Friday 26th January 1945 – “I often wish I could bump into some of the local boys”

14400541
Sigmn. Moore J.,
Main HQ W/Less Section,
2 Company,
12 Corps Signals,
B.L.A.

26-1-45

Dear All,

I’m afraid I haven’t had a chance to write for a few days, but I hope to finish this letter tonight, although it will only be a short one.

There hasn’t been much mail coming in lately but I was lucky enough to get Mam’s letter this afternoon (posted on the 19th) and also the Wyggestonian etc. which you sent on.

You still seem to be getting about the same weather as we are. It’s very cold all the time but sometimes it is nice and sunny. But you never know what it’s going to do next.

It was nice to hear from Arnold Warrington. I often wish I could bump into some of the local boys. There must be a lot of them over here now.

It’s a bit worrying about Aunt Clara but I hope the trouble isn’t anything too serious. I suppose the treatment etc. will be a very slow process.

I’m glad you liked that snap, and I hope you will be able to do something with the others I sent you. I think snaps are always more interesting than proper studio portraits. I’ve had chances of going into a studio lately but I haven’t bothered because having a photo taken is bad enough in England; it’s ten times worse having it taken by someone who doesn’t speak English! By the way Kath says I look as though I am putting on weight, so I’ll be interested to hear your opinion. I haven’t weighed myself for ages but I just can’t see how I can be getting heavier. I hope I haven’t grown too much since I was last on leave because it will be a big blow if my civvies don’t fit me when I get leave from here! (Got any coupons Dad?!) By the way, do you realise that this time last year I was on leave?

I’m afraid I shall have to close now. I’ll write again in a day or two.

Lots of love,

John
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Sunday 21st January 1945 – “there doesn’t seem to be much hope for the Germans does there? It’s about the best news I’ve ever heard”

14400541
Sigmn. Moore J.,
Main HQ W/Less Section,
2 Company,
12 Corps Signals,
B.L.A.

Sunday
21 Jan. ’45

Dear All,

Just a few more lines, mainly for the purpose of sending the enclosed negatives. As you can see, they are both a bit rough but I think Dad will be able to make something of them. There is one of just me – quite a good one I think, and the other one is of me and a Manchester boy. As you can see he’s very small (only about five feet tall!) so don’t think it’s me that’s grown about a foot!! Mind you print them the right way round otherwise our hats will be over the wrong side.

The other enclosure is an “odd ode” by Ron for Dad. This was written in about an hour just after the broadcast but I mislaid it and it’s only just turned up. I think you will agree that it’s pretty good, although he doesn’t claim to be a second Tennyson, or J.H. Wakefield!

By the way I believe Ron wrote to you a day or two ago. He said he was going to just after Xmas. I don’t know what he wrote but he’s such a lad that I wouldn’t advise you to take him too seriously. I had a nice letter from his mother last week.

We saw a very good Ensa show last night, the best small show I’ve seen since we’ve been out here. None of the artists were well-known but they were all extremely good.

The comedian was a scream and all his jokes were new to me – this is a change. One I can remember might tickle you:-

A chap came out of a pub drunk and saw a man standing on the pavement. The latter was selling tortoises. The drunk went up to him and said “How much are they.” The reply was “a shilling each.” The drunk said “I’ll take one.” A few minutes later he came back and said to the man “Give me another one of those pies will you, but I’d like one with a softer crust this time!”

Well, I thought it was funny anyway.

I promised to keep you up to date with the leave news but I’m afraid it isn’t any too good. When I told you I should be home sometime in March I was going by what they said about “everybody who was eligible would get it by the end of March”. This idea seems to have been dropped now, and our quota for February  is 50% lower than that for this month. I definitely won’t get mine in March. That’s as much as I can say. However, when I do get it the weather should be really good and that’s something. We’ve got to look on the bright side in a case like this, so don’t worry. The longer I have to wait for it, the more I look forward to it, and the more I look forward to it the more I shall enjoy it when my turn does come.

Pleased to say I’m quite well. It’s a funny thing but so far this winter, I seem to have suffered far less from colds than usual. I’m sure it’s not the food which builds us up. We still get about 75% of our food out of tins. Tinned bacon, tinned potatoes, tinned peas, tinned sausage being just a few of the items forever on the menu! Still, as I say, something must be keeping colds away.

I’ve just been listening to the 9 o’clock news – I suppose you too were listening. The Russians only 215 miles from Berlin and advancing one mile an hour there doesn’t seem to be much hope for the Germans does there? It’s about the best news I’ve ever heard.

Thanks for Gwladys’s letter received on Friday night. I nearly forgot to mention it – so sorry!

Reference the query about the snap. The building in the background was a church of some kind, and also if you are interested, there were some German graves among those trees.

I’m glad you enjoyed “This Happy Breed”. This film, if you remember, was one which I saw a month or two ago, and I also thought it was very good indeed.

Sorry to hear that Mr. Spence was in hospital. It seems strange to be operating on last war wounds after all this time doesn’t it?

Well, it’s nearly 9.30 p.m. and I might be relieved any time now so I will pack up. It’s my turn for a fun night in bed tonight. I’m getting two nights of broken sleep and one full night nowadays but as I can make up a bit of lost sleep in the daytime I’m surviving. But what wouldn’t I give to be lying on the rug in front of the fire right now?!

Lots of love,

John
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Friday 19th January 1945 – “when I got to my bed I found it literally covered with mail”

14400541
Sigmn. Moore J.,
Main HQ W/Less Section,
2 Company,
12 Corps Signals,
B.L.A.

Friday
19 Jan. ’45

Dear All,

Just when I was beginning to get on top of my correspondence I receive a whole batch of mail – but of course I’m not complaining. Yesterday’s mail for me beat all previous records. I came off duty at ten o’clock last night and when I got to my bed I found it literally covered with mail, eleven letters and two parcels in all! You remember me saying that although Pete had been writing regularly, I received no mail from him until a couple of weeks ago? Well eight of the eleven letters were from him. There’s nothing to explain the delay. They are dated between Sept. and Nov. but all the post dates on the envelopes are the same – 8 p.m. 14 Jan. Beats me. There was also a parcel of cigarettes from him and funnily enough on the outside he’d added the words “Getting my letters?”!

The other parcel was from you, and I must say it’s very nice indeed. Everything in it is OK, or perhaps I should say was OK!

Dad’s letter arrived on Wednesday and thanks for that as well.

I was very surprised to hear that Frank Crossley was home. He certainly deserves to get some home leave. I suppose he has changed quite a bit.

The weather you have had is just about the same as over here. It was terrible last night and this morning; it was blowing all night and this caused the usual rattling of doors and falling of blackouts etc. The wind dropped and it snowed quite heavily. Now it doesn’t know whether to rain as an encore or repeat the original programme! Who said “Travel on the Continent?”! I’m hoping that we shall see some tulips if and when Spring comes otherwise my memories of Holland will be rather bitter ones!

No, I haven’t had my watch pinched and it does still go – so there! I think it has had time to prove itself OK now and it keeps good time. If it does go wrong I certainly shan’t buy another, I’ve got enough repairs to give the watch makers plenty of work after the war!

I haven’t sent that little parcel off yet but I will do so in the next few days. There is a pair of stockings for Gwladys, and a little pair of souvenir clogs which you can put on the side-board, on the mantelpiece, or in the coal place – whichever you prefer!

Well, once more I think that is all. Glad you liked the snap by the way. I’ll send you the negative of the other sometime.

Lots of Love

John

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Wednesday 17th January 1945 – “I’ve spent three of my birthdays in the army”

14400541
Sigmn. Moore J.,
Main HQ W/Less Section,
2 Company,
12 Corps Signals,
B.L.A.
Wednesday

17-1-45

Dear Dad,

I don’t suppose this letter will arrive before your birthday but I hadn’t forgotten it. I have been pretty busy this last few days and all I seem to have done is work, eat and sleep. Consequently I haven’t been able to write any letters at all.

Anyway I wish you all the best for your birthday and hope that things will be a bit brighter by the time the next one comes round.

Actually I suppose you are like me – you don’t like to be reminded that the years are creeping on! I’m beginning to feel pretty old myself, (I suppose that’s because I’ve spent three of my birthdays in the army) but I often wish I was back at school again.

You will have noticed that there is no present accompanying this letter! Even if I had tried looking for one I would have been unlucky. Compared with Brussels, and Belgium generally, this land is poverty stricken. It’s not even possible to buy such little things as shoe polish etc.

The weather has changed and “the thaw has set in” (I think that’s the expression they used on the wireless!) I shan’t be sorry to see the last of this snow but the roads are in a bad state just now. They are covered in a mixture of ice, granite and slush. I went a lovely cropper the other night. It was dark and I was groping along with my blankets and rifle on one shoulder, and my mess tins, knife, fork, spoon and mug in the other hand, when my legs shot from under me. It took me about a quarter of an hour to collect my belongings and start off again.

I was pleased to get Mam’s letter, I think it was Sunday when I got it. The parcel hasn’t arrived yet but I’m watching out for it, don’t you worry. The mail is a bit irregular these days, but that is only to be expected as the weather is not ideal for planes or ships.

Well chaps are going on leave at a steady rate and the first to go are now back again. Naturally they’ve got lots to talk about, but they all seem fed up at being back again (not to be wondered at of course). Ron should be going fairly early next month. If Jim happens to get home and you see him you might remember me to him. I bet I’ve been very near him several times, in fact I know I have if he’s still in the same lot, but of course I shouldn’t recognise him if I saw him.

Well that’s about all for now. It will soon be time to see what sort of a mess the cooks have made of tea!

Lots of love to all,

John
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Saturday 13th January 1945 – “At half past eight in the morning there was 27º of frost. It was impossible to keep warm”

14400541,
Sigmn Moore J.,
Main HQ W/Less Section,
2 Company,
12 Corps Signals,
B.L.A.

Saturday
13-1-45.

Dear All,

I haven’t had any mail at all since Tuesday Continue reading

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Wednesday 10th January 1945 – “ham, spuds and greens; jam tart and custard and tea”

14400541
Sigmn. Moore J.,
Main HQ W/Less Section,
2 Company
12 Corps Signals
B.L.A.

3 p.m.
Wednesday
10-1-45

Dear All,
Well here I am back again after a very nice 48 hrs. break Continue reading

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Wednesday 3rd January 1945 – “all between twelve and thirty-two have gone astray”

14400541,
Sigmn Moore J.,
Main HQ W/Less Section,
2 Company,
12 Corps Signals,
B.L.A.

3rd. Jan. ’45

Dear All,

Thanks for Gwladys’s letter which I got a day or two ago. Continue reading

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Sunday 31st December 1944 – “I suppose it’s the buzz-bombs that are worrying him”

14400541,
Sigmn Moore J.,
Main HQ W/Less Section,
2 Company,
12 Corps Signals,
B.L.A.

31-12-44.

Dear All,

Just a few lines in reply to Mam’s letter of the 20th. Continue reading

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Thursday 28th December 1944 – “Christmas was quite as good as I expected”

14400541,
Sigmn Moore J.,
Main HQ W/Less Section,
2 Company,
12 Corps Signals,
B.L.A.

Thurs.
28-12-44.

Dear All,

Well here I am again. Continue reading

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Sunday 24th December 1944 – “I’m finding it difficult to concentrate but I’ll write again in a day or two”

14400541,
Sigmn Moore J.,
Main HQ W/Less Section,
2 Company,
12 Corps Signals,
BLA.

Sunday
24-12-44

Dear All,

Just a few lines before the “Christmas festivities” start. Continue reading

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