19th January 1947

Dear Mom, Dad & Jean,

Many thanks for your two very welcome letters which I received this morning, well I say two letters, but one was really the short note with the £1 from Uncle H. I will have to write and thank him. The letters were dated 6.1.47 and 7.1.47, so there is three weeks mail missing somewhere. I presume it is that which is addressed to the “Euryalus” so it will be probably held in U.K. until the “Euryalus” arrives and redirects it.

I am sorry to  hear that you have been having trouble with your back again, I hope it didn’t spoil your Xmas. You seem to be a sorry lot between you, you with your back, Dad with his teeth and Jean with her eyes.

I hope Jean does O.K. in her exams this time, what on earth did she have to go to Manchester for? Couldn’t she have sat for them in Birmingham and had them posted on.

That certainly a fine way to start the new year I must say, joining the Army! I bet he will find it a bit strange for the first few weeks. What branch of the Army is he in?

Leonard K. and some of the others are certainly lucky to be stationed so near home, but there is always another way to look at it. They have their overseas service to come yet, while mine is nearly over.

You asked me whether I like the “Glory” better than the “Trafalgar”. Well I will say the routine is much easier, the principle is “one man – one job”, on board here, whereas on the “Traf” everyone had a “green hub”, especially at times when we arrived in harbour from sea as probably you would have just come off watch and then you’d have to turn to and oil the ship, on here they have a special party on board for just that job.

On the other hand it is a well known fact that you get much happier ships companies on board “small ships”, there is much better companionship and not so many arguments. The food was also much better on board the “Traf” as we used to prepare it ourselves and decide upon our own menu. On here you have what the galley decide and like it. Still it is not too bad usually.

I am glad you are getting a few “Ink Spots” records, I can’t say that I have heard of “To Each His Own”, I probably have heard it but don’t recognise the title. In the Fleet Club Canteen ashore they have a “Juke Box” with about twenty records including one of theirs – “I cover the Waterfront” which is another one that I like. There was also a very funny record by “Snozzle” Durande who sings in his throaty voice “Who will you be with while I’m away”.

I hope Jean soon gets her photo taken so I can show the lads. You have probably read in one of my later letters that I have been going round with a lad named Syd F. just lately, but as he went on draft to England yesterday I haven’t got a “shore-going pal” at the moment. There is a lad that I have been spending quite a lot of time with, I went ashore with him last night so he will probably be my new mate, he is Ken R. from Brum, you can see his photo on quite a few of the photos that I have sent you!

The lads on my mess are all younger than me except one, barring of course, the peace-time navy ratings on Active Service who are in for twelve years! I am one of two in group 66 and we are the lowest group on the mess now. As I told you group 64 have left the ship and there are only 3 in group 65 so really I am getting quite an old sea dog now.

No I haven’t seen “Forever Amber” or read the book yet, I should like to see the film as I have heard quite a lot of criticism about it. That is the film that James Mason refused to play in as it was “below his moral standards”. Should be good I should imagine.

Glad to hear that they have at last decided upon a 40 hour week at last, I shall certainly be O.K. for my football now shan’t I. The “Aussies” went on strike for the same thing while I was down there if you remember. I think I told you about it at the time.

Have you seen any pictures lately? Last night I saw a very good film which I really enjoyed. It was “Bedelia” with Margaret Lockwood, Jan Hunter and Barry K. Barnes as the principal stars. The story was written by the same authors that wrote “Laura” which I think you liked didn’t you? I you haven’t seen it, I can definitely recommend it to you.

Tomorrow I shall probably see the film that they have been showing aboard for so long – “the thrilling story of the gallant men of Arnhem”, etc., etc. “Theirs is the Glory”. I am also going up the Peak again, providing the weather is O.K., to take a few snaps.

Well, Mom, once again I think that is the lot for the time being so until next time
All my love
Graham
x x x x x
x x x x x

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21st December 1946

Dear Mom, Dad & Jean,

Here I am again with a few more lines to let you know that I am keeping fit and still in the best of health. Last night I went ashore and as the “Euryalus” was in I went aboard her and found that there were twenty letters on board for me bu unfortunately there was nothing particularly new and as yet no Xmas cards. Actually, three parts of it was addressed to the “Trafalgar”, so you can tell how old it was. I had three from you dated 23/9 – 5/10 – and 16/10, I believe I have had one or two up at Sultan since then before I left.

Well to answer your letters-
I hope that you have lost your backache by now as it would certainly spoil Xmas wouldn’t it. I also hope Dad has got over having his teeth out and didn’t have as much trouble about it as last time.

You certainly seem to have started an early winter this year. We are having our first spot of “things to come” here as we are wearing full blues which is our U.K. suit and I might say that while I was ashore last night I regretted that I hadn’t got my overcoat with me, but unfortunately I had sent it to the cleaners the day before. I don’t know what I shall do in England though as I suppose this is actually mild to U.K. Still it certainly gets rid of sweat rashes and ringworms.

I am glad you liked “The Corn is Green”. I thought it was one of the best films I have seen since I came out here, certainly one of the best for the acting. Yes, I have seen Eric Portman in “Wanted for Murder”. I don’t miss any of his if I can help it.

It’s a funny thing you mentioned that tune “Put another chair up to the table” as only about a week ago I was talking with a mate of mine who is also group 66 and we were discussing what we had been told about going off the ship at Trincomalee and he said it would be a good idea to send a request tune to the B.B.C. as soon as we heard definitely that we would be coming home. Well as I had a song book we looked through to choose a tune and that was the one that we chose. We were going to send it about a month before we sailed for home.

Jean is quite a forces favourite on board here already, every time anybody brings out any photographs and I show anybody mine, there is usually a prolonged whistle and I am always pestered with “How old is she?” – “Is she courting?” – “What’s her address?” – “Any chance of writing to her?” – “What’s her name?” – or, “Any spare photos?” and then there is usually an argument with the Birmingham lads consoling themselves and letting everyone on the mess know – “I only live a mile away” or “I shall have to call around when I am up the line.”

There are three other Birmingham lads or near Birmingham lads on my mess out of fifteen so we have quite a majority in any arguments. One from Smethwick, one from Tyseley and one from Nuneaton.

I am glad you found that book on wireless for Uncle Fred, did you have much trouble finding it?

Fancy Leonard K. going in the army, it can’t possibly do him any harm. I had a letter from Jess O. and she told me quite a bit of news about local lads in the forces. Norman R. has been home on leave from Palestine and has had to go back there. He is group 58 in the army which has quite a long time to do yet. Denis S. is in Italy and is having quite a good time by what she says. Peter R. is in the Army but the best of all which is sure to make you chuckle – Jimmy T. is also in the Army and had to report to Warwick. The best part is, he is in a division of men of the same size as himself and straight away they were nicknamed the “Bantams”. He is now at Chester. The latest call up is young Denis R. who has signed on for 5 years service.

You asked me if the food that I’m getting is any better now. Well at the moment we are still on dehydrated spuds but I should think they will get some real spuds on tomorrow or Monday. The bread ration is quite sufficient as it is baked on board. I will say that for the big ships in preference to small ships. Other advantages are we have our own laundry on board, bigger canteen, our own clothing store, and more room, we can even play hockey and occasionally football at sea.

We have “Spike Jones and his city slickers” on quite a lot out here. “Glory” – “Clink, Clunk, the glasses Chink” the one you mention “You always hurt the one you love” “Black Magic” and one or two more. I haven’t heard the “Ink Spots” lately, have they any more new records.

By the way I almost forgot to tell you that I received the “Arguses” and “Mails” also the football books and “Blues News”. You can guess what a fight there was for the papers when I had finished with them.

I also had a letter from Teresa and one from Uncle Fred. He sent me a £1 for Xmas which will come in handy. I am trying to save a bit of money now so that when I get home I shan’t be broke. I expect I shall have to pay a bit of Customs Tax so I had better get a bit in hand.

Last night I went to the pictures ashore and saw Done Amecke in “Heaven can wait” which I thought was quite amusing. Have you seen it? I am going ashore tomorrow and shall probably see “Sudan” with Sabu. I had my photograph taken yesterday and am collecting it tomorrow so will forward one if they turn out any good.

I am enclosing a small photo of the ship, I am getting some large ones but I shall have them coloured so they will be a couple of days.

Well mum I think that is about all the news once again so until next time
All my love
Graham
P.S. Hope you all have a good Xmas.
x x x x x x x x x x x

P.P.S. For the second Xmas in succession I am duty watch.

8th November 1945

Dear Mom & Dad,

Just a line or two to let you know that I am still O.K. and in the best of health. We are now two days off Capetown which we reach some time on Saturday morning. We are stopping there for four days and I believe that we are going ashore. I hope so as most of us are browned off with being on board and seeing nothing but sea for nearly a fortnight.

We had a good time while we were at Freetown with the natives. They came out in their native boats and brought bunches of bananas, oranges, coconuts, pineapples, silks, native slippers, native wicker baskets and pet monkeys and parrots and tried to sell them to us. I ought a bit bunch of bananas roughly about a hundred all told which cost me 2’/6d and about twenty to thirty about twenty to thirty oranges and half a dozen coconuts which cost me 3/-. I have still got plenty left but I don’t expect there will be all that many by the time I {illegible} Capetown.

We crossed the Equator two days ago so you can guess it is pretty hot around here. I am quite sunburnt already, that “schoolgirl complexion”. There are quite a few chaps who are in sickbay with sunburn but it is their own fault really as they spent all their time in the sun so they really asked for it.

The sea for the last week has been lovely and calm but at the moment it is getting rough again now that we are nearing the Cape so I expect I shall be spending my time on my bunk again before long/

We have pretty good entertainments on board now, pictures, concerts, plays, band concerts and gramophone records programmes including our own “Forces Favourites”. The picture that is on at the moment is “2000 Women” and is about the Women of Occupied France. I haven’t seen it yet but my mates say is is quite good. I spend most of my time playing draughts with my mate as we are all fed up with reading and it helps to pass the time away.

By the way did you get that bit photo of the ship O.K. I hope you did as I thought it was very good don’t you?

How has the village football club been going on lately? It seems ages since I had any news about them or the Villa and the Blues. Still I expect I shall get all the news when I get to Australia.

Have you been over to Droitwich lately? Has Teresa got herself “fixed up” yet? I expect it is a bit too wintry to go over there every weekend now though isn’t it? Have you been doing any good on the football pools lately or was it only beginners luck at the start of the season?

The food here is still pretty good, we usually get tinned fruit for pudding and tonight we had an ice cream as an extra.

Well I think that is about all I can manage to get on this letter so I am afraid I shall have to sign off until next time so
All my love
Your own son
Graham
x x x x x x x x
P.S. Remember me to all the gang!

30th October 1945

Tuesday

Dear Mom & Dad,

Just a line or two just to let you know that I am O.K. and just about getting used to the “life on the ocean wave”. At the moment of writing we are just about opposite Gibraltar (roughly) though of course there is no land to give us a clue. We haven’t seen any land since about ten on Sunday morning so you can guess we haven’t had much change of scenery. I have just had dinner the first meal since Sunday dinnertime as since then I have been violently seasick just lying on my bunk and every now and then making a dash for the bathroom. Not that I was on my own as there were dozens besides myself, crossing the Bay of Biscay was the worst as we came across in a gale, well so they tell me but I was too far gone to worry about that at the time. Still I think that I have just about got over it now, I hope.

Did you get my letter O.K. I posted it late Saturday night so I should think you got it by Monday or early Tuesday. I don’t expect you will get this until next Tuesday or Wednesday as I shan’t be able to post it until Friday and it usually takes air mails about three days to get to England so it should reach you about then. I hope by the time I get to Australia I shall have a nice pile of letters and paper waiting for me. I shall look forward to the “Brum Mail” as I don’t even know how the Villa got on last Saturday. There is a wireless on board but they didn’t start using it until yesterday. Still once I get out there I should think I shall get mail pretty regularly again. By the way I have only sent my address to you and Roy so far so if Granny C., Aunty Em, Edna, Teresa want to know my address will you pass it on to them. I expect Edna will want it for Fred though I should think he will be coming soon pretty soon. How long has he been abroad now, three or four years isn’t it. It certainly will be a long time before I see him, altogether it won’t be so far of six years.

The sea is beginning to get much calmer now and the weather much hotter, I expect tomorrow or Thursday we shall all be wearing tropical kit. It is beginning to make us sweat a bit more now all the same, and we are only two days and two nights sailing from England. Still I reckon I am going at the right time of the year, it will be summer by the time I get to Australia. Just in time for the cricket season.

By the way did you get Bill H.’s address, if he is still out there I can drop him a line or I might even bump into him if he is still at Sydney.

I have met quite a number of my old mates on board, two from when I was at Skegness, P. and F. I don’t think you know them though. P. had just had his teeth out and looked pretty miserable.

It’s a pity that Alan nor Geoff nor Norman are with me, Alan said in his last letter that he would be soon going abroad but he didn’t say where to. Still all the same there are hundreds of Marines on board so perhaps he may end up out at Australia.

How did the village go on last Saturday, I can’t understand why Jean doesn’t go down and see Johnny H., or was it Nobby that caught her eye, as well as Moggy. Still I expect she’s got enough to go on with for the time being at S. St.

Well I think that’s about all I can get on this letter so I will sign off until next time
All my love
Graham
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