25th October 1940

by Louise

My Dearest Little Darling,

Before I forget, this is what you should be getting from the paymaster, my previous calculations are hereby cancelled:

1 Government pay : 17s  per week

2 My allotment :   7s  per week

3 Extra for living in the London area :  3/6 per week

4 Proficiency pay :   3/6 per week

5 My one year service pay :   1/9 per week

The total is:  32/9

On Wednesday and Thursday afternoon a boxing tournament took place and met with great success. Acting as runner between judge and referee, I had a splendid view of the ring, which was cleverly erected in the open.

IMG_5415Never have I seen so many black eyes, bleeding noses and knock-out blows as I have during the above mentioned competition.  The only parallel I can think of off-hand, being the bloody riots in Paris in 1934 when the Stavisky affair gave birth to an ill-feeling among the extremists. It seems such an unnecessary waste of energy for two fellows to punch each other with all their might in a fit of competitive vigor, but still, these chappies revel at the idea of having a broken nose or swollen eyes and it’s as well they do, if they all thought the same as me, this would be a peculiar world lacking in rivalry and different ideas.

Wednesday afternoon,  marked the reappearance of the sun and clear blue skies.   This change in weather seems to have woken up the living creatures of the vast ocean from their apparent slumber. Yesterday I spotted an albatross flying gracefully over the wide expense of water at close proximity to this ship.  Today two whales, probably perturbed by the movements of the ship made themselves seen in and out of the sea at brief intervals. They are enormous black sea monsters and no doubt abound in this part of the world.

I have just finished partaking of my midday meal consisting of the usual tough and unrecognizable meat, vegetable soup, dirty, gritty greens and bruised potatoes.  I’ve just weighed myself , subject to these vibrations of the ship and noted that I weigh anything between ten and ten and a half stone. My God, this life of little exercise, regular and almost identical filling meals day after day and regular long sleeping hours seem to be responsible in putting weight on me. That will never do, you must at least be able to recognize me when I come back to you!

Half past two in the afternoon, what are you up to now I wonder? Probably having a meal in the ABC at Bishopsgate, maybe our thoughts are meeting and your ears are burning. So near in heart yet so far in person are we Darling.  Perhaps you’re going straight home to finish a pullover, which you are earnestly knitting while Gisele airs her views on the latest socialist movement and Mummy recounts her experiences that afternoon in an air raid shelter.

Well, Dearest, I’ve had an agreeable surprise! Instead of receiving five shillings, as I anticipated, I was paid ten shillings. Now, that amount is a fortune and as far as I am concerned, will last a long time. All I purchase is pipe tobacco and a shilling tin of jam, which I share with Eric and which lasts approximately one week. There are one or two commodities which I am in great need of now such as soap, but would sooner go without and substitute shaving soap rather than pay ten pence for a fresh tablet at the ship shop.  I could do with a spot of Brylcreem too, as my hair is becoming most uncontrollable, but I would have a feeling that such vital necessities will be brought on board on the occasion of our next call in port.

Souviens toi que je pense toujours à toi, ma chérie.

Ever your husband lover