18th March 1947

Dear Mom, Dad & Jean,

I expect you have all been wondering what has happened to me and why I  haven’t written for a week. Well I am still at Bombay but I haven’t felt much like writing what with one thing and another. At the moment we are out on the combined exercises with the Army and R.A.F. It is quite a ‘large do’, just like the real thing, the “Jamaica” and “Couvery” put up a naval bombardment about five this morning followed by an air attack on the “enemy” positions, which are held by the 16th Leicestershire Regiment. Then at dawn the landing craft went in and put the Koops ashore under air cover by the “Glory”‘s squadron. Later on this morning our squadrons will be attacking various ‘military objectives’ ashore and the whole area ashore should be ‘captured’ by D+13 hrs tonight (6p.m.). In charge of defensive operations ashore is the S.E.A.C. Civil, General Claude Auchinleck, Monty’s predecessor in North Africa. We shan’t be staying out all day as after noon there is no need for aircraft so we shall return to Bombay just after dinner.

I have only had one run ashore in Bombay yet, but I have been ashore three or four times playing hockey. It is quite a decent place, plenty of good pictures ashore, some quite new such as “Great Expectations” and “London Town”, two or three swimming baths, big eats and plenty of sports fields. There is hardly anything to give you any idea that the Indians were fighting each other a few weeks ago. When I went ashore I spent the afternoon swimming at the Breach Candy swimming baths, which is European only. At night we had a walk around doing a bit of shopping. I was quite laden when I got back on board.

At hockey we haven’t been doing too well. I have had three games for the ship’s teams during the last week. Last Sunday we played against an Indian Navy XI and lost by two goals to one. On Wednesday I played for the ships second XI against the same team and they really went to town and thrashed us five-one. Friday I played again for the 1st XI against the Leicestershire Regiment and they also beat us 3-0, finally Saturday I played goalkeeper for the Engine Room XI versus Communications in the ships knockout competition and we won this 2-0. I think we stand a very good chance of winning this as besides myself seven other members of the team play for either the 1st or 2nd XIs, so we have quite a good side.

We are staying here at Bombay until Thursday night when we go out again, back to Trincomalee I should think that we should be able to find out something more about the ships movements then.

By the way, I was listening to a radio programme from Radio S.E.A.C. Ceylon two or three nights ago and they broadcast a special notice to all “Brummies”. Mr George Blackmore, the “Gammont” cinema organist has offered to play requests for forces in the Far East for their relatives back home. He also offers to notify the people back home of the time of playing the request and the message. There were about a dozen times to pick from and I chose “Constantly” so probably you will be hearing something from him in a day or two. It was about Tuesday when I wrote to him.

I bet Colin was pleased that the doctors wouldn’t allow him to go back to camp when he came home. Still all the same he wouldn’t get so much of enjoyment out of it being on the sick list would he.

I was surprised to hear of Uncle Fred dying. I didn’t know he was all that ill. It is a good job for Aunty Nan that her children are all working and can look after her, isn’t it.

As you say, Ceylon is certainly a beautiful place but I’m afraid that we don’t look for beautiful countryside scenery when we are ashore. Ninety nine sailors out of a hundred when they go ashore look round for the nearest cafe for ‘big eats’. After that they usually have a look around for a picture house or a dance hall I usually choose the ‘flicks’.

Talking of pictures we have a good one on board tonight. Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman in “Spellbound” which I shall probably see. The other two pictures we have had during the last week haven’t been particularly good, Googie Withers in “Rink String and Sealing Wax” and Mickey Rooney in “National Velvet”. Have you seen any of them?

I have just been told that I am playing hockey again for the ship’s team vs the “Small Ships” in the harbour. There are about eight ships in here so they should be able to get a fair side out.

Well Mom, I am afraid I can’t think of anything more to say at the mometn so I will sign off once more until next time
All my love as usual
Graham
x  x  x  x  x
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1st March 1947

Dear Mom, Dad & Jean,

Here I am once again with a few more lines to thank you for the two letters, plus one from Jean that I received yesterday, dated 6th, 18th and 6th respec.

We arrived in Trincomalee yesterday afternoon but the mail didn’t come on until after suppertime and I didn’t bother to reply then as I was too tired and I turned in early to catch up with some of the sleep that I had lost during the last ten days. On the way up from Hong Kong we called in at Singapore for two hours to draft fifty seaman ratings due for demob. Altogether I received ten letters yesterday so I shall be pretty busy catching up with them today and Monday for Bombay. We are staying there about three weeks so by the time we get back it will be well into April.

Well so much for my end, to answer your letters, the big one first!

You have certainly been having a long winter this year haven’t you, still I hear on the wireless that most of the industries are back at work again now which is the main thing isn’t it.

I am glad you have got “I cover the waterfront” with the Inspots, you say that I should have already know that as you had written me about it once before. Well I have looked up all my old letters and I can’t find anything about it so evidently that letter has gone astray altogether, unless of course it is still on the “Euryalus” as it is just about the time when I was addressing my letters to her. Still it can’t be helped.

Am glad you liked the photos of my shore pals. I don’t think I shall part from Ken R. as he is group 67 and all the “buzzes” going around seem to think that 66 and 67 will go on draft together. By the way did I tell you in my last letter that we are now the senior group on board here as group 65 went on draft the other day. I still don’t know when it will be my turn for U.K. as nobody knows for certain what the ships movements are after Singapore. There is one rumour going around that the “Aussie” trip is off and that the ship is going home in June which would make it just right for my birthday. Still we should get to know something definite soon.

I had a letter from Jess again this morning with a bit more news of the M.G. Coral lads. Michael I. is stationed in Egypt, Stan H. or Stafford from the Radleys has just left England for the Rhine, Jimmy T. is stationed in Scotland, George P. has just been called up for the R.A.F. and Bert S. and Henry L. are in U.K. waiting for demob. Her cousin has settled in Australia and has married an Australian girl.

You mentioned the 4th test well I see the 5th one has started now with Len Hutton getting his first test century in Aussie. A bit of bad luck on Hammond getting the fibrositis again though I don’t think it can make much difference as Laurie Fishlock is as good a bat as any isn’t he.

Colin is certainly having a rough start to Army life isn’t he. For anyone who is an old hand it would be bad enough but to get to get used to an Army routine I shouldn’t like at all.

You mention that Jack S. has now been demobbed, well  it is not quite as easy as that to reckon my demob date. For one thing he is in a different branch to mine and their demob is well advanced whereas ours is only up to group 58. Do you remember me telling you about “Taffy” J. going home, well he joined at the same time as me yet he went out about the same time as Jack S. so it isn’t much of a guide. To tell you the truth I think I shall just about complete three years service in the Navy so I have approx 12 months to do. I think it is silly to hope for anything much sooner. Still it won’t be too bad as the best part of the time I expect to be in U.K. or at least in the Home Fleet so I shall at least get leave which is the main thing. I don’t think there is any possibility of my coming out here again.

I haven’t seen any films at all recently. I think I told you I had seen Deanna Durbin in “Lady on a Train”. Well since then I have seen Danny Kaye in “Wonder Man” and Jimmy Henley in “Murder in Reverse” which were quite good, and tonight Bud Abbott and Lou Costello are on in “Time of their Lives” which should be a good laugh.

The “Venerable” left here today for U.K. with the Flag Officer, R.A.A. (Rear Admiral, Air) on board. He is being relieved by R.A.A. Creasey, who is coming out on the “Theseus”. When he gets here he will come on board us as we are the flagship.

Well Mom, I think that is about all the news for now so once again I will close until next time.
So for the time being
All my love
Graham
x x x x x x

17th February 1947

Dear Mom, Dad, & Jean,

Just a few lines once more to let you know that I am still keeping fit and in the best of health.

I have been delaying writing to you over the last week in the hope that I should get a letter before I left Hong Kong. Still it looks as though it is too late now, as tomorrow morning we are leaving for Trincomalee and Bombay, so here goes. I suppose it is all the bad weather in the U.K. and elsewhere that has delayed the mail as it now nine days since I had any. Still by the time we get to “Trinco”, I expect we shall have quite a stack waiting for us.

There has been a strong “buzz” going around lately that the ship is going to Australia in May to do a refit instead of doing it at Singapore so if I am on the ship then I shall be able to get some decent presents at least.

The “Venerable” left here on Friday for England and is being relieved by H.M.S. “Theseus” which is due out here sometime April. The “Venerable” is doing a refit in England and then will be returning out here again as our relief. She got quite a send off when she left, what with bands and aircraft display.

I hear on the wireless that the “Vanguard” has just reached Capetown about an hour ago. Did you hear about the reception that they got. Grandstands all along the road from the quayside, dances & dinners, parties and dozens of other amusements. Lucky devils!

I have seen a couple of good films over the weekend, the first which I saw on board was Orson Welles, Loretta Young and Edward G. Robinson in “The Stranger” which I really enjoyed. The other one that I saw ashore, was Van Johnson and Esther Williams in “Thrill of a Romance” which was also very good. Unlike most ‘Yankee’ musicals it had quite a decent story. An added attraction was John Melchior, the Metropolitan opera singer. He sang “Please don’t say No” and others but I liked that one very much. The funny part about it he wasn’t supposed to be singing it so he was hiding behind a car while Van Johnson was pretending to sing and serenading Esther Williams. It looked very realistic. On board tonight is Deanna Durbin in “Lady on a Train” which I shall probably go to see if I can finish my letter writing in time.

I see Birmingham won their local ‘derby’ game against Coventry, I think they will just about manage to gain promotion but I still don’t fancy their chances in the cup. Preston is still my tip with Burnley as an outsider, and Wolves for the league with Sheffield United as a dark horse.

In regards to my sporting activities lately. Yesterday I played in goal for our Engine Room hockey team against the “Bermuda”. It was a very exciting game and finished in a goalless draw. At football on Friday against the Marines we won by 5 goals to 0.

Well Mom I think that is all the news now until I get to “Trinco” on Feb. 28th so for the present
All my love
Hope to see you soon
Graham
x x x x x x