Dick spent most of August 1940 on a PT Instructor course at Tidworth on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. The course was reputedly three weeks of living Hell. Although he managed to get home for a couple of weekends, by 24th August he was ready for a day of rest....
Saturday 24th August 1940
Thanks for the letter. I got it on Friday, and also one from home at the same time.
I’m writing this in bed, which is rather a job, but nevertheless a labour of love as usual. I was on duty today scrubbing out the gym etc, but will have a glorious day of rest tomorrow I hope. What everyone does on Sundays here is sleep. Blessed Sleep.
Apparently they get up for breakfast, go back to bed - get up for dinner – go back to bed, get up for tea (that’s if they’re feeling energetic) and then thankfully off to sleep – having had a tiring day. That’s my idea of the perfect life. Life as it really should be lived.
What about going back to nature after this show? Living in a cave or tree-tops or quelque chose comme ça? Just lead me to it, baby. Incidentally, should you be thinking that I’m tight, I assure you that I haven’t so much as smelt beer all day. It must be the soothing effect of bed, I suppose.
I wish I could have got away this weekend, but it was quite impossible. I may get a pass next Sat with reasonable luck. I certainly won’t waste any time in getting home.
I was very surprised to hear about the bombing at Poole*. I knew nothing about it but it just goes to prove that anything may happen- and at any time. Please look after yourself Cho. It may seem trivial to you, but it means everything to me, (and I’m not tight…).
I must close now darling as it will soon be lights-out.
All my love
P.S. Ayez soin et soyez bonne**
* Chotie talked about the horror of watching Poole being bombed from Pamphill, Wimborne where she was visiting her friend, Mary Dakin, the daughter of the gamekeeper.
Her terrified mother refused to go to the shelter when the air raid warnings sounded, instead sheltering with her family under the heavy wooden table in the kitchen. Mrs Chalkley also refused to wear her gas mask but kept vinegar and cotton wool always to hand (why, I don’t know). Chotie’s father was a ‘Special Constable’ or volunteer policeman during the war
** “Take care and be good”
© Chotie Darling, 2010