C Sqdn, 9th Battn R.T.R.
Jessie Mine: What can I talk about this evening? I shouldn’t be lost for a subject, should I… and yet, I hardly know where to begin. I feel rather ‘out on a limb’ as it were… and I know I will remain in this condition until I hear from you again. It is now a week since I received a letter… and a week seems an awful length of time when one is in love. I imagine that the dock strike may be responsible for the delay. I’m not worrying, Jess… but I certainly am looking forward to seeing that dear handwriting again.
We have had a few visitors in the mess this evening. The R.S.M. arrived after tea (ex S.S.M. Edwards of C sqdn) and he had his ‘bit of frat’ with him. And then our present SSM, George Rathke, came along with his frat… and then one or two others arrived… They were supposed to be going to the dance, but remained here much longer than they were welcome – from my point of view, that is. Shortly after these guests had departed, one or two sergeants came back from the dance – and one of them, Jimmy Dodwell, plonked himself opposite to me on this table and started talking about jobs in civvy street. Jimmy is normally a very quiet, unassuming sort of bloke. He has spent the last twelve years in the army, and is now awaiting his release – being in 21 group. He has been asking me about jobs, and rates of pay in the electrical trade etc… And I simply had to talk to him – even though my pen was simply crying out for a job.
I feel a bit sorry for blokes like Jimmy – there must be many of them knocking around just now. He was married about two years ago… and now has to face the problem of organising a home, and finding a job… and learning to be a civilian. It is bound to be something of a problem under present circumstances. This evening, he had had a couple of drinks at the dance, and became very talkative: an unusual thing for the quiet Jimmy. But, it is becoming increasingly common for even our staunchest abstainers to have a drink or two on special occasions… And these special occasions will become more riotous as the weeks go by. They are the ‘farewell parties’ organised by the fellows whose releases are imminent. We have had two or three little farewells in the squadron already:- “little” because we have only had one or two men at a time going, up to now, but the release groups are now becoming larger… and so more people are affected. This evening the ‘party’ was for a bloke in 20 group, a fitter, and one of Jimmy’s staff. It was strictly a fitters party… a group of lads who are normally quite well behaved and hard working… But tonight – well… some of them finished up on the childrens’ merry-go-round which opened in the village square a week ago: and having got on the darned thing, they wouldn’t get off. I suppose they would be there yet, but for the fact that the ‘fair’ has to close before 10.30pm because of the curfew. Jimmy managed to put three of his merry lads to bed – but the rest have strayed – Heaven knows where!
I don’t know what will happen when 22 group celebrate their release. There are three of us in the mess for a start. I hope the merry-go-round will have departed by that time-!!
Jess… my Darling… I feel all queer when I dwell upon this release topic. It must be true: I will be with you soon, dear, won’t I? It seems so hard to believe. Fancy my coming home… and neither of us having to worry about counting the days – no more of those dreadful partings…
Ah Jess: we have much to be thankful for – and not the least of our blessings is that lovely little “pest”. I’m glad he’s ours – yours and mine.
Goodnight, Jess –
I love you, dear –