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
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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

29th December 1945

Dear Mom & Dad & Jean,

At the moment of writing I am on leave and am writing this in the house of a Mr & Mrs Norton of Roseville, near Sydney. He is in the Australian Army and they seem decent people. I am spending my leave with another chap off the Trafalgar, Reg F. from Northampton. I have got leave until next Friday, January 4th and I started it yesterday. I came ashore intending to stay at the British Centre for my leave but last night after I came out of the pictures seeing Danny Kaye in “Wonder Man” and Tom Conway in “The Falcon in Hollywood”, I bumped into Reg and he suggested that we should go into the Methodist Hospitality Centre and see if we could get an address where to spend our leave. Well they said that everywhere was packed out but if we came back at two in the afternoon they would see if they could get us an address. So we messed around and at two they managed to get this address after ringing up about a dozen people.

Roseville, what I have seen of it, is not a very big place and seems pretty quiet so it will be a change from Sydney.

Yesterday H.M.S. “Formidable” and “Implacable” left Sydney for England with ex P.O.W.s and men from demobbing. You should have seen the crowds waiting to see them off, brass bands and such like. Most of the big ships out here are returning home shortly as there is a big naval review in March back home and they are fetching all the big ships for it. I hope that they send me back with them.

I received two Birmingham Mails during last week and also the local ‘rag’, it was good to see a decent paper again. Apart from that though I haven’t had any letters for just over a week. I suppose they have been delayed somewhere over Xmas. I shall have to wait another week until I go back to the ship so I hope there is some for me when I get back.

How is the weather back home now, have you had any snow yet? Some of the people here have never seen snow and very few of them have got overcoats. Business men walk around in shirt sleeves so you can tell it is pretty warm.

How is the football going on lately are the Midland clubs still going strong? Who is top scorer of the league by the way? I saw an article in the Pacific Poet that said that Edwards of the Villa was likely to be England’s centre forward in place of Lawton or Stubbins. Is it right? How is the village going on lately, are they top of the league yet? I expect the cup matches will start soon won’t they? What price Villa this year again? Favourites aren’t they?

Don Bradman the Australian batsman made a come back this week. He played for his old club South Australia for the first time since the war and made 68 and 52 not out in the second innings. Syd Barnes of New South Wales has also been getting plenty of runs lately. He has got over 500 runs in three innings, 193 167 and 152 not out. Not bad eh!

Well I think that is about all for this time once again so I shall have to close.

All my love
Your loving son and brother
Graham
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P.S. My signature tune now is “I’ll be home for Xmas” have you heard it?

23rd December 1945

Dear Mom & Dad & Jean,

I expect you have had my other short note telling you that I have got a ship at last. She is a pretty new ship, built during the war and is a battle class destroyer. That is a destroyer, slightly bigger than usual, built with a heavier armament on the lines of a battleship. She is also the flotilla leader of the destroyer squadron.

At the moment we are lying alongside a sister ship, H.M.S. “Camperdown” alongside the wharf in Sydney harbour. There are dozens of wellknown ships pretty near to us, H.M.S. “King George V”, H.M.S. “Berwick”, “Implacable”, “Indomnitable”, “Indefatigable”, “Pioneer”, “Glory”, and many others. The troopship that turned back in the Bay of Biscay due to engine trouble, the S.S. “Orion” came in this afternoon.

Last night I saw an old mate of mine from “Imperieuse” named Jim J. who came in yesterday on H.M.S. “Perseus”. My other mate, Eric D., is on H.M.S. “Glory” as working party so it looks as though we shall be split up.

Next Friday, I am going on six days leave though I don’t know where I shall go yet. I think I shall go to the British Centre and get an address. We sail from here on January 15th with about a dozen other ships and are going to Melbourne. We might go to New Zealand from there but if we don’t we shall go round to Fremantle on the West coast. Then to Singapore, Hong Kong and end up at Tokio. From there we are going on fleet exercises in and around the islands. After we have done that there is a possibility that we shall go to America and from there back to England in July. I hope that they don’t draft me off by then, that would just suit me down to the ground.

The ships company on board at the moment (that is me) are having an easy time as there is a big working party on board doing all the dirty work such as boiler parties and painting. There are only half the crew on board at the moment as the Starboard watch is on Xmas leave. I am duty on Xmas Day but am ashore on boxing day. I don’t expect there will be much doing though.

The food on board is excellent, we had roast potatoes and a lovely piece of pork for dinner Friday. Then we had a tin (large size 1lb 14ozs) of Yellow Cling peaches between two of us. They only cost us 1/3d a tin and so we do ourselves swell. We eat what we like see, we don’t have to eat what is for dinner on daily orders, we just prep our own meal and take it up to the galley to get it cooked.

On Friday I saw Franchot Tone and Susanna Foster in “That night with You” and Gloria Jean in “Fairy Tale Murder” and yesterday afternoon I saw Bing Crosby, Betty Hutton, Paulette Goddard, Alan Ludd, Dorothy Lamour, Eddie Bracken, Sonny Tufts in “Duffy’s Tavern”. They were all pretty good. I thought that the first was the best of the three.

I expect you are looking forward to Xmas now at home aren’t you, where are you going to? I hope you all have a good time, I should love to be with you, still I think I shall be home by next Christmas. I will keep my fingers crossed at any rate.

Well it is the bottom of the page again so I shall have to close until the next time. So all my love
Love and kisses
Graham
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22nd December 1945

Dear all,

Just a few lines to let you know my latest address. I will write again later to let you know the latest news. The ship is the flotilla leader of the British Pacific Battle Class destroyer squadron. We leave Sydney on January 15th and are going on a “pleasure” cruise – Melbourne, Fremantle, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokio then fleet exercises in the Pacific. From there we go to America and eventually Britain in July. I don’t know whether I shall still be on by the because they usually taken men off them if their group number is not up. Still I shall keep my fingers crossed.

Am going on 6 days leave next Friday that is the 25th. Got the “Birmingham Mail” dated November 3rd yesterday. Thanks for same!

Shall have to sign off now will write fuller tomorrow,

All my love,
Graham
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18th December 1945

Dear Mom & Dad & Jean,

Just a line or two to thank you for your very welcome letter which I received this morning. It was number five dated December 3rd so it must have been held up somewhere as it doesn’t usually take fifteen days for letters to get out here. I had one from Norman R. last week that was posted on December 2nd and I received it on the 10th which is pretty good isn’t it? We have had two hold ups of mail from England since i arrived here, they said it was because of the fog in Britain and so the mail planes couldn’t get off.

In regard to all the fruit that I have been having lately I very rarely eat any now as I have had so much that I am sick of it. I have had three pineapples peaches and cherries during the last week but have definitely gone off them now! We don’t get such a selection of sweets and chocolate out here, there is a shortage of certain brands owing to the strike and the Xmas shoppers. My favourite is full cream Fudge. Do you remember Dad used to sell it once?

I am glad to hear that Dad’s finger is getting better, I hope that he doesn’t get any more trouble with it. It would spoil Christmas if he has to keep it in a sling all the time. I still don’t know definitely where I shall spend my Christmas yet, Eric and myself made friends with a couple of girls from North Sydney and we have been around to their house two or three times. We are hoping that we shall get an invitation from them but if we don’t, well I suppose it will have to be the British Centre. There is nothing serious with them, it is just “purely platonic”, they are both much older than us.

I had a letter from Geoff P. this morning, he is down at Devonport now, still on the same course and has got a hook up now. Gets thirty shillings a week which is nearly double my wages. He says that only himself and “Ginger” B. are left out of the old Skegness class and only ten of them still on the course out of the original sixty odd. He was going to get engaged for Xmas but has decided to wait until he gets demobbed. Talking of demobbing Norman says that he is expecting his “ticket” in April or May. He certainly is jammy isn’t he. He is stationed about six miles from his wife’s home as well so he certainly hasn’t got anything to grumble about.

This afternoon we had a surprising change in the weather, after a record temperature of 115° yesterday it certainly came as a surprise to have a thunderstorm which has only just stopped after being on for five hours. There has been eleven people die in Sydney and suburbs during yesterday through the terrific heat. Most of them were old people over sixty or so. In one place about fifty miles from here the temperature has exceeded 100° for the last twelve days, I reckon they must be getting a trifle sunburnt.

You say that Britain had most of the war, well you should hear them out here. Anyone would think Australia had won the war. They say they won the Libyan campaign, Crete, Greece, Italy, Burma, most of the islands in the Pacific just to mention a few of their campaigns. Then they tun the British fleet down and say “Why didn’t the British fleet come out to the Pacific until 1941 and 1942.” They forget that we were fighting a war on our own doorsteps since 1939. Then they say “Why can’t our servicemen get home for Xmas?” All the British ships are fetching them back while their own ships are lying in the Australian harbours “on exhibition”. They say Australia is the finest country – a “land fit for heroes”, yet they have had three general strikes in two months, it just shows how satisfied they are.

Tell Jean I think the photograph is very good, there are quite a lot of chaps in my hut who want to write to her. The only way I could keep them away is by telling them she is courting strongly and is ‘as good as engaged’.

This weekend I am going down to Manly Beach to do a spot of sunbathing and attempting to learn to swim. There are plenty of instructors there. Manly Beach is a famous surfing beach and people come from all parts of N.S.W. to surf there. It is pretty well a national sport out here. The cricket season is in full swing at the moment, N.S.W. seems to be the top dogs at the moment. W. J. O’Reilly the test bowler is captain of the team but he is going off now. The other day I saw Stan McCabe, the Australian vice captain, he owns a sports shop down George Street, tat is the main street like Corporation Street. He hasn’t been playing during the war.

I am sorry that the letters I have been writing recently haven’t been very long but as there wasn’t much to write about especially when I haven’t got one of your letters in front of me. Still I know that you would rather have a short letter than none at all.

Have you received my photos yet taken in tropical rig, I think the one taken by myself was the best. I have got two more taken with a couple of girls. Again nothing sentimental!!!

I am on duty again while I am writing this letter, I have to stop in the Regulating Office all night until seven thirty in the morning when I get relieved. We have changed our leave system now. There are only six of us so we have split up into two watches and take it in turns one watch every day while the other watch is ashore. We start the day at dinner so we are allowed to go ashore at twelve thirty and don’t have to report back until eleven thirty the next morning. It is a much better way as it means we get a lie in in bed, that is when I stop out at night and sleep at the British Centre.

Did you get the Xmas card O.K. You’d be surprised the trouble I had trying to get them. You see the strike was on and most of the stationers shops were shut. I eventually got them on an underground railway station bookstall. I hope you get it in time for Xmas. I sent them to Hobmoor, Byron, Whiteacre and Roy besides yourself.

Have you heard any news of the local lads lately, Brian J., Bill, Boyd K., Jack S. Do you know Brian T. from Mackadown, I believe he is at Tokio, he was on the “Duke of York” I think when she entered the harbour. Could you find out for me if he is on “Duke of York”? Mr H. would probably know.

By the way I hear Roy Statham has got himself ‘hooked’ up. Who was the girl, was it his old flame? I expect he will be getting demobbed soon won’t he?

Well I really think that is about all I can think of at the moment so I will close down again until next time.

All my love
Graham
x x x x x x x x x x x x
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