Tuesday 3rd December 1946 – “one change of clothing, half a tandem and £10 in the bank”

14400541,
etc.

Tues.
Dec 3/46

Dear All,

Just a few lines before tea as I’m hoping to go to the pictures tonight.

As usual there isn’t a great deal to write about. The weather is just about right now, sunny most days but by no means hot. I suppose we shall be getting some heavy rain in a few weeks time.

I had a letter from Dorrell yesterday. Apparently he hasn’t heard any more about call up or deferment but he still seems very worried. He says his total capital now consists of “one change of clothing, half a tandem and £10 in the bank”. I suppose it is a bit rotten in a way because his mother will be left alone, but thousands have been worse of than them because of the war.

It looks as if I might be getting a stripe again. I had a couple of interviews yesterday and was asked if I would accept one. I really didn’t know what to do because there’s hardly a hope of becoming a full corporal by the time I get demobbed, but one stripe will mean an extra 1/6d a day and also a further £6 on my demob pay, so I told them I’d take it. It hasn’t come through yet so don’t alter the address till I tell you. One or two more are being made up, including Gordon.

I think that’s about all for now. Hope you are all well and there has been an improvement in the weather.

I’ll write again about Thursday.

Cheerio for now,
Lots of Love,
John
xxxx

P.S. Excuse “note paper”

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Sunday 1st December 1946 – “I’d rather you didn’t send me anything for Christmas”

14400541,
As usual.

Sunday
1 Dec 46

Dear All,

I was pleased to get Mam’s letter of the 25th yesterday. There had been quite a gap in the mail but it seems to be coming through better now.

I haven’t seen much of Haifa yet. It is in bounds again and we went down on Friday evening but being the Jewish Sabbath all shops and cinemas were closed. We just went to the NAAFI for a supper, and after a walk round couldn’t find our bus stop. Finally we got a taxi which worked out almost as cheap.

We are quite comfortable in the billet but we shall be vacating it in another three weeks or so, and “squatting” in tents at our own camp!

You seem to have been having quite a downpour of rain. It’s a good thing “The Laurels” is situated on top of the hill.

Gordon is still with me, though at the moment he hasn’t got a regular job to do. There’s some talk about two or three chaps having to go back to Transjordan for a couple of weeks and Gordon is almost certain to go if anybody does – naturally he isn’t pleased!

It’s some time since I heard from Ron, but I think it is my turn to write. I shall try to ring him up one night.

I’d rather you didn’t send me anything for Christmas. There’s always a risk of parcels getting lost apart from the fact that you can’t get anything to send.

I’m taking a film in to be developed very shortly so I should be sending some more snaps soon.

That’s about all for now.
Cheerio,
Lots of Love,
John
xxxx

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Thursday 28th November 1946 – “I read Atlee’s list of excuses in the paper”

14400541,
Sigmn. Moore J.,
etc.,

Thurs.
28-11-46
9.15 p.m.

Dear All,

There’s not much to write about this time but I’m on duty with nothing much to do so I’ll write a few lines.

Haifa is now in bounds again but I’ve got to wait for a new battle dress before I can go out. I’m on the waiting list but when they’ll arrive nobody knows.

I did go out last night but only down the road to the hospital (where I was a patient) where there was a play on. It was “Gaslight” and was very good indeed. The only snag was that we had to walk back and it’s a drag walking up this hill.

I read Atlee’s list of excuses in the paper and see that he has half-promised that group 58 will be out by the end of next year. I seem to remember that they promised to get group 50 out by the end of this year…….

It seems pretty definite that we shall be making a big move in January. There’s nothing official but it’s a very strong rumour.

I can’t think of anything else now, but I’ll be writing again during the week-end and in the meantime I hope to hear from you.

Cheerio,
Lots of Love,
John
xxxx

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Tuesday 26th November 1946 – “We are on Mount Carmel overlooking Haifa and it isn’t too bad”

14400541,
etc.,

Tues.
26-11-46

Dear All,

Well here we are in Haifa. I came here with a small advance party on Sunday. The main party came on yesterday.

We are on Mount Carmel overlooking Haifa and it isn’t too bad. We are in a billet; running water and electric lights making a pleasant change.

Ever since we got here Haifa has been out of bounds because there’s an illegal ship in the harbour now. I suppose everything will return to normal in a day or two.

There isn’t a lot of work for us to do here but our trucks badly need cleaning and also we’ve got to smarten ourselves up from now on. In Transjordan we just had to shave every day, beyond that there were no regulations about dress. Here we have polished boots etc. and we are going into battledress from tomorrow onwards.

Thanks for Gwladys’s letter of the 19th which I got this morning.

Pleased to hear the children’s concert was such a success. I should think J.J. would be pleased too.

I have rather mixed feelings about being so friendly with the Germans. I can’t make up my mind what really should be done. In any case it’s very risky to let them give talks like that.

There’s no chance of getting leave as far as I’m concerned. Originally men with 12 months out here got 28 days leave at home provided they would have four months or more to serve after their leave. Nobody below group 52 was going before the latest statement. When they said that Group 50 wouldn’t be out till June it was obvious they had to revise the system and they brought it down to 49 group and over. Chaps in group 49 with 12 months out here actually left for home yesterday, so I missed it by one group. However I’m not worrying (what’s the use?), the time will soon pass after Christmas.

I believe Mr. Atlee is giving a talk tonight on the demob question but I don’t think it will be speeded up.

That’s about all for now. I’ll be writing again in a couple of days.

Cheerio for now,
Lots of Love,
John
xxxxx

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Friday 22nd November 1946 – “This rotten business of being in the army at such important years of my life is a big setback”

14400541,
etc.,

Friday
22/11/46

Dear All,

Well I’ll see if I can write a longer letter tonight.

There isn’t much news to add to yesterday’s letter. We are going to Haifa on Monday.

I feel a lot more lively after getting a full night’s rest last night, but we didn’t get a chance to lie in this morning. We had to attend a talk by the general. He explained to us what all this training is about. Apparently it’s part of a training programme for the next fifteen years, arranged by Monty. Of course these brass hats always assume there will be another war.

We are now back on normal rations. Fo the exercise we were on biscuits and bully and compo tea most of the time.

I was very touched to hear that Aunt Clara thought about me so near the end. I can still hardly realise that she has gone. I’m glad Uncle Charlie is bearing up well but I suppose he will gradually feel the loss more and more.

I am very interested in Dad’s remarks about my future. How I wish I was at home so we could talk the whole thing over, but that of course is impossible. For a long time I haven’t felt happy about going back to the Building Society and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been there now even if I hadn’t been in the army. Apart from the idea that I don’t like being penned up all day, it’s so easy to get in a rut there. I’m seriously considering Dad’s suggestions and I’m very keen to follow up those ideas. There are one or two snags however. One thing is that while I am in the army the Building Society is paying me a pound a month, so by the time I am out they will have paid me about £54. I can’t see that I’m under any obligation to go back there because of that, because if necessary I could tell them to keep the money but it would be awkward. Also I don’t particularly like the idea of doing two years at College, I feel I want to settle down to a proper job as soon as possible, though I realise that proper training is necessary for any job, especially connected with Agriculture. As I think you know, I’m never happier than when I’m in the country, I don’t know why it is. I think that speaks for itself, although as far as farming is concerned at least, I am a complete novice. This rotten business of being in the army at such important years of my life is a big setback but I don’t think it’s too late to start afresh on something I’m really interested in. Anyway I think I’ve said enough for the time being for you to realise that Dad has set me thinking seriously. I might be able to find out something from the Army Education Authorities at this end, I’ll see anyway.

Well I’ll leave it at that for now. I don’t suppose I’ll be writing again before Tuesday as we shall be busy packing tomorrow and Sunday and it will take us a full day on Monday to move back.

Cheerio for now,
Lots of Love,
John
xxxxxx

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Thursday 21st November 1946 – “I think we are moving to Haifa on Sunday”

14400541,
Sigmn. Moore J.,
etc.,

Thurs.
21-11-46
8 p.m.

Dear All,

Hope you haven’t been worrying because you haven’t heard from me for a few days but we were busy all day on Sunday and left here on a scheme on Monday morning.

Since Sunday night I’ve had just about 8 hours sleep altogether so you can imagine how tired I feel now. I shall be in bed within five minutes of finishing this letter. We arrived back here this afternoon and the powers that be really appreciate how hard we have worked. The training is now over and I think we are moving to Haifa on Sunday.

I got Mam’s letter of the 11th. before we left and Dad’s of the 14th when we got back today. Thanks very much for both of these. I’ll answer them next time I write, I hope that will be tomorrow.

In the meantime I’ll say,
Cheerio,
Lots of Love,
John
xxxxx

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Thursday 14th November 1946 – ” At a given signal the guns opened up”

14400541,
Sigmn. Moore J.,
as usual

Thurs.
14-11-46

Dear All,

Well much to my surprise those of us who were on that scheme were relieved by other operators yesterday afternoon, and we are now back in camp, still in Transjordan of course. Apparently our OC wanted everybody to have experience of roughing it!

We certainly did rough it. In the two days I was out I was only able to wash once, and then in a mug full of water. Still I quite enjoyed it and yesterday morning had more excitement than I’ve had for some time. The idea was that a mock attack went in at dawn. This meant that we had to be up at three o’clock. Then the driver, the officer and I climbed into the jeep and proceeded across country to the starting position. It was all very realistic and my job was to keep in communication with the boss of the show and also with other sets. At a given signal the guns opened up, firing on a hill about a mile in front of us, and we in the jeeps, the infantry and the tanks, all moved forward. Then the tanks started firing and you’ve never heard such a din. It was all over by 6.30 a.m. and everybody was very satisfied.

Today I had a much needed hot shower, and after a night in bed last night I feel fine.

I’m still very disappointed about the demob news but I’m getting over it because being miserable won’t help matters. Group 48 starts in the last week of March. The chaps who are most upset are those about Group 52. They were expecting to be out about February but now they won’t be out before September. At least I do know when I shall be out.

Had a letter from Dorrell yesterday. He seems pretty sure that he’ll have to go now. He even went to London to try to get exemption but they wouldn’t do anything. He’s likely to be in for over two years and it will do him the world good. With the qualifications I suppose he’ll end up as a Sergeant dispenser in the RAMC, and the army anyway isn’t as heartbreaking as it wa, but he’ll be on his own and he’ll find it strange. I just hope he does go, then I shall have the pleasure of sitting at home, writing to him about my holidays. It might be a bit unsporting on my part but when he was safe at home he didn’t worry himself about how I felt.

I’ve thought a lot about you since I got Gwladys’s letter. I wonder how Uncle Charlie is, and what he’s going to do now. It’s terrible for him; it wasn’t a very happy retirement was it? Still, I suppose that’s the way it goes, and I know Aunt Clara wouldn’t have wished anybody to be unnecessarily miserable.

Well I’ll close now. I believe we are going out on a four day exercise on Sunday or Monday but I’ll try to write again before then.

Cheerio for now,
Lots of Love,
John
xxxxxxx

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Wednesday 13th November 1946 – “I doubt if morale in the army has ever been lower”

14400541,
as usual

Wed.
Nov 13/46

Dear All,

I’m just snatching this chance of writing a short letter. I’m now out on a 6 day exercise and get very little time to myself. I came out the day before yesterday and am operating a set in the back of a jeep. I’ll tell you more about the scheme in a later letter, though when I shall be able to write again I really don’t know.

I got Gwladys’s letter of the 5th. brought out to me this morning, thanks very much. Needless to say I am very sorry to hear about the news from Walton, though in a way I suppose it was a relief to everybody. I feel very sorry for Uncle Charlie and I’m wondering how he has taken it. I shan’t expect any letters from you for a week or ten days because I know how you will be fixed.

Well you will have heard the demob news I suppose. I knew when I last wrote but at the time the information wasn’t confirmed so I didn’t say anything. Now it is definite that Group 48 won’t be out before the end of March or beginning of April. I don’t need to tell you how I feel about it and I know you will be disappointed too. I doubt if morale in the army has ever been lower, still there it is, moaning won’t help and there is one consolation, (small admitted) I do know definitely the month I’ll be out and also I shall be home for the Spring. I shall feel tempted to take all my leave- April, May and June.

Looks as if Pte. Bragg will be relieving me out here!

Must close now and write a couple of lines to Kath. Don’t worry if you don’t hear for some time, I’m quite OK and will write again as soon as I can.

Love,
Yours,
John
xxxx

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Sunday 10th November 1946 – “Then to please him they let him fire a few shots with a rifle”

14400541,
Sigmn. Moore J.,
etc.

Sunday
10-11-46

Dear All,

I told you I might not be able to write for a few days owing to the scheme. Well I didn’t go on it after all but we were kept pretty busy back here. There was only a small rear party left here and we thought we were on a good thing but we spent about half our time begging meals from a nearby unit.

We had a terrific thunderstorm yesterday afternoon. We were putting an aerial up at the time and got a bit of an electric shock off it. The prophets said that it would keep raining but it has been quite fine today.

I was wrong when I told you King Abdul had been here a few days ago; it was just a rumour. Actually he came yesterday. I had quite a good view of him but it was nothing to get excited about. He is only about five feet tall and was dressed in usual style with a red shawl affair round his head. There was a guard of honour for him. He inspected them, then went for lunch with the officers. After that he sat outside the officers’ mess tent while a pipe band entertained him. Then to please him they let him fire a few shots with a rifle. Then he got in his car (a huge American limousine) and drove away. I wanted to get a photo of him but couldn’t get near enough. I did get one of his car as he was leaving but I don’t suppose “his nibs” will be visible in it.

There’s a big scheme at the end of this week and then we shall be leaving Transjordan.

Well that’s about all for now. It’s after ten o’clock and I’ve still got my bed to make.

So I’ll say cheerio for now,
Love,
John
xxxxx

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Wednesday 6th November 1946 – “I can see that in about ten years time, or probably less, Leicester will spread out as far as Anstey”

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

Wed.
6 Nov. 46

Dear All,

I must write a few lines tonight as we are supposed to be going out on a two day exercise tomorrow. Next week there is a big exercise and tomorrow’s effort is training for next week’s do! Some of the chaps have been out all day today but I was one of the lucky few left behind.

The weather is still fine though it looked as if it might rain once or twice today. We’ve been lucky so far anyway. It’s still in the balance whether or not we shall go to Haifa from here.

I was pleased to get Dad’s letter of the 1st. about half an hour ago, but very sorry to hear the bad news about Aunt Clara. I find it hard to believe somehow, I suppose it’s harder for me to grasp because she has got so much worse in the last twelve months. It must be very bad for Uncle Charlie. I shall be waiting anxiously for further news.

I don’t like the sound of the new road across the farm. I can see that in about ten years time, or probably less, Leicester will spread out as far as Anstey.

Well I’ve had one or two interruptions and I must close now. I’ll write again as soon as I can but it will probably be about Sunday.

In the meantime,
Cheerio,
Lots of Love,
John
xxxx

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