2nd September 1945

Dear Mom & Dad,

Just a line or two to let you know that I arrived back safely. The train got in about five thirty so we had plenty of time to spare and managed to get a cup of tea at the Y.M.C.A. I had to stand all the way to Bristol and also from Bristol to Torquay when I managed to get a seat.

We started on our course at ten and as we had to get our kit unpacked you can guess we didn’t waste much time. By the way we have had a good bit of news about the course. They have cut it down to five weeks from eight so perhaps I shall be having another long leave shortly. I hope so at any rate.

My parcel has not arrived today, its certainly taking a long time to get here. I hope it arrives by the morning post as we are working in the boiler house tomorrow afternoon so I shall need them. I shan’t be able to send them home to wash as we have to change them twice a week.

By the way there was no mail for me this morning so it looks as though those four or five that have gone to Portsmouth have really got lost.

By the way I think that any money that is coming to me for my birthday had better be put in the N.S.C.s so if you know anyone who is sending me money you had better have it off them and put it in for me.

Don’t forget the license by the way as I shall probably be needing it again shortly

By the way there was a cricket meeting this morning on board as the team has been split up what with men on leave and others going on draft. We had a practice match tonight and I was “stumping”, I made twenty three runs and caught two men out so I think I did O.K. There is a final practice match on Wednesday night and I have been picked. The ship team needs a wicket-keeper as the usual one is on leave so perhaps I shall get a game for the ship’s eleven.

Well I think that is about all for now so I will close.

Lots of love


30th August 1945

Dear Mom & Dad,

Just a line or two in reply to your letter which I received on Friday. I see you posted it last Monday, I suppose it got held up over V.J. days. I received a letter from Jean this morning which I have already replied to. Did you receive my money safely that week? I have still got £1 in loose cash and £8 in my bank book and it is pay day on Thursday so I should do O.K.

There is still no further developments in my transfer yet, it usually takes three weeks before you finally see the captain. It is a terrible affair as far as red tape is concerned. First of all you put in a request to see the Divisional Officer. If he thinks your case is genuine he refers you to the Training Commander who in turn looks into your case and if he is satisfied then you eventually see the Captain, three weeks in all. Still once that is over it is only two or three days before you get the trade test.

Today we have been on a ship fire fighting course. You should have seen us when we came back. The Ink Spots had nothing on us we were just like coalmen. We had to put oil fires out with two or three different types of extinguishers. Then we had to walk through a burning house filled with smoke with a special heat. In the afternoon we had training on different types of pumps so we are now quite handy as firemen. We have to pass out in a written exam on fire fighting when we get our final exam. I think it is almost certain that I shall be home in mid September now. We pass out here about the twenty eighth of this month and go on draft within a week so that makes it about the thirteenth of September. The football season will have started by then, I hope that I can manage to get a game while I am home. We have finished cricket by the way now though football is not starting for a fortnight or so.Back of the envelope

Well I think that is about all the news for now
so I will close until next time.

All my love,
x x x x x x


Historical Note

Japan surrendered unconditionally on the 14th of August 1945, known as V.J. (Victory over Japan) Day. This ended the Second World War.

22nd August 1945

Dear Mom and Dad,

Just a line or two to let you know that I received the birthday cards quite O.K. I had one from Granny C., Teresa, and a letter from Aunty Em, who sent me £1. Granny C. sent me 10/-. I will forward money on next time I write when I can get a postal order.

I played for the first team on Saturday, we got 95 for 6 wickets declared. I made 2 not out and then we got them all out for 15 runs. I got two men out behind the stumps. One bowler, named Hall who has had trials for Surrey I think it is got seven wickets for three runs. Not bad eh! On Tuesday we played H.M.S. “Vincent” and got them out for 30 runs and then they caused a surprise by getting us out for 38 runs. One P.T. instructor made 32 so you can see what a rout it was. I was not out again as I have got a batting average of infinity.

I am enclosing a photo of the “Resolution”, which is the one I am on, the photo was taken off Scotland somewhere. You can see it is a big ship.

The King and President Truman are coming here today, they are meeting in the battle cruiser “Renown” which is moored in the ‘Sound’ off Plymouth Hoe.

Has the log book come through yet. I hope that I shall be able to get some petrol next time. I hear there is a lot of talk of them increasing the basic soon in any case.

Has Granny C. “moved in” yet, I expect she has the garden all planted out all ready for when she goes down in eighteen months time?

I have been to the pictures quite a lot lately, last night I saw John Carradine in “Black Parachute” and Abbott and Costello in “In Society” and on Monday I saw Bob Hope and Virginia Mays in “The Princess and the Pirate”, which was a very funny film, the best I have

The rest of the letter is missing.

Historical Note

This was the first time President Harry Truman visited the UK.

8th August 1945

Dear Mom and Dad,

Just a few lines to let you know the result of my trade test. I think I told you that they failed me as an electrician but recommended me for wireman. Well today I had to see the electrical officer and he told me that they couldn’t put me through for it as wiremen were mainly used for mine sweepers and landing craft but as the war had now ended they no longer required them.

To compensate me for this they have put a note on my service papers to the effect that I am capable of doing a wireman’s job so that when I get to a sea going ship I have got to see the captain and ask for transfer to Stoker (E) which means Stoker, electrical section. This job is to do all the electrical repairs connected with the electrical apparatus in the engine room and boiler rooms which will be a pretty good job. So it seems as though I shall have to wait until I get to sea before I can do anything else.

We had  school test today, spelling and arithmetic, it was very easy and I got 100%. You see the majority of the boys are elementary school boys so the exam is elementary school standard. This trade test has properly mucked me up for the final exam on Monday as so far I have not been to a single class this week as I have been catching up on kit inspections, school test, damage control inspection and mucking about seeing divisional officer and Training Commander and Electrical Lieutenant.

We leave here on September 11th and go to Havant Royal Naval Barracks which is about ten miles out of Portsmouth. Going by what the chaps who have gone before us have done I shall be home by about the Saturday following, that is the 15th of September so if everything goes “according to plan” I shall be seeing you then. By the way Stan A. was down at Havant a month or so ago, its a pity he has left isn’t it as it would have been alright with someone that I know.

Well I can’t think of anything more to say at the moment so I will say “cheerio” for the time being.

Bye bye and all the best
Lots of love
x  x  x  x  x  x  x  x  x

27th July 1945

Dear Mom and Dad,

Just a few lines to let you know that I am quite O.K. I am sending some money off tomorrow or Monday in a Registered envelope. Could you put it away for me? I haven’t been ashore for over  week so of course I am not spending any thing like my wage. I got £3.10.0 this week which is pretty exceptional I usually get £2.8.0 or £2.10.0.

I have written to Mr A. to ask him for a reference to say that I have been in the electrical trade for three years and have sufficient electrical knowledge. If I get it then I am putting in an application for a transfer to the Royal Marines as an electrician.

Alan W. by the way didn’t pass his exam at Portsmouth and had to go to Skegness. He has been there eight weeks now waiting for a trade test to get into the Marines in the same branch as I am trying to get in. Geoff P. is still going strong in the J.P.E.M. course, he is in the third month now, he certainly must have his head screwed on right. I haven’t heard from Norman since I came back off leave so he must have gone on draft somewhere. I have written twice to him so I think I will write to his home address.

If I stop on this course until I get to Portsmouth I have heard they usually send the ratings straight home on indefinite leave as the place is so crowded. It would suit me down to the ground although I suppose I would rather get in the Marines as a “sparks”.

What do you think of the war news tonight, it’s certainly come as a surprise. I expect the Japs are a bit windy about the Atom bomb it must be a terrible weapon.

Well I will sign off for now as it is time to turn in.

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

Historical Note

The ‘war news’ could be referring to the announcement of the Potsdam Declaration on the 26th of July. Winston Churchill, (US President) Harry Truman and (Chairman of the Chinese government) Chiang Kai-shek issued an ultimatum, calling for the unconditional surrender of Japan; the alternative was ‘prompt and utter destruction’. The document did not explicitly mention the successful atom bomb trial. It was broadcast over public radio in English and Japanese, and American bombers dropped leaflets outlining the main points. Both listening to the broadcasts and reading the leaflets were banned by the Japanese government. Emperor Hirohito of Japan did not surrender.

24th June 1945

Dear Mom and Dad,

Just a few lines in reply to your letter which I received on Friday. I got your parcel by the following post, the apples and pears went down very well, especially the pears, I have still got some of the biscuits and part of the cake left. Tell Jean that she can send the lighter on as I smoke a pipe of ‘baccy’ now and again.

I hear Olive and Jim are getting engaged on September 16th, I shouldn’t be surprised if they don’t offer to look after the “Palace” for you during the winter.

I haven’t heard from Norman since I came back off leave, I have written twice but have got no reply, I suppose he has been drafted from Chatham. Talking of Chatham did you see that article in the Sunday Express entitled “It’s Punishment to be sent to Chatham” and it dealt with life in the three Naval Barracks – Chatham, Portsmouth and Devonport. It certainly didn’t say much for life in the Navy in Chatham there are 27000 men sleeping in accommodation meant for 10000 so it seems a bit grim.

What do you think of the new bomb, it is a good job that Jerry didn’t get it first or it might have meant a different tale to the end of the war.

I have heard unofficially that we are going on draft at the end of August but I expect it will be early in September before we go so I shall probably be home in the middle of September.

I see Sydney Wooderson had hard luck against Andersson, and England certainly have shown Australia how to knock up the score. Still I think it will be a draw for all that.

Well I can’t think of anything more to say this time and as it is getting late I will sign off.

By the way a good picture to see – Eric Portman in “Great Day” it is similar to “Canterbury Tale”.

Bye bye for now
Lots of love

Historical Notes

On the 16th of July 1945, the Manhattan Project detonated the world’s first nuclear bomb. This, the Trinity test, was carried out at what is now White Sands Missile Range, in the New Mexico desert, and it was (technically) a complete success. Gadget, a plutonium bomb, released about 92 terajoules of energy, equivalent to 20 thousand tons of TNT. The resulting crater was over 700 metres in diameter. A number of films of the test survive. Full details, however, were not made public until after the bombing of Hiroshima on the 6th of August 1945.

Sydney Wooderson and Arne Andersson were middle-distance runners. In July 1945, Andersson beat Wooderson by 0.4 seconds over a mile.

July 1945

Above: H.M.S. Resolution, Plymouth Sound, July 1945

Dear Mom & Dad,

Just a few lines in reply to your welcome letter which I received this morning. I have been on the trade test for the past two days now. I started on it Monday morning and I have not yet finished it. First of all I had a written test on various lighting circuits and motor wiring diagrams. I think I did that OK, then I had to strip down a faulty motor, find what was wrong with it, repair it and put it together again which was not so easy. That took me all day yesterday, this morning they gave me an electric fire which they had purposely made faulty. I had to find all the faults, repair them and get the fire working again, that was pretty easy. Then I had another exam which was verbal about most of the things that one is likely to find in electric circuits, not quite as easy of the first as some of the things he asked me about I hadn’t had the experience of such as armature winding which is a trade on its own. This afternoon I had to wire a simple circuit on a steel plate, it was really simple but I had to rush it as they only allowed me two hours to do it in. Still I think I shall be finishing in the morning so I shall be able to get on with the Stokers course. There is a snag which has cropped up, before I can transfer even if I pass the trade test I have to pass the Stokers exam with at least 75%. I got 65% in the exam which we had on Friday so I shall have to do a bit more swotting.

Yesterday I should have sat my final school exam which I have to pass out with 60% so I am getting miles behind with the course.

I still have not heard from Norman although I wrote to his home address. The only thing that I can think of is that he is moving around a lot and my letters have not caught him up yet. I had another letter from Alan yesterday he sat his trade test last week and is waiting for the result to come through. By the way if I do pass both exams I have to go to Exeter for another short test before I go to Skegness.

I haven’t had a letter from Roy since I came back off leave I don’t know what has happened to him. I have heard that he is courting so perhaps he doesn’t have much time for letter writing.

Last Saturday I saw the R.A.F. play “Flare Path” which was very good although a bit out of date as it was supposed to be a story about the R.A.F. about 1941.

Thursday I saw Anna Neagle and Rex Harrison in “I live in Grosvenor Square” which was a film that you would like, although it was written during this war it is not like the usual type of war film. It takes place in the village of Exmoor and deals quite a lot with Plymouth and Devonshire which made it seem more interesting.

I had a cake from Barmouth the other day which went down very well although it was burnt a bit.

Has Dad done any good at football yet this year, its certainly a bit more interesting this year with Birmingham and Aston Villa meeting the Arsenal and Tottenham and all the London clubs. Plymouth Argyle started up this season in the League, they shared ten goals at Southampton a pretty good performance considering they haven’t played for five years. Tell Dad I think the Wolves will win the cup this year and they will meet Charlton in the final. I think Coventry need watching as well, a pretty good performance to beat the Arsenal wasn’t it.

Nel Tarleton and Vince Hawkings and I think Bruce Woodcock are fighting in Devonport Naval Barracks next week, I hope I can manage to get in as it is for Forces only.

The News of the World Victory Show is on down here this week with Henry Hall, Claude Dampier, Susette Tarri, Tessie O’Shea and a lot more famous stars. It is free to forces on Friday night but I expect there will be a queue from the theatre as far as Bristol or so.

Pleased to hear Jean has passed her exam O.K. a very good performance wasn’t it. How many subjects did she have to sit.

I should say three rabbits three shots was beginners luck when I was at Skegness I got five bulls and an inner out of six shots on the fun fair so rabbits run, run, run if I have a crack at them.

I hear the Navy will be demobbed up to Group 26 by the end of the year so if it keeps up that rate I should be out by summer of 1947.

Well I think that is about all for now so I will close down for the time being.
All my love till next time
x x x x x x x x x

Historical Notes

This letter wasn’t dated.

In late June/early July Graham transferred to the H.M.S. Imperieuse at Devonport. Commissioned on the 12th May 1944, this floating training establishment consisted of two battleships moored together – the H.M.S. Revenge and the H.M.S. Resolution. Graham was on board the latter. Over the next few years, the Revenge and the Resolution were joined by a number of other ships. The Imperieuse was finally decommissioned on the 1st June 1948, and the individual ships dispersed.

H.M.S. Revenge, Plymouth Sound, July 1945


The play Flare Path was written in 1941 by Terence Rattigan. It was revived in 2011 and is still being shown in 2016.

Nel Tarleton, Vince Hawkins and Bruce Woodcock were boxers.