75 years ago Dick was a soldier at Bemerton on Salisbury Plain and had started training to be a PT Instructor.After a month in the Army he’d gained his first stripe, becoming a Lance Corporal, which must have been testing since there were already 'a large number of deserters'. ‘
Dick had 48 hours leave on weekend of 27th and 28th July 1940 and met Chotie.
Sunday 28th July 1940 was his nineteenth birthday.
NR Salisbury, Wilts.
My Darling Chotie,
I’m writing this on Monday evening, my first opportunity to write since regaining Camp, which I’m trying to do in almost total darkness in the NAAFI*, in the company of Hughes and George. There’s really nothing to write as there is of course no news. I feel terribly flat. We must get really moving on our next meeting. We seem to waste so much time…
I was told tonight that I am going on a fortnight’s P.T. course at Tidworth, which I believe is somewhere near Salisbury. Could you let me know where this is, (ie look it up on a map or something?)
I’m afraid I have to turn in now, but will continue tomorrow.
It’s now Tuesday dinner time. There’s still no more news. I have been on P.T. all the morning and I’m rather fed up. I’m certainly going back to the ranks after I become proficient.
I had a yarn with the Instructor who appears to be rather pleased with my going on this course.He imagines I’m going to come back and teach him something. He must be nuts. Still there’s no harm in thinking.
I have another two squads to take this afternoon, what a life! I’m not missing much however, as all the boys are trench-digging.
It’s now Tuesday evening. I write a little every time I get a moment to spare.I really must thank you again for this super writing case. It certainly gives me inspiration.
I must close now darling, as I have to slip this down to the Post Office without delay.
Bye, bye darling
P.S. Je t’aime encore de tout mon coeur même plusque la vie.**
*NAAFI – Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes – official trading organisation of HM Forces i.e. the canteen.
** “I love you always, with all of my heart, and more than life itself.”
Dick was appointed Lance Corporal on Monday 29th July 1940.
On 31st July 1940 Dick’s medical form stated he was in A.1. condition.
© Chotie Darling, 2010.