My Dearest Olive,
May Day and we still seem to have a long way to go to finish the war. Everyone is patiently waiting for the Second Front out here and feels that it is high time that the strain was taken off us here and that the millions of troops at home did their share in winning the war. Personally, I feel that attitude of mind very justifiable – we have had a long and gruelling spell, especially those that have been out here from the beginning of N. Africa and it does appear as if all the fighting is falling on the shoulders of comparatively few troops and one could scarcely ask for worse country to fight over. I sometimes wonder how we manage to advance at all, and you would agree with me if you saw the country, hills and mountains with a few rivers thrown in until one is absolutely sick of the sight of them. The lads out here feel they have done their fair share – we don’t mind doing a bit of pushing when someone else is doing it as well. There is also a strong feeling that the Second Front is being so glamourised that, when it does commence, people will forget all about this campaign and will be saying afterwards, “What, were you not in the Second Front, oh, Italy, that was nothing”, forgetting all about the terrain, the stern German resistance and the fact that we have not got the advantage the people in France have of being able to get home early. However, perhaps by the time you receive this letter, it will have started although I shall not be surprised if there is no change in the situation.
On Saturday, received two letters from you dated 21/4, 22/4 and on Sunday one dated 23/4. Very nice, your letters are very pleasant and interesting to read and naturally I like hearing about the everyday happenings and all Valerie’s doings and sayings. Funny the way she calls both dogs “Sadi”. Is Sadi her favourite or is it simply the name is easier to pronounce? I dearly wish I could see her now – she must be very companionable and jolly. I gather the garden is rather small. Had an airgraph from Mother and surface letters from Helen and Pat – the first I have had from Pat for many a long day. She enclosed a letter from Tapley who is stationed on some island to the north of Australia. He has been there 10 months and expects to remain another 10 months – he is a Sergeant. Mother did not sound quite so well in her letter, and she said she hoped she would see her “dear little granddaughter” before she got too old to enjoy her and felt she was going down hill now. Of course she is getting on. One is inclined to forget that but I hope she will live for many years yet. Helen and Pat both say she looks very smart still. I am very glad you have written and hope you will let bygones be bygones and write at regular intervals. I know she will appreciate it and it is the kind thing to do. You had lots of grounds for feeling rather bitter but I am certain you are too big to worry about that now.
Dicky Richards and I went across to see Denis on Saturday and stopped the night there. There are some other “Faugh” Officers at the school and we had rather a gay party in the evening at the Officers’ Club. Yesterday, we brought Denis with us and he is stopping a couple of days here. He looks very well and is very cheerful. I don’t think he is over anxious to return to the battalion. Still, he is doing a good job of work there and there are many people who deserve a break out here. He tells me he has sent you an airgraph. He is amazed at the photo of Valerie and could not believe she was only 20 months. He thinks she looks very much the little girl and is very pretty. I was telling him that Valerie had a very strong will and he said no wonder with two parents both possessing a very strong personality. He said Karin would only inherit a strong will from one of her parents. The last photo he had of Karin was at 16 months. She was walking around, but did not look quite as advanced as Valerie at that age although still retained a very strong resemblance to her father.
I have a new officer by the name of Trousdell, he has recently arrived from England, he is about 23 and was in the 6th Bttn and a very close friend of Denis. He has been commissioned since 1940 and was a Captain for a short time before coming out but had to revert. He says he is anxious to start from the beginning and seems very keen. That gives me my full complement of Officers, Dicky as 2 i/c, Pat Howard, Douglas and Trousdell.
The weather is nice and warm after a couple of wet days. I miss you very much darling girl, and long for the day when we will be together again.
All my love and kisses to you and Valerie.