2nd June 1947

Dear Mom, Dad & Jean,

Just a few lines in reply to your very welcome letter dated 19.5.47 that I received on Saturday. Glad to hear that you had at least a drop of summer weather, let’s hope it at least keeps sunny during the real summer months. Still I see in the paper this morning that the London Meteorological Society report that there are strong possibilities of a warm summer. The weather here is at the moment quite warm which is a change as we had a quite wet week last week. Still the main thing is there is quite a fresh breeze blowing most of the time so I don’t quite mind it so much.

We are getting on well with our refit now and aren’t working quite so hard as we have been doing this last fortnight. Thank goodness it will be my last refit out here at any rate. We are hoping to leave on June 17th for exercises before going down to Aussie so that knocks another week off the refit.

What did you think of the “Wolves” coming unstuck at the last match. That’s the third season they’ve missed the championship isn’t it? I see Birmingham have been trying out some young ‘blood’ in readiness for next season. I think they will manage to get back next season, they’ve certainly had a couple of red hot teams above them this season. I see there are quite a few end of the season surprises taking place – Cullis retiring from the game, Stanley Matthews going to Blackpool, I think they’ll have to be watched next year.

Talking of football we played yesterday in the ‘derby’ game of the “Glory” league when we played against Stokers “B” team. It was very even for the first twenty minutes but then a couple of goals by our centre forward, “Taff” C., seemed to knock most of the life out of their team and we eventually ran out winners by 7 goals to one. Our figures now stand at played 6, won 5, drawn 1, lost 0, goals for 30, goals against 4, pts 11, we are now lying third in the league but are two matches in hand of the leaders and three points in arrears. We are now the only unbeaten team in the league and with the team playing as it is now I don’t think that any of the others are likely to beat us. Incidentally there are four Birmingham lads in the team besides me, so “Brum” must be a sport minded city.

I had a letter from Mr W. today and he said that the village got to the semi final of a cup again this year but lost by the odd goal or 5. I believe George R. and Bill S. are playing again now. The Youth Club also entered a team in a table tennis league with Roy as skipper and they are winning that hands down.

Changing the subject to cricket I see Dollery and Hollies of Warwickshire are amongst the twelve selected to represent England versus South Africa. Let’s hope they put up a better show this year.

As regards getting me a birthday present I am afraid I can’t help you out much as probably if I suggested anything it might be unobtainable or much too expensive. Still I’ll think it over too and let you know if there is anything that I particularly fancy. Talking of presents I treated myself to a pair of football boots yesterday they are a smashing pair and cost me 15 $ that is just over 30/-. I tried them out yesterday and they fit a treat. Also if I go to Aussie I intend buying myself a pair of flannels and a sports jacket ready for my leave when I get home. If I can get my war gratuities before then I shall get a suit instead. I have about twenty pounds to come in so I’m hoping I can get it out here instead of when I get home.

Well Mom I think that is the lot once more so until next time
All my love
Graham
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23rd May 1947

Dear Mom, Dad & Jean,

I expect you have all been wondering what on earth has happened to me since I last wrote to you. Well as you can see I am now at Singapore, and at the moment we are working all hours getting on with our “rush refit”. We left Trincomalee on May 12th with the destroyer “Contest” as escort. We arrived here on Saturday 17th, actually it was late Friday night but we cruised up and down all night so that we could fly our planes off in the morning. We had quite a bit of excitement just as we were pulling in as a police boat came alongside and we found that there were opium smugglers on board, namely the Chinese stewards. It appears that the police in Trincomalee found a hoard of opium in a deserted hut at Trinco. They left it there but kept it under frequent observation, then the night before the “Glory” left it disappeared and they put two and two together. Then they decided it was no use warning the ship as they would manage to get it well hidden away by the time the ship got to Singapore whereas if they boarded the ship at Singapore they would probably catch the Chinese by surprise. I am enclosing a cutting from the local rag which has a report of the case. Since then though another eight Chinese have been arrested.

During the time we are in dry dock most of the ships company are sleeping in the shore base H.M.S. “Terror” which is about a couple of miles away from the ship. It is a nuisance really as we have to wait every night for lorries and also have to keep carrying our bedding back and forward when we are duty and have to sleep on the ship. Our department have been working really hard as we have really got to move around to get the boilers cleaned and ready for June 23rd when the ship leaves for “Aussie”. By the way the ship is also going to Brisbane now as well as Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne, so we shall be visiting all the scenes of the massacres of our test team. We shall certainly have to keep our tongues in our cheeks when cricket is being discussed down there.

The weather here is much cooler here now than when we were here last time, bags of rain as well. Still it will be a taste of the Aussie weather as it will be their winter when we get down there which again will prepare us for going home in October.

I expect you have noticed the change of my address i.e. the M. after the Stoker. Well the Admiralty have decided that the title “Stoker” does not accurately describe our work and that a Stoker on a modern ship is in reality a Mechanic so now we are called Stoker Mechanics. A 2nd class Stoker is just called Stoker and a 1st class Stoker is now called Stoker Mechanic; a leading Stoker is Leading Stoker Mechanic and so on to Chief Petty Officer Stoker Mechanic in lieu of Chief Stoker. It’s really a copy from the Yanks as there are no stokers in their navy but instead are Machinists, 4th class.

Fancy Colin’s people going to Switzerland, it’s a pity Jean didn’t get a chance to go with them. It’s certainly a lot of money to spend on the fare as you say. I don’t think I could enjoy a holiday after having paid that much for a ticket. It’s certainly the fashion now what with Uncle Harry as well and Mrs W. ‘nipping over’ to Rhodesia. Is he still in the R.A.F. by the way?

I see the cricket season is in full swing now, Edrich getting a double century against Warwickshire. Has Dad seen the S. Africans yet? Is he turning out for the Met this year?

I’m sorry I didn’t send Dad a birthday card this time but I couldn’t get any in Trincomalee and I went ashore here the first night in but as it was Saturday it was early closing and I was unlucky again. Still next year I shall be a civvy so I shall be able to wish him “Many Happy Returns” personally.

I saw a very good picture a couple of nights ago, “This Man is Mine” which had everyone in fits of laughter throughout. Incidentally it was an English film.

Well Mom I think that is about the lot once again so once more until next time
All my love
Graham
P.S. Hope to be seeing you soon!!
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4th December 1946

Dear Mom, Dad & Jean,

Just a few lines to let you know that I am still O.K. and keeping fairly fit. I am still on board the “Glory” but we are leaving for Hong Kong on Sunday so shall probably pick up the “Euryalus” about the 13th or 14th. I should think there will be quite a stack of mail waiting for me when I get on board there as all my mail from “Sultan” will have been forwarded on to there by now. I have one letter from you dated Nov 18 which I collected from “Sultan” a couple of days ago when I went ashore. Apart from that all my mail will be on its way now or already there.

I have found out that the “Euryalus” is in Taikoo dry dock in Hong Kong doing a refit and will remain there until late December so it looks as though I shall have quite a busy Xmas. It’s quite a coincidence about the “Trafalgar” and “Euryalus”, when I joined the “Trafalgar” she was doing a refit. I joined the “Traf” just before Xmas and I am doing the same again this year. The “Traf” set sail from Sydney in mid-January for H.K. and as far as the rumours about the “Euryalus” go she is leaving H.K. in mid-January for U.K. but I am not doing any wishful thinking this time until I get on board her and find out for myself. If the rumour is correct about her going home and I am lucky enough to stay on her I should get home late February or early March. Still that is looking too far ahead already.

I see by your letter that you have been having quite a rainy autumn. Singapore is also in its rainy season at the moment and rarely a day goes by without at least one downpour. It doesn’t give us much of a chance to get our “smalls” dry. That was quite a downpour they had during the test yesterday at Brisbane wasn’t it – 6 inches of rain in 20 minutes.

Talking of Australia, fancy you getting that parcel from Australia I had quite forgotten sending it. As a matter of fact I believe I sent about four altogether but we had a signal saying that owing to unforeseen delays in postal services parcels posted between certain dates were unable to be forwarded. Well at the time I couldn’t remember how many I had sent before the date so I only claimed a refund on two so if I remember correctly there is probably another one floating around somewhere which I believe I sent to “booful”. I think I payed 7/- in Australian money which is about 5s/6d.

Sorry to hear you have broke your little deano, mine are still going strong, I reckon they must be unbreakable. Do you remember I broke them playing cricket when I was home on leave last, well I have never hard them repaired and they still keep in position with only one clip. When I get back to the U.K. I think I will treat myself


The rest of the letter is missing.

19th November 1946

Dear Mom, Dad & Jean,

So sorry that I haven’t written for a good while but my name went up on the drafting board about four or five days ago so I thought I might as well delay writing until I knew where I was going. Well I did my drafting routine yesterday and found that I have got the “Euraylius” which is an anti-aircraft cruiser. It will certainly be a lot different to the “Trafalgar” in regard to routine and discipline. As to what she will doing and when she will be going home I am afraid I shall have to wait until I get on her before I can let you know anything definite. There are so many rumours floating around that I don’t know which to believe. There is one rumour that says – “Aussie for Xmas”; another that she is going on a world cruise, and another even more optimistic that she is leaving for England in mid January. Still from what I know of her during the last twelve months she certainly does plenty of travelling around which is the main thing.

I heard about Jack G. the other day from M.G. Bad luck isn’t it going through part of the war and then getting mined like that especially when he was on the way home.

Brian J. has been in about twelve months longer than me I think, but that is hardly much of a guide as  he is in a different branch to me.

I haven’t seen “Bedelia” yet and I don’t expect I shall see it here as most of the pics here are at least 18 months old. “How Green Was My Valley” is arriving next week so you can see what it is like. Tonight in the camp cinema Gene Tierney is on in “Dragonwyck” so I expect I shall slip down and see it and there is not much else to do now at night.

I am getting on splendidly now with my swimming and can swim quite a decent way. I can just about do a hundred yards now. This afternoon I went swimming off the jetty where the water is about thirty foot deep. I dived off the jetty after funking it a few times and swam out to a small buoy about thirty yards or so from the jetty and then back. The jetty is about 12ft above the water level but after the first attempt I soon did it without funking it.

Well I am afraid I shall have to close once again as I want to get down to the pictures in good time. I think I shall be going on draft on Thursday taking passage on the aircraft carrier “Glory” to Hong Kong to pick up the “Euraylius” so I may not write until I get to Hong Kong so until next time,

All my love,
Graham
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P.S. Hope you got the cards O.K.
P.P.S. Thank you for the £1 it will come in very handy was we are allowed to wear “civvies” out here now so I am saving up just in case I get a chance to get a suit anywhere.