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
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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
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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
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10th May 1947

Dear Mom, Dad & Jean,

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

We have at last got the ship’s movements from now until we reach U.K. We leave here on Monday for Singapore arriving on May 17th, we shall be remaining there until June 23rd, when we depart for a tour of Australia, the ports we are visiting are Adelaide (5 days), Sydney (17 days) and Melbourne (10 days). That takes us to roughly the end of August and we then start out for dear old “Blighty” and we arrive in Devonport on Oct 4th. So there it is Mom, admittedly it is a little later than I first thought, but it would be a good tour round “Aussie” and it will at least give me a chance to buy myself some “civvies” before I get home. Of course there is still a chance that I shall leave the ship in Singapore but much as I want to get home, in the long run I should do better if I stayed on the ship as I do know where I stand then. Whereas, if I left at Singapore, I might be messing around there a couple of months before I left for U.K. which would only get me home five or six weeks before the “Glory”. Not as I shall have any say in the matter at all, they certainly don’t run this Navy to our likes and dislikes. I shan’t be sorry to leave this place now as I am just about browned off with it.

We have been having quite a bit of excitement this last couple of days as the East Indies Fleet are holding their annual regatta and there has been bags of rivalry between the various ships and shore bases. The cruiser “Glasgow” has been walking away with it so far having won ten races out of a possible fifteen. The Stoker’s cutter came in second yesterday being beaten by the “Glasgow’s”. This morning though was the big event, the “Stoker’s whaler race”, we won the B.P.F. regatta last December in Hong Kong with the same crew and of course we all fancied them again, but the critics said that we wouldn’t have a chance as the “Glasgow” up till then had won nine out of twelve races. Still it was a terrific race and our Stokers again won which shook the “Glasgow”. There was a fleet tote on all boats and the stokers fetched in odds of 11 to 1. The majority of our mess is rolling in money now. Altogether over £600 pounds were won by this ship’s company on that one win alone.

We have also been doing well at football again, on Sunday our Engine Room Dept. played the “Glasgow” Engine Room Dept. who old the East Indies Fleet cup. I was selected as right back, and altogether eight men out of my team Stokers “A” were chosen. We held them to a 1-1 draw and should have beaten them, we are having a replay tomorrow. That is all three sports, football, hockey and cricket, that I have played for the Engine Room which is not bad going seeing that there is roughly two hundred men in the Engine Room Dept. We are still top of the league by the way so taking it all round we Stokers are doing quite well for ourselves.

By the way did you send me a parcel of books or know anyone who sent them to me, the address looks as though it’s written by Jean but there is a slip of paper inside that says ‘To my darling from Rosina’ and I’m blowed if I can recognise the writing. It isn’t one of Jean’s friends is it? Scrawled in pencil across the top of an “Everbody’s” is an address. Actually it puzzles me a lot as I’ve never had picture papers before and it seemed strange to suddenly get them now. In any case I’ve no “bits of fluff” with a name like that.

I hear the cricket season has started in England, did Dad see the S. Africans when they played Worcestershire. We are hoping to start an interport cricket competition on here when we get down to Singapore but I think it is a bit of optimistic thinking as I can’t imagine anyone finding time to cricket during a refit.

We haven’t had any good pictures here lately, last night I saw James Mason in the “Seventh Veil” but as I had already seen it, I didn’t appreciate it as much as I would have done normally. During the week we had “One More Tomorrow” with Denis Morgan and Jack Carson, and “Along Came Jones” with Gary Cooper. Have you seen any of them?

Well Mom I think that is about the lot once again so until next time
All my love
Graham
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24th April 1947

Dear Mom, Dad & Jean,

Just a few more lines to let you know I am still O.K. and in the best of health. At the moment of writing we are at sea on five days exercise with the East Indies Fleet but we return to Trincomalee tonight about six. There are seven ships out altogether, the cruisers “Jamaica” and “Glasgow”, carriers “Glory” and “Theseus”, destroyers “Contest” and “Constance” and the oiler “Green Ranger”. We have had quite a lot of flying, making attacks on the cruisers and “Theseus” and on the airfield ashore which has been defended by the R.A.F. We haven’t had any crashes yet this trip but yesterday one of the flight deck hands got killed by the wing of a plane which caught him as the plane was landing. He was killed instantaneously so at least he didn’t suffer. Last night they had his funeral service and he was given a sailor’s burial. He was only eighteen and only joined the ship a couple of months ago. It shook the pilot up pretty badly but of course he couldn’t be blamed as of by rights the lad shouldn’t have been on the flight deck when planes are landing on.

I received two papers and your letter dated 11.4.47 on Monday, we had our own mail brought out to us, which was quite a surprise as we had all resigned ourselves to the thought that tomorrow would be the first chance we would have of getting any.

Glad to hear you have been having a decent drop of weather at last. I see the Navy has started wearing summer dress in U.K. which is an omen. I hope it is at least a little milder when I get home.

I haven’t seen “Frenchman’s Creek”, as a matter of fact I have only seen one film worth mention in the last week or so. That was “Night and Day” with Gary Grant as Cole Porter and Alexis Smith as his wife. It is the story of the life of Cole Porter and I really enjoyed it. Have you seen it? On board tonight is “A Matter of Life and Death” which I shall probably see tomorrow.

I haven’t played cricket since I last wrote as the weather hasn’t been too good lately. Last Friday I played hockey for the ship against “Jamaica” and we beat them 3-1. They have started an inter fleet knock out competition at hockey and football. The “Glory” won their first round of the hockey against R.N. ashore, that is the Dockyard, by 5 goals to 4. I didn’t play in that as I was duty watch and couldn’t get a sub.

Sorry to hear about Jean missing the biology practical exam again. Still as you say she is still young so perhaps next time she’ll manage it O.K.

What did you think of Bruce Woodcock the other night, I bet he was in agony the last six rounds. Still he’s proved that he can ‘take it!’ I expect he will be out of the ring for a few months now won’t he? Still apart from that I think Baski was too good for him. I bet the Baski-Louis fight will be a thriller.

Well Mom I think that once again that is about the lot so until next time
All my love
Graham
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7th April 1947

Dear Mom Dad & Jean,

Here I am once again with a few more lines in reply to your very welcome letter dated 29.3.47 that I received on Saturday. I was beginning to wonder when we were going to get any mail again as the ship hasn’t had any for a week. I suppose it is the bad weather that has been delaying it as usual. Talking of mail we have got to start paying for our mail again starting from May 1st which will be a bit of a nuisance especially getting near pay day. Still I shan’t have to put up with it much longer at any rate, I hope.

I still haven’t heard anything really definite about when the ship is going home but the dates we have got up to now are
May 10th leave Trincomalee
” 16th arrive Singapore
June 7th complete refit
” 20th leave Singapore
” 26th arrive Hong Kong
after that we are still doubtful but I think it is safe to say that another two or three weeks on top of that and the ship should be on its way home. While we are here in Trincomalee two or three days every week will be used up in flying exercises so it will all help to pass the time more quickly.

I have started another sport now, sailing. We have had a cutter out a couple of times during the last week finishing up with a dip in the sea. It is surprising really how fast you can travel when there is a good breeze blowing. I am also getting along fine with my swimming. The other day I learnt how to float on my back and am getting quite used to the idea now. I have only had one hockey match since I last wrote, versus H.M.S. “Glasgow”, who we managed to beat 3-1. I have had another couple of games of cricket for the ships team, one against H.M.S. “Highflyer”, the shore base who previously hadn’t lost a match this year. Luckily we had our full side out and rattled up 140 for 9 decl. against them. I scored 24 run out, we then dismissed them fairly easily for 51. The other match vs 16th Carrier Air Group (maintenance parties attached to the carriers out here), we ran up 91 of which I got 11 again run out, and dismissed them for 36. Today I am playing football versus the Supply in the “Glory” football league. Stokers “A” at the moment stand in the fourth place with a match in hand so if we win today it should bring us up into second place.

Glad to hear Mickey is getting over his “raw” deal over the winter. I expect he is a little happier now that the snow has gone isn’t he?

I have been seeing plenty of pictures as usual recently though none really outstanding. Last Monday we had Olivia de Havilland in “Dark Mirror”, Thursday we had Mickey Rooney in “Love Laughs at Andy Hardy” and yesterday when I was ashore with Ken R. I saw James Cagney in “13, Rue Madeleine” which was a story of American Secret Service during the war. Being American it was naturally a bit far fetched. Tonight on board we have a good film, “The Killers” I can’t remember who is in it at the moment but according to the lads who have seen it, it is very thrilling and exciting. So i don’t suppose I shall be able to recommend it to you!

Well Mom I think that is about all I shall be able to manage at the moment as our boat for football teams leaves in half an hour & I want to get a swill before I leave,
So for the time being,
All my love,
Graham
x x x x 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
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