Sunday 25th August 1946 – ” the cooks don’t seem to have any interest in their job”

14400541,
etc.

Sunday
Aug 25/46

Dear All,

I had quite a surprise on Thursday night when just before “lights out” I got four letters, including Mam’s of August 6th. It had been backwards and forwards, from the unit to Haifa, Haifa to here, back to the unit and then back here again. Then yesterday I got Gwladys’ letter of the 20th, so altogether I’m not doing bad for mail. I would have written on Friday but thinking I might be going out tomorrow I spent extra time finishing that cigarette case I was making. It is now finished and looks quite nice.

I’m not going out tomorrow after all but expect to leave here before the end of the week. There are plenty of rumours going round about various units getting ready to move, and, while I don’t think there’s any truth in them, I want to be with the mob if there is a chance of a move.

Didn’t I tell you that I’d finished the elephant and have kept it? I could have left it there but I thought I might as well buy it if only to amuse you! Of course I shall have to keep it for two or three months and then the journey from here to England won’t improve its looks but it might still resemble an elephant when you see it.

I’m afraid those tins of fruit which Gwladys mentions will be out of the question, unless of course I have time to do some shopping in Alex on my way home. Some chaps can get them here in Palestine but I don’t know how they manage it. Except while I was in hospital we haven’t had much fruit ourselves for some time. We occasionally get a few grapes but they aren’t too good. Oranges seem to be out of season, and tinned fruit doesn’t seem as plentiful here as in Egypt.

I don’t know much about civvy food these days but I’ll be glad to get back to it. It would break the heart of many an English housewife if she saw the food that was wasted in the army. It’s not so much the quality of the stuff but the way it is cooked. When the war was on the cooks used to turn out what to us were good meals and not much food was wasted but now, even in places like this with good cooking facilities, the cooks don’t seem to have any interest in their job.

Well I’ll be signing off now. Hope you are all well, and hope there has been an improvement in the weather. Wish you could have some of this heat – for our sakes as well as yours!

Lots of Love,
John
xxxxxx

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Thursday 22nd August 1946 – “If the last seven years haven’t been a lesson to everybody then it is a hopeless world”

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

Thurs.
22 Aug ’46

Dear All,

Thanks for Dad’s letter of the 10th which arrived this evening. This took longer to get here than Mam’s of the 12th, which I got on Tuesday, but of course it is just as welcome. I should think I’ve had pretty well all my mail now although there might be one or two outstanding because Bladon wrote to me about a fortnight ago and I haven’t had the letter yet.

There isn’t much to tell you. I went on guard at 10 a.m. yesterday, did a shift in the boiling sun from 12-2 and my next shift was 6-8. I’d just taken up my position when at five past six the Sergeant Major came rushing up and said “Pack up, the guards finished”. I didn’t need telling twice and instinct (or experience – 4 years!) told me to get out of the way before they changed their minds. Sure enough at eight o’clock they did change their minds and went to the NAAFI and grabbed blokes for an all night guard.

This morning there was another scare on and a lot of us got caught for a fatigue. I won’t be too sorry to get back to the unit. This place is fairly easy but you’ve all the while got to be dodging out of the way. I don’t know what’s happening back at the unit because I haven’t seen anybody since Gordon visited me in hospital. Anyway when I see the MO next Tuesday I think I’ll suggest to him that I might as well go back because I don’t see the point in being kept here to do guards and fatigues.

I can understand Dad being worried about the foodstuff business, but hope it won’t be as bad as all that. What a hopeless sort of world this is. Nothing seems to have gone right since the war finished. This time last year everybody was cheering and, while nobody expected plenty of everything, I doubt if many people thought things would be as bad as they are today. If the last seven years haven’t been a lesson to everybody then it is a hopeless world. But I suppose in about 20 years time there will be talk of “the glory of World War No. 2”. Still we shall have to go on hoping for the best and I suppose we ought to be thankful that we came through the war OK and we are a lot more fortunate than many people.

Well this isn’t such a cheerful letter and Messrs. Atlee, Bevin & Co. are being paid to sort things out so why should we worry?

I can’t think of much else to write about now so I’ll sign off. I’ll write again on Saturday or Sunday.

Cheerio for now,
Lots of Love,
John
xxxxxx

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Tuesday 20th August 1946 – “I’m now at the tricky stage of riveting it all together”

14400541,
etc.

Tues.
20-8-46

Dear All,

Just a few lines tonight as I’m on guard tomorrow and shan’t get a chance to write then.

Thanks very much for Mam’s letter of the 13th. which I got today. The mail situation isn’t too bad now and apparently the Hospital notified the unit of my fresh whereabouts because my mail is now being readdressed straight to this place.

Well, as I say, I’m on guard tomorrow. Seems funny that back at the unit we don’t do guards, and now I’m convalescing we have to do them, but it’s on account of the recent trouble. In any case it’s an easy guard. The only trouble is I shan’t be able to carry on with my cigarette case for a day or two. I’ve got it all made but I’m now at the tricky stage of riveting it all together.

We had a routine medical this morning and I’m now regraded from C to B. That only means that I can go swimming etc. I’m also on different PT now (harder than the other) and I think I shall be away from here in about a week. So you’d better start writing to 2 Bde. again.

I feel fine now and have got the old colour back again. In fact I think I look better than ever before and you should see my muscles after the PT! It’s going to be hard sleeping in rough blankets again after having sheets and pillows for a few weeks.

The weather is terribly hot now. I do nothing but sweat all day long. This is supposed to be the hottest month so perhaps it will cool off soon. I believe in winter it rains heavily up here, but considering there hasn’t been a drop of rain since about April we can do with some.

I went to that Ensa show last night but it wasn’t the chap I thought it was, and I didn’t think much to the show at all.

I was surprised to hear that Mabel Davy was getting married. I find it difficult to keep pace with all these marriages and changes.

As far as demob is concerned I’m just as wise as you. All we can do is assume that Group 48 will be out in January and that I will at least be on the way at Christmas. I don’t mind spending Christmas on the boat – it would be an experience, but I’m still disappointed because I shan’t be home. Never mind I might be home for Dad’s birthday and we can still celebrate.

By the way, to pass the time away while I’ve been in hospital, I’ve sent drawings up to two magazines. One was a drawing competition in “London Opinion” and the others I just sent to “Blighty”, that’s a forces magazine. I put my home address as well as service address so when the cheques arrive (???) you’ll know what they are! Nothing like being optimistic is there? Even Strube and Giles started in a small way.

That’s all for now. I’ll write again about Thursday.

So cheerio and,
Lots of Love,
John
xxxxxx

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Sunday 18th August 1946 – “The bread is especially bad. It’s full of small dead insects”

14400541,
Sigmn. Moore J.,
c/o No 3 Brit. Con. Depot,
M.E.L.F.

7 p.m.
Sunday
18-8-46

Dear All,

I am pleased to say I had a batch of mail yesterday, four letters which included Dad’s of the 3rd. and Gwladys’s written at Eastbourne on the 9th. Thanks for both of these. I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of mail missing but I suppose it will arrive in due course and as long as I keep getting occasional letters I’m not worried.

The last month seems to have gone very quickly. It will be four weeks on Tuesday since I went into hospital but it doesn’t seem as long as that. I hope the time continues to pass just as quickly for the next two or three months.

I’m doing all right here now I’ve settled down. I’m getting used to the PT and feeling fit already. Yesterday morning we went for a mile run, did some PT and then ran the mile back. They make it harder on Saturdays because Sunday is a completely free day.

The food in this place isn’t too good. The bread is especially bad. It’s full of small dead insects and particular blokes, who don’t like the taste of ants and fleas, have to dig them out of each slice before eating!

I told you there was a workshop here. Well me and another chap went to have a look round and we’ve started making cigarette cases. A chap there had already made one so we are copying his design. They are made completely out of Perspex – that’s the transparent stuff out of aeroplane cockpits. With a bit of luck I should have more finished by about Thursday and it should look quite nice. The workshop is open all morning and from 5.15 to 7.15 at nights but owing to PT we can only manage about 3 1/2 hours a day there. It’s a useful way of passing the time.

I think it’s a safe bet that I shall be here for another fortnight. They don’t hurry anybody out of here, some chaps have been in over a month.

There’s an ENSA show here tomorrow and the star is a comedian who I remember seeing in the BLA, and I know he’s good.

I was interested to hear what Dad said about A.G. Street. Since writing last I’ve read a review of his latest book. Apparently the local council round his way decided to build a housing estate on some of his land and rather than trying to carry on farming there he has left his farm. So he found that an excuse for writing a book, saying goodbye to his farm. It just shows how easy it is to write.

Pleased to hear Gwladys had an enjoyable week and hope the return journey was comfortable. It’s funny you know, I’ve been at the seaside practically all the time out here yet I’m longing for a Blighty seaside holiday. No doubt if you saw me you’d think I was very brown, I’ve tanned all over but I suppose most of it will have worn off by the time I get home and face the cold winter back there. I hope my civvy overcoat still fits because I shall need that.

Well I must close now as I have one or two more letters to write.

So cheerio for now and,
Lots of Love,
John
xxxxxx

P.S. If you reply to this before about the 24th write to this address. I’ll let you know later on what is happening.

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Thursday 15th August 1946 – “There should be a parade at 6.15 a.m. but apparently they don’t bother about that”

14400541,

etc.

3 p.m.
Thurs. 15 Aug46

Dear All,

Just another few lines to keep you up to date with events.

This place is much better than I thought it would be. Up to now all we’ve done is PT. We do that from 9-10 in the mornings and it is pretty strenuous. Still I think it’s doing me good and most of the blokes who’ve been here for a week or two say they feel better for it.

At the moment I’m not allowed to go swimming, you have to be here over a week for that.

The food is pretty good but nothing like we were getting in hospital. We can get supper in the NAAFI and there is also a Church Army Canteen.

There should be a parade at 6.15 a.m. but apparently they don’t bother about that. The next parade is 8 a.m. but that usually takes place about 8.20. On that parade they detail men for spud bashing but I’m on PT at nine so I’m safe.

After finishing PT at 10 o’clock there’s nothing else to do all day. There’s a workshop where all sorts of things can be made so I think I’ll spend some of my time there.

Needless to say it’s just as hot as ever. In fact it seems hotter, but that might be because I had three weeks in which I hardly went out.

That’s about all once again. Write to this address because I think I shall be here till the 26th at least. I might know something definite when I see the MO on Tuesday.

Hope you are all well and hope to hear from you very soon.

Cheerio,
Lots of Love,
John
xxxxxx

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Tuesday 13th August 1946 – “This is NOT a leave camp. You get PT and fatigues so that you can be made fit to return to your unit”

14400541,
as usual.

Tues. Aug 13/46

Dear All,

Just a very short letter to let you know that I left hospital yesterday and am now in the Convalescent Depot. The M.O. came round yesterday morning and said “Con. Depot on Wednesday.” Then in the afternoon they suddenly told a lot of us we were going immediately. So we left there about six o’clock last night.

This place is on the coast not very far from the unit. I don’t know how long I’ll be here, I suppose it will either be a week or a fortnight. Actually I’m not too keen on stopping here too long. It’s all right as far as the air is concerned but there are parades and PT and most chaps seem anxious to get back to their units. There’s just a cinema in the way of entertainment and that doesn’t look so good. I saw a notice eon the board which said “This is NOT a leave camp. You get PT and fatigues so that you can be made fit to return to your unit”

Anyway we’ll see how things go. I feel fine and don’t think a bit of PT will hurt me.

I think as I shall most likely be here for two weeks it would be as well if you write your next letter to this place. My other mail will go to Bde. then to the hospital and then here, so if you write straight here I should be sure of getting one letter. So write to –

14400541 Sigmn. Moore J.,
c/o No. 3 Brit. Con. Depot,
MEF.

That’s all for now. Hope you are all well and hope to hear from you soon.

Cheerio for now,
Love,
John
xxxxxx

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Saturday 10th August 1946 – “I’m afraid a good 50% of the services who voted for, and supported, Labour are beginning to wonder now”

14400541,
Sigmn. Moore J.,
as usual.

Sat. 10 Aug ’46

Dear All,

I haven’t a letter to answer this time but I’ll do my best to write a few lines.

I’m still in hospital but I believe I shall be leaving here on Wednesday. The MO said this morning that he would send me to the Convalescent depot.

Having heard the demob statement I’m in no particular hurry to get back to the unit. There’s no need to tell you how disappointed I am that Christmas won’t see me at home after all, and I know you will be just as disappointed. The only consolation I can find is that lots of chaps did six years whereas I’ll only do 4 years and 5 months, but it’s poor consolation. This business of “making the most of a bad job” and “grinning and bearing it” is getting very monotonous and this last blow has somewhat shattered my faith in the Labour Government. That might be a selfish outlook but they’ve had over a year now and very few, if any, of their election promises have come to anything. I’m afraid a good 50% of the services who voted for, and supported, Labour are beginning to wonder now. Still, let’s say “roll on Christmas” and we’ll be on the way home then.

Last night there was a play in the hospital and I was lucky enough to get a ticket. It was a comedy called “Springtime for Henry” but it wasn’t particularly good.

Since I’ve been up I’ve volunteered for kitchen duties every day. It is just a matter of dishing the grub out to the bed patients, but naturally we look after ourselves and the Sister sometimes brings up a tin of fruit into the kitchen for the “kitchen boys”. Suffice it to say that since I got up I’ve gained 5 lbs!

That’s about all for now. Hope you are all well. I heard on the wireless that there’s been some bad storms in England today, the crops will take a bit of harvesting.

Cheerio
Lots of Love,
John
xxxxx

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Wednesday 7th August 1946 – “I suppose some chaps will be daft enough to believe it!”

14400541,
as usual.

Wed. 7 Aug 46

Dear All,

You will be pleased to hear I had another letter from you today, that was Mam’s of July 30th. Gordon managed to get up here this morning and he brought me four letters so I’ve got plenty to do answering them.

I was very glad to know you weren’t unduly worried by the news that I was in hospital. That was the only thing that bothered me – the fact that you would worry. Still you should have had plenty of letters in the last fortnight so I don’t think you will have been worrying. I’m doing fine now.

There’s nothing really that you can send me because we are well provided for here. In any case with the mail being so uncertain I’d rather you didn’t send anything. I might even be on my way home before a parcel could reach here. That’s a happy thought. Gordon had had a letter from Curly and he is supposed to leave Japan the first week in October.

Pleased to hear you have heard from Ron. Last time I spoke to him he said he was going to write to you. I wrote to his folks a few days ago.

Bank Holiday seems to be going with a swing in England. I hope Gwladys is having a good time.

Well, as I wrote last night there isn’t a lot to tell you, and I must write to Kath.

I’ll write again on Friday.
So until then
Cheerio
Lots of Love,
John
xxxxxx

P.S. Did you hear about Monty’s plans for the peacetime army? No barracks, bed sitting rooms for all ranks, no lights out, go where you like when you like etc. etc. I suppose some chaps will be daft enough to believe it!

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Tuesday 6th August 1946 – “The Middle East problem is going to take some solving”

14400541,
as usual.

Tuesday
6 Aug 46

Dear All,

Well it’s been a happy day today. Up and about again for one thing, and even more important the arrival of some mail from you. There were two letters, Dad’s of the 24th and Gwladys’s of the 28th. I was very relieved to get them although I hadn’t been worrying.

Apart from the fact that I’m up again there isn’t much news. It seemed funny to go outside again, and that’s after only a fortnight. What must it be like for people who are really ill for months and months? There’s plenty of work for the up-patients in the mornings, such as cleaning up, fetching rations and helping to wait on the bed patients. I expect to be out of here by about Saturday but I’m pretty certain they’ll send me to the convalescent depot. One chap who had Jaundice is going out tomorrow and they wanted to send him to the Con depot for a fortnight. But he’s due to go on demob in about 10 days so they cancelled it. I think it will pay me to go on convalescent if they want me to. For one thing I might not be able to get leave very easily after all this, so I might as well have a rest in con depot and see a bit of the countryside that way. Anyway I’ll see what happens.

Dad wonders if the Press exaggerates the position out here. Well you can take it from me that they don’t. The Middle East problem is going to take some solving.

Pleased to hear Mam and Dad had a good holiday in spite of the bad weather of the second week. It proves the advantage of taking a fortnight. I can’t remember Scarboro’ very well, except for one or two points. I can remember going to Whitby and Flamboro’ Head, but Scarboro’ itself is a bit difficult to imagine. I suppose it’s because so much has happened since 1939. Honestly I sometimes find myself thinking about certain incidents and places and quite often I just can’t remember where they were; I even get the countries confused.

Who did Nancy Bell marry anyway? Why 50 or 60 people should want to turn out for a wedding beats me. I’m sure when I get married I shan’t want half that number around!

With regard to Gwladys’ sarcastic remarks about that commercial course, I still intend applying for it, but this business has upset my plans. Applications have to be in about four months in advance but I might manage it. The trouble is I don’t yet know when I’ll be leaving here for demob. The Government should have made a statement by now, because 38s will be leaving here soon.

I wonder if Dorrell intends staying on at the Tec’ now he’s passed his exam. I suppose he has safely escaped being called up now so he’s no need to go on studying to get exempt.

Hope Gwladys got to Hastings OK and is having a nice time.

That seems to be about al for now. I’ll be writing again in a couple of days.

Cheerio and
Lots of Love,
John
xxxx

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Monday 5th August 1946 – “not getting on fast enough with that wretched elephant”

14400541,
as usual.

Mon (Bank Holiday)
Aug 5/46

Dear All,

Once again I’m not going to find it easy to write an interesting letter, I still haven’t had any mail from you, nothing for over a fortnight now. Still I did get a letter from Kath today and she would have told me if there was anything wrong. It’s purely a case of the mail being redirected and then going astray. Anyway, I’m not worrying, just hoping there will be something tomorrow.

The MO told me tonight that I can get up tomorrow. That’s good news as I was getting bored just lying in bed all day. Being up has advantages in the food line as well. If you feel hungry you can wander into the cookhouse or the NAAFI. When in bed you are entirely dependent on other people. I should be out of here in five or six days.

I was told off this morning for not getting on fast enough with that wretched elephant. It’s supposed to be voluntary but this woman is a bit of a slave driver, and she’s about twice as big as me!

I wonder how you are spending the Bank Holiday. I suppose Gwladys is away this week. I hear the weather is good so I hope it keeps like it.

I suppose the garden stuff is pretty good now. This is the second year I’ve missed the peas and new potatoes but it will be the last. Time is rolling by quickly now. Is the turkey chosen yet? What a celebration we’ll have!

Well I’ll close now. Hope you are all well, and don’t worry because I’m not getting your letters, there’ll be some very soon.

Cheerio,
Love,
John
xxxxxx

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