61st Recce Regt RAC
Monday 31st July
My dearest Chotie,
Well, my Darling. I have a whole day to myself so here goes.
We’ve had a pretty thin time for the last fortnight and everyone’s relieved to have a little time of their own to get organised once again. I’ve just finished doing my laundry (?) – took me about two hours, as I have no batman here, and as it’s very sunny, I entertain high hopes of it drying quickly.
The best part of this game is getting to a ‘safe’ area once again and being able to relax a little and have a general sort out. I’ve also had my second bath and of greater importance still, my second beer! Felt quite merry after it. The first night I have in England will be sheer murder. I won’t be able to stand more than ten pints….
We’re in a very pleasant spot at the moment* – in the grounds of a Château, or more accurately, the home farm of a Château.
I’ve been over the farm, which is empty, but boasts some excellent furniture, hand-carved oak, almost black. I’d give anything to get hold of some of it. The kitchen of course is massive, with a stone floor and two great pumps, their only source of water. The staircase is also built of stone and leads eventually right up into the roof – a mass of oak rafters.
I worm my way into most of these old farmhouses as most of the Châteaux are sealed and the farms remain the most interesting buildings.
(My boys have just ‘brewed-up’ some tea, so I’ll pause here for a few minutes….)
Have you had anything to do with these buzz-bombs** yet? Or don’t they penetrate that far?
Mother & Dad hear them going overhead, but that’s about all.
You may have heard that Diller got home for a few hours last weekend to see Brinner – I think I told you in my last letter.
How are your people? All very well I hope. Don’t forget to give them my best wishes, and queries as to whether the war will be over by Xmas…(which Xmas?) That was always a sore point between your mother and I.
Have you heard any news of Margaret’s Ted*** lately? I’ve seen several of his people.
Apart from him I know of no-one else over here, except Quayle, of course, and he’s miles behind the lines, needless to say. I’m afraid I must close here for want of material – as usual.
All my love, Chotie Darling
*According to Eric Brewer’s diary (‘B’ squadron Assault Troop) they were still somewhere in the Caumont area.
**V1 flying bombs
*** Ted Lewis, Chotie’s brother-in-law was in the Coldstream Guards before the beginning of the war when the Guards Regiments formed the Guards Armoured Division. He was a tank gunner and had landed in Normandy a couple of weeks after ‘D’ Day.
© Chotie Darling
Tony Rampling remembers Dick Williams and the only time he disobeyed one of Dick’s orders:
(Podcast to be inserted here)
“Dick Williams, or Lieutenant Williams, was my Officer and I found him quite quiet. He never chased us around. He gave us the orders, one of which I had to disobey. When we came out of Briquessard we hadn’t slept for 10 days and he said “You’re on guard” and I said “Sorry Sir, I couldn’t keep awake” and I couldn’t have done, and I never heard any more about it.
Tony liked Dick as an Officer: “He never interfered with us much.”