19th June 1947

Dear Mom, Dad & Jean,

Just a few lines in reply to your very welcome letter that I received yesterday. You certainly have been having a “hot spot” of weather recently, I can understand how difficult and uncomfortable it would be for you to sleep. I mean  out here I sleep on a camp bed with just a pair of pants on and nothing over me and invariably in the open air which is a lot more different to sleeping indoors on a feather bed.

Glad to hear that you have more or less got straight again after the plumber etc. had been in. Still its worth it just to get the house dry again isn’t it!

I am writing this while we are at sea on our last exercises before proceeding to Australia. We are out for two days, returning to Singapore tomorrow night. We are out mainly for flying exercises but we are also giving the main engine a thorough test. When we return tomorrow we stay in the dockyard until Sunday and then we move round into Singapore Roads and anchor there until Monday morning when we sail with the “Theseus”, “Contest” and “Cockade”. I suppose we have “had our time” for another run ashore here this time not that I am really worried, the only thing I really go ashore for in a place like this is just to break the monotony.

I didn’t find out who sent me those books although I have thought out the likely solution. Perhaps my label and “X”s label came off – mine off the football papers and his off the books. Then the labels were put on the wrong parcels and I got his books while “x” got my football papers. Still I’ll enclose the chit and see what you think!

Its funny you mention Granny C. as only last Sunday I was in two minds whether to write to her or not but in the end I decided to leave it to “Aussie” as I didn’t think it was worth writing to her about Singapore as there is nothing really interesting to talk about especially on a refit. So if you see her, tell her I shall be writing from Adelaide probably.

To tell you the truth I haven’t heard from Roy at all this year, he never was a regular writer but he has created a record spell this year. It must be “girl trouble” I should imagine. Jess O. is about my only source of village gossip nowadays as Dorothy H. hasn’t written for ages. Mr W., the youth club leader drops me a line now and again with Youth Club news, while Wilf A. and Frank R. give me all the works “gen”.

Glad to hear Dad is still doing very well at tennis. I should say that was a very good performance beating Bourneville on their ground as they have a strong sporting reputation haven’t they. We haven’t had so much lately just a couple of games of hockey and one at football. The hockey was for the ships team and we lost both of them by the same score 2-1. At football I played for the “Conscripts” versus “Regulars” in a return match to when we beat them 3-1. We hadn’t got our strongest side out as three of our men were playing for the ships team and everyone expected us to lose. Still we upset the critics and beat them again this time by 2 goals to 1. I was Captain for the game and played in goal again.

Talking of sport all the topic here lately has been about the visiting Chinese team – Sing Toa Football Club. They have visited the Philippines and they have played three games here all without defeat. They are visiting England shortly so keep me notified how they get on will you. They come from Hong Kong and I have seen them quite a few times and you can take it from me they’re “hot stuff”. In the Philippines they played six winning them all with a goal aggregate of 27 goals for and 2 against. In they three games they have played here they have scored 13 goals with 6 against. They beat the Combined Services 5-1, the Combined Civilians 5-2 and drew against the Combined Chinese 3-3. There was some excuse for that however as they arrived by air from the Philippines in the morning and turned straight out and played in the afternoon. In my opinion they will come unstuck in U.K. as their centre half plays an attacking role and leaves quite a gap down the centre. Of course he might change his tactics then but you can see what I mean by the fact that out of 8 goals scored against them on their town seven of them have been netted by the opposing centre forward.

Well Mom I am afraid I shall have to close now as it is five minutes off “lights out” so until next time,
all my love,
your loving son,
Graham
xxxxx
xxxx
xxx
xx
x

Advertisements

13th June 1947

Dear Mom, Dad & Jean,

Well here I am again with a few more lines to let you know that I am still keeping pretty git and in the best of health. We have practically finished our refit now and the rest of the time here we shall be cleaning up the ship in preparation for our “Aussie” cruise. We have moved back on board again now after nearly two weeks in the barracks ashore, “Terror”. Our mess-deck has been painted in a light green and cream colour scheme and it looks very nice now.

We are leaving here in ten days time for Adelaide so you can guess we are all anxiously waiting to get up steam and get away from here. Still I can at least state definitely that this is my last cruise out here and then the ship heads for home. Actually we are going out before the twenty third, on two days flying exercises and general manoeuvres, so that will be a change and help to pass the next days away more quickly.

By the way what is the mail getting through like in England, it is pretty grim out here just lately, I haven’t had a letter from anyone for a week, the only mail that seems to come on board is from “Aussie” so of course it means nil for me. Still it is only slightly over three months and mail won’t worry me then.

What did you think of Freddie Mills and Jack London both getting beat recently, it certainly seems as sport has “gone to the dogs” recently doesn’t it. I see in the paper that they have been criticising the way Bruce Woodcock was handled in his Baski fight. It said that any second with an atom of “savvy” would have thrown the towel in the towel at the end of the second round or the third at the latest.

What happened to Hutton and Dollery in the Test, they certainly didn’t show up like world beaters did they. It’s a good job that we’ve got chaps like Edrich, Comption, Yardley and Evans it strikes me. I should think that Pope will get his chance again after his performance of 13 wickets for 50 runs against Somerset. Hollises also did fairly well in South Africa’s first inning.

Have you seen any good pictures lately? On board tonight we are having “Great Expectations” with John Mills and Valerie Hobson, so I shall go and see that. Other films I have seen recently are “Scariest Street” with Edward G. Robinson, “Utah” with Roy Rogers, “Cluny Brown” with Paulette Goddard and “The Fleets In” with Eddie Bracken and Betty Hutton. They are all pretty old films but I had only seen “The Fleets In” and I had more or less forgotten the story.

How are you going lately with your heat waves and hail storms. They had a hail storm in Aussie at the beginning of the year with hail stones as big as tennis balls. Hundreds of windows were broken and several old people were killed.

I haven’t been doing so well at sport lately, actually we have been toppled off our perch at the top of the league and we lost two matches in five days. Still to soften the blow the runners up also lost one so we are now following them with one point difference in our totals and we have still to play them so we are still hopeful. On Wednesday we again lost this time at hockey, I played in goal for the ships team against the cruiser H.M.S. “Sussex” and we were beaten by three goals to two.

We had a big draft of ninety nine ratings come on the ship yesterday. They had all just come out from U.K. and have about four months to do before they get demobbed so have been sent out here for the rest of our commission. Lucky devils coming on at a time like this with an “Aussie” cruise ahead. Most of them haven’t left England before.

Well Mom I think that’s just about the lot once again so until next time
All my love as usual
Graham
x x x x x
x x x x

P.S. Be seeing you soon.

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
x  x  x  x
x  x  x
x  x
x

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!!
x x x x
x x x
x x
x

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
xxxxxx
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.