My Darling Chotie,
Many thanks for your letter of a couple of days ago. I sent one letter which you probably got Monday or Tuesday.
Glad to hear you’ve had such a time on your 48 hr. Only wish I could have been at the old ‘Sloop’* as well. George and Bert seem to wangle it all right.
Brinner, as I suspected is home on nine days privilege leave**, not embarkation as he would have me believe.
I’m up to my eyes in work at the moment as I go to Evening Classes nearly every night I have free. The trouble with that Game is you never know when you’re going to be on guard, etc which makes a definite programme rather difficult to pursue. However, one must necessarily be a martyr to achieve the fruits of education.
Hope you manage to get to N. Wales. Should be really lovely in the spring. Not as good as the autumn of course….
The old man hates the people there, of course but then he’s prejudiced. Mother had a lovely time there in the last show. Do you know where you’re actually going? There’s plenty of castles there, I believe.
I was supposed to be reading a paper on education tomorrow night at the Technical Institute but find I’m on Guard. We do have fun, don’t we?
I’m supposed to be playing Rugger this afternoon but decided I’d write to you instead. Rather nice of me, eh?
Johnston (that’s this friend of mine) knocked hell out of a canteen piano last night. Played the professional copy of the 'Warsaw’***, and rather shook everyone. I can manage the first half dozen bars! I calculate it would take about fifteen years to get it pat…. Nil desperandum.
Must close here for tea
All my love
*The Sloop is a Poole pub in Lower Parkstone, very near to where Chotie lived.
** See letter of 30th January 1943
*** Ack-Ack girls learned to work with the guns at Artillery Practice Ranges such as Llandudno near the Great Orme headland on the North Wales Coast. At Ty Croes on Anglesey, in the far north-west of Wales there was a practice firing camp where the girls directed gun fire at textile ‘sleeves’ billowing out behind planes. (From ‘Girls in Khaki – a history of the ATS in the Second World War’ by Barbara Green, published by the History Press 2012). “We went on to a firing camp at Ty Croes, Anglesey, where they had the guns. When the first gun went off I nearly died because of the shock of the flash and the bang. We had no ear muffs and from that day onwards I had tinnitus.” (Ruth Hamilton, nee Minshull, on the BBC People’s War website.)
Dick’s family was originally from Wales but his father had fallen out with them.
© Chotie Darling
This letter was re-addressed to:
Private Chalkley B.E.
236 A.A. (ATS O.F.C.)
having originally been sent to Talavera Camp at Northampton.
Section Training for 43rd Recce on 6th February 1943 focused on ‘Battle Procedure – Withdrawal’.(From the War Diary of the 43rd Reconnaissance Regiment held by the Archive and Reference Library, the Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset.)