27th November 1945

Dear Mom & Dad,

Just a short note to let you know that I am still O.K. and in the best of health. We reach Sydney tomorrow morning and I believe we disembark on Thursday. I will write as soon as I get settled down and let you know all the ‘latest’ and what I am likely to do. I hope that I stop in Australia until after Christmas at any rate as I shall probably be able to get in with an Australian family. I am enclosing a copy of the ship’s newspapers which is published on board, all the poems are made up by chaps on board, some of them are quite good. Well I think that’s all or me so all my love
Graham
xxxxxxxxxxx

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16th November 1945

A continuation of the previous letter.

We are now three days out of Capetown and the weather is not too brilliant, quite a keen wind blowing My watch is still keeping good time, it hasn’t lost a second yet, touch wood. Since we left Capetown we have had to put our watches on three hours which is three hours sleep that we have lost. Yesterday I finished off my box of Milk Tray so I have only got about 1/2 lb of caramels and two bars of chocolate left now.

I am enclosing some cuttings out of the “Cape Argus” which I think you will find interesting. It will give you a better description of our “day out” than I can give. Don’t destroy them though will you as I want to keep them. One of them also has a paragraph or two on the British soccer. I see the Blues beat Chelsea with three internationals paying for Wales and Lawton playing for his new club. What price did they pay for him by the way. Fancy Scotland beating Wales, I see Dearson was playing at back. Birmingham certainly have got quite a few backs haven’t they. Also the Villa are still hanging on behind them, 21 points apiece.

In one of the pictures it shows you the South Africans going ashore in a tug. Well it was boats like that that we climbed down onto and you can see the height of the “Aquitania” from one of the other photos so you can guess it was a ticklish job especially with a rough sea at the time. I wish I could have had a camera with me while we were in Table Bay, it was a marvellous sight to see the range of hills and Table Mountain and nestling around the foot of them the town itself. Half way up the mountains was a forest of palm trees which made a lovely contrast to the grey of the mountains and red and white of the buildings and the bright blue sea. It would have made a beautiful painting. Still when I am in Australia I shall definitely get a camera and if I come back to England this way then I shall make sure of getting some snaps. It was really worth taking.

Yesterday we heard on the wireless that 21 of the troops were missing in Capetown. Three of those were killed I know, two of them fell in the water trying to get ashore and were drowned and one of them collapsed while he was ashore and died. There were dozens of chaps got beat up while they were ashore in fights with the locals. We were told that it isn’t safe for us to walk around by ourselves at night. One chap, an Australian had a pick axe right through his shoulder but I think he will be alright as it didn’t hit the bone and they say he has been stitched up quite O.K. All the others who are missing are deserters I expect. Two Australians took their full kit ashore with them and intend staying there for a few months. They had both been in prison camps in Germany for three years and said they were barbed wire happy.

Well I think that is about all the news for the time being so I will sign off until next time,
So all my love,
Graham
x x x x x x x

P.S. Many happy returns of the day Mom & Jean. I am afraid I am a bit late but when I get to Australia I will see what I can buy for you and will send it on to you.

Remember me to all of the gang.
x x x x x x x

From the Cape Argus, 12th November 1945

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NEARLY 4000 Australian troops, airmen and naval ratings from the Aquitania broke ship last night and to-day. They swarmed ashore in defiance of their officers’ orders when they learned that the transport was not docking at Cape Town and that shore leave had been refused. They swamped every craft that came within jumping distance of the vessel. Refusing to leave, they compelled those in charge to carry them ashore. Some fell overboard but were rescued.
Once ashore they were good humoured and well behaved. The citizens of Cape Town gave them a great welcome in the streets, in cafes, restaurants and stores.
By this afternoon, when the ship should have been ready to resume her voyage from England to Australia, it was estimated that there were scarcely 1000 men left aboard. Nor, owing to the weather delays and the swamping of the supply ships by the transport’s personnel, had she nearly completed taking in the fuel, water and supplies required. The sailing has therefore been postponed until to-morrow.

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HOME AGAIN – AND THE ENVY OF THE AUSSIES: Some of the 189 South African troops who arrived on the Aquitania about to leave in a tug for shore yesterday morning. The Australians looked on.

The authorities have appealed to citizens to co-operate in getting the men back to the ship. Any left behind lay themselves open to a charge of desertion.
All day to-day there were extraordinary scenes at the anchorage – about half a mile to seaward of the breakwater’s end – where the Aquitania is lying. As tugs and launches came alongside with water, stores or passengers to put aboard, they were swamped by the Aquitania’s men before they could even tie up.
Men jumped from the openings in the transport’s side, swarmed down the rope ladders or slid down ropes let down from the decks 70 or 80 feet above. Each had just the one idea of getting a foothold on the shore-going craft. Many slipped. Only the prompt action of their friends prevented them being crushed between the sides of the vessels.
EFFORTS ABANDONED
At an early hour all attempts to control the men were abandoned. It was obvious that almost to a man they were determined to get ashore by any means that offered.
The experience of representatives of The Argus who boarded the transport early in the day was typical of those of other visitors to the ship. Without even a “by your leave” men swarmed into the launch, and by the time it was able to back away it was in danger of being swamped.
The skipper was left with no alternative but to set off for shore with his human load, and the representatives of The Argus were marooned aboard the transport for a couple of hours before they could get a passage ashore again.
By midday the men still aboard the Aquitania had got so out of hand that they were swamping the water tugs before the latter could even supply the transport with the fresh water they were ferrying out to her.
NO ALTERNATIVE
With anything up to 1000 men crowding their decks and clinging to their superstructures, and making it impossible to carry on pumping operations and dangerous to remain alongside in the swell that was running, the masters of the tugs had no alternatives but to return to harbour with their unofficial passengers, and to take their water back with them.
The Aquitania anchored about 8 am yesterday to find that the westerly wind the previous day had raised such a heavy swell that craft could only come alongside at considerable risk – and then only on the lee side.
It had been planned that the tanker Europe should tie up on one side immediately after the transport was anchored. This was to tranship 3,500 tons of oil to her, while the three big tugs tied up on the other side to tranship 200 tons of water at a time until the full 2,200 tons the ship had ordered were supplied.
FROM SHORE TANKS
The Europe undocked early in the morning, but before she began the difficult job of tying up to the transport her master was informed that the Aquitania now wanted 4,000 tons of oil. As she had not that quantity in her tanks she returned to dock to take more oil from the shore tanks.
Meanwhile the water order had also been increased to 3,000 tons, and it had been found that only two tugs could moor on the lee side at a time, thus reducing the rate of supply by one-third.
While pumping water across, one of the tugs took aboard just under 200 U.D.F. seconded troops and half-a-dozen Imperial naval personnel booked for Cape Town. She landed them at A Berth shortly before 3 p.m.
During the afternoon the tanker put out for the second time and tried to tie up alongside the Aquitania.
Though the fresh south-easter had flattened the swell a little, the tanker bumped so heavily against the fenders made of large-size motor tyres floating between the hulls of the two ships that she did considerable damage to her hull plates by setting them in, and the master abandoned the attempt to fuel the liner for fear of further damage.
Early this morning the swell had subsided sufficiently for the tanker to make another attempt to tie up, and this time it was successful. Although the ships rolled uneasily all the time, pumping operations were carried on without interruption, and by this afternoon most of the 4,000 tons of oil had been transhipped.

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BROWNED OFF AT THE BLUNT END: A number of Australians at the stern of the 45,000-ton Aquitania yesterday looking at nearby Cape Town but unable to land. The vast size of the vessel can be gauged from the tug in the foreground.

IN FAIRNESS
The Aquitania’s men did not know for certain until late yesterday that they would not be given facilities for going ashore.
Captain G. M. Ford, the master of the transport, told a representative of The Argus to-day that when the authorities decided that the ship should not dock, it was still hoped that there might be facilities for transporting the men between the ship and the shore.
When it was found that there were no passenger tenders or other craft available for this purpose, he decided that the only fair thing was not to grant shore leave to anybody. Not even the few civilian passengers were given shore leave.
Captain Ford and Colonel E. H. Llewellyn, O. C. troops permanently attached to the ship, both told a representative of The Argus that those who had gone ashore, except for the few on essential business, had done so without permission.
DARING SPIRITS
The trouble, the representative of The Argus learned from inquiries aboard the ship and in the harbour, began late yesterday when a few of the more daring spirits boarded harbour tugs alongside the transport and refused to go back. When more followed, their officers appealed to them not to break ship. Colonel Llewellyn also spoke to the men, but without result.
In an attempt to stop the movement the officer commanding the large draft of Royal Navy ratings who are travelling in the ship to Australia, announced over the ship’s broadcast system that any ratings who left the ship would be court-martialled on their return.
While this cooled the ardour of most of the ratings, the Australian troops continued to scramble across to the craft alongside, which were forced to carry their uninvited passengers ashore with them.
This went on all night as the tugs ferried water and stores between the shore and the ship. By early to-day the ratings had joined the troops almost to a man, and one tug alone brought  more than 500 ashore.

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SOMETHING TO READ ON THE VOYAGE: Complaining that they had little of interest to read on the trip from England, Australians from the Aquitania visited bookshops in Cape Town to-day and bought large quantities of magazines and books. Books with a South African interest found a ready sale. Those about the war were neglected.

FERRY SERVICE
A ferry service will operate between the Docks and the Aquitania right through the night, and “everything that can float” will be pressed into service at dawn, to return the Aquitania’s men to the ship, the naval authorities stated this afternoon.

“INVASION” OF CAPE TOWN
MEN GRATEFUL FOR HOSPITALITY
The unofficial “invasion” of Cape Town started late yesterday afternoon when six Australian airmen climbed down the scrambling nets and boarded a tug. By midnight hundreds of men had followed suit and come ashore in tugs.
One of them told a representative of The Argus that before the ship arrived they heard Cape Town had arranged to welcome them with generous hospitality. It was not till the ship arrived in Table Bay that they were told she would anchor in the bay instead of entering the docks.
“We naturally felt bitter,” he said. “We have been at sea for a couple of weeks and have a few more weeks at sea ahead of us. We looked forward to having an enjoyable break in Cape Town.
“Rumours spread all over the ship, and last night we were told that there was a possibility of the Aquitania docking in the morning. But we had had it and decided to shove off.
NOT STOPPED
“We put the scrambling nets over the side and piled onto the tugs. Nothing was done to stop us, as we feel sure the O.C.s were really sympathetic, although naturally they could not officially sanction our going ashore.”
Many of the men who came ashore last night slept in waiting rooms and railway coaches at the railway station. Others found accommodation in private homes and hotels.
To-day the staff of the S.A.W.A.S. canteen in the Mayor’s Garden were called out at 7.30 a.m. and hurriedly prepared breakfast for hundreds of Australians. Free bus tickets were issued to the men by S.A.W.A.S. and arrangements were made to provide lunch at the Mayor’s Garden canteen and the Good Cheer Club. A military van patrolled the streets broadcasting to tell the men where they could get lunch.
Thousands of the men took the opportunity of having meals at the canteens, which were thronged all day. Excellent fare was provided and the men were most appreciative and said “This is the finest food we have tasted for a long time. We had almost forgotten the taste of good food.”
Throughout the day the S.A.W.A.S. transport section took men for drives round the Peninsula, but were instructed not to take them too far.
The men who remained on board the Aquitania were not forgotten and the S.A.W.A.S. and Australia and New Zealand Association sent oranges, cakes, dried fruit, nuts, sweets, books and games to the ship.
In response to a special appeal they also sent four deck-chairs for chronic invalids, a German dictionary and embroidery silks for a serviceman who is whiling away the time doing fancy work.
SHOPPING
A large number of the visitors took the opportunity of going up Table Mountain by cableway, which had its busiest day for a long time. Others concentrated on shopping, and jewellery, watches and materials for women’s dresses were in great demand.
Each tug that came into the docks from the Aquitania was packed with men, and the record load was estimated to be 700 in one tug.
The men were good humoured and the scenes in town were quiet. A canteen worked described the men as “placidly quiet and charming”. They were determined to come ashore and once ashore they were perfectly happy.
As far as is known, there was only one mishap during the scramble to get ashore in tugs. One Australian fell into the sea but was picked up little the worse for his ducking.
Two other Australians – ex-p.o.w.s – came ashore with their full kit after telling their companions: “We are barbed-wire happy and are going to stay here for a few months.”
The Mayor, Mr. A. Bloomberg, yesterday issued the following statement:
“As Mayor of Cape Town I would have welcomed the visit ashore of the Australian and New Zealand troops who are travelling home in the Aquitania. Indeed, in collaboration with the Officer Commanding, Cape Command, and the S.A.W.A.S., I had made arrangements for their reception and the transport to take them round the Peninsula.
“As a member of the Harbour Advisory Board I know of no reason why the Aquitania should not have been brought alongside. It is my intention to raise the matter publicly at the first opportunity, with a view to ascertaining the authority responsible for the decision.
“I regret the set of circumstances that precluded the troops from coming ashore, where they would have been most welcome.”

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“WE’RE ON OUR WAY”: Large numbers of Australians queued up at the G.P.O to-day to send cables home announcing their arrival in Cape Town in the Aquitania. The cable office had one of its busiest days for a long time.

SERVICING ORDER
The order to service the Aquitania at the anchorage was issued by the Director of Sea Tranport in London, the charterer of the liner, last Thursday, according to a joint statement issued in Cape Town late this afternoon by the Chief Representative of the Ministry of War Transport in the United Kingdom in South and East Africa, and the Principal Sea Transport Officer, South Atlantic Station.
It is assumed in informed shipping quarters in Cape Town that the Whitehall decision was made after the Aquitania’s master had made the usual request on behalf of his owners, the Cunard-White Star Line, for an indemnity from the Admiralty for any damage that might be done as a result of the ship berthing in Table Bay harbour.
It has been customary during the war for the owners of all the largest liners operating under Admiralty control to ask and be given such indemnities before docking at any port.
There was no run noticeable in the Duncan Basin to-day, and there was only a slight south-east breeze blowing. Senior Table Bay Harbour officials told a representative of The Argus that there would have been no difficulty at all in berthing the Aquitania as originally planned.
RANGE PROBLEM
Mr. J. W. Mushet, chairman of the Table Bay Harbour Advisory Board, said this afternoon that the board was greatly concerned at what had happened about the Aquitania. He thought that the order from London not to dock the ship had been given for reasons of policy, and not purely for fear that the ship might be damaged as a result of range action.
“The unfortunate impression has got abroad that this is not an all-weather port,” he said. “If shipowners were afraid to let their big ships come here because of range it becomes urgent that the range problem must be solved.”
Mr. Mushet disclosed that the Aquitania episode and the whole problem of range would be discussed at a meeting on Thursday between the board and the new Chief Harbour and Shipping Development Manager, Mr. H. A. du Plessis, and the Shipping Manager, Mr. Malan, who are coming specially from Johannesburg.

MINISTER’S REGRET
Pretoria, Monday
“I much regret that the owners of the Aquitania could not make use of the docking facilities available at Cape Town harbour during the ships visit to this port, since all arrangements to dock the ship had been made by the railway authorities,” said the Minister of Transport, Mr. F. C. Sturrock, in an interview today.
“Cape Town harbour is competent in every way to handle the Aquitania and even bigger ships. A special deep-water berth, 45 feet deep at low water, is provided for vessels, while the harbour equipment generally is equal to modern requirements.
“The Aquitania has, for instance, already been successfully docked at Cape Town on several occasions.
“The South African Railways at no stage expressed doubt as to the ability of the Duncan Dock to take the Aquitania. In fact, up to Friday last the ship was expected, and arrangements were made accordingly. The decision not to dock the vessel was taken by the British authorities and owners of the vessel, but I have no knowledge of the reasons for this.
“The railways did not ask the Admiralty or the Aquitania owners for an indemnity against risk.”-Sapa.

£20,000 IN STORES
One of the largest peacetime shipping orders for provisions was taken on board the Aquitania yesterday and to-day. Altogether more than 100 tons of stores, valued at about £20,000, were delivered to the ship.
One lighter was loaded on Saturday in preparation for the ship’s arrival yesterday but owing to the heavy swell could not go alongside until yesterday afternoon. The work of unloading the lighter was carried on throughout the night and completed at 6.15 this morning. The balance of the stores was taken out in a second lighter this morning.
Among the provisions delivered to the Aquitania were 72,000 eggs, 50,000 minerals, 25,000 lb. of fresh vegetables, 3,360 tins of canned fruit, 300 bags of Canadian white flour and 95,000 slabs of chocolate.
Although the order for the chocolate was only placed yesterday afternoon, it was delivered to the ship this morning.
Another order of tinned meat arrived by train from Natal yesterday afternoon.
LOCAL SHORTAGES
A number of the ship’s requirements could not be met owing to local shortages. None of the 4,200lb of kippers or 3,000lb of smoked fish ordered could be provided.
Another order for apples was cancelled owing to the high price in Cape Town. The only fruit delivered to the ship was 210 cases of oranges, lemons and grapefruit. An order for biscuits had also to be cancelled because of the shortage of flour.
The Aquitania is not taking any butter or cheese, as arrangements have been made for her to fill up with dairy produce in Australia.

COUNCIL QUERY
The question of the docking of the Aquitania was referred to briefly at the meeting of the Cape Town City Council to-day.
Before the council started the business on its agenda Mr. G. E. Ferry asked whether the Mayor would raise “this very important matter, which affects the prestige of the city,” at the meeting.
The Mayor, Mr. A. Bloomberg, said he could only refer to his statement in the Press, “from which it is obvious that the City Council is not to blame in any way for this unfortunate incident.”
The Mayor added that he proposed taking the matter up to acertain the full circumstances and to find out who was responsible.
Several Australian airmen were in the gallery during the meeting.

14th November 1945

Dear Mom & Dad & Jean,

I am writing this about a day out of Capetown which we left yesterday morning at ten thirty. I suppose you heard over the wireless how we all took “French leave” when leave was refused, and went ashore. It really was a sight for sore eyes, I don’t suppose I shall ever see anything like it again. Well in case you didn’t hear about it I will start from the beginning and tell you what caused all the trouble. We had been told that we should get leave when we got into Capetown and so when we got there we were all looking forward to going ashore. Owing to heavy seas at the time though we had to lie outside the harbour in Table Bay, but they told us that we would be going in the next morning, Monday. Well we lay outside all day Sunday and one of the small boats that came out to us had some Capetown papers on which told us that the people of Capetown had got everything ready to give us a good time when we went ashore. Well that fairly did it for about half the Australians on board decided to break off the ship and go ashore and so they climbed down ropes and ladders onto the tugs that were around the “Aquitania” and refused to get off. There were so many of them that nothing could be done about it and so the tugs had to take them ashore. Then the Commandant broadcast that there would be no shore leave and that all the men ashore would be punished. Still next morning as soon as the tugs came alongside the Navy started going ashore and by dinnertime there were only 1000 men left on board out of about five thousand. I went ashore about nine in the morning. As soon as I got on the jetty I walked out on to the main road which was through the dockyard and almost immediately a car pulled up and gave us a lift into the town of Capetown. There were three of us altogether. When we got into Capetown we had a walk around and had a look at the shops and the town itself. It really is the cleanest town that I have been in yet even in Britain, the streets were spotless, the shops and cinemas were all very modern and most of them were much bigger than the average British shop. There were Woolworth’s shops, Dolcis shoes and quite a lot of other well known British firms. You should have seen the stuff that was on sale as well. Suits, mens underwear, womens clothes without coupons but pretty expensive, jewellery which was very cheap. I bought myself a smashing watch for 16 shillings and so far it has kept excellent time. We made a check up in our mess after the men had come and well over three quarters of them have got at least one watch. Some of the Australians were buying them a dozen at a time. Then the sweets and chocolate, when we walked in the first sweet shop we nearly fell down, it was like prewar days! “Black Magic” – Cadbury’s “Milk Tray” – Cadbury 1lb blocks of Milk Chocolate – “Smarties” – chocolate caramels Fox’s Glacier Mints and all the old prewar brands. There is one thing, Britain certainly looks after her export trade well. I only wish that I had had £30 when I went ashore instead of £3.Then of course we had tons of fruit, oranges, apples, bananas, coconuts, pineapples and even those boxes of fruit that were cut up and soaked in sugar Chrystalised pineapple wasn’t it?

For dinner we had three fried eggs, two rashers of bacon, fried tomatoes, two sausages, pears and custard, a plate of bread and butter and a cup of coffee. I bet you’ll never guess the price, it was the terrific sum of 1/-. Does it make your mouth water.


The letter continues a few days later.

8th November 1945

Dear Mom & Dad,

Just a line or two to let you know that I am still O.K. and in the best of health. We are now two days off Capetown which we reach some time on Saturday morning. We are stopping there for four days and I believe that we are going ashore. I hope so as most of us are browned off with being on board and seeing nothing but sea for nearly a fortnight.

We had a good time while we were at Freetown with the natives. They came out in their native boats and brought bunches of bananas, oranges, coconuts, pineapples, silks, native slippers, native wicker baskets and pet monkeys and parrots and tried to sell them to us. I ought a bit bunch of bananas roughly about a hundred all told which cost me 2’/6d and about twenty to thirty about twenty to thirty oranges and half a dozen coconuts which cost me 3/-. I have still got plenty left but I don’t expect there will be all that many by the time I {illegible} Capetown.

We crossed the Equator two days ago so you can guess it is pretty hot around here. I am quite sunburnt already, that “schoolgirl complexion”. There are quite a few chaps who are in sickbay with sunburn but it is their own fault really as they spent all their time in the sun so they really asked for it.

The sea for the last week has been lovely and calm but at the moment it is getting rough again now that we are nearing the Cape so I expect I shall be spending my time on my bunk again before long/

We have pretty good entertainments on board now, pictures, concerts, plays, band concerts and gramophone records programmes including our own “Forces Favourites”. The picture that is on at the moment is “2000 Women” and is about the Women of Occupied France. I haven’t seen it yet but my mates say is is quite good. I spend most of my time playing draughts with my mate as we are all fed up with reading and it helps to pass the time away.

By the way did you get that bit photo of the ship O.K. I hope you did as I thought it was very good don’t you?

How has the village football club been going on lately? It seems ages since I had any news about them or the Villa and the Blues. Still I expect I shall get all the news when I get to Australia.

Have you been over to Droitwich lately? Has Teresa got herself “fixed up” yet? I expect it is a bit too wintry to go over there every weekend now though isn’t it? Have you been doing any good on the football pools lately or was it only beginners luck at the start of the season?

The food here is still pretty good, we usually get tinned fruit for pudding and tonight we had an ice cream as an extra.

Well I think that is about all I can manage to get on this letter so I am afraid I shall have to sign off until next time so
All my love
Your own son
Graham
x x x x x x x x
P.S. Remember me to all the gang!

2nd November 1945

Dear Mom and Dad and Jean,

Just a line or two to let you know that I am still quite O.K. and have got over my first attacks of seasickness. At the moment I am sitting on my bunk in just my football shorts, the heat is terrific, in fact it is so hot that they won’t let anyone go on deck without a shirt and a hat in case they get sunstroke. It is about ten at the moment and the heat already is much more than the hottest summer day in England.

There are notices all over ship and they keep broadcasting, Don’t take too much sun, eat more salt, take salt water showers regularly, have you hair cut short and quite a lot of other Do’s and Don’ts. The journey is a little behind time and we don’t get into Freetown until tomorrow instead of today as originally announced so I thought I might as drop you another line as it will be a week or so before we can drop any more mail.

Have you received my air mail and the photograph of the ship yet? I have also got a little lifebelt made out of wood which has also got a photograph inscribed in it. I also managed to get two propelling pencils as well out of the canteen so I will see if I can post them on when I get to Sydney.

At the moment we are about 100 miles or so from Freetown and I expect you can see from a map how far down the coast of Africa that is so you can guess how hot it is.

Yesterday we saw a shoal, or whatever they call it, of flying fish. They were a very funny sight, they jump out of the water then glide through the air for a hundred yards or so before they dive into the water again.

The day before we passed through the Canary Islands, it was a treat to see some land again. They were very mountainous and looked a treat catching the morning sun, especially as there was a light haze lying over the mountains.

Yesterday for pudding we had tinned pineapples, boy did they go down well. We wondered what the Navy was coming to. The grub on the whole isn’t too bad, much better than I expected considering the conditions they have to work under. I expect before long though they will be giving us salads and other cold dishes I expect we shall get plenty of fruit as well.

How is the weather at the village now, I expect the winter has set in by now. We heard the attempt on the airspeed record had been put off owing to bad weather so I expect it is pretty general.

My job on board is galley utensil cleaning party and I have to clean all the pans dishes etc that are used to cook the meals. It is not such a bad job as it only comes along during meal times.

Well I will sign off until next time a it is getting near time for dinner,
So all my love
Graham
x x x x x x x x x x

P.S. Excuse writing as the weather is that hot that it is difficult to hold the pen owing to my sweaty hands.

30th October 1945

Tuesday

Dear Mom & Dad,

Just a line or two just to let you know that I am O.K. and just about getting used to the “life on the ocean wave”. At the moment of writing we are just about opposite Gibraltar (roughly) though of course there is no land to give us a clue. We haven’t seen any land since about ten on Sunday morning so you can guess we haven’t had much change of scenery. I have just had dinner the first meal since Sunday dinnertime as since then I have been violently seasick just lying on my bunk and every now and then making a dash for the bathroom. Not that I was on my own as there were dozens besides myself, crossing the Bay of Biscay was the worst as we came across in a gale, well so they tell me but I was too far gone to worry about that at the time. Still I think that I have just about got over it now, I hope.

Did you get my letter O.K. I posted it late Saturday night so I should think you got it by Monday or early Tuesday. I don’t expect you will get this until next Tuesday or Wednesday as I shan’t be able to post it until Friday and it usually takes air mails about three days to get to England so it should reach you about then. I hope by the time I get to Australia I shall have a nice pile of letters and paper waiting for me. I shall look forward to the “Brum Mail” as I don’t even know how the Villa got on last Saturday. There is a wireless on board but they didn’t start using it until yesterday. Still once I get out there I should think I shall get mail pretty regularly again. By the way I have only sent my address to you and Roy so far so if Granny C., Aunty Em, Edna, Teresa want to know my address will you pass it on to them. I expect Edna will want it for Fred though I should think he will be coming soon pretty soon. How long has he been abroad now, three or four years isn’t it. It certainly will be a long time before I see him, altogether it won’t be so far of six years.

The sea is beginning to get much calmer now and the weather much hotter, I expect tomorrow or Thursday we shall all be wearing tropical kit. It is beginning to make us sweat a bit more now all the same, and we are only two days and two nights sailing from England. Still I reckon I am going at the right time of the year, it will be summer by the time I get to Australia. Just in time for the cricket season.

By the way did you get Bill H.’s address, if he is still out there I can drop him a line or I might even bump into him if he is still at Sydney.

I have met quite a number of my old mates on board, two from when I was at Skegness, P. and F. I don’t think you know them though. P. had just had his teeth out and looked pretty miserable.

It’s a pity that Alan nor Geoff nor Norman are with me, Alan said in his last letter that he would be soon going abroad but he didn’t say where to. Still all the same there are hundreds of Marines on board so perhaps he may end up out at Australia.

How did the village go on last Saturday, I can’t understand why Jean doesn’t go down and see Johnny H., or was it Nobby that caught her eye, as well as Moggy. Still I expect she’s got enough to go on with for the time being at S. St.

Well I think that’s about all I can get on this letter so I will sign off until next time
All my love
Graham
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