Updated 19 Mar 2007

WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900

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Reg WARDS's wartime letters

Miss Joan Stevenson

Reg Ward was born in 1916 at Carsington, won a scholarship to Wirksworth Grammar School and was called up to Lincoln Barracks in 1940. In 1944 he was killed at the Garigliano river crossing in Italy, aged 27. Reg wrote many letters to his girl friend who, fifty years later, transcribed them and suggested they be put on the Wirksworth website, run by .

19 May 1940
03 Sep 1941

08 Sep 1941
16 Nov 1942

22 Nov 1942
29 Jan 1945


| 001 | 005 | 010 | 015 | 020 | 025 | 030 | 035 | 040 | 045 | 050 | 055 | 059 |
| 060 | 065 | 070 | 075 | 080 | 085 | 090 | 095 | 100 | 105 | 110 |
| 111 | 115 | 120 | 125 | 130 | 135 | 140 | 145 | 150 | 155 | 159 |

Places from or mentioned

Lincoln 001, 002, 003, 004, 005 Holbeach 006 Turriff 006, 007 Doune 008 Callender 009 (all letters to) 022 Carlisle 022 Newton-le-Willows 022 Haydock Park 022 Northwich 023, 024, 033, 034, 035, 036 Haydock 025 (all letters to) 032 Liverpool 037, 038, 039, 040 Fermanagh 041, 042, 043, 044 Newton Butler 045 (all letter to) 075 Kenley 078, 079 Whyteleafe 080, 081, 082, 083, 084 APO1850 085 APO1810 086, 087, 088, 089, 090 Madagascar 091, 093, 096, 139 India 093, 096, 097, 099, 139, 148 Calcutta 096, 098 Durban 104 Iraq 107, 139, 148 Persia 107, 111, 128, 139 Baghdad 109, 111 Basra 111 Iran 111 Kermanshaw 111 Qum 111, 112 Damascus 116, 119 Tel Aviv 119 Tunisia 132 Sicily 136, 139 Italy 137, 143, 144, 150, 153, 156, 159 Syria 139 Transjordan 139 Mareth 153 Enfidaville 153 El Alamein 153

Pte Reginald WARD in 1941

Did you know anyone mentioned in these letters? Can you add anything to the story told here?
If so, please see Emails about Reg Ward and email the webmaster on: .

Inhabitants of Rock Cottage, Carsington can be seen in the Census for: 1901, 1891, 1881, and 1871
Inhabitants of Thornhill House, Carsington can be seen in the Census for: 1901, 1891, and 1881


Since 1946 these letters have been kept in a little grey soft-topped case which my mother bought just before the war for half a crown and so many, 'tea checks', from Hunters Tea Stores and which accompanied me on all my A.T.S. wanderings through three and a half years, but that's another story. The letters were so interesting it seemed a shame to destroy them and now after fifty years I am sure Reg wouldn't mind them being published for everyone who has read them has been fascinated by every aspect of their content.

William Reginald Ward was born in 1916 to William Henry and Emma Ward of Rock Cottage, Carsington whilst his father was serving in France during the First World War. His brother Leslie, born in 1920 and Eric born in 1925, both served in the R.A.F.

Reg won a County Minor Scholarship to the Wirksworth Grammar School in 1926, leaving in 1932 to be employed by Geo. Marsden & Son, Auctioneers & Estate Agents at 21 Market Place, Wirksworth. He thoroughly enjoyed the work, as his letters show, but after applying in vain for a rise in wages, he went to work for the Refuge Insurance Company in Matlock from August 1939 until he was called up.

Reg was called up to report to Lincoln Barracks on Friday 15th March 1940. On 8th March his mother died at the age of 49 and the funeral took place on the 11th. He duly joined the Lincolnshire Regiment on the 15th and trained with them at the Barracks and Stores Park.

I was offered a job at Marsdens and had arranged to leave my job in Derby on 7th June and have a holiday with friends in Lincoln. This coincided with Dunkirk and, unfortunately, because of the state of emergency, all troops were confined to barracks. I went to Lincoln as planned and saw Reg on Monday 10th June. I returned home on the 11th and started work at Marsdens the following day. Reg left Lincoln on the 11th and was posted to make up numbers in the Seaforth Highlanders after their enormous losses at Dunkirk.

His last leave was from 18th to 25th February 1942 and I obtained a day off work to go with him to see his aunt in Eyam. We intended to only go for the day but were persuaded to stay overnight and we had a lovely time. We went for a walk through the village in the afternoon; it was a beautiful day, snow underfoot, blue sky overhead and everyone we met had a word with Aunt Jinnie. We came back early on Tuesday morning. Reg left Carsington on the Wednesday and never returned.

He was killed at the crossing of the Garigliano river in Italy on 18th January 1944. His father received the news on 12th February and wrote to me at Kedleston Hall where I was stationed. By a strange coincidence, I was able to come home on that Sunday and met Mr Redfearn who was bringing the letter to Kedleston for me. If I had stayed in camp I would never have received the letter. It was incorrectly addressed and would have been handed in to the men's quarters. As it was I was able to attend the memorial service at church in Carsington on the Sunday evening before going back to do night duty.

One or two other letters have been included. The letters regarding my deferment give an indication of attitudes at the time. The letter to Ron Brown recalls the reports of most appalling atrocities committed against some prisoners of war.

Early in January I decided to produce these letters, mostly in faded pencil and many marked with the censor's blue pen, in a more readable form. My daughter, Lesley, assisted me in this task.

Having done this I feel he has, as Patience Strong wrote, returned to the land of his birth.

Joan Brown

Reg WARD's wartime letters 19 May 1940 - 3 Sep 1941

  1. --------------------------------------------------------------------- 4805489 Pte W.R.Ward 15 Squad. R2 COY I.T.C. New Barracks Lincoln 19.3.40 Dear Joan & all, Well, here we are all complete with the little hats cocked on one side. Life in barracks is not so bad when you get settled down to it. In fact, I am rather beginning to like it, plenty of time off but when you are on parade it's "Come on, come on" all the time. I have only been out of the barracks once up to now and I cannot say I have formed a high opinion of Lincoln. It's a rather dirty, poverty stricken looking place mainly although the High street is good. There are several hostels and clubs for the troops in the town and you can enjoy yourself quite well in there; get plenty of grub cheap and any amount of games. From the barrack window as I write I can see the cathedral. It looks a wonderful place. And now to come to every soldier's favourite grouse - the food. Well it's good and there is plenty of it if you are not afraid to grab, but the way in which you have to sit and eat! At tea, no plates is the order of the day. Still, I can eat all mine and if someone does not eat his, I eat it for him. I hope everyone is as well as possible and that I shall be hearing from you before long. Note 15 Squad. There is a Ward in 5 squad and it is possible for letters to get crossed. Cheerio and all the best, Reg.
  2. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 4805498 Pte W.R.Ward 15 Squad. R2 COY I.T.C. New Barracks Lincoln 6.4.40 Dear Joan, Many thanks for your letter which I know I ought to have replied to before. Lincoln looks much better now; the sun is shining and the place looks much better and cleaner for it. I went to see the Ellis's the other day or, rather, evening and they made me very welcome. I am thinking of going again tomorrow evening. The new barracks are on the Burton Road. You know Spring Hill, the very steep one - well you turn left at the top. The barracks overlook the Racecourse. Of course, it's a good distance off. We saw the Lincoln Handicap, Gordon Richards on the winner in front and,by gad, they can move. The cathedral tower is closed for the duration of the war and both times we have gone, the cathedral has been locked up. How do we know what the N.C.Os.are yelling about? The answer is it's partly guess work and if it's something unusual, he has already told us what to expect before he yells out. Well I've no news that I can think of so I may as well dry up. So cheerio, and all the best, Yours, Reg.
  3. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- New address: 4805498 Pte W.R.Ward 6 Platoon I.T.C. Stores Park Lincoln Lincoln Tuesday night 14.5.40 Dear Joanna, Thanks very much for your long and newsy letter. From what you have written I get a fine picture of what home is looking like now; but you have set me a job if you expect a reply in as lengthy a manner. I am afraid I am mentally incapable of such a job. I enclose a couple of photos. I know I look like a chink, but you need not enlarge on the fact. Now, what about making a swap, one of yours, any one you have by you, in exchange. I expected that you would have to work over the "holidays". I know we have. Reveille has been at 4 a.m. So you can guess what life has been like. We have not been out of barracks since Thursday and the place is sickening after that length of time. However, we move tomorrow and I will put my new address at the end of this letter. It will be Stores Park, somewhere quite near Ellis's. By the way I went there a week last Sunday but they were out. Will finish tomorrow ---- Joanna, we have flitted now and are shaking down in our new quarters. The accommodation is awful. Imagine Wirksworth Town Hall dance room, only twice as wide with 600 men sleeping in it and you will have a fairly good idea what space we have got. The beds are made of 3 9" boards and stand about 5 inches from the concrete floor. They are about 4 inches apart and the space between the rows is 9". The place was condemned in the last war and has since been used as a joiner's shop for making sectional buildings. It was originally an aeroplane hangar. The roof is in a very poor condition and rains in, but as long as the wind does not get in the east, I should be able to keep dry enough. I understand that during the winter it was not unusual to find two or three inches of snow on your bed. Several chaps could not stand up to it and pegged out. I think I have groused enough now so I will try and come onto a lighter subject. You say you may be coming to Lincoln for your holidays. When are they? I don't know when I shall be coming over - not for a while as I expect you know all leave is cancelled for the present. still, the time will soon pass and I shall see you and Carson again. Jack Higton was in France when I was over and I bet his mother is worrying herself about him. It seems funny that Les Milner and Frank Bacon have heard nothing yet. You will have seen in the paper that the German aliens have been rounded up. We had some brought to barracks. They looked a harmless enough crowd. Ink and news have both run out so I will await your next letter. Don't let it be too long and don't forget the photo. Until we meet again, Yours, Reg [Note: Dunkirk May 1940 All troops were confined to barracks during the evacuation of Dunkirk, a state of emergency prevailed.]
  4. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Lincoln Friday night Dear Joanna. I don't know if you will receive this as I hardly expect that under present circumstances you will come. In any case I may not be able to get out as at present there is no pass roll. We are getting called out at all times during the day and night and we are expecting going out at midnight tonight, so there won't be much sleep again tonight. We were up at 1.30 this morning and 3 a.m. yesterday and I am tired out. I am hoping against hope that the pass roll will commence again this weekend but I think it is doubtful. Still, you know that I shall chase myself to you if it is possible. There is one thing though, you might come to the barracks. I DO NOT wish you to do this. I know the remarks which are passed about any pretty girl who appears here and you mean too much to me to have that happen. Still, it's no use meeting trouble halfway, so here's hoping for the best. Congratulations on the new job. You will find it OK once you have got used to it and to AJ's manner. Sat. afternoon Of course, all this would happen this weekend. We were able to get out until Wednesday. Still, I am the same as scores of others, I know. It would be grand to wander around Lincoln with you, though. It's a devil knowing that you are so near now and not being able to get out to see you, but there is just a chance that pass roll may be started again. If not, I suppose it will be all the better for waiting for. Still, that's poor consolation. How long are you staying with Mrs Ellis? You don't say in your letter. And have you got a photo or a snap for me yet? Please let me know as soon as you can. Well, here's hoping for the best. Cheerio and have a good time. You may be a long time getting another holiday. Yours Reg Note: Mrs Ellis & I went to Stores Park on Saturday afternoon, told the NCO on the gate who we wanted to see & had to wait outside until they found him. We were then ushered into a leanto shed on one side of the gate with lots of other soldiers & their families etc. Felt a bit like cattle!
  5. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Lincoln Sat. night Joanna dear, Since seeing you this afternoon, I have thought of nothing and no one else so I picked up this sheet of paper on the spur of the moment, and am now wondering what I can say. Knowing that you are so near and yet so far away seems rough luck, doesn't it, but pass roll may start again and then for an hour or so we may be perfectly happy. It's nearly time for lights out, so goodnight, will complete tomorrow. Goodnight my dear, Reg. Sunday and no change whatever. I missed church parade this morning and so am here doing nothing for an hour or two, but shall have plenty on soon. It's a great morning and reminds me of the hot Sundays on the hill last summer; remember 'em? The only thing to do now seems to be to go and lie in the sun for a while. I don't suppose that I shall be able to post this today. I have just been into the canteen for some stamps and, as usual, they have not got any. Monday, and still no pass roll, but it's post time so Goodnight darling, your Reg. Am on outlying picket Wednesday night so no chance of getting Wednesday. Note: On Monday night Reg came to Ellis's about 7pm. I told him that I'd had a letter from mum & that Mr Gandy, from my new firm Geo Marsden & Son, wanted me to start work earlier so I had to go back tomorrow. He said that they were moving from Lincoln tomorrow so it was his last chance to see me tonight. Stayed with me at Ellis's, had something to eat & we left about 9.30, walked back with him as far as the end of the road leading to Stores Park. Double summer time, bright sunshine at 9.30 - 10pm.
  6. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 4805498 Pte W.R.Ward 1 Platoon, B Coy, 50th Lincolns, Park Road, Holbeach, Lincs Thursday evening Joanna dear, Yes, we have moved, as you will see from the above. It's canvas, in a park, and a grand spot, but the work spoils it and the grub is a marvel. Out of five meals, we have had four of bread and potted meat, the other was hot. I have just come in after being on guard 24 hours and tomorrow we begin another 24. We stand to at 9 tonight and 3 in the morning about 4 hours sleep and it will be the first we have had since Monday, except for an odd hour now and then - about 4 altogether. How is the job going down? OK, I hope. Will you please give them my address as Mr Gandy sends me the Derbyshire Times each week. I saw the tulip fields (of course the flowers were dead) at Spalding when we were there and they must be a wonderful sight when they are out. The hay is nearly all got and they are getting the potatoes up, I saw as we came along. Well, darling, there does not seem to be much more news. The address should be good for a week and possibly longer. So for the present, Goodnight dearest. Your Reg. Moved again, now 4805498 Pte W.R.Ward D Coy. 6th Seaforth Highlanders, Dolgaty Camp, Turriff Aberdeenshire, Scotland. P.S. What a pity kilts are no longer worn, but we look like getting a tam o'shanter.
  7. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Address as before Too long to write again Sunday Joanna dear, I am having a busy time. This makes eight letters this afternoon - what a day! It has done nothing but rain since yesterday and has kept us in our tents all day. Perhaps it's as well or all those other letters would not have got written. Well, darling, Scotland is a lot better than Lincoln was before you turned up there. The hills are huge, the sun very hot and the nights very cold. Darkness only lasts an hour though. The colours here would delight you, Joanna. Kilts made of beautiful materials, plaid trousers and coloured hats. Our cap for work is Khaki Balmoral but the dress hat is red and blue check Glengarry, but I don't think we get issued with them. How is everything at home? More evacuees I see. How long will they stop this time, and soldiers billeted on you! Don't forget me altogether in this mad world of Carson, will you. I demand a pen picture of this teacher you hint at. If she is anything like our Rev. friend, she should form a picturesque part of the landscape. Turriff is about like Wirksworth or perhaps a bit less. There is a cinema, a canteen and at least a dozen chemists. I have never seen so many chemists to the square yard as there are here. Lord knows how they all make a living though. Scotch heather is in bud, the broom looks lovely, but it cannot come up to Carson. Well, sweetheart, until we meet again, Goodbye and God bless ye. Your Reg
  8. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 4805498 Pte W.R.Ward D Coy. 6th Seaforth Highlanders, Doune, Perthshire. Sunday 7.7.40 Joanna dear, Once again we have moved and we expect to be off again this week sometime. Doune is an awful little place, two pubs, no cinema and nothing at all. The scenery here is really wonderful - all hills and valleys. The mountains seem to rise to the sky and the streams are all loose shale and pebbles exactly as you see on a photo, only more so. The river Teith flows by the bottom of the camp; fish abound in it, some of them big salmon. I understand the biggest one that has been got out up to now was 44lbs. As I write, a lad from the next tent has just come to show us an eel about 2½ft long he has caught. He is off to the cookhouse with it now. There is a very big old castle here. We have not been in it yet, but expect to go there on an Anti Aircraft post tomorrow. We went on a route march yesterday, round Dunblane and over the heather. It looks grand now. The bell heather is in full flower. It's no use trying to describe the scenery; it just isn't possible. No postcard or picture can give you any idea of the vastness or beauty of it. It seems to be in huge sweeps of hills. What's Carson like now? I expect the gardens are a show and everyone is busy in the hay. They are being held up by the rain here and when it does start, there are no half measures about it. It comes down in sheets. We are quite near Stirling here. I have not been yet (and it is doubtful I shall go now) but I hear it is a very nice place. You seem to be having a queer crowd dumped on you now what with evacuees and those queer farm hands. It must seem a bit more lively than before. I wish you were here. The whole place would delight you and if I were with you, I should enjoy it more than I do now. Until we meet again, Goodbye sweetheart, Your Reg
  9. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 4805498 Pte W.R.Ward D Coy. 6th Seaforth Highlanders, Callender, Perthshire. 16.7.40 Joanna dear, Sorry I have been such a long time answering your letter. Still, as you start letters and scrap them, I suppose you will allow me to do the same. You seem to be having a busy time what with swapping evacuees and callers. Still, I reckon it's all in a day's work. So Keith has gone to Bath now, has he. You will be able to sleep fairly often in that little office of yours now. You certainly surprise me with your news of Olive joining the WAAFS. She is about the last person I should have expected to do so. Don't think that because there is another new address to this letter that we have moved again. This is the address of the field post office, the tiny local one being unable to cope with the volume of mail which pours into Doune. No, there a re no ghosts in Doune Castle, but it was a job going up the spiral staircase and over the castle roof at one o'clock in the morning. There were several rooms and passages branching off and one chap got lost. We did not have to strike a light, you see. Miss Pattin and her cigarettes! I received them OK, but as there was no note or anything other than a G.M & S envelope to go by, I thought that they must have come from Mr Gandy and so I wrote and thanked him for them. I will write to Miss Pattin and explain tomorrow; so you might mention my error to her. I went (dry again) to Stirling on Sat. night. It's quite a nice place but not very large. We did not get up to the castle and had to dodge some Red Caps as we were out of bounds. When the next move will be, I don't know. We seem a bit more settled now than a few days ago. When is your birthday, Joanna? I have asked you often enough but have yet to receive a real reply. Let me know when you write again. Yesterday, we had a route march, about 15 miles and Scotch roads can be the devil. I understand we have one tomorrow which is to last 24 hours. How far we shall go and how many of us will finish it, I don't know. One man fell out with appendicitis yesterday and the M.O. we have here is useless. Well, darling, I think that's about all for now, so cheerio for the present. It will be Heaven when we meet again. Your Reg
  10. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Same address Friday & Saturday Joanna dear, Well you do seem to be down in the dumps, I certainly shall tell you not to be such an ass. Perhaps this is hardly the correct or a nice way to commence a letter to the little girl at home but you asked for it you know. Now we will bring the letter into normal channels by talking about the weather. The weather has been awful but at the moment the sun is shining and you would not think it had ever rained. The heather on the moors is just coming out, it should be a grand show soon. I am enclosing a bit of the purple, the white is not out yet but I will try and find a piece sometime. I enclose half a dozen postcards of the surrounding district, they may give you some idea of the country here, but they can give you no idea of the vastness and the ruggedness of the hills. The only things that seem able to exist on these hills seem to be grouse and sheep and, believe me, there are hundreds of sheep. You know the kind I mean, those with the big curly horns. You see the one showing Ben Ledi from the battlements? That is where I am sitting at the moment. If I turn round I can see Stirling Castle in the distance. Eric Smith has not been at the Depot long. I wonder how he likes Stores Park. Personally, I prefer canvas, even in wet weather. The lads of Carson seem to be getting called up quickly now. Glasgow is a long way from home to start with though. Darkness is drawing in so Goodnight sweetheart and keep smiling until we hold each other again. Your Reg
  11. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Callender, Perthshire Sunday Joanna dear, I will start this letter tonight even though I have no intentions of finishing it yet. I am glad you liked the cards. They were not too good but it seems that they have conveyed some idea of Perthshire to you. You are making one big mistake though when you say I shan't want to come home. You know that I think Carson the best of all places and you also know that I am wanting to get home to you. How are Mr & Mrs Ellis? I am glad Dad met them. They are grand folk. Miss Pattin's resignation would certainly come as a bombshell. It will shake AJ up a lot, I know. She has been more of an institution than an employee and her leaving will make a big difference all round. Dad tells me that the Social was a success from the financial point of view, even if it was not as good as it might have been, as you suggest. The moors look fine now. I keep looking for some white heather but I'm hanged if I can find any. If we were back at Turriff the moors would be covered with it, but here it's very rare. That's all for tonight, darling, so Goodnight sweetheart, Reg Monday evening Joanna, I am terribly sorry to have to write this but I cannot send anything for your birthday. I hope to be able to this weekend. You see we are in camp all this week and I cannot get out. Doune is such a little place and the one shop where you can get anything contains nothing but utter rubbish. I am trying to get a little necklace or whatever they are and I went for it only to find he had only cumbersome ugly things which were too heavy looking for you, so I decided to wait a few days and try either Dunblane or Stirling. I hope you will not mind dearest. Today has been another grand day. We have been out on the moors again and everything seems so beautiful and peaceful. Well there does not seem to be anything more than to wish you the happiest of birthdays, knowing that it would be even happier if we could be together, so again many happy returns. Goodnight sweetheart, Reg
  12. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Same address Sunday Joanna dearest, Thanks very much for the letter. I enclose a small present. I know it isn't much but I hope you will like it. Today is glorious. We have just come off church parade and so I took the opportunity of writing before they find me something else to do. You say the weather has been good. In that case I reckon you have certainly had your photo taken recently. Please send me one snap at any rate, the old one is getting worn out with looking at. I did not know that you had one of our kittens. I believe Dad wrote that the old cat had been run over recently. Like Nipper's ducks and various other creatures, they are born and gone and I have never seen them. What mug was it who shot Harold Pearson and Mr Gandy? Some careless blighter who has been chucked out of the LDV I expect. It's quite possible that he was a Wirksworth councillor - it's the kind of thing any one of them is capable of. Still, HG was very lucky and it's a good job it was no worse. How do you like sales? Furniture sales used to bore me stiff; old junk at about an average of 1/6 per lot and the same nosey gang of old women turning everything over first to see how they kept things and then again the endless relations who always foregather in the doorway which you want to use. The most effective way of dealing with the latter I always found was to tread heavily on their toes. Farm sales I always enjoyed but furniture sales! I can still smell them. An interesting set of people seem to be passing through your house now, especially the peculiar girl you last mentioned. She certainly sounds as if she is a dark horse. Farley Moors bring back a good many memories. Perhaps you don't know but at one time I used to go and stay at Farley House and I can remember the heather, the grouse and the bilberrys up there. In fact, when we first came up here a chap from Ashover said to me that it reminded him of Farley Moor and over by the Flash. I have not been successful in finding any white heather yet, but I keep hoping and looking. I may be lucky sometime. The pipes have just begun their mournful song again. A pipe band sounds grand I know but one set of pipes gives us all the willies. That is all but a few Highland Macs who sit back and listen as if it were the sweetest music. Perhaps it is to them but to us - well, we just wish they would blow up. By the way darling, who is posting your letters for you these days. I enclose the envelope, it looks to me as if it's Brown. See if he has any mauve ink and if I am right in my supposition please tell him that I am going to speak to him about it when I next lay my hands on him. I suppose you know what S.W.A.L.K means. In case not, it's "sealed with a loving kiss". Well dearest I can believe that you would think that way but I just can't see you writing it on the envelope. You have far too much common sense for that and in any case it's not your writing. This envelope is exactly the same as the previous one. Please darling, let me have that snap and wear the doin's occasionally until I can put my arms round you instead. Goodbye sweetheart, Reg.
  13. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Same address 19.8.40 Joanna dear, I seem to have neglected writing somehow. I have two letters and a parcel to make up, I believe, so I had better take them in rotation or I shall be missing something. Thanks ever so much for the parcel. It was a comprehensive one; that cake, who made it, you? it was grand. When anyone receives a cake in our tent we always share up and it was voted the best cake ever by everyone. I am glad you liked the necklet, I was a bit afraid to trust my taste in that kind of thing. You forgot to enclose the photo, even if the light was bad I should like it so please don't forget it next time. There seem to be quite a number of folk at Thornhill House these days and I expect you are all fairly busy. It's a good job, lets hope it keeps up. I am surprised you have not been pulled out of the office with work this last week or so. Still. that's all to the good. How do you get on with my old sparring partner T. Turner. You will have more to do with him now, the best way to deal with him is to tell him off occasionally. Yes, I knew Bob Harrison; he has been unwell for some time. I think he had diabetes. I expect that it will mean a sale so trust A.J. to be at the funeral. The crops here seem to be more forward than at home, nearly all the corn is cut and what remains is ripe. How did I spend my birthday? - by going on a route march and forgetting all about it until dinner time. Some birthday! - Oh yes and by receiving, amongst other things, Income Tax papers. It's funny to think of old Chris with a rifle, never mind watch him. I bet he is a mess. Who shot H Pearson and HG? and in any case, what was a faulty rifle doing out? They certainly keep 'em at Wirksworth. Well, darling, I have five letters to answer and we are working tomorrow so please excuse the briefness of this one and LET ME HAVE THAT PHOTO, Goodnight my dearest, Reg.
  14. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Same address 25.8.40 Joanna dear, Yes, I do know the paper and envelope but I can't say anything because I always did the same. Perhaps the only difference was that I always used his stamps as well. I don't suppose you do. We have had a fairly easy week. We were out for a couple of days and saw quite a lot of Perthshire, it's beautiful. We got into the Highlands proper and unless you see it, you can have no idea of the steepness of the hills and the grandeur of the whole countryside. The houses are good and the old ones are always white washed and the roofs covered with pantiles. The effect of a few rambler roses against the old whitewashed walls make a picture lovelier than can be seen on paper. I only hope that someday, after all this is over, that you and I can see it together, darling. With you it would be ten times better. I have received a letter from Mr and Mrs Ellis, they seem to have enjoyed their stay at Carson very much and they also seem to have taken a great fancy to Eric and Maggie Smith. Miss Pattin seems to have chosen a bad spot to work in, but I am glad that Rolls Royce did not get hit. We very rarely see or hear anything of Jerry or as we call him "Alleman". Of course I don't mind you going to dances with Mr Warner or for that matter any other decent old (or otherwise) cove. I know that your kisses are reserved for me. So get it out of your head that I object to you enjoying yourself in any way. The only thing I want more than being with you is that you shall be happy. AJ seems to be up to his old tricks again. The best thing is to let his troubles go in at one ear and out at the other. HG and J.Mac you will get on alright with, I expect. What about J.Mac's queer little speeches. I expect they shock you a bit at times but all the same, no-one can help being amused when he is around. I seem to be writing more than usual, have you got as far as this? Thornhill seems to be a busy place these days. By the way, how is our old reverend and bewhiskered friend going on? I had heard that Hilda and Keith had got a son. I expect they are all very proud and pleased about it. Dad mentioned it in his last letter. I have not heard anything from Keith since he got the new job. That was when I was at Stores Park. I expect he has been very busy in different ways lately. I have written to them and as I said it was a devil of a long time since I heard from him, I expect I shall have a letter soon. Well, dearest, I can't think of anything more so Goodbye darling, Keep smiling, Yours Reg PS One thing, I said any decent old (or otherwise) cove. On reading over, I see it's very ambiguous but I know you will read it as I meant it i.e. the age only.
  15. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Same address 4.9.40 Joanna darling, It's a miserable wet Wednesday night so if I sound a bit fed up, let me off. I am glad you are getting to a few dances now, keep it up. Times are a bit jading and it's sometimes good to be able to forget yourself for a few hours. By the way, who are the two Bartley boys - the name is not familiar to me? I have received a letter from Dad. You seem to be getting plenty of air raids and from what he says there is more trouble amongst the ARP wallas than with the planes. So you have started reading Waverley novels, have you? I read them all once and if you can get interested in them, they are quite good. Their chief trouble is that they are so long winded in the descriptions. They have just started a new gag here. The piper goes round playing each meal time and at reveille and lights out. These wretched pipes are terrible, they just wail. The only thing I can think of to liken them to is the call of the curlew at night. You know the long drawn out wail that makes as well as I do. As if this is not enough, they are going to teach some of the chaps to play. Well, darling, a trained piper is awful so I can't think how a learner will be. I like your pen picture of Ted Webster chasing around blowing a whistle. I bet he does puff and say "Huh". Still, the warnings seem to have little effect on you. When I get home I shall be the most ignorant person on air raids in the village. "When I come home", that raises the thought of leave. Well, I shall be home sometime within 8 or 9 weeks. I understand that the names are to be drawn from the hat so it may be soon or it may be a fairly long time. Still it's worth something to know that it is coming, though it is rather hard to watch others going whilst you go on with the old grind for another week. You seem to get on well with all at 21 Market Place. I thought you would take a liking to J.Mac and HG, no-one can help it. By the bye, this camp is full of Macs of one variety or another. I should think about 10% are Macs and they are all differently named, good chaps too. The Carson fathers seem very busy with their Home Guard. They are very keen on it and it must be no joke on Carson hill at night. You and Stan had money pinched! I should have thought that impossible at Carson. What is the place coming to. Has it been pinned on anyone yet - the miserable swine. Well dearest I had better close down, so for a little longer, goodnight my darling and write back soon and enclose if possible a decent photo. That last one was even worse than you made it out to be. Serves me right I suppose. Goodnight sweetheart, Reg P.S. Dad tells me you are taking a photo of mother's grave so you have no excuse.
  16. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Same address 12.9.40 Joanna darling, Thursday, sunny but cold and windy, the usual late summer day for Scotland, I think. Anyhow a nice easy day with no work to do and so a good time to catch up with a few letters. For the moment, sweetheart, leave is cancelled. It would be and I was due home in only three weeks time when it was stopped and so we have to wait still longer. Never mind. I don't suppose it will be for long and the time between will soon slip by. Yes, I expect autumn will be almost on us in a week or two and it's only then that Carson seems to wake to its full beauty. The things that always stick in my mind about autumn are those beech trees at the bottom of the Dene and one thorntree at the foot of Renshaw's hill. I hardly think you will know it but in autumn it goes all colours from bright red to gold. It's funny how these little things stick in your mind. The weather must certainly be very dry with you. There is no lack of rain here. These mountain burns soon rise and fall after a heavy shower - the one which I'm sitting by now sometimes rises as much as a foot in half an hour and a day or so later goes down again just as quickly. The Home Guards seem very busy these days and they must be very keen. I have been out a good many nights and know what it's like. Still there have been times when we have just laid down on the moors at night and gone to sleep. When you wake in a morning you feel frozen to death and when you look around and see the white frost on the grass, you feel even colder. So Olive is still trying to "join up" is she; the best thing she can do is keep out. From what I have seen of the WAAFs & so on is that they are not a decent lot & in any case a barracks of any kind is no place for a woman, especially one like Olive. Let me know if you like poultry sales. I used to, but then I knew nearly all the people there and so could join in with them, much as you see Tom Else do. I am getting quite used to the pipes now and have got past the stage of actively disliking them. In fact, I quite like to hear "Sleep, laddie, sleep" at 10.30 each night. As one gets used to them, one begins to understand them and I suppose that will eventually lead to appreciating them. Dad tells me that you have taken a snap of mother's grave and stone. I suppose you will let me have one and as the camera seems to have been busy let me have one of you. That other one - well the less said about it the better- at any rate the likeness was anything but a good one. The heather is dying now and I have been unable to find even a sprig of white. Well, that can't be helped. I only hope that I am not here to look for any next year. That's about all, so Goodnight my love. Reg.
  17. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Same address Wednesday Sweetheart, I have again two letters to answer and one of them a fairly long one, so here goes. First of all, thanks very much for those snaps. They are really good and are very clear (I nearly said plain but that will not do at all). Dad sent me some and I guess they are the ones you took for him. Whilst we are on the subject, did I see a difference between those lips or do mine eyes deceive me? I expected you would like a poultry sale. They are always more friendly than furniture sales. The fowls seem to fetch a good price but of course they always fetch more at this time of year. Thornhill seems to be full for the duration now. I don't wonder for Carson is always so peaceful and those poor devils from London will be finding it a big change, I bet. What was the name of the people and the place at Longway Bank? I may know them and it's interesting to keep a check on them. So the damsons are ripe, are they. I can't remember but last time I was at home I think they were in flower. That seems to make it a long time ago. Things here are much the same. The weather is alternatively wet and fine and always fairly cold and very cold at night. The rain we have had lately has swollen the river and now it's impossible to get over it by the stepping stones and so cuts off our short cut into Doune. We get bored stiff here and when we have a few moments off, nearly half the company begins to wander back to the time before they joined the Army. Perhaps I am one of the worst offenders and I often think of those Sunday afternoons we had together, remember them? and often you seem very near although so far away. Your letters get read and reread times without number. Still, moaning won't do any good and it does not do to think too much. The battalion sports are on Saturday and I am in for the high jump. Goodness knows what I shall do there. I did manage 4'11'' this afternoon so I am hoping for the best even though there are the pick of a thousand men competing. Well darling I don't know what to say. Nothing happens to write about and I am not going to bore you with another description of this district so all I can say is write long letters (I can't say write more often for that would recoil on me) until leave starts again. Goodnight my love, Reg.
  18. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Same address 28.9.40 Joanna darling, Forgive me for not answering your letter before but I don't seem to have had much time this week. I ought to have made time I know so really there is no excuse. Yes, the snaps were very good indeed and I guessed the origin of the kitten. You say I must have looked very closely at the photos. Of course I did. You did not expect me to just slip them into my pocket, did you. How did the blackberrying trip turn out? I guess the main result would be a lot of scratches on those lovely little hands and a very blue tongue. Still it would keep you out of mischief and you might even get a few blackberries besides. The battalion sports went off very well and I got 2nd in the high jump and was rewarded with a 3/- voucher. As three in our tent had all got a voucher, we went and spent the lot immediately and bought enough stuff to give all the tent (7) a feed. So you have finished one story in Waverley Novels have you, they take some reading. I read the lot, all four volumes; it took some doing and a long time but I ploughed through them eventually. I cannot remember any of them now though. Nothing fresh ever happens here and so the only thing that remains to be said is that I long for you more and more, every day and every hour. Goodbye my love Reg P.S. You must have quite a heap of letters now. R
  19. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Same address 6.10.40 Joanna darling, Thanks for your very welcome letter which I received yesterday. It's been a lovely autumn Sunday and everything is looking lovely. The trees, especially the beech, are a riot of colour and the day has been quite warm although its turning chilly now. The days are fine but when darkness falls so does the rain and it pours all night. The noise on the tent is awful but we don't grumble about that as long as we keep fairly dry. Last night everyone in our tent went into Stirling and we did not return until about 10.15 and then we got to our tent in the pouring rain only to find that the water had run into the tent. Someone had cut a ditch right through the centre and so our beds were dry. We had to start and flit to another tent then. It was anything but pleasant, as you can imagine. I cannot quite make out how you enjoyed the sale, you say it was a good sale and let it go at that. I used to enjoy those farm sales and have a fine time at them. Later:- We have just been up to the canteen for some supper:- 2 eggs, mash and beans. The moon is shining on the river and everything looks fine, even the clouds do not seem so heavy tonight; the burn is in spate and it seems to rush madly by. It's only about 3 yards from my head and the steady pulse makes me feel sleepy. It's now that the salmon come up to spawn I am told. It's certainly deep enough but of course I have not seen any. Even if they were coming up as I looked I should not see them as the water is a reddish brown colour owing to the sand and dirt it is bringing down. Yes, leave has started again but very steadily here. The English regiments seem to be better off than us in that respect but I suppose that as we miss all the air raids it's more or less even. I am 29 on the Coy leave list. No 1 has gone tonight and so five more weeks or so should see me home. Home for seven whole days, dearest, seven days. I should like to have seen you in that barn at Dene Farm taking the cash. I bet you had a busy time. Whose was the biggest cheque? I would like to make an even bet that it was signed, "J Yates & Sons". If the stock was good, I'm certain of it. I think we shall be in billets in about a fortnight. That will be grand and I hope rather warmer. I am lying on my bed (groundsheet, palliasse and 3 blankets) writing this by the light of a candle stuck on top of a tin helmet (tin topee here) and if it interests you (I don't think it can) I will tell you what I can see and hear at the moment. To begin with there are at the moment only two other occupants in the tent, one is reading a wild west book and the other, to judge by his face, is at home. Both are already in bed. In the tent on the left there seems to be a great argument about whose turn it is to clear up in the morning i. e. to brush out the loose soil and fag ends; the tent on the right is singing "Happy is the day that a soldier gets his pay to the rather skilful playing of a guitar. Darling I am afraid that I have written a lot of tripe but I just wandered on so if you are not interested please make the best you can of it and imagine the time when I shall be able to whisper Goodnight my love Reg
  20. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Same old address Thursday night Joanna dearest, I have some time hanging heavy on my hands so I will start this and complete it when I get your letter. For the first time for more than a week, it's a fine night and do we need it! everything is moist and we have had to move away from the river edge as the water was rising so rapidly. It must have risen 4 foot during a night and so you can guess the rain we must have had when I say that instead of being the usual peaceful stream, it turned into a raging torrent overnight. Another leave party have gone tonight. It's drawing steadily nearer, dearest. It cannot be many weeks now before we are together again. I am writing this by candlelight on my bed (3 forms and bed on top) and thinking all the time of you. Autumn seems to be well on its way now, all the leaves are falling fast and as you can guess everything is muddy and we can never feel clean. Still, we should get from under canvas before long and then things will be much better. Has AJ been on holiday this year? He usually takes a month or six weeks off during the summer but as I have heard nothing I presume he is economising or again perhaps he was too busy doing some innocent client down. Have you still got the crowd staying with you? I refer to the shower who descended upon you from London some time ago. I bet they are getting used to the quietness of Carson now and perhaps a little fed up with it. Still, I don't suppose they want to get back as things are. A chap out of our tent went home to London today. He was wondering how many nights (if any) he would get in bed but he wasn't letting it bother him at all. How is Carson looking now? I bet it looks something like it does here - all golds and browns on the beeches and yellow on the limes. The rabbits on the hill should be giving good sport now. Don't I wish often that I was wandering round there with the old gun and ferret. After you and home, that's one of the things that most often occurs to me, especially at times like this. I am supposed to be prowling around the camp now but as it's cold and we are all in the marquee together, we say, "hang it" and stay inside where at least the wind cannot get at us. About everyone but myself is asleep now so I have got the lamp instead of my candle to write by. The candle is hidden in one of my other boots. The chaps are honest enough about money, but they are a devil for pinching candles. Monday dinnertime Thanks for your letter just received, dearest. As to the length of my letters I have got a good start with this one so I ought to make a novel of it almost. It's going to be rather difficult though. We have a would be player of bagpipes here and he is practising on a chanter. If it interests you his name is Maclean, he answers to "toothpaste" here and he is capable of making hideous noises. It's much drier now; the ground is getting firmer and we have been able to return to our tents again. It's much warmer in a small tent than a marquee and the river's down. We should be OK for a while. So Hardhurst Farm is sold, is it? I can't understand a £90 bill. £90 is not 10% of the farm value and 10% is the usual deposit. I expect that a sale of stock will be the next thing there. From your letter it appears that the London folk are still with you. Well it's 2 o'clock so once again I shall have to break off- Later You seem to have had the usual accommodation at Dakin's sale. I am not surprised his fowls sold cheaply. From what I know of him I guess he works on the "no eggs no corn" standard. He is a miserable miserly old cuss. You seem a very busy person amongst the fruit trees these days. First it was damsons, then blackberries and now apples. Oh and then there were the gooseberries. Turning gardener? One last request don't shake me too hard when I get home. You are quite capable of trying I know but I reckon one kiss and we shall forget all about shaking, so until I can say it to you Goodnight my love, Reg.
  21. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Same address 21.10.40 Joanna dearest, Thanks for your last letter which I received yesterday. If I answer it now you can't grumble about the time even if it is not as long as the last. I am enclosing a hankie or puff, or whatever it is. It's got the Seaforth crest on it and I do hope you will like it. It's raining at the moment but it's not so bad as it has been and we have moved into tin huts so really we are better off. I went into Stirling yesterday and saw "North West Passage". Have you seen it? It's a very good picture in colour and well worth seeing. Your soldiers seem to be a long time getting to Wirksworth. It's the same everywhere I guess. Rumour after rumour and as often as not nothing results. What do you expect? Bands and flags and full pomp and ceremony. There's very little of that. still if you did see a full band either brass or pipe you would not forget it easily. Practically another week gone dearest. A week nearer to you and home is how I look on it. It will not be so long now, and then a week at Carson and you in my arms. Goodbye Joanna mine, Reg.
  22. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Same address Sunday 27.10.40 Joanna dearest, Once more I will start you a letter without any intention of finishing today. We shall be on the move very soon so I will wait until I get the new address before I post. I am glad you liked the doins. I picked the colour out because I remembered your coat, how could I forget it. You had it on the last time I saw you. How did you know the motto and crest? To return to the most prosaic of all subjects, the weather. It's been fine here for several days and the ground is quite firm again except of course for the places over which the transport passes. Of course in huts we can keep things reasonably clean and the result is more comfort, less boot polishing and blanco-ing. Every morning at about 8 o'clock the geese and swans fly over on their way from loch to another. They fly in large numbers and always in perfect formation. The gulls have deserted us now but there are still a lot of herons flying up and down the river. Amongst the beech and oak trees the squirrels are very busy collecting the seeds and acorns. They are fine brown ones and if you happen to see them on a sunny day, they look grand, but they are very shy. Wonders will never cease; our old Rev friend in a new suit! I can't imagine what he would look like. If he has his beard trimmed, he might look almost respectable for a change. I notice today that there are a lot of Home Guards about with new uniforms. Have our respective fathers put theirs on yet? If so, are they feeling very proud of themselves. Naturally the Home Guard will be far superior to the Army but why has your pop got a down on soldiers. If you ever suggest joining anything again, I will either shake you or drop you. Your type has definitely no place amongst the ATS or any similar organisation. I have yet to see a decent one, so don't joke about it again. I had already heard about the Grange Mill episode. Apparently no damage resulted so that doesn't matter. Tuesday Hadrian's Camp Carlisle To continue We have bussed as far as here today and strange to say we did not get fed up with the journey, I expect because of all the change of scenery. We got here just after four and were surprised and delighted to find a huge barracks of huts containing beds, electric lighting and hot water pipes. Why can't they leave us here instead of getting us away before dawn tomorrow. You have no idea how grand it seems; we have not been in any type of bed since leaving Lincoln and here we have sprung beds and palliasses. It's very cold today but I am getting steadily nearer you and home. Will wait and see where we get to before I write any more. All my love, Reg. New address - D Coy 6th Seaforth Highlanders Haydock Park Newton - le - Willows Nr Ashton. Lancs. To continue Thursday night We got here yesterday but before I begin on this place I will finish off Hadrian's Camp. I had a look round after writing the previous chapter and found it a wonderful place. It accommodated without crushing a division and had a huge dining hall, a good cinema, two canteens and a YMCA. The Barrack square was as big as Renshaw's big pasture field at the top of the Town and was almost big enough for an aerodrome. I think that does for that. Now for Haydock Park. It is of course, a race course. We are in one of the stables and as there are only five of us in here we are quite comfortable. There is electric light and the place is fairly dry. French sailors are in a camp next to us and a more filthy scruffy lot I never wish to see. They look unwashed and according to all accounts their camp is filthy. I have not been down into the village but from all accounts it is not a bad place for amusements even if it is a rather depressed area. Well, I think that's about all so let me have a letter soon please, darling. Goodnight my love, Reg. PS Any complaints as to the length of the letter or anything I have missed out. It was a huge convoy, about 20 miles long. R
  23. --------------------------------------------------------------------- 4805489 Pte WR Ward D Coy 6th Seaforth Hld Northwich. Cheshire. Sunday Joanna dear, The above is the correct address so if you have not already posted please use it & not the other. I have no news really so I don't intend to write a deal, the only thing of interest is that we get about 4 warnings a day but no real raids. I went to a cinema last night & saw "The Road to Singapore" it was not a bad picture & all troops got a free issue of ice creams, the people here are very pleased that the "Jocks" are here & seem most disappointed that we are not wearing kilts, well that's all until I get your letter Goodbye darling Reg.
  24. --------------------------------------------------------------------- 4805498 Pte WR Ward D Coy. 6th Seaforth Highlanders Northwich. Cheshire. 8.11.40 Joanna dearest, No doubt you will have received my letter bearing the same address before this; the above is the correct address. Darling, another leave party left tonight and all being well I shall be on the next so a week after you receive this I shall be in Carson again (perhaps!!) Under these circumstances I don't intend to write a long letter but to wait until I can tell you any news that I may have. So the RASC blokes have to return to billets when there is an air raid, do they. It's a good job for them that they are not here. No one seems to take any notice of them here. I suppose it's a case of familiarity breeding contempt, as there are about three or four on average every 24 hours, it's not to be wondered at. As we are in the district which lies between four or five big towns or cities, I suppose that's why we get all the warnings. Nothing gets dropped here anyway. I am now on a course in the Intelligence Dept. and finding it much more interesting than the ordinary drills etc. As you know I don't know the first thing about a motor bike yet this afternoon they showed me how to start one and before five minutes were up I was cruising around on it. The rest of the time seems to be map reading etc. and it's rather enjoyable. Yes, the convoy was huge. I believe it was 30 miles long; excitement was great as we came through the towns. Mr Caiger once tried the magazine game with me; that is how we fell out. You are quite justified if you grumble about the length of this letter but it's nearly lights out and I have still to make my bed so until I am able to say it, Goodnight my love. I will soon be with you. Ever yours, Reg. On leave 13 - 20 Nov/40
  25. --------------------------------------------------------------------- 4805498 Pte WR Ward D Coy. 6th Seaforth Highlanders Haydock. St Helens. Lancs. Friday Joanna my darling, This is only going to be a hurried note to let you know I arrived here about 10 last night. When we arrived it was foggy and pouring with rain, a really filthy night. I had just time to get in and make my bed before lights out. I was very lucky. I dropped across one of our lads in Manchester and as he had found a man who was getting a taxi across the city, we went with him. Darling, it was a miserable job coming back here. Goodness knows when the next leave will be. Still, we had quite a few hours together and they will be something to remember. Well, it's about time I was off, so for the present, goodbye. All my love, Reg. PS. Write soon.
  26. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Same address Sunday Joanna, my darling, No doubt you will have received my letter by this time and thinking what a measly little note it was, but time was short darling and so it had to be. I will try and make this one longer although I have no news and I can't just keep writing "I love you" time after time to fill the pages, can I? Coming back to this hole was a rotten job and made everyone miserable for a day or two but the effects are wearing off a bit now and things don't seem quite so bad as they were on Friday. Still, I can't think of anything else but being at home at the moment and it almost seems as if you are with me now with your head on my shoulder. Oh dear, how I wish you were. When I got to Wigan it was pouring with rain and about as miserable as a night could be. Still, I suppose it was a suitable night for the job. When I got in, I found that one of my "stable mates" had gone on leave. His time will be shortening now but I don't suppose that will be bothering him yet. I know you will be writing today if you have not already done so, so I will wait for your letter before I finish off. For the present, cheerio my darling, Reg. Friday Thanks for your letter which I received yesterday. You must have been busy on Sunday. Yes, you are right it's a good job I was not waiting for you, or is it? Life does not seem so bad now but the chaps who came back last night have got the same complaint now. Alleman was over last night and pasted the surrounding district fairly well but dropped nothing near here. The sky was lit up with gun flashes for some hours. I was in a cinema when the warning went but although the usual notice about leaving if so desiring was put on, not a person moved. In fact, they all laughed. Well darling the dinner pipes are playing, so I guess I'll dry up. Cheerio my love, Your Reg.
  27. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Same address Sunday Joanna darling, I expect you will be wondering why I have not written before this. The answer is because I was hoping to get home on a 48 hour pass tonight but it was no good - it did not come off. I will keep putting passes in until I do get one. Air raids have bothered us very little up to now. we are getting very few - they seem to be concentrating more on the south now. I was one of a party who went to Wigan yesterday as a drill squad. I don't think we did too badly but all of us felt very nervous. It was held in the Market Square and a huge crowd were looking on. Still, once we got going we did not see any of them. As we were working to whistle blasts and no words of command at all, we had to keep our wits about us all the time. The Mayor and the City fathers were all present but as we came on first thing in the afternoon and cleared off to tea immediately after, we did not hear any speeches. Wigan set out to raise 250 thousand quid in a week and up to yesterday at 2pm they had got 800 thousand or more than three times their objective, not bad! I wish that pass had not been chucked out tomorrow. I should have been with you. It can't be helped and I suppose I shall get one soon, before Xmas, at any rate, I hope. It's turned very cold here but we have a primus going and it warms the place up and cooks anything we have been able to scrounge from the cookhouse. Well darling, will hope for that pass soon and then sweetheart, I shall be able to say to you again Goodnight my love Reg.
  28. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Same address Sunday Joanna darling, Thanks very much for your letter. How is your dad going on? It's very cold here now, hard frosts every night and of course, no fires so you can guess it is not too warm. We have just been told that we are having a kit inspection so I suppose I had better get ready for it and finish this later. Well, we have had the inspection and what a twist it was. Whatever the first lot were short of, we lent them and as soon as their turn was over, they returned it plus whatever we were short of and so everybody was able to produce a full kit. Your big fires sound grand; we are still gathering round our primus, cooking sausages and so on. It's alright especially as we don't pay for it. It's acquired from the cookhouse and tastes all the better for it. The Ashton folk are getting up numerous concerts for us just now, though very few people attend. All the local "talent" do their turn and you know what that means. I expect the crowd will get less and less if they carry on with them. I'm afraid the hope of getting home before or at Xmas is getting a rather remote chance. Still, I may be lucky yet, who knows? Les tells me he has had a bit of an accident, but it seems from his letter that he will soon be OK again. Well sweetheart, there seems to be very little more news. If only we could have that week over again darling. Someday we will though. Goodbye my love, Reg.
  29. --------------------------------------------------------------------- 48 hour leave 18 - 20 Dec 1940 Same address Saturday Joanna mine, Here we are again in the same old dump but not so fed up as after last time. Train services were anyhow of course but I was quite lucky. I got in Wigan in time to catch the 10.20 bus to Ashton. The air raid began when we were somewhere near Rowsley and of course that meant all lights out. We arrived Manchester about 2 hours late just as the raid was at its height. The streets were deserted and as I walked across the city I never saw a car or a bus on the road. What with bombs and the AA guns the noise was awful and everywhere was lit up by the flashes. I saw no damage though. Xmas is not being celebrated (officially) here. The New Year is to be a big day though, I believe. Well, sweetheart, there's no more news so cheerio for the present. All my love, Reg. PS. The letter you sent has not arrived yet. Make the most of Xmas. I don't quite know how to say Happy Christmas to you. It seems too common.
  30. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Same address 28.12.40 Joanna my darling, I have just got in so I thought I had better settle down and write while no one was playing the fool. To do this I had to borrow a knife to sharpen my pencil and I noticed that although 60 men should be in, there are only four including myself. Well sweetheart, under the circumstances I have had a very good Christmas. Two of us got an invite out for dinner on Xmas Day and what a dinner we had! turkey and pudding and everything were just made to order and it went down grand. Today I was one of a large party invited out by the WVS and they gave us a very good tea indeed. Our only regret was that our appetites were not bigger and tomorrow we go to tea again with the same fellow who had us at Xmas. Christmas Day is not celebrated here; we have New Years Day instead and so really we should have two good days instead of one. However, I will let you know about that in my next letter. On Xmas night we held a party and what a party it was! I won't go into details but I can assure you that everyone is quite sober now. I'm afraid I was under the weather slightly as I am told I was trying to do the Tarzan trick on the garlands (the bruise has almost gone now). Well, I think that's enough about me and my disreputable ways so I will reread your letter and see what to say next. How did the party go? I hope it all went OK. I am glad to know AJ came up to scratch. He is always benevolent at Xmas and I have seen him smile then. Keep it up - it's not often he gives anything away. Well dearest I think this covers more than your usual ration of paper, so Goodnight my love, Reg.
  31. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Joanna dear, It's a free Sunday and an hour to go before dinner so here goes. First of all I notice you say I don't seem to have received your parcel. Either a letter I sent to you has got lost or else you had not received it when you wrote. The contents were very good and the gloves are fine and getting used very often. We have had no snow here up to date; I think it's too cold, everything is frozen up. This morning even the iron work on the inside of the door is still white with frost, and so everyone has gone to the warmest place he knows of - bed! New Year's celebrations which I promised to tell you of went only fairly well. Everyone was drunk so things got rather mixed up. The dinner on New Years Day was posh - turkey, plum pudding etc. We even had plates to eat off. Do you realise sweetheart that if leave is not cancelled or if the weekly number is not decreased, that I shall be home on 7 day's leave again in about six week's time. I can't believe it yet myself. You certainly had enough to do over Xmas, I gather. Still, that's all to the good and you seem to have had a good time which is the main thing. Your fears of boring me with your "childish chatter" are unfounded. Who wants you to talk or write in an intellectual manner! I don't. You once told me that when at a loss for something to write I could tell you what people are doing at the moment. That idea may be OK sometimes but now that I want to use it everyone is in bed, so what have I done today? Oh, just done a bit of polishing brasses, darning socks, cleaning boots and the usual round so I may as well close down. Your Reg
  32. --------------------------------------------------------------------- 19.1.41 Joanna dearest, At the moment it's snowing. There is a level depth of 3 or 4 inches at the moment but it's turned warmer. The cold has been awful for the last week. It's not been fit to do anything but go to a cinema or to bed after tea. The RCs of the town have opened a canteen for us inside the camp and as there is a good fire there, it's done a roaring trade during it's first week of life. Last night I went to see "Black Friday". It's one of Boris Karloff's pictures. Not at all bad if you like a picture with a few violent deaths in it. You ought to see it. You will see that we have not moved yet, but we are expecting to do so this week. About that wool. Are gloves very hard to knit because I should like another pair if you really want to work. The others are exactly the right size and very warm and comfortable. As you say - being drunk is not a very pleasant state afterwards, although at the time one is filled with a sense of goodwill towards men etc. I think celebrations will have to finish except perhaps on very special cases. The only question is the definition of a very special occasion. One advantage of not having written before is that it brings leave a couple of weeks nearer, just about a month now dearest. The Inspector who came to look at the Health cards need not be surprised if they were not stamped up. They never were before and Mr Gandy seems to know him so why worry? This letter has been started half a dozen times. Either we have raided C Coy or they have raided us and it's not safe to look out of the door unless you are asking for a snowball in the eye. The last raid carried out was very successful and we captured C Company's cookhouse but found very little there. Well, sweetheart until I next write, cheerio and remember I love you. Yours, Reg.
  33. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Marbury Hall Northwich Cheshire 28.1.41 Joanna dearest, No doubt you will have expected to hear from me before this but I have waited in order to let you have the new address. Marbury is a lousy hole miles away from anywhere so I don't suppose I shall go out a great deal. One big benefit is that we are all in warm huts and have two fires going. In fact it was so hot that I could not get to sleep last night. Everywhere is a sea of mud about 6" deep but we have got wellingtons so that does not worry us too much. You will have to excuse the awful scribble as I have been writing this by candlelight with a stub of pencil about 1½" long. The roads around here are only single tracks as the snow has drifted and the roads were blocked altogether for a few days. Ernest Steeples will find rather a difference from his placid existence soon. I expect brother Fred will carry on now. Les wrote me today of the Derby raid but he said he heard nothing from Aunt Dora so we can only suppose that she was too scared to give tongue. Yes, I can imagine Capt Symonds slipping; I have seen him doing it above once. Thanks very much for the gloves. Our minds must be synchronised as you had already started them. Only one complaint, dearest and that is that you have made them a bit short on the fingers. Well dearest it will not be long before I am with you again and where did you get the idea of going abroad? So for the present, all my love, Reg.
  34. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Tuesday night Joanna my dearest, Thanks for your letter. Please don't think that because I am writing almost by return that it is only because I am dying of boredom, although that's almost true. I know that if I don't write now I shall not be able to write until the weekend as we are going out for two or three days tomorrow. After having had a look round, I have not changed my opinion of the place, although it's very quaint. The village is composed of old houses, some thatched and many old timbered places. What struck me most though was that all the chimneys are the old fashioned kind which are usually found only on Xmas cards. I am writing this whilst on PAD orderly. I expect you are wondering what the devil PAD is. It only boils down to this:- If there is a raid it's my job to awaken the Orderly Officer, that's all. The room we are in is a horrible hole, thank goodness it's only for one night. Still I should not grumble as it's the first time I have ever done it. You seem to have been very lucky with lifts lately. Don't let anyone run away with you though. I am the only one to do that. The snow seems to be hanging around with you. It's all gone here except for the very light fall we had the other night. Owing to manoeuvres this week, leave is a week later so it's about a fortnight at least before I am home again. Sales don't seem too plentiful this year, only a couple. Admittedly Hurst Farm should be a good one, but two is not many for March. One year I remember we were out, either getting ready for one or holding one every day for about three weeks. I should like to see Ernest Steeples doing his stuff. I can't imagine him as anything but a groundsman for WGS. Fred will be a bit lost now he has not got Ernest to fall out with. They used to fall out like the devil at one time. I will try and describe this place if you can stand it:- The hall itself is a big red bricked place about the size of Hopton Hall. It seems to face both ways with the ornamental gardens at the side. There are no end of outbuildings, garages and so on. All the grounds are very secluded and full of yew trees. It was supposed to have been used as a nudist colony at one time and I should say it was an ideal place for one. There is a very big lake on the north side, it's so big that it was used by a sailing club before the war started. I don't suppose any of the above really interests you though for although this place is very lovely it's impossible to wander on describing it. It lacks the size and colour of the Scotch scenery. Whilst we were in Haydock one of our chaps got married to one of the local girls and quite a few more got engaged. I kept clear of any entanglements at all and here it is impossible to get entangled; it was quick work on their part though. I love you dear and am waiting impatiently for the next fortnight to pass. All my love Reg. Leave Feb 13 -20th 1941
  35. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Wednesday Joanna darling, Since I came back I seem to have dropped in for a whirl of guards, stunts and fatigues. In fact, I have only had a couple of nights in my own bed since I got back. Trains were very good coming back and but for the fact that the Warrington train from Manchester was late, I should have been in Warrington before 9 o'clock. However, perhaps it was just as well as the truck did not leave for the camp until after midnight. Coming back was not so bad this time as before. Of course I have been very fed up but having so much to do has eased it up a bit. You will remember I told you that we might be moving. Well,the painting out of the Ys I told you of turned out a flop. They just altered the foundation colour and then painted them on again. Of course there are plenty of rumours about but they are only the normal ones and nothing to bother about or believe. Thinking about last week makes me realise what a difference you made to it in comparison with what it would have been without you. The part I like to remember most is the night we were supposed to go to the social, remember? Well sweetheart, nothing to report here so will pipe down. The only thing left is to say, I love you, write soon. Goodnight my love. Reg.
  36. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Same address 8.3.41 Joanna darling, Thanks for your letter. No, I am not carrying out my threat not to write, it's just my idleness, I guess. Not writing to you would not be so bad, it's not receiving them that would be worse. We are still busy all the time, on guard again tomorrow so have been soldiering up today. The last week we went on a two day manoeuvre. What a stunt it was! We got our breakfast at 6 o'clock on Thursday and no more grub until about eleven on Friday. We spent the night out; it was useless trying to sleep so we walked about all night trying to keep warm, but could not do it. There is supposed to be another one this week, I hope I miss it. As if the stunt was not enough, I had to have the toothache but that's been attended to now. I expected Bob Harrison's sale to be a good one - brothers Wm and John would see to that, not to mention the other one, what's his name? Walter, I think. Do you know him? Carson seems to be a money making place at present. Socials and sales of junk seem to be almost every week and a dance coming on. Who is Alfred? He may dance well but I am hanged if I ever heard of him before. You don't expect to get a holiday. Why not? Work in the office is always very slack in summer so there's no reason why you should not get one. Stick out for it sweetheart and you will get it alright. The cinema seems to be doing better now. In the dim future I guess they will be able to pay a dividend. Tom Turner has a few shares in it so I expect he will always be poking into the account books if they are on your desk. Socks:- Even if I have got big feet normal socks fit well. Have you started to make me a pair? If you make them a bit longer than normal, not much, they should be OK. I remember us talking about it, but I did not expect you to knit a pair. I am going to try and get another forty eight hour pass very soon. If I get it I shall be bringing a pal of mine along. I hope you won't mind sweetheart. His name is W Macdonald but the name he answers to is MINK. So don't think your eyes are faulty if you see a couple of bonnets coming across the Wirksworth Market Place. Well darling I think that's about all so Goodbye for the present sweetheart. Perhaps it won't be so long before I can say it to you. Goodnight my love, Reg.
  37. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Liverpool 3am 17.3.41 Joanna darling, No doubt the above address and date will make you wonder a bit so I had better explain. We are firewatching in warehouses only a few hundred yards from the docks. The place four of us have landed in is a warehouse stacked with rice, tons of it, and three bags of walnuts which I might add, are very tasty. This district makes us all realise what the war means; whole streets and blocks of the biggest stores I have ever seen are nothing but heaps of burnt timber and twisted metal. Buildings five and six storeys high are nothing but empty shells and a window is a rare sight. Amongst this ruin are men and women and swarms of kids who seem just as cheerful as ever although they must dread nightfall. Some houses whose neighbours are just missing are still occupied and they still laugh and assure me that this is nothing in comparison to Birkenhead. As I said, our place contains rice, our neighbour's dried fruit and spices and opposite is a house full of sugar. Take all these smells plus that of rats which swarm everywhere and mix it with the smell of burnt wood, paper and food and you have got the atmosphere of the place. All of this may have bored you sweetheart but to me the terrible tragedy and horror of it all, especially of those kids, seems very close. It's now just after 3am and the sirens have not gone. This spot has had it every night for the past four nights so it does not look as if we are going to have anything to do. The people who were on last night put out 470 incendiaries though. You will have thought by now that a couple of days leave is rather a remote chance and you are quite correct. Not only are we away from camp but the Mink is doing 10 days CB at the moment. Do you realise that Saturday makes me 12 months in the Army. It sounds a long time and in a way it seems it. Still I have seen a few places and people which I would never have done otherwise. Well, my own, it's about time I got down amongst these rice bags again, so Goodnight my love. You don't seem very far away. Good morning, Ever your, Reg PS It's that same old pencil about 1" long so excuse the cramped writing. R
  38. --------------------------------------------------------------------- 4805498 L/Cpl WR Ward D Coy etc. 2am Friday Joanna darling, Thanks for your letter received yesterday. The all clear has just gone so as I am awake for a couple of hours, you look like getting an unusually quick reply to your letter. The raid, or rather, the alert we have just had turned out to be nothing so we have not had any work to do. I am in HQ at the moment and living in an improvised clearing hospital. It's not all that bad except for the fact that when there is an alarm, people begin to pour in. They are so quick after the siren that I am sure they never undress at night. We are billeted in houses which have been evacuated on the outskirts of the city and come onto the docks each evening before it goes dark so you see we are not in the blitzed area all the time. I am afraid that the 48 hour pass is a long way away. Still, never mind, better late than never and my "precious pal" got 10 days for being out without a pass. He would have got off but for the fact that this is by no means the first time it has happened, so if you thought he had committed some terrible crime, I am afraid you were mistaken. What's the Mink like? Well, he is fairly ugly, about 5'6"", very strong and I doubt if you would ever tell a word he says, for he comes from somewhere away up in the north. I guess the snowdrops will be about over now, I don't suppose that the Fishpond is a very clean spot at present. Well, sweetheart, more later, it's my turn to sleep. Goodnight my love, Reg.
  39. --------------------------------------------------------------------- 4805498 L/Cpl WR Ward Same address Joanna darling, No doubt you will be thinking that I have forsaken you but really we are getting chased off our feet all day and I have been Orderly Corporal since I wrote you last, so I have been at it until 10pm every night as well. We did not have at all a bad time in Liverpool. There were one or two short alerts of course, but no raids so we were fine. I have got the hut on my own for five minutes now. I was writing to Dad and all the devils went out for dinner so it's up to me to look after the kit until one comes back. If we don't do this it's likely that someone makes up deficiencies in his kit, as our code is to pinch anything but on no account to get it from someone in the same hut. We were on a two day stunt early this week and we walked over 40 miles so you can guess we were about all in by the time we finished. That 48 hour pass is a very remote possibility at present and my precious pal, as you call him is away home to somewhere in the Lossiemouth district today on three week's agricultural leave. You ask what he is like. Well, medium size, thick built, as strong as a horse, ugly with black curly hair and an accent like a saw, that's all, but it does not describe him. Did I tell you that I had seen Wilf Batterley from Middleton? He was looking for me again last night but I never saw him although I was knocking about the camp. It's a wretched wet day today. Still, it was grand first thing this morning so I suppose we cannot grumble. Goodbye, Reg. PS Just found the letter I wrote you and thought I'd lost so enclose it.
  40. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Same address 2.4.41 Joanna my darling, I seem to write to you in all kinds of queer places and very rarely from Marbury. This is being written at 11.30pm in the guard room at Brigade HQ. I can't tell you how I have been looking forward to your letter. It's my own fault I know but I have watched each mail in for a letter from you and then I receive a parcel. Thanks very much for the socks sweetheart. They are fine. I have not tried them on, of course, but they feel very warm, and thanks also for the pencil. You see I have started using it. It's queer that you mention "you are still in England". Yes, I am, but this will be the last letter you will receive from me written in England for some time for I am fairly certain that during the next few days we are going to Ireland. So sweetheart, don't drop in a faint if you see a letter with a Censor's label attached to it very soon. All letters both to and from me will be censored I expect so I guess our style will become more prosaic than it is now, for I know I don't like the idea of anyone reading my letters or yours. Of course, all this means that we can definitely give up the idea of a 48 hour pass so I don't look like seeing you again for quite a time. It's hard luck but we shall have to make the best of it. How long is it since I was home? about a couple of months I reckon so I suppose that memories will have to suffice a little longer. Glad to hear that you are enjoying yourself at the dances. Keep it up darling. Being miserable never helped anyone. The Agricultural Board seem to be combing the district fairly well. I knew Oakdens had to take the rap; HG told me last time I was home but I did not know that the old patriarch Sandars was getting hauled over the coals. Well, I don't think I have any news so Goodbye darling, until I am able to come back to you. Ever yours, Reg. PS Did I remember to tell you I LOVE YOU!
  41. --------------------------------------------------------------------- 4805498 L/Cpl WR Ward D Company 6th Seaforth Highlanders Crom Castle Fermanagh N Ireland 7.4.41 Joanna dearest, You will see by the address that we have moved and I can't say it's been to our advantage. The district around here is very beautiful; it's fairly thickly wooded but very thinly populated. The people have a very simple life I imagine and I suppose they are rather poor. I don't remember anything of the crossing. I went to sleep before we left and did not awake until we landed. It was a very smooth sea in any case so don't think everyone was sick in the true fiction manner. Well, I don't think I have any news to add to my last letter so cheerio, All my love, Reg. PS Please let Dad have the address. I did not know it when I wrote to him last night. R
  42. --------------------------------------------------------------------- posted Sat 21.4.41 Joanna darling, Well, I have had a look round now and will try and give you some idea of this place Ireland, or the part we have had the misfortune to be dumped in. If you are going to try to imagine it, the first thing you must do is to wash out of your mind any picture of our neat and orderly countryside and substitute a brown, scrubby wasteland covered with scrubby trees for the most part and dotted with lakes. I suppose it's the hedges that make so much difference. They are huge and wide, never cut and they just spread as they like. The ground is not drained and is cut about by natural ditches and waterways and peat diggings. This means of course rushes and coarse grass, patches of swamp here and there. The houses are very quaint, they are nearly all whitewashed and thatched; poor old shacks really but they look nice. The outhouses are made of any old sticks and bits of wood, thatched and generally very tumbledown. There are very few good roads, they are mostly old cart tracks which wander on. As I said before there is a great deal of water around here and the only birds which frequent it are swans. There are quite a lot of them and you can always see a few near the rushes on any of the lakes. Well, I think that just about completes the scenery. I got your letter addressed to Marbury after I wrote to you. About ignoring the censor, you are wrong, generally speaking, they are censored by our own platoon officer who of course knows me well, but I believe we shall get a green envelope in a day or so, so he won't censor this one. In any case it's difficult to overcome the idea of someone other than you reading it. I thought that old Sanders would appeal to you. He looks like an angel doesn't he, although he is very close fisted. I have been in Jones' tea rooms. They are not too good although I should think that you will prefer them to Nellie Doxey's. Tom Turner as no doubt you already know, has some shares in Wirksworth Cinema. No doubt he believes in supporting home industries. At any rate he used to go to every picture that was put on. Your description of the new vetter of the souls of the locals seems to be a very similar chap to Mr Williams, am I correct? You seem to have formed a good opinion of him anyway which is a good recommendation. Part of your letter has got lost, it must have been when I turned my pockets out yesterday but I believe you said you had been knitting again, am I right? The gloves are wearing well and I have managed to darn them quite well with the buckshee wool you sent with them and really they are quite respectable yet. The socks are very warm and comfortable too. The worst of this place is that being so far from civilisation we cannot get a paper and as we are without a wireless we never hear any news. I understand that the war is not over yet though. Leave is a long way away now darling, too far away to start thinking about yet so I shall just have to remember you as you were when I last saw you, so now, sweetheart, Goodnight. All my love. Reg. Tell Dad I got his letter and will write tomorrow. Also received yours and will write.
  43. --------------------------------------------------------------------- posted 20.4.41 Joanna dearest, It's a grand peaceful Sunday afternoon so I guess it's a good chance to get on with a few letters. You will not have received my last letter yet so I will try and add a little each day for about four days. You should get a bit longer letter this time. Knocking around here we see countless queer things and each time I think that will interest Joanna next time I write. I have thought this so many times now that I have forgotten most of them and I am afraid that those I have remembered will read rather like a catalogue. I think I mentioned in my last letter that this is a land of poultry, goats and donkeys. I told you before that the land around here is very wet and so everyone keeps ducks as well as fowls. We buy the eggs for frying at night although they are two bob a dozen. Each house seems to keep at least one goat; they tether them by the roadside during the day so that in the few places where there are a few houses together it's about like passing through an avenue of goats. I believe that in some places they keep them in the house at night. The most common sight on the byroads is a donkey cart and some of them look really funny. They have little carts properly made and the old moke pulls it along often with a big load on or even a couple of fat old farmers' wives on their way to market. I daresay you have often read of an Irish street scene and seen pictures of it. Yesterday I saw one old man driving calves up the main street and a number of equally old crocks going on their way in their donkey carts. The clothes of the folk are as dilapidated as the houses. One of the chaps here saw a horsedrawn double decker tram car somewhere about a week ago but I have not seen that yet. There are a lot of wild swans around and one can be seen sitting on her nest quite close to the road near here. Of course there are quite a lot of fish too and we spend quite a lot of time in the evenings fishing and some people catch quite a lot. I am not one of them, I have not been able to catch even a cold yet. Yesterday we had a walk to the nearest village which is about five miles from here. The pubs keep open all day here. They say it's too much trouble to shut the door as it only wants opening again. Sound reasoning and they sell black porter mainly. It's like a mixture of mud and Guinness diluted with water. Terrible stuff but they seem to thrive on it. We have been to church this morning. This means going from camp across to an island by bridge and then across to yet another by ferry. Quite an interesting journey considering it's not a mile to the place. All the buds on the trees are beginning to burst now and the hedge bottoms are full of flowers:- primroses mostly, but a lot of violets and a sort of white celandine. The daffodils are out in the park and round a lot of the houses so things are looking very pretty. I have not yet received your letter addressed "Home Forces", but I expect it will arrive soon. Yes, I saw your "Lovely Britain" but I did not think it included Ireland. It is very deserted, the nearest cinema is about 8 miles away and the nearest town about 20. You say you are going to see "Gullivers Travels". I saw it in Stirling and thought it was rather clever and very comical. Keith and Hilda seem to get back to Carson fairly often. They have been there each time I have been on leave you know. Well darling I think you have had today's ration of paper so cheerio for the present. R. Sunday morning 1 am On guard again, sweetheart so will continue now everything's quiet. We have been on a route march since I wrote the first part of this letter and have been looking around. This leaves me with my first impression of dilapidated and boggy land and unfenced picturesque cottages miles from anywhere. I have yet to see one of those lovely Irish colleens. Those I have seen are about as dilapidated as their parents. Honestly, I have not seen one pretty girl since we came here so you are not likely to have a rival here. As we have rather a lot of work on our hands the days seem to go quickly although we very rarely know what day it is. The canteen here is hopeless and we have a devil of a job to spend our money! There are no fags to be had in the camp and yet tonight a chap brought me a pound's worth from the village without any trouble. It's a queer country altogether; you can buy all the rationed goods you want without a card and yet I have not seen a cake in Ireland yet and that includes the shops in the towns as well. I have received your "Home Forces" letter now so lets see what questions you ask. Shamrock? not seen any yet but I expect the lilies will be out in the Via Gellia now. Queer, you don't seem to ask any questions this time and I guess I have told you all there is to tell so for the present Goodbye darling, All my love Reg.
  44. --------------------------------------------------------------------- 5.5.41 Joanna darling, Thanks very much for your long letter. I am afraid I shall not be able to match it for length but we will see how we go on. First of all, leave is starting again. At what rate I don't know yet but according to the usual unreliable rumours it's not going to be so bad, so it looks as if I may see the gardens in bloom this year. It will be grand to be with you in the summer again. I have got a long walk in mind, right over by Oldfield Lane and round by the Sitch Farm. Have you been round there very much? I guess that owing to the time taken in the post, our letters are bound to keep crossing as evidently happened last time. You will know by now that I have got your letters. Glad you liked my efforts at description. As you say, you will have some idea of it but you cannot see the comical side of it from reading. I am sending this letter in a green envelope. By doing this it will not get censored here so I feel a little more freedom in writing. Don't be scared by the official look of the envelope. Thanks very much for the paper. There are quite a few lads here from around Chesterfield so you can guess it got fairly well read. I notice a G M & S wrapper on it. Is it from you or from HG? I wish there were some Youth Movement to darn for us here. It's a bit of a job we find especially as we don't do any until they are all in a pitiful state. I can't agree with you that the poor fellows are to be pitied at all. I think they are lucky. I see you have another couple of dances coming off. I should like to be there. We never progressed very far with the dancing lessons. Remember? As I have not been to a dance for over a year now you will have to start again from scratch with me. The question which is bound to arise though is the same one which cropped up over that Social - "To go or not to go". Suggestions for a costume, let me think a minute - Lady Godiva? Alright, don't blush and shout, I take it all back although you would make a good one; how about a nurse? or a Spanish senorita? Not Peace. The result would be OK no doubt, but a bit out of place in Carson. I wish I were home for it. I know what I would do, go as a civilian. Glad to hear you had a good time at the last one, but I too would like that evening in February over again. You will have seen by my last letter that I have seen Gulliver's Travels and no doubt you think your descriptions bored me. They did not, it was like seeing the picture over again but it was worth seeing twice. What with one person and another you will be having a full house again soon, soldiers' wives and grannies. This grandmother of yours, quite frankly I did not know that you had one. I suppose she's your mother's mother. If she is anything like her granddaughter good enough. Mr Smith, don't know of him but if he goes in for highbrow music and only just got married, I don't want to. How old is he? He appears not to mind how long this war lasts so I guess he is one of these essential workers who gets well paid for making a nuisance of himself. We had a concert here three nights ago. It was more of a leg show than anything and was quite good, lots of dancing and such like. There's a mobile cinema coming tomorrow and we hope for better results than last time when the sound apparatus broke down and although the actors kept opening their mouths, no sound came. Goodnight dearest, All my love, Reg.
  45. --------------------------------------------------------------------- 4805498 L/Cpl WR Ward D Coy 6th Seaforth Highlanders Newtown Butler Co Fermanagh. N Ireland 12.5.41 Joanna dearest, There is no news whatever here, things are just humdrum and as I have told you all I have seen around here, I can't tell you again. I expect that Carson's looking grand now although I gather from Dad's letter that it is colder than it is here. I envy you your walk round the hill, or rather, I envy Stan being able to walk around with you. Thanks very much for the socks; you have certainly got the right size and I am going to keep them as a reserve pair for when the others get too ancient. We are spending quite a lot of our spare time boating now. We can get a boat for 6d an hour so any night we get free sees us on the water and though we are far from expert we manage to push along. As boats and ferries are the only way of getting about in many places here, the local folk are very good with their boats and I have seen one man rowing a big boat with cattle on it himself. They use tremendous sweeps and row with the left oar in the right hand. I have already told you of my fishing attempts and its miserable results. Some people, however, have different luck for pike of 8 to 12 pounds are pulled out every night. We do not use a bent pin as you imagine but buy 1d hooks and 6d lines from the village, cut a bamboo pole (these grow profusely in this queer climate) and then we have a serviceable rod, all for 7d. Not bad is it? Turning a red head, are you? is it natural? Don't know what I shall do if you are a redhead. You seem to be firmly convinced that I shall be coming home in about six months time, get that idea out of your head. I cannot say when it will be, but it will certainly be less than six. I hope a couple of months at the outside limit. So old Dr Crawford is suffering from shock, is he. I know him very well. In fact he always calls me a saver of lives and that is only because I stopped him from getting run over once by a lorry one day as he sauntered over the road thinking of his sermons. He is not a bad old bird though. Cheerio darling, All my love, Reg.
  46. --------------------------------------------------------------------- 25.5.41 Joanna darling, Thanks very much for both your letter and the parcel. You will no doubt be surprised to hear that I received them both on the same day. The cake was great sweetheart. We were going out the next night and so I took the half I had not already disposed of along and it was very handy. It's the first cake I have seen or tasted since coming to this benighted country. It's becoming increasingly obvious that I am going to like this grandmother of yours. You seem to be rather crazy over primroses. You should see them here. I think they grow on every hedgerow and on every bank, the place is simply littered with them. The bluebells are out too now, big masses of them, and then there are all sorts of hedgerow flowers which I have not seen before. Azaleas are a show here now - there are some big bushes and trees and they are simply covered with yellow bloom. You will guess that with all these flowers, the young green of the leaves and the red of numerous copper beeches, that it's looking very beautiful now, especially if seen across the water. I agree with you that this long time between posts is mighty awkward and I also wonder now did I reply to that letter or did I get it the next day. Of course my dilatory way of replying to all letters makes it far worse. Even when written I generally have them in my pocket for a day or two before I post them. The weather here has been wet and cold for the last week. Before that it was quite hot and sunny, rather different from the snow that you have been having. You apparently keep getting a raid or two; nothing like that here, we never see or hear a plane. You sleep through it though? You must be either very tired or have a very clear conscience. How many evacuees are there in Carson now? I mean in comparison to how many there used to be of course. Do they ebb and flow still? Carson and Wirksworth will be towns to me when I come on leave. You usually mention that the picture is not much good this week. I shall soon be saying "What are pictures?" I doubt very much if 20% of the local population here have ever been to a cinema. Gloves - don't send them please. I will collect when I am on leave, which all being well will be in about five weeks time or less. In any case the other pairs are quite serviceable yet and as the weather is now, they only get used on guards at night and so on. Well, sweetheart, I've no more news, so I may as well pipe down, so until next time, Goodnight my love Reg.
  47. --------------------------------------------------------------------- 4805498 L/Cpl WR Ward D Coy 6th Seaforth Highlanders Newtown Butler Co Fermanagh. N Ireland 7.6.41 Joanna darling, Afraid this letter is rather overdue but there's a reason for it. I hope you have not made arrangements for next weekend as I hope to be home then. It's not definite of course, but I think it's a good bet. For this reason your ration of letter is going to be small this time so if you have a grumble about it you will be able to tell me. The weather here is grand. It's hot and sunny and rather different from yours. Still it may be better very soon. I saw the report of Mrs Anthony's death in the paper and was very sorry. I knew her very well indeed and she was a very nice person when you really got to know her. I also saw that Frank Clay was missing. Poor devil, it will be a long time, if ever, before I see him again. Well, sweetheart no more news until I can tell you myself. It won't be long before I can hold you in my arms again and say, Goodnight sweetheart, All my love, Reg. Leave 13-20 June 1941
  48. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Newton Butler Darling, I'm afraid this is going to be more of a note than a letter so don't be surprised if it is short. I got here about 4 o'clock this afternoon so you can guess we were all fed up by the time we got here. We had a very good crossing, the water was dead calm and we went on deck for about a mile before we docked. It was very cold but light and so I was very interested in the way we went in. We were not so lucky with accommodation this time as we shared the floorspace of the room we were in with numerous barrels, tables and other chattels. Talbot failed to fetch me but I got down in time on Eric's bike. I met him (Talbot) on the way down and told him that I did not want him at that time so he just turned back. Well sweetheart, I've no more news and memories are too near to (don't know how to express myself but I reckon you understand, you always do) so as I'm tired, I will go to bed. Goodnight darling, All my love, Reg.
  49. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Sunday 28.6.41 Joanna darling, Although it seems a long time since I wrote a week ago, I have got little or no news. I do wish it was a fortnight ago but still I suppose that we had our week and must wait and hope for the next although it seems a long way away at present. We have been out all week on manoeuvres. I have been looking around and have come to the conclusion that it's only Western Ireland that is as bad as I described to you. As we got further east it became much more like our own Derbyshire and less of the wildman-like appearance. One evening we met some very nice people indeed. They were very decent and four of us had our supper and breakfast with them. I thought them more like Lancashire people than anyone, very different from the usual run of Irish folk. This is a very difficult letter to write for the only thing I can think of is the time I was with you at home and of course you will remember it as well as I do, so how can I write of that. Darling it's no use, the grey matter refuses to function so I will try and write a better one as soon as I get your letter which I know will be on its way now. Goodnight my love Ever yours, Reg.
  50. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Posted 6.7.41 Joanna darling, Thanks for your letter which I received soon after I posted my last one. I have not heard from Dad yet but I expect I shall do so soon. Things are very much the same here. The honeysuckle is out now and as it swarms everywhere the smell is grand. The water lilies are out too, not our little yellow ones but big ones about 7" across and pure white, double petals and orange centres, more like winter roses than anything and there are hundreds of them. The usual lowness of spirits which follows a return from leave has passed now and so things appear in a more rosy aspect than a week or ten days ago. Yes, the journey back here was fairly grim but I believe I had my moan over that in my last letter so we will let it lie. One interesting thing has happened, kilts are on sale and may be worn as walking out dress. Don't think by my mentioning this that I am going in for one. I am not thinking of doing so. Fifth columnists eh! I don't think you would be exactly experts. You would be too honest for one thing and in any case you were a bit obvious I should think. Still it's a good job they called it a draw and did not both claim a win which seems to be what usually happens. Yes, I know a bank whereon the wild thyme grows and I also remember other banks which are full of memories. Thank goodness we don't live in a town, darling. It was a bit of a job riding to Wirksworth on Eric's bike but there was nothing else for it. I admit I sweat when I got there. Thanks very much for the paper received today. Don Harrison has certainly done very well. It's hard work thats got him through for although he has got plenty of brains I don't consider he is brilliant. Those snaps seem to be a long time. It did not used to take more than three days at one time. I believe Dad was going to have the one of himself and me enlarged but I don't know about that. You will have to see him on that head. All my love, Reg.
  51. --------------------------------------------------------------------- 15.7.41 Joanna my darling, Thanks very much for your letter and the Derbyshire Times which, by the way, seems to be full of local news for a change. I'm very sorry about the snaps; the one of Dad was quite good though. Thanks very much for it. Didn't the queer one of you turn out, perhaps it's just as well. Every letter I get seems to complain of the heat; it's wet and cold enough here; I wish we could swap a day or two's weather. You seem to have had a good time at your picnic although it must have been a rough house to break your shoe heels. We went over some fairly rough country when I was home, but managed not to break anything. I got the paper on the same day as your letter, Friday, and not only did I get all the local news but there was a picture of one of the lads here in it too. I reckon our letters must have crossed again. It's queer that it should have occurred through my writing an extra letter. However, I will wait until I get your next letter before I write again. I certainly hope that Uncle Fred is right in his prophecy; it's high time this war was over but like yourself' I can't see it coming off. AJ may be irritable but I don't suppose it's the heat, it's just that he's getting a crabby old man and you must agree that a couple of kids such as he has is sufficient justification. I had not heard of Hill's accident but it's certainly a bad job for him. I have only seen him once about seven months ago and before he took over the tenancy but I hardly see how you can condemn the poor chap for getting away from the air raids. I think it was quite a sensible thing to do. When we were round the fishpond on the Sunday night I noticed how wild and overgrown it had become and I guess it's deteriorated since then and in time the whole of the grounds will follow suit. It will soon be your birthday dearest and I am hanged if I know what to get. There seems so little here and the only thing I can think of and I know it's what most of the chaps are getting, is silk stockings. They are obtainable here and I wondered if you had any objections to me getting them for you. It's a queer present I know but then - if you don't mind let me know the size. Darling, lets hope the next month or two pass quickly and until then, sweetheart, the only thing we can do is to remember that last week, so for the present all I can say is, Goodnight my love, Your Reg.
  52. --------------------------------------------------------------------- 20.7.41 Joanna darling, Thanks very much for your long and interesting letter. No wonder your wrist ached for when I got it I wondered if it was the MSS of a novel. I have not heard from Dad at all this week so I reckon that he will be writing today. Everything is the same here, cool dull weather and no prospects of it changing for the better yet. I am putting quite a lot of time in the water just now. I was in yesterday and while it's not as warm as I could wish it feels a lot colder to come out of the water than it does to stay in. There are numerous brown dragonflies here just now. They are big ones of about six or seven inches wing span. I had not heard of brown ones before and we have baptized them "Hurricanes" on account of their size. One day last week we were taken out in trucks and dumped on the countryside with no information as to where we were and just a map to work on and a couple of points to call at with a rendezvous for next morning. It was great Joanna, although we had about 15 miles to walk. We got tea from a cottage and so I was able to have a look inside an ordinary labourer's cottage. The best description is that it contains nothing but a table and a few kitchen chairs and has no grate or stove. We then pushed on and crossed the lakes by boat reaching a farm house about eleven that night. Here I went to try and secure the loan of a hay loft to sleep in and we got invited inside. The farmer turned out to be an Irishman who had spent most of his life in New York and was in the Yankee Army in the last war. We had a very interesting yarn with him and stayed inside eating and drinking his tea until 2am and then bedded down in his barn. Like the cottage, the house had no grate but just an open fireplace with the peat fire on the floor and although not to the same extent as in the cottage, the furniture was the minimum necessary. These peat fires give out a lot of heat and very soon catch. I always understood that they burnt dully but they are quite a cheerful blaze and all they do when they want to keep anything warm is to take a peat out and break it up, putting the teapot or whatever it is on the fragments. Now we will turn to your escapades! I never knew you were a keen cyclist or had any inclinations that way and if that was your first attempt, you certainly had your christening. You seem to have been very lucky in your quest for directions too and I bet you were thankful for it when you got your invitation to stay. From what you say you were lucky in finding such a person for she seemed to show amazing hospitality. Having never slept near kennels I don't know what the sound was like but I certainly like your description of it as a devils' chorus. You in shorts, my Joanna, it's almost unbelievable. Do you remember two leaves ago (for that's how I count time now) that Betty was wearing slacks and I distinctly remember you passing disparaging remarks about them as suitable attire. You have changed, my darling, and not for the worse either. I expect that on my next leave I shall be seeing you in slacks and why not? Not having heard from home this week I did not know that Les had been to Birmingham. Well, he will be alright wherever he gets to in the end for that lad is no one's mug. I'm glad to hear that the Dene is looking well and not like the mess we expected it to. I know that there are a big lot of sycamores in it but the nettles will soon grow and make a mess of the ground that has been cleared. Yes, the tobacco did come from me and I never intended to put a letter in it as owing to the somewhat peculiar means of transit this is inadvisable. In my last letter I asked you about stockings but have not heard anything from you on the subject yet. Let me know and if you say yes, they will come to you in the same manner. The postmark you were unable to make out was Chesterfield and yours may be anywhere. I don't know what part it will be posted in yet. Well sweetheart, I've no more news. I'm afraid this letter falls far behind yours in length and style but it's all I can manage at the moment. Goodbye my love, Reg. PS If the Taddington photo comes out I consider it to be my property for I must have a look at this new Joanna.
  53. --------------------------------------------------------------------- After 20.7.41 Joanna my darling, You make me rather ashamed of myself in the first line of your letter. You say it will be rather short and then go on to write four pages whilst I write four sometimes and feel quite pleased with myself as a result. Thanks for the gooseberry tart sweetheart. It was grand and one or two chaps I gave a piece to ( and a very small piece it was, I admit) agreed that it was the best thing we had tasted for a long time. It arrived in perfect condition and not in the usual broken up state. It's now four days since I commenced this letter, darling. The weather here is rotten, rain every day and almost every hour. From your letter and Dad's it seems you could do with a drop of it and transfer a drop of sunshine to us. Last Saturday I went to a Brigade concert and it was easily the best show I have ever seen. There were only five artists but they were good and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Fred Wood's death is certainly a shock. I hope the lad gets off alright. Billy Dakin having been able to get him out on bail is certainly a very favourable sign. I expect AJ will be in a quandary how to go about the business of the farm. As Wood was under notice it should not be too bad but the question of crops (unless the lads do the harvesting) will be giving him a headache. It's a very sad job altogether and Carson is hardly the place for anything like that to happen. I was talking to two old men digging peat on the moors the other day and from what I could interpret they gave me to understand that they do not sell the stuff but dig it only for home use. As it takes about 60 cart loads (not donkey loads) to keep a fire going for a year, I can now understand the huge mounds of it which lie everywhere. All the churches here are flying flags this week in commemoration of Orange Day. I dare say this conveys very little to you, it meant nothing to me at first but I find it is a kind of remembrance of a battle between the Protestants and the Catholics; the Ps being led by some mysterious person named King Billy. It is still a day for battle apparently and there are no end of fights, brawls and rows as a rule this week. Chaps keep coming back off leave with long faces, but they brighten after a day or two and return to normal after a week. I must be the same and by the mournful look on their faces, I must have been a pleasing creature not long ago. Goodnight Joanna, All my love, Reg. PS When you see Dad will you please ask him if he got the tobacco alright.
  54. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Sunday Joanna dearest, Thanks for both your letters and the parcel. As before the tart arrived in perfect condition. On the arrival of a parcel folk look around and when I said - a gooseberry tart they crowded round like a flock of crows and like a flock of crows had to be chased. However, last night three of us enjoyed it immensely, it was great. Mail does seem to ebb and flow. I don't think it comes across on any fixed day but the time taken in transit varies. Four snaps was not bad considering the age of the spool and the light at the time and it seems that you have split them up very fairly. I see from the paper that Hill has been taken to hospital at Derby, a fairly good piece of irony, that. As you say, Wood's affairs will take some clearing up. I knew that all the cattle were not his and I am not surprised that he had sold some of the crops but that £100 at 48% is ridiculous. He must have been hard up when he took that on. It's getting into the hands of the Jews with a vengeance. Birthday - thanks very much for the information re stockings. I will try and get them as soon as possible and let you have them soon. As to mine, I honestly don't know what to say. There's only one thing I can think of and that's a cheap pen. I have to borrow one now for I'm certain I am not going to send home for my Swan and so there is your answer. I realize that pencil does not show well on this cheap paper and so we shall both benefit. Every day is the same here, there really is no news at all. We are getting plenty of bathing at nights. I am in almost every night but I am hanged if I can swim. I go for about three or four yards and then legs and arms begin to act independently and I go under amongst a burst of bubbles. I am using the tin; it holds my boot brushes and other cleaning kit fine and keeps it altogether instead of being scattered all over the floor as it did before. I hardly know the day I received the Picture Post, but I believe it was Thursday. I know the DT arrives on Fridays as a rule. Where are you thinking of going for your holidays? Betty's idea of going to Blackpool is a good one. John B and I went one year and came back with 1/5 between us. Well sweetheart, I don't think I've any more news and I see you have your ration of notepaper, so until next time, Goodbye my darling All my love, Reg.
  55. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Posted 6.8.41 My darling, Thanks for your letter and the papers. Please don't send the Picture Post any more as they have started getting it at the canteen now and so it's only trouble and expense for you to keep sending it. I will get and send the stockings this week. They will be a bit early for your birthday but I don't see how I can be sure of you getting them before or on your birthday unless I do. I hope you have a good holiday sweetheart, and that the weather holds good for you. You should get round a few very nice spots in the week. I should like to be with you. Alton Towers seemed to be a very nice run and place to go to but of course that's closed now so it's cut out. Don't forget that photo you are to send me, the one in shorts! [Photo 14] As to your idea of slacks, I'm afraid you must have looked upon yourself with a baleful look as I can't imagine you looking bad in anything. You seem to have had a good time at the dance. I will not say I wish I had been there for the odds are about four to one that if I had been, we should never have got to the dance, as has happened before. As usual, nothing happens here so I won't bore you with the usual paragraph on the weather this time. Later I have got the stockings, darling. I don't much care for the colour of one pair but see what you think of them; they look big in the foot for you. Well dearest, there seems to be little more news so I will pipe down, wishing you the happiest of birthdays and wishing that I could share it with you, my darling, All my love, Reg.
  56. --------------------------------------------------------------------- 9.8.41 Joanna my darling, Two letters to reply to this time and a tin of gooseberries to thank you for as well, rather a big order that. Thanks for the photo. Les looks rather queer but still not bad otherwise. I did wonder where the snap was but concluded that you had forgotten to enclose it. I am sending you one of the pipe band [Photo 21] (if I remember to enclose it). As it's the only one I have, I hope you will show it to Dad. The gooseberries are very nice, a bit wet of course, but rapidly diminishing under the onslaught of about five of us. Have you got the stockings yet? You ought to have done so by now. Today is your birthday. I hope you have a good day. Starting your holidays will give it a decent start anyway. We have been out all week; it's been more like October weather and sleeping out has been anything but pleasant, wet and cold. I can assure you it's been no picnic. We got quite a long way east this time and the countryside got more like home than this district, but everywhere there were peat bogs and masses of honeysuckle in the hedgerows. I seem to be gathering quite a collection of snaps now, you have taken them all. My wallet is getting bulky but I expect the masterpiece of the lot will be the one I have still to get. By the time you get this, you will have done a good deal of cycling (if you adhere to your programme) and dearest I envy you going round there. Betty and Co don't seem to have had much trouble in finding a fresh job, good luck to her. She does not seem to have been in a mood to stand any dictatorship from the never-never boss. Dad also told me of the births but he also says his pig is growing well. So there is a bit of professional jealousy between them. He also tells me that Eric is starting work at Royce's on the 19th, I must be getting old, I think. Well dearest there seems to be nothing more just now to say so Goodbye my darling, All my love, Reg. PS Thanks also for the book.
  57. --------------------------------------------------------------------- 16.8.41 Joanna dearest, You will see by this letter that I have received your birthday present and darling, thanks very much, you timed it perfectly and you bet the contents are enjoyable. One bone I have to pick with you - I said a cheap pen, but the one you sent is a beauty - nuff said. As a matter of fact, I've three of your letters here, but I've replied to one. Today is alternately brilliant sun and showers and the Brigade swimming is being held here. I have just come in from watching it and it really is very good, some of them are very strong and swift. In fact they travel at a normal walking pace. The bands of the Royal Scots Fusiliers and Seaforths have been mixed and so the band looks well and full of colour as the RSF's kilts are red and our mob's blue. The contests are taking place just below here and as a bridge spans the water there it provides an admirable grandstand. Les tells me he goes into the RAF very soon and Nipper starts work on Monday so that will be another change at home and I expect Dad will feel rather lonely for a while. Looking back on the holiday now what's the revised opinion on the joys of cycling. You have given it a very fair trial and you must have enjoyed it immensely although I admit an idle lazy week is my ideal at the moment. On re-reading your last letter I'm just beginning to realise how much ground you are covering. The heather is looking grand here now, the only difference to yours is that its always dotted with the peat stacks, for what with us are dry moors, here are just bogs and it's funny how these bogs always seem to choose either a hilltop or hillside and rarely a valley. How will you stand when you register. Will you be exempt or will you have to work elsewhere? If so we shall have to arrange our leaves together. I never thought you would make a pet of a pig even though it is a special one! My Joanna, I wonder if I shall ever know you. Darling this seems a paltry little letter in answer to both your longer ones, but I guess that's all except dearest, I love you. All my love, Reg. PS I don't want to appear to harp on the subject but did you get those stockings. They were sent a fortnight ago.
  58. --------------------------------------------------------------------- 23.8.41 Joanna darling, I'm very disappointed over the loss of the stockings and of course it seems to me as if I have let you down over them somehow. They were sent on the Tuesday preceding your birthday, from Scotland, and so I have no hope of them turning up now; all I can think is that they must have got opened in the post and some official thought that a couple of pairs would be handy for his wife, the rotten devil. However dearest, it's no use crying over spilt milk and I will try and get some more for next time I am on leave or possibly before. I'm glad that your birthday was such a success. I like the photo very much [Photo 14], the bottom of it is of course spoilt and although you appear to be supported mainly on fresh air, it's good, as to your remarks that your blouse looks a mess, I don't agree; the shorts seem to suit you but maybe I will decide better when I see you in them. The leave rate has slowed down now so don't expect me to be with you at the end of the three months, I don't know when it will be. I suppose that by the time you receive this, Les will be away. The calling up seems very haphazard. I think the old quotation "many are called but few are chosen" fits in Carson. There is Les in Royces on Gov contracts presumably and yet there are plenty of chaps who registered even before I did and yet they are still roaming around. I am expecting a letter from Eric soon; he will soon settle down I hope but it's bound to be a big change for him at the start. The photo I sent was taken about a hundred yards from this hut. It is a fine setting. I will try and get a few cards of the district if I can before I get home; it really is beautiful scenery. Dad mentioned that you have an enlarged photo taken off the snap, how has it turned out? Dearest, nothing happens here so I am unable to write more, perhaps it won't be so long before I see you again. I hope not anyway for it's all I have to look forward to, so cheerio for the present. All my love, Reg.
  59. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Sunday 3.9.41 Darling, Whenever I set out to write to you I have the job of sorting your last letter from a bundle. As this is the only time I empty my overflowing pockets it helps to sort the grain from the chaff. The local swaddies seem to be a rather talented lot. Carson rarely had such celebrities playing at its dances, rather different from some of the so called musicians we used to be visited by. It's rather a good job you missed the ale by one number. It's evident the Fates don't mean you to take to drink, but I suppose you would have had no lack of supporters if you had been lucky. It's about time the CQMS and his mates had their court - they must have been held for some weeks now. By the way, the expression for Army lockup is not "in jug" but "in the mush". Wirksworth pubs are a valuer's dream these days; that's either the 3rd or 4th time Mrs Land has left the Lion. AJ has done well out of her. I see you are still doing your good work in the parish - apparently you have not fallen into disgrace with the sky pilots yet. Did you ever hear this expression used for a parson before? I don't know when I saw it but in a book the author described the vicar as "the vetter of the souls of the local peasants" and somehow it stuck in my mind. Goodnight my love, Reg. ---------------------------------------------------------------------


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