Wednesday 25th September 1946 – “we got lost in Jaffa”

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

Wed
25/9/46

Dear All,

First of all thanks very much for Mam’s letter of the 19th which arrived here yesterday. I would have written yesterday but in a minute you’ll know why I didn’t.

Probably you have heard from Mrs. Webb by now and if so you’ll know that Ron had an accident about three weeks ago. I didn’t say anything about it in my letters because I thought it might not be serious in which case there was no need to worry you or Mr. and Mrs. Webb. I had been scheming to try and visit him in hospital but there didn’t seem to be any way of getting down there. Anyway on Monday I got a letter from Mrs. Webb and apparently Ron’s officer had informed them and of course she was pretty worried. It was a motor cycle accident by the way. Anyway yesterday morning I went to see the captain here and asked him if there was any chance of getting a truck and told him the reason. It was awkward as we are moving out so soon but he was very decent and actually put his jeep at my disposal. Gordon also managed to get off and we left here about one o’clock. It is 55 miles to the hospital where Ron is but we were there soon after two. You can imagine how surprised Ron was. He is up now but he’s had a bit of a shaking up. He was lucky though because the other chap on the motor bike was badly hurt and sent back to England. Ron had a nasty cut on his left leg and had thirty stitches in it. It’s healed up OK now and he should be quite all right again in a couple of weeks. Needless to say we found plenty to talk about and he hasn’t changed at all. For a few months he’s had a very good job in Tel Aviv but I think he’s lost it now so he doesn’t know what will happen.

I’ve just written to Mrs. Webb to tell her there’s no need to worry. I know she must have been worried at first but now Ron is able to write she will be more cheerful. It could have been very much worse.

All Mam’s news was interesting as usual. I haven’t time to write much more as it is getting quite late now.

I haven’t heard much more about moving so as far as I know we go on Monday. I wonder if it will be the last I see of this place or if I’ll be coming back here in December.

Yesterday we passed not far from Bethlehem but of course couldn’t go out of our way. As it was we got lost in Jaffa and when we got back we showed a mileage of 120 instead of 110. I hope to do a bit of sightseeing round Nazareth when we get there.

Hope you are all well. I’m fine myself.

Cheerio,
Lots of Love,
John
xxxxxx

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Sunday 22nd September 1946 – “haven’t done anything in particular except work and sleep”

14400541,
Sigmn. Moore J.,
etc.

Sunday
22/9/46

Dear All,

Thanks for Gwladys’s letter of the 16th which arrived yesterday. I am on duty now and think I shall be able to write a letter between batches of work.

As usual there’s practically no news from this end. I haven’t been swimming again, haven’t been to the pictures, in fact haven’t done anything in particular except work and sleep. We should be moving from here a week tomorrow so I suppose we shall be busy towards the end of the week. When we get to Nazareth I don’t think we shall be as busy as we are now.

The list of prices Gwladys gave me for clothes startled me a bit. It’s going to be a problem getting rigged out again. I wonder if my grey suit and overcoat will fit me now? I shall have a job trying to decide what to take from the demob centre.

I can imagine Arthur B choosing a sports coat to match his plus fours. It’s a wonder he didn’t ask for plus fours or shorts instead of flannels.

Kath tells me Herbert Chaplin is courting, so Gwen Wakefield is out of the running now – or is she courting?

Once again that seems to be about all. I shall be writing again soon.

Cheerio,
Lots of Love,
John
xxxxxx

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Friday 20th September 1946 – “Bantams and rabbits seem to be doing well, good show”

14400541,
Sigmn. Moore J.,
As usual.

Friday
20th Sept. ’46

Dear All,

Thanks very much for Dad’s letter of the 10th which arrived the day before yesterday. I was going to write last night when I was on duty but we were unusually busy and I never had a chance.

The mail isn’t coming in too well now, they give the reason as bad flying weather in England and I suppose that is understandable.

The news about moving is now official but we have no definite date yet. One thing is pretty certain, that we shan’t get much of a Christmas (if I’m still here). We are due back here on the 22nd Dec. and we shall then have all our tents and stores to rearrange, as this camp is being completely dismantled while we are away. Of course Gordon and I don’t know where we shall be at Christmas but there’s a chance that we shall be on the way home. Blokes have been leaving this place roughly a month before their demob date so we shall know more after the next statement.

We went swimming this afternoon and, for a change, went to a civvy bathing post. There were some sports on at 4 o’clock so we stayed for an hour to watch them and then hitch hiked back.

The weather today has been hotter again. Just lately we have had more cloud and breeze.

I’m afraid this move rather upsets any idea of leave and that course. I don’t know yet but I think the “scheme” takes priority over everything else.

Dad seems to have passed the novice stage at bowls. It’s an “old man’s game” but I must say I can’t make much of a show at it.

Bantams and rabbits seem to be doing well, good show.

That’s about all for now. Hope you are doing well.

Cheerio and,
Lots of Love,
John
xxxxxxxx

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Monday 16th September 1946 – “we are going to Nazareth for about a month and then up to Transjordan”

14400541,
etc.

Monday
16 Sept. 46

Dear All,

I’ll try to write a few lines now but I shall probably be interrupted several times as I am on duty. I haven’t had any mail since I last wrote and, as usual, there isn’t a lot to write about.

First of all, today I’ve had what I hope will be my last inoculations. I had two and so far they haven’t affected me very much. Since I’ve been in the army I’ve had well over twenty inoculations, and (in hospital), four jabs for blood, so I think I’ve had my share of needles.

About the only other news is that we are moving from here on or about the 27th – of this month. As far as we know we are going to Nazareth for about a month and then up to Transjordan. Apparently we are due back here for Christmas so if Gordon and I don’t leave before, we shall be leaving here on demob as soon as we get back. I think it is a scheme we are going on, but whatever it is I’m glad we’re moving. It will help the time to pass much more quickly and will give us a chance to see the country.

We’ve had a lot of new chaps posted to this section today and we shall need them. A batch of “veterans” leave here for Blighty tomorrow and there are several of us group 46 to 50.

Well that’s exhausted my supply of news so I might as well close. Hope you are all well and that there will be a letter from you very soon.

Cheerio for now,
Lots of Love,
John
xxxxxxxx

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Friday 13th September 1946 – “one rumour says Transjordan, another Cyprus”

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

Friday
Sept. 13/46

Dear All,

Was very pleased to get Mam’s letter of the 8th today. I should imagine that the last letter (probably from Gwladys) has gone astray, but it might turn up in due course.

I have now settled down again as much as I ever will. There are still rumours about moving, but I don’t think we shall move for a couple of months, if then. I wouldn’t mind a move, one rumour says Transjordan, another Cyprus, and the latter would be a nice change.

A crowd of us went swimming this afternoon and it was quite enjoyable. Slowly but surely the weather seems to be getting cooler. It’s not very noticeable yet but we’ve passed the hottest part of the year.

If I’m not mistaken it’s just about a year ago since you were at Hunstanton. I remember the first couple of days of that week well enough.

I was sorry to hear Mam wasn’t feeling too well but hope she is quite all right again.

Glad Gwladys enjoyed the Garden Fête at Kirby. I’ve only been there once, to a similar do in 1941, and I know it is a nice place.

It gets dark here about a quarter to eight so we are about the same as you in that respect. I think we are three hours in front of you now but I am not sure.

The news about Ray Page and Ivy Porter surprised me. Wilf and Annie may spring a similar surprise in the next few years – who knows?

I did wear shorts in the Con. depot but had hospital blues in the hospital.

Glad to hear the old bank balance is still rising steadily. I might be sending another £20 or so soon, but I shall have to check my credits. I shall no doubt need plenty of money when I get out of the army. From July 1st we came on new rates of pay but it made no difference to me. The only effect is that I got no rise at the end of four years under the new system.

Well I’m on duty now and I’d better knock off and do a bit of work. So cheerio for now,

Lots of Love,
John
xxxxxxxx

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Wednesday 11th September 1946 – “The food is about the same as before – nothing special”

14400541,

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

Wednesday
11 Sept. ’46

Dear All,

Having arrived back here and more or less settled down again I’ll see about writing a few lines.

I got back here on Monday morning and found that a lot of things had changed. A few chaps have gone on demob but there are lots of new faces here.

The OC said that he’s soon find a job for me and I started work at 5 0’clock yesterday afternoon. I’m on the same job and same shifts as before I went into hospital. That means I have a day off today.

The first batch of group 41 leave here tomorrow so I count myself as group 7 now.

I intended going swimming today but there are some sports on somewhere so there was no transport available.

The camera club doesn’t seem to have made much headway while I’ve been away. I believe the materials they got for the dark room have all been used and now they are waiting for fresh stock.

The food is about the same as before – nothing special.

I had a letter from Curly yesterday. He doesn’t seem to be doing much. They’ve even got Japs working their wireless sets for them.

That’s about all for now. I hope to hear from you soon. There seems to be a hold up in the mail at them moment.

Cheerio,
Lots of Love,
John
xxxxxx

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Saturday 7th September 1946 – “Believe me I won’t be sorry to get away from here”

14400541,
etc.

Saturday
7 Sept. ’46

Dear All,

Well this is the last letter you’ll get from the Con Depot as I’m going back to work on Monday. Believe me I won’t be sorry to get away from here. They caught me for another guard last night. I hadn’t done a real guard for twelve months until I came here, but here, as a patient, I’ve done two guards in three weeks, Still that’s the army all over.

I went swimming this afternoon but as usual the sea was too rough to be enjoyable. I’ve got my tan back while I’ve been here that’s one thing.

When I get back to the camp I am going to see what the leave position is, before I get too settled again. I don’t suppose I’ll get any for a bit but there’s no harm in trying.

Thanks for Dad’s letter of the 1st which I got today. I was sorry, but not surprised, to see that rejection slip. There’s still a chance that I might be more successful in the competition. Anyway I had nothing to lose – I didn’t even have to pay postage!

I was surprised (and envious) to read that Barry Spence is demobbed. Hardly seems fair does it? The chaps in the Navy could easily be transferred to the Army as they can do garrison duty as well as we can. It doesn’t give you much encouragement when you’ve done Active Service and after four years still have to wait for demob, to see other blokes come in and go out like that. Still one can’t blame the chaps in the Navy, it’s just their good luck. But I’m afraid if they want volunteers for the regular army, the War Office will have to treat me with a bit more consideration and understanding. Needless to say there’s not the slightest chance that I shall sign on!

Well I think that’s about all for now. I don’t suppose I shall be able to write on Monday so don’t be surprised if you don’t get a letter for a few days after this.

Hope you are all well
Love,
John
xxx

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Thursday 5th September 1946 – “I’ve been wearing the same pair of socks for weeks now”

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

Thurs
5 Sept. ’46

Dear All,

Just a short letter as I have no letter to answer. I’ve had no mail at all for three or four days but I suppose I shall get a batch eventually.

Life is just about the same here. Yesterday they had us working till half past seven at night moving beds around. Of course there were moans and blokes wanted to know if this is a Convalescent depot or a Concentration camp but we still had the job to do.

Yesterday they ran a trip to Jacob’s Well but only a certain number could go and, as usual, I was unlucky with the draw.

There’s another bloke from the section here now. He tells me that about fourteen men are going home soon (having done 3¹/years out here) so it looks as if we’ll be short of men.

I’ll be glad to get back and get settled down again. I’ve been wearing the same pair of socks for weeks now as I only have one pair with me. When I wash them I have to wear boots without socks and it isn’t exactly comfortable!

That’s about all for now. I shall know on Saturday if I’m to be discharged on Monday, but I’m almost certain I shall be.

Cheerio for now,
Lots of Love,
John
xxxxxx

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Monday 1st September 1946 – “I heard that he was doing 28 days detention for being in unlawful possession of an army truck”

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

Monday
1 Sept. ’46

Dear All,

Well here I am still in the Con Depot. Some chaps went out today but I wasn’t in the list so now it will either be Thursday or next Monday.

Pleased to say I got Mam’s letter of the 26th this evening. It had been to the unit first so it wasn’t long delayed.

As usual there isn’t much news. The food has improved 100% since that Inquiry. We had tinned fruit yesterday and again today. The bread is also a lot better and I haven’t found an insect in it for a couple of days – I’ve probably eaten several without knowing!

There’s a noticeable change in the weather now. The early mornings and night are much cooler and much more pleasant. I hope the rain doesn’t come yet though.

That photo Mam sent is very good indeed, and thanks very much for it. Mam hasn’t altered a bit.

I’m enclosing a snap which one of the boys took here. It isn’t too good as the sun was much too strong. I’ve got my camera here and I’ll take it down to the beach tomorrow if I go. There’s no picturesque scenery here. If I could go round places like Bethlehem and Nazareth I would no doubt be able to use as many films as I could get, but I don’t see much possibility of sightseeing.

By the way, you can expect a food parcel sometime. The Red Cross are arranging it and I ordered one for you. When you get it it should contain, 1lb raisins, 1lb sugar, 1 tin fruit and some sort of a pie. The strange part of it is that the parcels don’t come from here, the stuff is in England and these people forward the names and addresses on. Hope you get it before Christmas because as I shall be home soon after with all my gratuities, other Christmas presents can wait. I estimate that with gratuities, post war credit, leave pay etc. I shall have about £90 and 83 days leave. That’s if they count BLA as overseas. They are a bit crafty with that. When we were there it was overseas but now they get regular leave I think it’s counted as Home Service so I can see us blokes being swindled.

Like Mam, I wish that all us old Catterick lads could finish our time together. We are spread out now. Curly is still in Japan, Stan Sunderland at Singapore, Jack Scotton and Kelly in Egypt and Ron, Gordon and yours truly in Palestine. I don’t think Kelly wrote to anybody but from an indirect source I heard that he was doing 28 days detention for being in unlawful possession of an army truck, so his group will be about 50 now. At least Jack, Ron, Gordon and I should travel home together. Curly and Stan being younger are 49 group. Two more days and it will be four years since we reported to Catterick and started our long “holiday”. I never expected it to last four years but it’s no good moaning about it now. There’s four years done and a mere four months to do.

Well I’ll be signing off now. I shall see what the MO says to me in the morning and I’ll let you know.

Cheerio,
Lots of Love,
John
xxxxxx

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Friday 30th August 1946 – “The food has got very bad here, so bad that there has been a Court of Inquiry”

14400541,
etc.

9.30 p.m.
30/8/46
Friday

Dear All,

Just a short letter to post in the morning. I’ve got no letter to answer this time.

There’s nothing exciting to report from here. Yesterday I went swimming for a change and got a bit more tanned. The sea isn’t too good for swimming along this coast. It isn’t nearly as good as at Alex.

The food has got very bad here, so bad that there has been a Court of Inquiry about it today. Yesterday for tea they gave us tinned fish and rice, all made in one pie. Did you ever hear of anything like it? We’ve had spam every morning for over a week now. For a place like this it’s terrible, and you can see that the Forces aren’t all that well off for rations – you try pilchards and rice to test it!

I don’t know if I’m going out on Monday or not, I shall know tomorrow.

Any sign of those cheques I told you to be prepared for? If not I give up hope.

Well I’ll be signing off now. I’ll probably write again on Sunday.

Hope you are all well,
Cheerio,
Lots of Love,
John
xxxxxx

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