Monday, 31 May 2010

9th June 1940

Leeds 6
9th June ‘40

My Dearest Mum and Dad

It’s so terribly hot that I can’t think without literal sweat. For the past few nights I’ve been on the top of my bed with only pyjama trousers as a covering. Not many windows in this ward permit of opening, therefore the heat has been almost unbearable. The Colonel has given us permission, if we so want, to take our beds out onto the roof so that we can sleep up there in that rarified atmosphere, & I may take advantage of that for tonight. He is a very decent chap, rather unlike the other sisters & orderlies. The higher the rank, the better the chap, seems to be the fact obtaining in the Army. One of the sisters & one of the orderlies I abominate. But as I know that all kinds make up the world, I’m quite prepared to suffer the fools gladly.

This ward is overcrowded at the moment. When I came here there were eleven beds, two of which were occupied. Now there are seventeen beds jammed in. The new patients are mainly B.E.F. & they are suffering from scabies owing to going weeks on end without a wash abroad.

Thanks for your kind offer of a game, but as we were given two or three yesterday, there’s really no need to trouble. And if I increase my kit anymore I’ll simply burst. I’ve got too much as it is.

How simply grand it must be for you to be in the country in such hot weather, with the shades of trees. I really envy you your cool spots just now.

With reference to leave, I don’t think that there is any possibility of it. Nothing is given away by the Army these days, & we have to make the best of things. But it will be lovely when I do have another leave. I wonder when that will be?

By the way I am wondering if Pansy has heard from Tommy lately. You don’t seem to have mentioned the fact, & I should like to know that he is O.K. Of course, Rouen has been evacuated so I shouldn’t think that he is still there.

According to your arrangements I understand that Iris and Walter are with you now. I do hope that you are all having a good time.

Re. my Iris, I don’t think she has any great desire to meet Arthur again, as apparently he seems to have insulted Christians in general & her in particular. She was so upset about the whole affair she says “Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so upset, but I managed to well-water a handkerchief before I finally went to sleep”. She also wrote, “Never in all my life have I knocked up against such an unbelieving infidel – Oh John dear to think that my Jesus died for him”.

She feels things like that very keenly & not knowing Arthur so well as we do, I consider that she is perfectly correct in what she thinks of him. And she consequently dreads the thought of meeting him again. And that appears to be that. What I say is this, you must try to get Arthur muzzled if you want to maintain a reputation of sanity & decency.
Thanks a lot for all the papers sent. There doesn’t seem so much in the religious papers these days. I think that the C. Herald has sadly declined. There’s not much in the Christian either. Still it must be a terribly hard job for these papers to exist in such hard times, & we must be thankful for the smaller mercies.

And now about those iced cakes. In three words – they were horrid! If my teeth had been pneumatic drills I might have attacked them with more success. I sincerely hope for your sake that your efforts don’t always effect the same results. It must be awfully difficult for you to manage to cook, but perhaps you have not conquered the art. It’s not like you to fail, I’m thinking. All the same, I ate them. Trust me for that!

On Thursday & Friday nights we were awakened because of Air-raids, & were told to dress. It was all a lot of rot as they only had the yellow light. The Colonel has put a stop to it & in future we shall have our sleep shattered solely in the event of the red light showing. Having to get up in the middle of the night quite destroyed the night’s rest. & having it happen 2 nights running I thought we might be able to expect the same thing without end. I wonder how you have been getting on with these bombing raids. Essex seems to have had a fair share of them, though in what locality I don’t know. If you know anything interesting, relating to these raids, I’ll be glad to get the low-down on them.

The Colonel has been in & said that we can go out in the grounds from 5-7p.m. And that, incidentally is the most distinguishing thing about this Sunday, this Lord’s day.

I hope that you have spent your Sunday to more advantage & have been able to get along to a Church.

And now I must leave you again cast upon the mercy of God which never fails.

With much love

Your devoted Son

John xxxxxxx

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