In May 1941 rationing was beginning to bite in Dorset as both Viscount Cranborne (the Lord Lieutenant of Dorset) and the Earl of Shaftesbury (Member of Parliament for South Dorset) were taken to court for buying black market butter. Chotie’s family were relatively comfortable since they ran the Creekmoor Dairy in Parkstone.
The first ‘Bailey Bridge’, later to play an invaluable role in the Normandy landings and liberation of North-West Europe, was tested on the River Stour in Christchurch. Bombing went on in Dorset with significant attacks in Weymouth and the loss of the famous Maia flying-boat in Poole Harbour.
A number of Poole men lost their lives when the battlecruiser HMS Hood was sunk in the Battle of the Denmark Strait on 24th May. Revenge was swift with the county’s cruiser, HMS Dorsetshire, finally sinking Hitler’s prize battleship the Bismark and ending the battle on 27th May.
Southampton’s Blitz produced its last casualties at Hedge End in the air-raid of May 1941.
Dick was able to take his seven days leave at the beginning of May so was home in Poole for a while with his family and Chotie.
Corporal Richard Williams of the Dorsetshire Regiment with his father, Dudley Williams, in home guard uniform and his younger brother Brin, a cadet.
On 13th May Dick was back in Southampton on sick leave, writing to Chotie from a hut on Southampton Common on Church Army paper. The week’s Intelligence course he’d heard about on 25th April was in Winchester (where Ordinary Ranks were recruited for the Corps) from 18th to 24th May. Dick was confirmed as a full Corporal while he was on the course.
Wednesday 21st May 1941
Sorry I haven't been able to write before. I've been on the course for 2 days now and so far haven't had a spare moment.
I don't mind that so much, but unfortunately I won't be able to receive any mail whilst I'm here. This means I won't hear from you until Saturday night at the earliest. Rather a blow, but these things can't be helped.
The course is very interesting to a bloke who knows sweet ---- all about Intelligence. I don’t suppose I’ll know much more about it when I’ve finished but still....
Incidentally, I get back on Saturday night, which means the CSM will try to jump on me for guard on Sunday. If, however, I can evade this, I’ll send a telegram on Saturday night to let you know whether I can get the day off. I’ll probably have to go on Church but still, we get back about 11.30. I believe.
I’m afraid I can’t write any more, Darling as it’s now nearly 0900 hrs. We have to be in the Lecture Room by 0930 and it’s a fair way to walk. (I’ve just had a marvellous breakfast!)
Bye bye Darling,
© Chotie Darling