1st Air Landing Sqdn
Recce Corps, Home Forces
Thanks for letter with all the news.
I've started writing this letter without much hope of finishing it this evening.
However, the fact that I've started it is certainly a move in the right direction. It is such a devil of a job to find anything to write about in this God-forsaken dump.
I went out this evening but came back after half an hour or so - there being nothing whatsoever to do. The Garrison Theatre, although a very good show only has the one programme for the week, and once you've seen it, it's no use going again the same week. There's a play on next week, - “While Parents Sleep”, which I've seen, - but I shall go again, as of course it will be a different cast, etc.
I've been sick for the last week with a sore throat which developed into bronchitis or so the M.O. said. Personally I didn't agree, but also didn't argue as it gave me a cushy time for a few brief days - no P.T. etc, of course.
I managed to go into the nearest town (?)* on my day off, yesterday. It boasts some very excellent pubs – the “George” Hotel and the “Bell” being very
famous in Georgian days. The beer however tasted very flat - perhaps because you were not there with me.
I had no one to talk to about Herne Bay and the various professions which help to make the social system what it is. Just imagine what you'll have to put up with when we are married... but perhaps you'll see H.B. for yourself and perhaps I'll have a profession...
I haven't yet heard from home and am getting a little worried on that score.
I hope Mother’s all right - but maybe I'll get a letter tomorrow. There seem to be so many worries that separation brings so cruelly in its wake.
Does this letter seem very morbid, Darling? I don't want you to think that
I'm too browned-off**. After 2 years in this Army I think I can stand anything.
I'm going on a three days scheme on Wednesday, so I won't be able to write of course - so don't be over anxious if you don't get a letter for some days.
It's nearly lights out, Chotie Darling so I'll say Goodnight my Precious, and write some more tomorrow.
Well, Lulu, it's now Monday Lunch-time so I'm writing a bit more.
It's terrifically hot today - and we have to wear respirators on Monday morning.
Was I exhausted! I'm now trying to get an hour's relaxation before going on Parade this afternoon.
I may go to the Old Garrison to-night and see this wretched play - that's if I can get out in time. That's one of the troubles here; even if there was anything to go out for, we rarely get out before Seven pm or so - which is rather late.
Well, Darling, by the time you get this letter, I’ll be on this stunt so I hope to write again next Saturday or perhaps Sunday - and I'll say bye, bye for the present, and remember, Darling, I still love you, very very much.
All my love, Chotie Darling
**Dick must have been disappointed to be transferred out of Air Landing after only a couple of months. After training in Tunisia from April 1943 1st Air Landing Squadron went on to be involved in the invasion of Italy near Bari in September and Operation Market Garden in September 1944, when the elite 1st Airborne were sent in to defend "a bridge too far" at Arnhem with disastrous results. (Dick was to be among the ground forces racing towards Arnhem.)
© Chotie Darling
29th June 1942 – 1st Air Landing Squadron training on Streatley Mortar Range, Berkshire. (From the War Diary of 1st Air Landing Reconnaissance Squadron, National Archives, Kew)
30th June 1942 – as the Germans advance into Egypt the Allies’ Mediterranean Fleet evacuates Alexandria and prepares to demolish the port. The Allied Eighth Army hold the line at EL Alamein, 150 miles west of Cairo. There is fierce fighting along the El Alamein front throughout July. (From WW2-net Timelines)
End of June 1942 – Battle of the Atlantic. In the first six months of 1942 the Allies had lost 989 ships, a total tonnage of 3,950,000 tons. 173 ships were sunk in June alone. The British code breakers at Bletchley Park were still struggling to decipher the Enigma upgrade introduced in February, which they called “Shark” and in March 1942 the Germans had cracked the British Admiralty code Naval Cipher 3,which was not changed until 10th June 1943.