12th August 1943

At a port of embarkation in the UK

My Dearest Olive,

 We are on the boat at the port of embarkation. Had an uneventful journey throughout the night – did not get much sleep and felt very low and miserable but with something to do to occupy my mind, so today has not been quite so bad. It was a grim and sad business saying good bye to you yesterday, darling, and I only managed to keep a stiff upper lip with considerable difficulty, as you probably guessed. I felt going up the lane that I had to see you once more and that was why I called out to you. I thought, precious, you were marvellously brave throughout and admire you enormously for it. The way you kept up our spirits was really splendid and I wanted to tell you so, but felt I could not risk getting too sentimental. However, we had a lovely week together and I am very glad indeed we spent it together and did not just say good bye at the end of my leave. It was nice to have it under different surroundings and away from any irritating features and it is something that I will always look back on with the utmost enjoyment, just as I look back with the greatest pleasure on our time at Mourne Park.

 Obviously at the moment, I cannot say anything about the ship, etc but we are quite comfortable and four of us are sharing a cabin, McConnell, Jerry Aubrey (RUR) and a very amusing ‘Skins’ officer named Myles,  whom the other two know extremely well, so it is quite a jolly party and we had a rubber of bridge this evening. My draft is quite a good crowd, a few have served under me before and when I arrived yesterday afternoon, they were on the trucks and they gave me quite a shout as I came up. There were loud cries of ‘up the Faughs’. Today, we left the train at the port and I came back with the documents and told the sergeant to move them.  He said, ‘shall we follow the others, Sir?’ (there were quite a number waiting in front of us). I said, ‘Follow? No, we lead’ and there were shouts of ‘Up the Faughs, that’s the spirit, clear the way for the Faughs’. Hoile, my ex Company runner, asked after you and the dogs.

 I hope Paddy Coughlin came down to see you last night, darling. He said he was going to, immediately the train left. I will be very relieved when I hear about you being settled again. I will be constantly thinking and wondering how you are getting along, dearest girl, so write as often as you can and let me know all the news. Don’t forget to send an air mail a week. It is terrible having to leave you with so much to settle up – it has come at a very bad time but I have the utmost confidence in your courage and determination and I know you will pull through although I would not hesitate to use other people as much as you can.  It is a fine thing to be independent but now you will need some help and I want you to avail yourself of it.

 Look after yourself, my own darling wife. I love you far more than anything on earth. Keep your spirits up. I am certain it will not be too long before we are together again.

 Give dear little Valerie lots of kisses from her Dad.

 All my love, my most precious darling,

 Your devoted husband


P.S.  We are advised to tell you that in event of urgent need of financial assistance to apply to: – Officers Family Fund, 3 Wilton Row, London, SW1. I hope it won’t ever be needed, but they strongly advise us to tell our dependents as these people are very good.

Read the letter of 15 August 1943

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