Tuesday 27th February 1945 – “At the moment we are able to buy eggs – as many as we want”

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

Tuesday
27-2-1945

Dear All,

Thanks very much for the letter and the enlargements of the snaps which I received at tea-time today. It’s a pity the light got in so much but they make quite nice pictures in spite of that. I often wish I had my camera here with me, but I really think it’s too risky. I’d hate to have it smashed or lost because after the war I’ve got an idea it will be used quite a lot.

I played football this afternoon and although it wasn’t a very fast game I feel a bit stiff. I suppose it’s because we don’t normally get much exercise. The game was really just a kick-about, both teams being from this section. I was on the losing side, by the way.

The weather is still quite good, rather dull at times but it is keeping fine and the ground is drying quite well.

At the moment we are able to buy eggs – as many as we want. An old chap comes round with a basket full nearly every day and he always does a good trade. He charges seven and a half francs (approx. 11d) for one egg. That’s pretty dear of course, but they are good eggs and anyway there’s nothing else much we can spend money on. We boil ours in the billet for supper and in the last four days we’ve had nine each – not bad is it? By the way “we” is Stan and myself, we share a room. I haven’t mentioned Stan for some time but he has been with us all the time and I still have quite a lot to do with him.

Ron should have settled down again quite well by now, but I bet the time is flying by for him. Anyway I hope he’s enjoying his leave.

Well I think I’ll get to bed now. I haven’t sent that parcel yet by the way because I’ve got to go on the scrounge for brown paper.

Lots of Love,

John
xxxxxx

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Saturday 24th February 1945 – ” it should be easier from now on”

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

Saturday
24-2-1945

Dear All,

Here it is, Saturday afternoon, and I’ve actually got half a day – just as it should be! Anyway I’ve just been doing a few odd jobs and there’s an hour to go before tea so I think I’ve just got time to write a letter.

I was very pleased to get Mam’s letter yesterday afternoon. Glad to hear you are all well and that the weather has improved.

The bad news in the letter certainly shook me and it seems almost unbelievable. Still I don’t think we ever do really understand such tragic losses and why it has to be so.

Thanks for sending Jim’s address. I can write to him direct and I shall do so in the near future. Of course it will be difficult to arrange to meet each other, for one thing I can’t tell him where I am and vice-versa. Anyway I can probably find out where he is somehow and if we ever get anywhere near each other we might be able to meet.

Ron should be well on his way now, and if everything goes well he will be home tomorrow night. I hope the weather keeps fine for him. I think he will drop you a few lines while he is home.

The weather is really grand here now. The sun is quite warm this afternoon and it makes the world of difference.

Tonight I’m going to get that little parcel ready for posting, but I’ll let you know when I have posted it.

There’s very little to write about really. Since I came back from Brussels it’s been “all work and no play”, but it should be easier from now on.

It’s teatime now so I will close.

Lots of Love,

John

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Wednesday 21st February 1945 – “In Brussels I saw a YMCA mobile canteen “presented by the people of Loughborough, England.”

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

21-2-1945

Dear All,

Well here I am back from Brussels; as I expected there wasn’t time to write again before I went and then, instead of arriving back here yesterday, we got back this afternoon, but more of that later.

Thanks for Dad’s letter of the 12th (and book), Gwladys’s letter of the 14th and the parcel which were all waiting for me. I think I’ll tell you about the Brussels trip and then reply to your letters.

I wasn’t on my own after all because one of the drivers from the section went as well. We had a very nice time, spoilt only by the lack of organisation as far as transport was concerned. We were over an hour late starting on Sunday and there was no truck at all to bring us back yesterday!

We stayed at a Hotel run by the Salvation army. It was very good indeed, the food was good and the beds were the sort I dream about these days!

The shops are still full of stuff but a lot of it is just junk. The prices are even higher than before, I think this is because there are more Yanks there now.

We spent most of our time wandering round the shops but bought very little indeed, and I think we were wise.

The city’s electricity supply is cut off during the day owing to fuel shortage and this means that there are no cinema shows etc. until evening. On Monday evening we saw a good show featuring Art Gregory and his band. It was very good. After that I was quite ready for bed because we had been walking all day.

Yesterday morning was like the last morning of any leave and we spent most of the time looking at the clock! We waited all afternoon for transport and finally got herded into a strange lorry bound for an unknown destination. Anyway after being pushed around from place to place we got back today, and I can hostly say that I’m glad to be back.

I didn’t expect those photos to turn out too well, and I can tell you what is wrong with that one of me. As you will see, there is a mark on the negative. It looks as if someone handled it rather roughly and damaged it. I suppose the mark on the print could be removed by somebody like Newton & Sons.

I haven’t been able to show Ron that little verse of Dorothy’s because I haven’t seen him since I got my mail. I’ll let him have it as soon as he rolls up and I’ll tell you what he thinks of it. Friday or Saturday should see him on his way to Blighty so of course he’s pretty excited now.

Well I must close now as I have to blitz my kit. At the moment it’s in little heaps all over the place.

Lots of Love,

John

xxxxxx

P.S. Thanks especially for the parcel. Everything is in good condition and will be very useful.

J.

P.P.S. In Brussels I saw a YMCA mobile canteen “presented by the people of Loughborough, England.”

J.

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Thursday 15th February 1945 – ” I’ve got another forty-eight hours in Brussels”

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

Thurs.
15 Feb. 1945

Dear All,

I know I haven’t heard from you since I wrote about three days ago, but I thought I would write a short letter tonight while I have the chance.

The weather hasn’t been too bad at all just lately, with the exception of a terrific downpour on Tuesday night, which of course I got caught in! Yesterday it was beautiful, and while the sun was out it was really warm.

You will be surprised to hear that I’ve got another forty-eight hours in Brussels starting this Sunday. I don’t know how this ”short leave” rôta is being worked but (in a case like this) ours is not to reason why…! I suppose I shall have a quiet time because this time I shall be on my own, but it will make a nice break. I certainly shan’t spend so much as I did last time or I shan’t have any credit left. I’ll have a good look round and try to do some useful shopping.

For a change I did some washing myself yesterday – quite a big wash it was, a towel, two prs. pants, two vests and a shirt; and, although I say it myself it looks really good. I got it dried in a Bakery.

Well I don’t think I will go on to another page. I’ll try to write again before I go to Brussels, but I might not manage it.

Love,

John
xxxxxx

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Sunday 11th February 1945 – “No, I still haven’t sent those stockings”

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

Sunday
11–2-45

Dear All,

Thanks very much for Gwladys’s letter which I got after I posted my last letter. The mail is quite good again now the weather has improved.

It isn’t too bad at all now in fact we’ve had quite a bit of sun during the last couple of days and it has been fairly warm. It’s rather cold again today but it has kept fine so far. I hope we don’t get any more snow.

No, I still haven’t sent those stockings. I haven’t got any excuse for not sending them, so I will definitely do the necessary very soon. I’ve got them carefully wrapped up so they shouldn’t have got laddered.

I’m glad to hear that the socks are taking shape. I am managing very well as far as socks are concerned, but I dread to think what they would look like if it weren’t for the fact that I usually get them mended for me. I’m sure I’ll never be able to darn socks, and I still say that it isn’t a man’s job!

Last night I went to the pictures. The film was “Stanley and Livingstone” and it was very good. The words were in French but I managed to get the general idea and it was good practice for my French.

Cont’d Tues. morning

One of these days I hope to be able to sit down and write a nice long letter all in one go! I wasn’t able to finish this letter on Sunday, I did’t seem to have a minute to spare yesterday, and since yesterday tea-time I’ve been on guard. Anyway it’s not my turn to go on again just yet, so with a bit of luck I might finish this before dinner.

I was very pleased to get Mam’s letter last night – posted on the 8th. Glad to know that you are well, and that the weather has also improved “over there”.

No, eggs are very few and far between as far as most of us are concerned. I think I could count the number I’ve had in the last eight months on one hand. Those hens at home had better start working overtime just before I get my leave!

It looks as if Gwladys will be able to teach me to dance some day, but I’m not very interested. It’s too much like marching etc. not being able to put your feet where you want to!

I’ll get Ron to write another poem one of these days. He’s written quite a few for various people at one time or another. As you say “there’s no mugs in the Signals”(?). If all goes well Ron will be home in a fortnight. Time is rolling on and it won’t seem so very long before it’s my turn.

Well I think I will knock off now. I’ll try my hardest to write every two or three days.

Lots of love as always.

John
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Thursday 8th February 1945 – “there’s a lovely lot of mud everywhere”

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

8-2-45

Dear All

I’m afraid it is a few days since I wrote, due of course, to “circumstances beyond my control”.

Anyway thanks very much for Dad’s letter of 30th. Jan., and also for the papers which I received the day before yesterday.

The snow has all gone now and I hope we don’t get any more. It has been warmer for the last few days and there’s a lovely lot of mud everywhere. I heard Leicester mentioned on the news when they said ice-breakers had to be used on the canals.

I’m glad you like Ron’s little poem. Actually I didn’t do much towards it, apart from giving him a general description of the characters! Ron was very pleased to get your letter by the way.

I was rather interested in that photo of Richard Attenborough’s wedding. It doesn’t seem so long since we were at school and if I remember correctly he’s a bit younger than I am.

I hear that old Arthur Kemp has at last “resigned”. It appears that he died the night before a Board Meeting and caused quite a bit of work to the staff at the last minute – most inconvenient!

Well it’s tea-time now so I think I will close this short letter now and get it in the post. (Sorry for all the smudges etc.)

Lots of Love,

John
xxxxxx

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Saturday 3rd February 1945 – “What could be worse than a house containing six kids from two to eleven years old?!”

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

3rd. Feby. 1945

Dear All

I was very pleased to get Mam’s letter yesterday. There was quite a nice lot of mail last night and I got four letters altogether.

I think you have been getting worse weather than we have, but according to the wireless the thaw has set in over there, so now I suppose (like us) you are nearly up to your knees in mud. You are lucky to have a fair supply of coal in, because the supply problem seems very bad.

We don’t do so bad really. In the first place we have a warmer job than some chaps. Also we can usually get in a house against a stove. You notice I say “stove”, because the houses don’t have open fires here. The stoves are quite good but it will be nice to see a good blazing fire again. We have had some good billets but there are too many kids in this one for it to be very pleasant. What could be worse than a house containing six kids from two to eleven years old?! Still as I say this is one of the worst I’ve been in.

Last night we went to the pictures but it was terrible. First there was “the news”, showing the Yanks pushing towards Cherbourg, and the words were in Dutch! Then came the “big film” which was one of Charlie Chaplin’s earlier ones – “Gold Rush”. I remember Mr Mead showing it about six years ago. Again the words were in Dutch. Quite a good programme really!

Yes, Ron will soon be going on leave. I think he should be going in just over three weeks. The trouble is when they stop sailing it’s OK for the chaps who are already at home but it holds the leave up.

Well I think that is about all for now. I’ll write again as soon as possible.

Lots of Love,

John
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Wednesday 31st January 1945 – “Honestly I don’t think I shall ever settle down at the office again”

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

Wednesday
31-1-45

Dear All

I suppose you will be wondering what is happening to my letters, but I haven’t had the chance to write during the last few days. I don’t suppose I shall have time for a long letter now but I must write a few lines.

Since writing last I have received a letter from Dad and one from Gwladys. Thanks for all the latest news.

Yes, the Russians are certainly showing us “the way home” now! I suppose they will be here in a couple of weeks! I don’t see how Jerry can stop them now.

The weather here has changed quite suddenly again. After a bit more snow it has now started thawing very fast. I looked out this morning expecting the usual cold blast to meet me, but instead it was quite warm.

Thanks for paying my usual to the OWA and BSI. I wonder why the latter has increased? It seems a waste of money to pay that now but I suppose it’s best to be on the safe side. Honestly I don’t think I shall ever settle down at the office again.

Since writing last I’ve seen a pantomime, it was “Aladdin” and was put on by troops alone. They did it really well but of course there was some talent as the men came from several different units. I don’t know where they got all the costumes from but they were very good.

Well I must close now, but I will write again as soon as possible. Ron sends his kind regards as usual.

Lots of Love,

John
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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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