15th January 1946

Dear Mom Dad and Jean,

Just a short note to let you know that I am still O.K. before leaving Sydney. I expect it will be a fortnight or a month before you hear from me again so if you don’t hear from me don’t worry as I shall be O.U.

As far as I know now, we are sailing from here at 0730 on Thursday morning and are going to Hong Kong via Port Darwin which is about four days journey from here. We are refueling there and then continue to Hong Kong and Shanghai. Apart from that there is nothing else definite at all so it will have to be another time before I can tell you anything else.

Have you got the photo of the ship yet? By the way the photo for the papers didn’t come out so can’t send you one on. Still I believe they are going to retake it tomorrow so I will see what can do then. I don’t expect we shall be able to post them until Hong Kong as they will have to be developed on board which will sure to take a day or two.

I hear young Denis S. has got his “crawling up” papers. I don’t know whether I mentioned it last time.

Well I really have nothing else to say so I will close this short letter. I will write again at the first opportunity.

All my love
Graham
x x x x x x x

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13th January 1946

Dear Mom, Dad & Jean,

Just another letter to thank you for your very welcome letter which I received this morning, No 7. I was certainly glad to get as I had only had one letter during the week. Still I had yours, on from Jess O., one from Gilbert B., you remember one of my mates at Suffolk St. so I shall have some to reply to now.

I hope you got my Xmas cards in time for Xmas. I thought perhaps I had left them a bit too late. I haven’t heard from anyone who has received one yet so I don’t know or haven’t any idea when they get to England.

I have received all your letters safely so I don’t know where you got the idea that I hadn’t receive the first three, I think you must have read one of them wrong as I can’t remember saying anything about not receiving them. I received No 1 on the 1st of December, No 2 on the 3rd and No 3 on the 4th of January.

I have also received about six Birmingham Mails altogether but of course it is not so important if they get lost.

I have also the two photos and the address from Mr P. with the Cricket Club programme with it.

Tell Jean I am getting quite n expert at roller skating but I didn’t tackle the ice skating. I had more respect for my neck at the finish. I expect you have received my photo by now. By the way I think letter No 7 was a thick one so it is quite likely hat it went by sea instead of air mail. I posted it on the 1st of January so I expect you will have got it by now. I also posted a photo of the “Trafalgar” today which you will get about the same time as this letter.

I had my photo taken with the Midlanders today and if it is any good I will send it to the Mail. In any case I will send a copy to you!

Pleased to hear that Ray is on the job again, give my best regards to him will you, and all the girls in the shop including Mary “with the curls” and Mr Hill and all the gang.

12th January 1946

Dear Mom, Dad & Jean,

Here I am again with a few more lines to let you know I am still in the best of health. I am still at Sydney at the moment but am sailing from here next Thursday for Hong Kong and Shanghai. I am hoping it is ‘homeward bound’ after that but they will probably take me off the ship if it does because of the demobbing.

Tomorrow there is a press photographer coming on board to take “town” photographs. I am hoping to get on the Birmingham photo if I can get off duty. If I do get on I shall send a copy to the Mail on Despatch so keep your eyes open during February as they may publish it.

I had my first watch down the boiler room on Wednesday when we flashed up the boilers on trail before sailing on Thursday. The temperature was 148º at one time and they reckon that is cool so I reckon I shall a bit of weight in sweat on this trip.

Has the winter weather subsided yet in Birmingham? We have had a moderately cool spell here lately – just a mere eighty or so!

I see the Villa only just managed to draw  with Coventry in the cup. I wonder whether it was to draw the crowd at Villa Park the following week.

I had another three papers come today, the Birmingham Mail, Nov 9th and 10th and the football final of the 10th, Coleshill Chronicle and Warwick News. It seems funny reading news two months old, I had only just left England then and it really seems ages since I heard the results on the “Aquitania”.

She reached England on Thursday by the way. Boy would I have liked to have been on her. Still my time will come.

Well I think that is all for now, sorry there is nothing really important to tell you this time, probably next time I shall be able to write another big letter, until then
all my love
Graham
x x x x x x x x x x x

3rd January 1946

Dear Mom, Dad and Jean,

Just a line or two to let you know that I am still keeping very fit and out of trouble. I am still on leave at the moment but I have to return tomorrow at four in the afternoon. I am writing this in the Forces Quiet Room and have had to use Y.M.C.A. paper as I have run out of airgraphs. I have had a very quiet leave at the Nortons’ house with Reg, that is the Northampton fellow. We have spent the time rowing on the river, hiking in the mountains, going out in the car with the Nortons and when it was a bit cooler playing tennis on their own private course. Most of the people have them out here, hard courts that is so they are very cheap to make here as they usually make them out of the actual ground itself which rolls like concrete after a drop of rain, I bet you would have liked to spend a holiday at their home at any rate, no shortage of tennis balls, “Slazenger” rackets!!! Well we returned from there yesterday morning and since then we have been stopping at the British Centre and spending most of our time in the pictures. We have seen Lloyd Nolan and William Eythe in “The House on 92nd Street”, Sinatra, Gene Kelly and Kathryn Grayson in “Anchors Aweigh” and Gail Russell and Diana Llyn in “Our Hearts were Young and Gay” that is the film of the best seller. They were all very good films the last two being comedies and the first being an unusual spy plot which is supposed to be the truth about the espionage attempts of the Germans to get the atom bomb secrets. And whoever says that Sinatra can sing should go and see “Anchors Aweigh”, they might change their mind.

Tonight we are going roller skating at Newtown, just outside Sydney, we are both getting pretty hot now! No falls at all lately, I am even beginning to teach other people.

I still don’t know where we are going to definitely yet still I suppose by the time I get back to ship tomorrow I shall probably find out something more definite than the “buzzes” that have been floating around lately.

I hope that there is some mail for me tomorrow when I get back, it is over a fortnight since I got any from U.K. I expect it has been held up at “Golden Hind”. The strike is over now although the electricity and gas restrictions are still on.

I  have read in the papers that there is a record cold spell coming over England now, there has been a nationwide fog over Xmas and the New Year as well hasn’t there? There has been a bit of a breeze blowing up today which has made it a bit cooler, though at the moment it really looks like rain.

Well Reg is waiting for me now so I will have to sign off for the moment.
So all my love
Graham
xxxxxxxx
P.S. Am not sure of number of letters but the last one I wrote was dated 29/12/45.

 


Note

The airgraph service was a way of saving weight and space on mail flights, in use from 1941 to July 1945 (by which time sending letters by air mail had become much easier and cheaper). Letters were photographed and the negatives flown to the destination country, where the letter was reprinted. Graham’s letters aren’t really airgraphs – most of them are written on air mail cards.