Thursday 14th October 1943

Near railway station in Termoli

My Dearest Olive,

Received another airgraph dated 25/9, I wish you would send airmails instead as they are quicker and contain more news. The airgraph seems a waste of money under the circumstances, unless it so happens that it is impossible to secure airmails. I hope you will secure the type of house you want and let me know the arrangements you are making with your uncle and if you need extra money. I will tell Lloyd’s to transfer a larger amount to your account but tell me which branch you are banking with now. Whatever we do about the house after the war, it will be nice to feel there is somewhere to come back to. So “Nelly” let you down right to the last – well it’s no use wasting paper making comments. There is still the gap of over a month in your correspondence so I don’t know as yet how you eventually managed to get rid of her, where she went and all that happened during that time. It was very decent of Mrs Grant to pay her costs under the circumstances –  they have behaved very well and I kick myself for not having accepted the earlier offer. I am very sorry Renee has been so ill again – actually I had written an ordinary letter to Susan about a month ago so she should just about have got it by now.

We are having a quiet time at the moment, resting after the last engagement. We have managed to get all our company under cover in a railway station and what was, once upon a time, a station hotel. The three of us have a room in what appears to be an apartment house and, with our batmen in another room, are quite comfortable, sleeping in proper beds which are quite alright except for a few fleas and actually having a wardrobe and wash stand which makes us feel quite civilised. At any rate, it has enabled us to get clean and gets all our clothes washed as they needed it fairly badly.

Last night, we entertained a few guests to dinner.  Denis Hayward, Douglas Room, Toby Jewell, Maginnis and a few others turned up and we had a very pleasant evening. John and I went on a scouting expedition during the day visiting the various farms in the district and we managed to purchase a turkey, two chickens and some eggs. The turkey cost 5/- ! The farms around here are very small and poverty stricken and the people must barely eke out an existence. Quite a number speak a certain amount of English, due to the fact that at some time in their lives they have lived in America. One house we went into was certainly an experience – one half of the living room was occupied by an old woman cooking something over a fire, the other half was occupied by a cow and a donkey and, while we were present, the cow obligingly passed water a few inches from the food. It is pleasant to know that the Italians are now our allies – although from what I have seen of their soldiers they will be precious use as fighters. A poorer lot can hardly be imagined. The only consolation is the effect it may have on the morale of the Germans knowing that their former much boosted partner in the Axis is now fighting against them.

Denis Hayward and I have just been for a 30 mile ride. I drove the Jeep a part of the way and it was nice to have the feel of the wheel once again. The Jeep is a little strange at present as it is a left hand drive and the brake is uncomfortably close to the accelerator, but one quickly picks up the old habits again.

The weather is quite cold all of a sudden although I am still wearing my shorts. The sky is grey and cloudy and it is quite like an English October. It does manage to reduce the flies a bit.

All my love and kisses to you and Valerie, darling. I am looking forward to some more snaps.

Your devoted husband


Read letter dated 17 October 1943


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