Dear Mom & Dad,
Just a short letter to let you know that I am now settling down at my port depot town. It is by far the best place I have been to so far. We can pretty well do what we like, go where we like, eat what we like, go out when we like (except for duty hours, of course).
We are allowed on shore leave three days out of four and out at twelve on Sundays. We do not have to be in until eleven at night, three weeks from now I get a long weekend, Saturday dinnertime until Monday morning. When I get back I sit my final exam here and if I pass then I get seven days leave.
In the town itself we can go to any cafes where we can get decent meals (fish and chips), picture-houses, hippodrome theatre. We can see Nelsons old ship, the “Victory”, we can go to the Isle of Wight, the only place out of bounds near here is London. And then of course there is the Portsmouth football team, we are going there this afternoon, they are playing against Crystal Palace so we shall be there in the ‘Forces Enclosure’ at Fratton Park.
As for the course it has all been altered, we do a fortnight here, then the other fortnight at sea on a training battleship. Talking of battleships you want to see them tearing up and down on the horizon. Of course we have been told the names of most of them but we are also told “security minded”.
Then we go to Birmingham for one weeks leave which I expect I shall just about be longing for by then.
Then we go to Lindhurst, not Inverness for the five month course on turning and fitting.
Another seven days!
Back to Portsmouth not Brighton on a six month course on torpedo and gunnery, during which time we get seven more days. When we have finished another seven days.
And that is the course, by the time I have finished I shall be able to tell you a few of the sights in Portsmouth as we come back here to wait for a ship.
The D.O. has told us that it will be a very difficult course if we don’t stick our backs into it.
We can buy what clothes we like here so maybe I can get a shirt or two if Dad wants them.
I am allowed to spend £2.8.0 a quarter so I should be able to get quite a lot.
By the way when we got here the D.O. said that if we wanted to mate up now was our chance as we should be together for the rest of the course. So Norman, Geoff and myself all got in the same watch, same mess together which means we shall get our leaves at the same time. We are even on cook duty at the same mess at the same time.
I can understand now why Paul liked the navy and didn’t want to return to civvy street. In any case I feel like a sailor now as we have to sleep in hammocks now, and is it comfortable like reclining on a couch. We have only one blanket but by the warmth you would think we’d got three or four.
Well Geoff and Norman are waiting for me to go out so I will have to pen this letter (is that a better finish?)
so cheerio for now
Lots of love
x x x x x x