Friday 9th September 1943

With 1 Royal Irish Fusiliers on north coast of Sicily

My Darling Olive,

I am still looking forward to the day when a letter arrives from you. I expect they are following me around the Middle East.

I am settling down in the battalion although there are very few here I knew originally. Edward Gibbon has returned – he does not look at all well and is very thin. He is now a Captain. There are no other officers here you would actually know. I am very friendly with Dennis Dunn who lived at the Newall’s house in Mourne Park until he came out here in February. You probably remember them speaking of him. He is an awfully decent fellow and is also a great friend of Denis Hayward, who I am glad to say is expected back to the battalion shortly. Magginis the QM is a very good fellow. He told me that his wife wrote that she had met you in Omagh and liked you very much. She seemed to think you quite a personality.

I met Douglas Room today at a demonstration. He is attached to Brigade and has quite an easy job. He is still a Lieutenant. He has grown a moustache and looks much older. He immediately asked after you and said his people would very much like you to stay with them any time you wished. He said they have mentioned you in letters. I told him we had lost his home address and he was going to give it to me but unfortunately we got separated just before the end of the demonstration. However, I will be seeing him in a few days so will get it then. Johnny Harrison is out here but is ill with fever.

My Company Commander is a very decent fellow named Jewell who actually belongs to the Devonshire Regiment but came to the Faughs some months ago. The only other officer in the Company is a young 2/Lt. named Dicky Richards, who put up a very fine show as a Sergeant with the ‘Skins’ and was given an immediate commission. A first class fellow. I had a long talk with Keenan who looks very well and is still RSM.

I had a talk with Frank Higgins. He has apparently put up a very good show out here. He is very changed, having very much more confidence in himself. Hartshorn thinks he is not nearly as nice as he used to be and there may be something in it. Hartshorn came and squatted down outside my little tent the other evening and had a long yarn.  He looks a bit older but is the same in all other respects. He is rather war weary and would very much like to go home. Hulme was sent home suffering from shell shock as he had lost all power of speech. Touhey took part in the airborne landing in Sicily and visited the Bttn a couple of times.

You can send papers out here so whenever you see an article that might interest me, will you send it out? Also would you send me the “New Statesman” and “Tribune” each week? Otherwise, I will completely lose all touch. The occasional book would also be greatly appreciated. There is nothing to read here.

All my love and kisses to you and Valerie my own dearest, sweetest wife. Great news over Italy perhaps it won’t be so long before I am with the two people I love so much.



Read the letter dated 12 September 1943

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