.E.F.

2.45 p.m.
Sunday
16-6-46

Dear All,

Sorry I’ve gone a few days without writing. I’ve been trying to do my letter writing on duty but I’m afraid I haven’t been very successful.

Anyway I’m pleased to say I got a letter from Gwladys yesterday and one from Mam today. Mum’s was direct to this place so from now on the mail should be OK again.

Last Wednesday night we saw a play and it made quite a change. It was J.B. Priestley’s “Laburnum Grove”. I’ve got an idea I’d seen it somewhere before but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Since then I haven’t done anything special. Apart from the pictures there’s nowhere to go. I’m hoping that later on I shall be able to get some leave and go to Jerusalem, but at the moment there isn’t much chance because there aren’t any spare men. In spite of the fact that it’s a lonely place I like it better than Alex. Perhaps it’s the unit I like better, anyway I’m happier here. It makes a lot of difference not having to do any parades or guards. A unit is judged by the number of parades and guards, and as the only parade here is for pay once a fortnight, this is pretty good.

I had quite a pleasant surprise yesterday when I met one of the old 12 Corps chaps. He’s a sergeant and came up here from Cairo last November.

The weather is a bit queer here today. It’s very windy but it’s a hot wind. I think the hottest part of the year here is supposed to be July and August then it will start cooling off a bit.

Did you see the eclipse of the moon on Friday night? Perhaps it wasn’t visible in England; we had a good view here.

So you let my bed to an ex-Egyptian warrior? There’d better not be anybody sleeping in it when I get home! So don’t get booked up too far in advance. I’d hate to get home to have to sleep in the hut!

I suppose Gwladys and Kath will be on holiday now. You haven’t been saying much about holidays and I didn’t really know if it was this week or not. I hope the weather has improved by now.

When do Mam and Dad go away?

I had a letter from Ron yesterday, at long last. Apparently he was bullied into taking that stripe but I think he’s better off now. He has moved into Tel Aviv and there’s only a small number of them there. He doesn’t seem to be doing much at all.

We had a letter from Curly a few days ago. He’s still at the same place in Japan and says the weather there is like an English summer and they are wearing battle dress again. He said group 38 were leaving there on the way home so he won’t be all that long before he’s on the move.

We have to wait till about three weeks before the demob date before we start on the homeward trek. I wish Isaacs would make another statement. He will soon have to give the programme up to the end of the year and if I’m not in it, Labour will have lost a valuable supporter! In fact I’ve felt dubious for a long time, after all their promises about “get the men home” etc.

Well it’s exactly a year ago today since I got home for my 28 days leave. It doesn’t seem a year to me. I shall miss the green peas, new spuds etc. this year but I was lucky last summer so I can’t grumble.

I think that’s about all for now. Hope you are all well. I’m fine myself.

Cheerio,
Lots of Love,
John
xxxx
xxx

Posted in 1946 | Tagged | Leave a comment

Tuesday 11th June 1946 – “in this hot weather it’s practically impossible to sleep in the daytime”

14400541,
Sigmn. Moore J.,
Royal Signals,
HQ 2 Inf. Bde.,
M.E.F.

9 p.m.
Tuesday
11 June ’46

Dear All,

I’m glad to say I’ve now had one or two letters forwarded from Alex. I got one from Dad yesterday, and thanks very much for it.

There isn’t a lot more news to add to my last letter, except that I’ve started work again. I’m still on the same job (wireless operating) and I suppose I’ll never change it now. I’ve sometimes thought that I’d like to change but it’s a steady job.

Here there are four of us to work the shifts between us which means that we do roughly five hours on duty and then have fifteen hours to ourselves. The only trouble is that in this hot weather it’s practically impossible to sleep in the daytime – even I can hardly sleep so you can see what a job it is! Still we get two full nights in bed out of every four so it’s not too bad.

I haven’t been bathing here yet but they run trucks down to the beach every day so I shall have to try it some day. I really think it’s warmer here than it was at Alex. We are further north but Alex was cooler because it was so near the sea.

I told you that I’d written to some people in Holland. Well I’ve had a reply but it’s written in Dutch and I can’t understand it. I shall probably be able to find somebody to translate it.

I was interested to hear about the agricultural show. The Farm seems to have done pretty well. I don’t suppose it was much of a show compared with pre-war years.

I wonder what sort of time you had for the anniversary. They were the good old days sitting up there in new suits watching how many pound notes were put on the collection plates!

Your talk of duck and green peas certainly did make my mouth water. We don’t do too bad for grub here, the quality is poorest though. Today’s menu was :-

Breakfast – Spam and scrambled egg
Tiffin (midday) – Corned beef, salad, jam tart and half an orange
Dinner – Mutton chops, roast spuds, carrots and bread pudding

As I say the quality isn’t there. I suppose I’ll notice a change when I get on civvy rations. There won’t be so much I know, but the way it is cooked means a lot and I’ll have no complaints. I’ll be glad when I know officially that I’ll be home for Christmas and then we can at least look forward to one day of plenty in something like pre-war style!

I’m on duty now but I shall be going off very soon so I must close.

Cheerio for now,
Lots of Love,
John
xxxx
xxxx

Posted in 1946 | Tagged | Leave a comment

Saturday 8th June 1946 – “life in the barracks was a bit depressing to say the least”

14400541,
Sigmn. Moore J.,
Royal Signals,
HQ 2nd Inf. Bde.,
M.E.F.

6.30 p.m.
Saturday
8 June ’46

Dear All,

I was hoping to write a fairly long and interesting letter now, but I don’t think I’ll be able to because there’s little to add to my previous letter.

Gordon and I haven’t even started work yet! We arrived here on Wednesday and saw our new section officer as I’ve already told you. On Thursday morning we had a look round to get the hang of things. That took about an hour and that’s all we did that day.

Yesterday we did about half an hour’s work, if it can be called that, and that was it for another day.

Today has been a general holiday for everybody as it is Victory day, so once again we’ve done nothing.

However one chap is going on demob on Monday and another chap is being posted, so I suppose we shall be starting work very soon.

Last night we went to the camp cinema. The film was “Beautiful Cheat” and was quite good. The cinema itself is the best camp cinema I’ve come across so far.

So there you have all my news. I’m sure I made a good move when I came to this place. There were many good chaps in the old section at Alex but somehow there was no spirit in the section. There were three small parties. Firstly the NCOs (some of them had only been in the army about a year) who fancied themselves as little dictators. Secondly there was a group of youngsters who had just come from training battalions at Catterick and who, quite naturally I suppose, rather thought they were important because they were abroad at the age of 18 and 19. Thirdly there was my group, the “veterans” who had no time for the others!

The result of all that, plus the fact that life in the barracks was a bit depressing to say the least, was that everybody was miserable.

Here things seem much different. I can honestly say that since I’ve been hear I haven’t heard anybody grumble, and that’s something very unusual indeed.

Well I haven’t had any mail for a week but I’m not worried because I know it will arrive all in good time.

Must close now but I’ll write again in a day or two.

Cheerio for now,
Lots of Love,
John
xxxx
xxxx

Posted in 1946 | Tagged | Leave a comment

Wednesday 5th June 1946 – “there were ten of us with all our kit and a big box of sandwiches”

14400541,
Sigmn. Moore J.,

7.30 p.m.
Wed.
5 June ’46

Dear All,

Just a brief note to let you know I’m OK and have arrived in my new unit. I only got here this afternoon so you can imagine that I’ve got plenty to do in the way of getting organised.

Well we left Alex Sigs. at 10.15 Monday morning, got to the railway station at 10.30 and, as usual, found there had been a technical hitch, no seats booked on the train! Finally, just as the train was ready to pull out at 11.10 they decided to let us get on. It was a scramble because there were ten of us with all our kit and a big box of sandwiches. We had to stand for the first four hours then we changed and after that had a seat all the way.

We arrived in Haifa about 9 a.m. yesterday and the first thing that struck us was the difference in scenery as compared with Egypt. Just by the town is Mount Carmel and it rises very steeply from the sea. 1st Division HQ is right on the top of Mount Carmel and that is where we found ourselves about midday yesterday.

There we had interviews with an assortment of Captains and Majors and they, after asking us everything from our date of birth to date of last inoculation, put their heads together and decided which sections to send us to. Gordon and I were posted to this section (J) and came here this afternoon by truck. We are about halfway between Haifa and Tel Aviv and about a mile from the coast. I think this is just the sort of section I’ve always wanted to get to. Wireless operators are excused guards and all parades. There will be night duties but when we are off duty we are absolutely free.

The camp itself is nicely laid out and the tents are comfortable. It’s self contained having its own cinema and NAAFI.

That’s all for now. I’ll be writing again very soon to tell you more about the place etc. Hope you are all well and hope there’ll be some letters in a few days.

Cheerio
Lots of Love,
John
xxx
xxx
P.S Have just checked up and the correct address is :- Royal Signals, H.Q. 2nd Inf. Bde., M.E.F.

Posted in 1946 | Tagged | Leave a comment

Sunday 2nd June 1946 – “writing for the last time from Alex”

14400541,
Sigm. Moore J.,
etc.

2 p.m.
2 June ’46

Dear All,

Here we are, writing for the last time from Alex. We haven’t had any more information except that we have to be ready by ten o’clock this morning. I have to pack all my kit this afternoon so this won’t be a very long letter.

Thanks very much for Mam’s letter which I got on Friday.

This is Anniversary day at home and I can well imagine it. Hope you are having a nice day.

Pleased to hear the painters have started their rounds again. Getting quite like old times, isn’t it?

The news about Ron and his stripe came as a surprise to me. I bet that explains why he hasn’t written. After all he has said about promotion I suppose he doesn’t want me to know he has stooped so low! Only a few weeks ago he was telling me he had refused to take a stripe.

I have that parcel all ready to send because it seemed a waste of time carrying the stuff around. I decided that the knife wasn’t worth sending so for the time being the serviette rings and the trinket box will have to suffice. I believe trinket boxes usually go in pairs. Actually I did get two but I am sending one to Kath. I might as well tell you that they are hand made, the German prisoners in this area make them and sell them. I think they are very nice but you’ll be able to judge for yourself when the parcel arrives.

That’s about all for now. I don’t suppose I shall be able to write again till towards the end of the week. We leave here on the 11.10 train tomorrow but we shan’t be there until Tuesday afternoon and even then we might move a few miles on again. You might as well carry on writing to this address for the time being.

Cheerio
Love,
John
xxxx
xxxx

Posted in 1946 | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Thursday 30th May 1946 – ” I’m going to 1 Div. and as far as I know they are up in Palestine, at Haifa”

14400541,
Sigm. Moore J.,
1 Company,
Alex Sigs.,
M.E.F.

Thursday
30 May 46

Dear All,

Thanks very much for Gwladys’s letter which I got yesterday. I don’t know how I would have been able to write today without a letter to answer because there is such a shortage of news from here.

Every day is much the same as the last. I’ve got a day off today and I’m going for a swim in about an hour. It’s a very hot day and the sea ought to be quite calm.

The time seems to be flying by and I could hardly believe it when I read that in just over a fortnight Gwladys will be on holiday. I had no idea it was so soon.

George Eames definitely said he was going to be a Resident Manager of that place. I hardly think he would stop so low as to be a mere Leader, not if there was a vacancy for a Manager!

From what I can remember of Hastings it is quite a nice place. Of course we weren’t there long because we hitch-hiked from Ashford and I believe we got there around mid-day and had to leave about six. Also at that time there was barbed wire all along the front but it had been a nice place and I suppose it has returned to normal by now. The surrounding district is quite nice.

Is Dereck Ross coming home for Demob? I hardly think he can be because he joined up after me didn’t he? Still the Navy are up to about group 45 now, and he’ll be out before me in any case.

I wonder where Mrs. Webb gets the idea Ron might get leave. As he’s in Palestine, the evacuation from Egypt won’t concern him and I don’t think anybody will get leave because there doesn’t seem to be enough shipping space. There are all sorts of rumours going round. I had a letter from Jock, he’s still with 3rd Div., remember I was with them at Portsmouth? Apparently they are moving soon and they’ve heard rumours that they are going to :-

1 England
2 Greece
3 Austria
4 Germany and
5 The Gold Coast!!

Here we have a rumour that ten wireless ops. are being posted to 3 Div., so you can see how much we actually know.

That’s about all for now I think

So cheerio
Lots of love,
John
xxx
xx

9 p.m.
Just a short P.S. to let you know my posting is through and I leave here on Monday morning. I’m going to 1 Div. and as far as I know they are up in Palestine, at Haifa, I think. Gordon is going as well. I’ll be writing again before then.

Cheerio,
John

Posted in 1946 | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Tuesday 28th May 1946 – “I’ve been listening to commentaries on a cricket match at Lords today”

14400541,
etc.

7.30 p.m.
Tuesday
28-5-46

Dear All,

Well when I wrote last night I said I would write again today, but as there wasn’t any mail for me today I hardly know what to write about. It will certainly be a short letter.

The weather is stifling tonight. I’m on duty officially and sitting near a big transmitting set is not a cool job. It’s surprising what heat these transmitters cause when they’ve been working a few hours.

I’ve been listening to commentaries on a cricket match at Lords today. Or rather one commentary because you appear to have been having wet weather as usual.

Tommy Trinder is giving a show here on Sunday but we have only been allotted a small number of seats so only a few of us will be lucky. We might be able to see it buckshee because they are erecting the stage on a football pitch just below our transmitting station.

I can’t think of any more to write about now. We might get some information about postings tomorrow.

Cheerio for now,
Lots of love,
John
xxx
xx

Posted in 1946 | Tagged , | Leave a comment