25th October 1945

Dear Mom & Dad,

Just a line or two to let you know that I got back safely and didn’t get caught.

I got back about twelve as my train was two hours late, and I got into camp alright through the ‘Burma Road’ although I ripped my overcoat in the process. Still I’m glad that I came and took the risk as I have got a chit today to say that I have to report tomorrow so it looks as though I am on the move at last. I think it is going this time as there has been a rumour going round for the last week that the draft is going and there is usually some truth in the rumours. Still when I come back to England again it will be for demob. Did you read the Daily Express yesterday and see what Churchill said about the demob, I think if he keeps on against the Government he will get it speeded up again just to keep everyone quiet.

By the way I have got 120 Hensites cigs here but I haven’t had chance to post them yet but I will see if I get a chance tomorrow.

There doesn’t seem much to say this time as I don’t know anything really definite until I get into Barracks tomorrow or Friday so I will sign off for the time being. I will write again when I get into Barracks.

P.S. Do not reply to this address until I write again.

All my love
Graham
xxxxxx

P.P.S. I will number all my letters when I leave the country and will you do the same so that we shall both know whether any letters have gone astray.


Notes

Burma Road was slang for a passageway below the decks of a ship. It seems likely that there is another meaning, possibly specific to Belmont Park…

Although I can’t find the Daily Express article online, a similar article was published in the Stanford Daily on the 23rd of October 1945. Churchill argued that the Navy should be cut to 133,000. Demobilisation under the Labour government was progressing too slowly and that Forces personnel were needed to work in industry to help the economic recovery.

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10th September 1945

Dear Mom & Dad,

Just a few lines to let you know that I have just about settled down here now, and have just about got to know my way around the camp. It is not a very big camp and there is only about a thousand men here so it not too bad. It is a good job that I came here and didn’t have to go to Portsmouth Barracks as it is absolutely packed out. I expect you have read in the papers that there are 25000 at the barracks whereas it is only supposed to accommodate 10000. We live in Army “Nissen” huts, twenty of us to each one, and sleep on bunks. There is a table in the centre of the room and also a window so it is quite a palace to what we have had at “Imperieuse”. Still I have only slept in the camp once as we are allowed ashore three nights out of four so I have gone into Portsmouth and slept at the Sailor’s Hostel, the Savoy Cafe. It is only a shilling a night so it is worth it just to sleep in between sheets.

The food here is very good as well so I hope that I stop here a good while. We fall in each morning and get detailed for work, sometimes we go out of the camp to Royal Naval Barracks, Portsmouth, the Docky and on various farms in the district as working parties. If we get a job in we either get farming parties or working parties. Farming parties do all the gardening round the camp as they grow all their own vegetables here. Working parties can do anything, coaling parties, galley squad, wood party, or just cleaning up the camp

We get two weekends off every month, I get a long weekend next week, that is Friday dinner to Monday morning plus VJ makes it Wednesday. A fortnight later I get a short weekend which is Saturday dinner to Monday morning so I should be getting home pretty frequently. Of course I am liable for foreign draft all the while but you can never tell when you are going to get a draft chit. Some chaps get them the same day they get in camp while others hang on two or three months. As long as I don’t get on what they call the “Golden Hind” draft, it is either a draft to Australia on shore base or draft to Germany in occupation army in the German ports.

I have been to the pictures twice this week I have seen Betty Hatton, Charles Ruggles in “Incendiary Blonde” and Yvonne de Carlo in “Salome, where she danced” and Cora Sue Collins, David Reed in “Youth on Trial”, all of them were very good pictures especially the first two.

This afternoon we were given the afternoon off much to our surprise. When we fell in for work, the officer in charge said “All men in F.I. mess fall in on the extreme right” Well we thought we were in for it, we racked our brains and wondered what we had done. Then he said “This morning I was walking round your hut and having a look at the flower beds round it.” We thought he was going to tick us off for something to do with the garden. Then he went on “The garden is an absolute credit to your mess and you can all have the afternoon off in the mess.” We nearly dropped as he is usually a miserable devil. The other blokes were pretty jealous, you should have seen their faces.

By the way I had to ditch those tins as I couldn’t get them in my kit bag, if you send me another cake can you pack it without putting it in a tin then I shouldn’t have to worry about getting the tin back.

I received the papers O.K. before I left Plymouth, it was a surprise to get the football final. Could you send t on for me every week as it is a treat to be able to read all the local football reports. The Villa are doing well again, aren’t they, they did well to beat West Ham in London on Monday. I see George Cumming is the new skipper now that Alex Massie has finished, and that Jackie Martin is playing for them again. The Midland teams are still doing very well, it should be interesting to see who finishes the highest out of them.

Well I think that is about all for now so I will close down for the time being
All my love
Be seeing you soon
Graham
x  x  x  x  x  x
x  x  x  x  x  x

P.S. Excuse writing as I am in a hurry as I have to fall in at five for duty watch.