Irish Brigade

The story of the 38th (Irish) Brigade in the Second World War

27th August 1943


27.8.43

My Dearest Olive,

Have arrived safely and am at present at the above camp (No 1 IRTD – BNAF). Expect to be moving on shortly but send letters to this address until you hear further from me. They will be forwarded on, I hope.

We landed at a port on the North African coast and this camp is situated on the coast. The heat is absolutely terrific. I have never known anything like it. The sun beats down fiercely all day long, from a cloudless blue sky. Sand everywhere, clothes, equipment, cases all covered with sand. We sleep in tents, four per tent, the floor of the tent is sand so you can get some idea of what it is all like. The flies are very bad. As I write this, there are quite a number on the paper and others endeavouring to crawl over me. I keep on waving my hands to try and get rid of them. Some of them have a very vicious sting, particularly the sand fly. At night, the mosquitoes are very bad and we have to sleep under nets. Once dusk falls, we wear long trousers, every part of the body that one can cover is covered, and the exposed parts are rubbed with anti mosquito cream. Malaria is apparently very bad in these parts. Fortunately, the nights are comparatively cool – otherwise I don’t know what we would do. The training is fairly light: short route marches, followed by a bathe which is very pleasant with the water being lovely and warm. The idea is to accustom us gradually to conditions.

One of the officers here, Carr, was with the 1st Bttn until May when he was wounded. He knew Denis (Haywood) well. Denis has recently been rather badly wounded and may be out of action for some time, so it looks as if I will miss him after all. The 1st Bttn have been fighting in Sicily and put up a very good show. Power and Tony Pierce were both wounded but, up to just recently, Gibbon and Room were quite alright.

Send an airmail to me in immediate reply to this, darling, I am dying to hear from you, as it seems ages since I left you, my own darling wife.  I have written a long letter from the boat giving details of the voyage and will write regularly by ordinary mail and can apparently send you one airmail per week. Send plenty of airmails because the other post is very slow. 

All my love and kisses to you and Valerie, darling girl.

Lawrence



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