5731671 Tpr Williams R
Mortar Tp HQ Sqn
43rd Recce Regt
Many thanks for letter received this afternoon. I haven’t been able to write you owing to pressure of work of late. However here goes.
I’m in a canteen at the moment which boasts a piano (NAAFI style), and am now hoping to get my friend† to murder the ‘Warsaw’. He’s very nervous & won’t play if there’s too many people about – hallmark of a great artist….
Sorry to hear you’ve been so busy lately, but the first 3 months are always the worst. After nearly three years I do practically nothing.
Had four letters today – Bryn, Diller, Mother & yours.
Bryn had ‘marvelous time’ on leave, ending up by meeting a woman in London. Apparently he met her in Bridport. Name of Pamela Gluning – redhead. Diller gave me all the ‘dope’ – Bryn never even mentioned her. I’ve told him he’d better come clean.
Went for a walk on Sunday afternoon by myself (my mate was on 48) and had tea at country pub. Quite a change.
Haven’t been to flicks for simply ages – lost all interest. Seems little chance of getting any leave, but still soldier on.
Bryn bought a couple of discs when on leave – the ‘Warsaw’ and Gigli’s* ‘La donna è mobile’ (Rigoletto)** so will probably wear these out when I get home.
Found time to read Eleanor Peters’ ‘Tare Harvest’***, little else.
Diller will have to leave bank shortly, as Quayle goes. She’s been offered a chance abroad with V.A.D.**** Doesn’t think she’ll take it. She’ll end up in munitions if she’s not careful. Probably do her good anyhow.
Weather’s lovely here. How’s it with you?
Should like to see N Wales, but don’t like the people, I’m afraid. Biased again….
What’s the crowd like you’re with? Hope they’re better than my lot. If ever there was a dull mob it’s the Recce.
I’ll close here, Darling and write again shortly
toutà toi Chérie*****
* Famous Italian tenor Beniamino Gigli
** ‘The Woman is Fickle’ - a song from Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Rigoletto.
***A novel about an English family farming in the Chilean Andes.
****Voluntary Aid Detachment – unpaid nursing assistants on the front line. Diller was presumably affected by the new call up for women (see 13th January 1943).
***** “tout à toi Chérie” – French for “All yours darling”.
© Chotie Darling
† Trooper DONALD ALEXANDER JOHNSTON
Who died age 21 on 24 June 1944 at sea when MV Derrycunihy hit a mine
Son of John and Amelia Johnston;
husband of Betty Johnston, of Sholing, Southampton.
BAYEUX MEMORIAL Panel 6.
MV Derrycunihy was a cargo ship transporting HQ, A and C squadrons of the 43rd Recce to Sword Beach to fight in Normandy. On 24th June 1944 she was sunk by an acoustic mine. 214 men lost their lives and 150 were injured.
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM
16th February 1943 – the Service du Travail Obligatoire forces all French men born between 1920 and 1922 to labour in Germany. Thousands escape to join resistance forces in the mountains and forests of France or the Free French in Africa.
43rd Recce re-commenced Troop & Squadron Training on Wednesday 17th February continuing to the 19th. On Saturday 20th there was Maintenance, the Commanding Officer’s Vehicle Inspection and the Final of the Inter-Troop Soccer Competition and on Sunday a Regimental Convoy Harbour Exercise. Troop & Squadron Training, again, every day from Monday 22nd February.
(From the War Diary of the 43rd Reconnaissance Regiment held by the Archive and Reference Library, the Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset.)
18th February 1943 – Joseph Goebbels, Gauleiter (Nazi leader) for Berlin and Hitler’s Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, calls the German people to ‘Total War – Short War’ at a rapturous rally in the city.
21st February 1943 – the 25th Anniversary of the creation of the Soviet Red Army is celebrated in all Allied countries. (From WW2-net Timelines)
In Operation Cleanslate on 21st February US forces occupy the Russell Islands in the central Solomon Islands. The Solomon’s archipelago is now controlled by the Allies.