There are no letters from Dick to Chotie in February 1942 - he was certainly close enough to meet up with her on the 11th and 23rd February when he visited the dentist in Bournemouth. Dick, who had volunteered to join the paras, may by now have known that he was heading for the new airlanding forces. Eric Postles, meanwhile, had joined the regiment Dick would fight with in Europe, the 61st Reconnaissance Regiment.
Dorset was a centre for secret operations in February 1942, not only David Niven's 'A' force, located near Poole and the Telecommunications Research Centre in Purbeck. The Small Scale Raiding Force (No 62 Commando) were active in raids across the Channel and perhaps the most famous small raid, known as Operation Biting (on the German’s secret transmitter at Bruneval near Cherbourg) was organised from Louis Mountbatten’s Combined Operations HQ at Anderson Manor, inland from Poole.
The code breakers at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire, received a bitter blow in February 1942 when Germany changed its settings on their Navy’s Enigma encryption machines. It took them 10 months to crack the code – during 1942 the Allies lost 3 times more shipping than they had in 1941. The German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau managed to escape the Allies blockade in Brest, and attacks in the Channel, to reach safe harbour in Germany on the 13th February.
On 15th February the island of Singapore, which Churchill had considered impregnable impregnable, fell to the Japanese. Japan was very much on the offensive, advancing in Burma and bombing Darwin in Australia. (Australian troops were ordered to return home from Europe to fight the Japanese.) The Battle of the Java Sea for Indonesia began on 27th February.
Singapore in February 1942. The black smoke in the background is from the British Naval base’s oil dump bombed by the Japanese on 6th February. (Source Australian War Memorial on 'To those who served' website.)