25th October 1945

Dear Mom & Dad,

Just a line or two to let you know that I got back safely and didn’t get caught.

I got back about twelve as my train was two hours late, and I got into camp alright through the ‘Burma Road’ although I ripped my overcoat in the process. Still I’m glad that I came and took the risk as I have got a chit today to say that I have to report tomorrow so it looks as though I am on the move at last. I think it is going this time as there has been a rumour going round for the last week that the draft is going and there is usually some truth in the rumours. Still when I come back to England again it will be for demob. Did you read the Daily Express yesterday and see what Churchill said about the demob, I think if he keeps on against the Government he will get it speeded up again just to keep everyone quiet.

By the way I have got 120 Hensites cigs here but I haven’t had chance to post them yet but I will see if I get a chance tomorrow.

There doesn’t seem much to say this time as I don’t know anything really definite until I get into Barracks tomorrow or Friday so I will sign off for the time being. I will write again when I get into Barracks.

P.S. Do not reply to this address until I write again.

All my love
Graham
xxxxxx

P.P.S. I will number all my letters when I leave the country and will you do the same so that we shall both know whether any letters have gone astray.


Notes

Burma Road was slang for a passageway below the decks of a ship. It seems likely that there is another meaning, possibly specific to Belmont Park…

Although I can’t find the Daily Express article online, a similar article was published in the Stanford Daily on the 23rd of October 1945. Churchill argued that the Navy should be cut to 133,000. Demobilisation under the Labour government was progressing too slowly and that Forces personnel were needed to work in industry to help the economic recovery.

Advertisements

16th October 1945

Dear Mom & Dad,

Just a line or two to let you know all the ‘latest news’. I am afraid it looks as though I shall be unlucky for more leave as I had a draft chit the day after I rang you up for “Golden Hind” and as the draft was supposed to go today they wouldn’t grant me any more leave. I don’t know where the draft is going to as it is a “mystery” draft and nobody knows where it is going to officially until they get into Barracks. It usually goes to Germany or Australia and more often than not to the latter. Still if I haven’t gone on draft by the weekend then I will “pinch” one.

I tried to get home last weekend but the train from Portsmouth to London was late and I missed the Birmingham train. Well there wasn’t another for two hours so I didn’t think it was worth going home then so instead I went to the Paramount in Tottenham Court Rd. I saw Fred McMurray and Lloyd Nolan in “Captain Eddie” and Joel McCrea in “Banjo on my Knee”. They were both very good pictures especially the first one which was about Eddie Rickenbacker the American motorist and flying ace of the first war. It isn’t a war picture though as it more or less deals with his private life.

What do you think of the football last Saturday, the Midland clubs got a thrashing or two didn’t they. The Villa have been doing well with their gates lately as well. Three 50000 gates in a row, a nice bit of income tax, or entertainment tax whatever they take off them, I expect.

How has the village been going on over the weekend, did they manage to win again.

What has the weather been like lately round Birmingham, it has been like summer down here for a week now, there has been no rain for sixteen days now.

Well I can’t think of anything more to say at the moment so I will sign off until next time.

All my love
Graham
x  x  x  x  x  x  x

10th October 1945

Dear Mom & Dad,

Just a few lines to thank you for the papers which I received today and the letter which I received yesterday. As you can see by my address I still haven’t moved from Havant, I should have left over the weekend but it was cancelled the night before.

Since I arrived back here I have been to the pictures three times, twice in Portsmouth and once in the camp. The pictures I have seen are “Diamond Horseshoe” with Betty Grable and Dick Haymes, “Tampico” with Edward G. Robinson, Lynn Bari, Victor McGlagen, and “Mr Skeffington” with Bette Davis. I didn’t think much of the first one but the other two were very good indeed especially “Mr Skeffington” it is one of the best that I have seen Bette Davis. It is definitely worth seeing and I think you’d enjoy it.

On Saturday I saw Portsmouth play Leicester City, it was a very good game but I don’t think that Leicester deserved to lose by two goals to nil Frank Soo was captain for Leicester and he played a smashing game. Septimus Smith, the left half, was also very good. The two best players on the field though were the goalkeepers, Walker of Portsmouth and Graham of Leicester, they both saved certain goals time and time again.

How did the village team get on Saturday, Johnny Harris and Constable didn’t play did they? They seem to be bucking up a bit lately now, I expect they have got used to playing with each other by now.

Well I can’t think of anything more to say at the moment so I will sign off until next time

All my love
Graham
P.T.O. x x x x x x x x

P.S. Do you know what time that Forces train leaves Birmingham on Saturday night for London? Is it 10.30 or 11.30?

5th October 1947

Dear Mom & Dad,

Just a few likes to let you know that I arrived back safely yesterday. I got into camp about six, just in time for supper. I travelled down with a Birmingham chap from our camp so it wasn’t too bad with someone that I knew. I had a seat all the way from Birmingham to Havant so I should think that my luck has changed.

Today I have been doing drafting routine but I don’t think that we are going into Barracks tomorrow as they usually tell you if you have to report and they didn’t say anything to us so it might be a day or two yet. I believe that we are sailing from Liverpool and as far as I can make out we pick up a ship there and work out passage out to Colombio via Malta and Suez Canal. When we get there the ship is taken over by men due for leave or demob who bring it back to England. We then go into Mayina Barracks and are employed as working party until we get a ship which may be joining the Far East fleet or may be on its way back to England???

Still whatever happens I don’t suppose I shall be abroad more than about nine months to a year because if group 45 is out by next June then it should only be about six months at the latest till I get demobbed so I should be on the way back by this time next year.

Well I can’t think of anything more to say at the moment so I will sign off for the time being,

All my love,
Graham
x  x  x  x  x  x

September 1945

Dear Mom & Dad,

Just a few lines to let you know that I am still O.K. and am now longing to get home again. The time seems to go terribly slow when leave gets near. As far as I know the routine at Havant is, we arrive Tuesday night and get our draft routine over the same night. Wednesday we send settling down having kit musters and medical inspections. That far I know definitely, but after that nobody seems quite sure what happens. The general idea is that we go on leave on Thursday dinnertime but I am afraid that I can’t take that as definite yet. I will give you a ring or send you a telegram as soon as I know anything more definite. That is if I come home this week otherwise I will send you a letter.

I don’t even know whether I am likely to go abroad or not, if I do then I shall get 14 days leave plus 2 days V.J. leave plus 2 days travelling plus 3 days special leave as the barracks are so crowded.. Otherwise I may only get nine days leave if I am to stop in the country.

I had to see the Divisional officer yesterday and he said that as I had done so well on the course he was going to put a special recommendation on my service papers so that I can get my transfer to Stoker (E). There are three Stokers (S) in our division, that is men who are training for officers. In the exam they got 91, 84, and 79 marks so you can see I did pretty well as they are supposed to be exceptional ratings who are specially picked out for officers.

Yesterday I went and saw Plymouth Argyle play Derby County on Home Park. It was a very poor match and if it hadn’t been for Bobby Brown, Scotland’s goalkeeper who was playing for Plymouth it would have been 10-0. He is a P.T. instructor at Devonport Naval Barracks and when you get near to him he looks just like a schoolboy and he certainly doesn’t look like an international goalkeeper. Latham of Aston Villa and Gardner the ex-Villa player also play for Plymouth.

Midland teams certainly seem to be doing well this year so far, three of them in the top four.

Well it is time to turn in now so I had better close down for the time being. Hoping to see you some time after Thursday.

All my love,

Graham
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Date unknown. In an envelope marked 5th October, together with another letter.