My Dearest Olive,
Received your first airmail dated 28/9 yesterday, it arrived one day after the airgraph, a clear indication that airmails are better in every way, and much quicker and contain much more news. I hope you will try and send one every couple of days, because they are most welcome out here. I write one as often as possible, as although we only get an issue of one per week, at present I have a reserve. I am very sorry you have been having so much trouble over accommodation. The offer of your Uncle Harry sounds an extremely good one and would be a tremendous help. Where we live afterwards is in the lap of the gods but, in the meantime, it would give you somewhere to live and if we live somewhere else after the war it would be easy enough to sell it. I leave it entirely to you as you are on the spot but if you take his offer, it will have my full approval.
I am sorry you have been rather short of money. It sounds as if the extra 1/6 per day from the middle of June, that should be credited to my account, has not been done. However, the October payment should completely square matters and when my Captain’s pay is credited, there should be quite a nice balance. Valerie certainly sounds a handful, but I expect she will improve in time. I would dearly love to see her again. Your letters sent to North Africa have not yet arrived so there is rather a gap which I am anxious to fill and all kinds of news I want to know.
At present we are having a quiet time. This town has changed hands and we have a grim example of the ruthlessness of war. All business is completely at a standstill – there is no electric light or water and the only thing that seems to flourish are hairdressing saloons and wine shops. I have never seen a more dejected and miserable looking place. We have billets, which in normal times we would consider fairly ghastly but at present appear luxurious after our experience in the field. There are now only three officers in the company, Dennis Dunn, John Glennie and myself and we have got a bedroom in a house and thanks to our training have managed to make ourselves fairly comfortable. At present, all three of us are sitting around a hurricane lamp writing letters. We are lucky to have the lamp – it gets dark here about 6pm and usually we have to retire to bed about 7. Still the sleep is welcomed because up near the enemy, we have to be awake a good deal of the night.
I saw Denis Hayward this afternoon for the first time for nearly a week – he is very fit and well and asked for all the news about you. He is coming to dine with us tomorrow night. I had a talk with Williams the other day – he asked after you and talked of the happy days at Ballykinler. He is a Courier Driver.
The weather is very much cooler and I feel very fit and well except that the skin under my toes has all rubbed out and consequently they are very sore and raw. Also the skin between the toes is also completely raw. I think it must be due to the tremendous amount of perspiration combined with the wearing of the boots for long periods without a change.
I hope you are managing to send the “New Statesman” and “Tribune”. Would you like to add the “Daily Worker”? No reason why the newsagent should not send the two weeklies and six dailies in one bundle each week and it is only 1/6 per week. Everyone out here gets papers sent to them and I want to keep up to date in that particular line.
Don’t worry, darling, and look after yourself. Keep up your spirits and look forward to the day when we will be together again.
All my love