Sunday 17th October 1943

Railway station area in Termoli

My Dearest Olive,

We are still having a fairly quiet time after our recent exertions but how much longer it will last, I cannot tell you. Our quarters, except for the fleas, continue to be quite comfortable, but we have been unable to clear our bedroom completely of these wretched creatures. For some reason, they seem to concentrate upon one individual at a time – yesterday, John woke up an absolute mass of bites and the previous night Dennis Dunn had been given rather a bad time and last night was my turn. However, I am beginning to get so used to them that I am not disturbed to any great extent. Otherwise, we are a very happy trio. Dennis and I hit it off extremely well and John keeps us alive with his youthful spirits. Everything tends to be more violent out here – life is painted in richer and darker hues and ones loves and hates are all of a much more vigorous nature.

I am very glad you wrote to Denis Hayward – he greatly appreciated your letter. He has a very high regard for you and always refers to you as “my good friend Olive”, and seems to think you are the fountain of all wisdom. You must try and not worry more than you can help. I do feel that wives have very much the worst end of the stick – you read accounts of battles and wonder whether we are participating in them. We, at least, know when we are fighting and when we are not – however, remember a lot of time is spent not in actual contact with the enemy and far more time is spent out of real danger than in it.

We entertained the new second in command (Bala Bredin) to dinner last night. He is RUR. and a very brilliant and intelligent man. He has won the MC and bar, and served with Brigadier Wingate back in Palestine. Edward Gibbon and Jerry Cole were also our guests and we had a very pleasant evening and the best conversation I have had since my arrival. The ordinary talk of a group is very trite – it seldom gets away from the war in its smaller aspects and if it does, usually consists of running other people down but last night we ranged all over the world and I, as you may guess, provided the opposition to the general view. However, it was all very friendly. Of course Denis Haywood and I have had many a fine discussion and John tentatively explores the world with me.

Who do you think is about 40 miles away? None other than our old friend Jimmy Geddes, who is now in charge of some PW Camp. Bass met him and Jimmy is talking about trying to get up and see the Bttn. It would be great to see him. Dennis Dunn had a letter from Graham Salmon, who asked if he had contacted me. Graham has a staff job in Scotland. Dawson was still without a job although keeping his Majority. I hope they don’t send him because I am aiming for that Majority.

Frank Higgins was in this Company before he went to Brigade and Dennis Dunn thought very highly of him and was going to promote him to sergeant. He said the CO has a very soft spot for Frank and sent him to Brigade because he thought he deserved a rest after his good work.

I hope some more letters will be arriving soon, darling. I am looking forward to the snaps of Valerie.  Hope the dogs are fit and well.

All my love and kisses, most precious little wife.


Read letter dated 19 October 1943


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