Letters, diaries and photographs from World War II

Letters and Diary

Tuesday 26th September 1944

Usual stuff. How I wish we could find out the future of the regiment and section so that one could plan. We do the equipment then it’s handed over. Is AA any use anyway? Oh, to be working for the blokes who are using their equipment and need us.

Note: AA = Anti-aircraft




W/S Section REME


24th September 1944

My Darling Janie,

Sorry sweetheart it’s ten days since I last wrote to you. But as I told you I was going to be away six days with no opportunity to write. Then when I got back I had my yearly TB inoculation and cholera at the same time. Do you know that within an hour I was shaking (you couldn’t call it shivering) so much I couldn’t hold a pen, in bed all the following day and here I am at last more or less OK. Goodness, it never hit me like that before. Thank goodness I shan’t need another one – they are yearly.

Well, as I have already told you I know have a Jeep of my own and I used this on my journey, which totalled up to nearly 900 miles. It was a grand ride even in a tiny cramped Jeep and she went like a bird all the way. The majority of it was over what must be the most famous road in all the world. Of course it wasn’t the first time but every time it seems fresh. This time I had to climb right through the clouds in each direction and we had all the appearance of a dull November day at home. You cannot take your attention off driving for an instant as frequently the drops are sheer for more than a thousand feet and by the time a vehicle has got to the bottom it’s like a screwed up piece of paper. So hard were the battles along this road that even tropical vegetation has not started to grow and sights like those of the last war, of blasted tree stumps are seen. I’m afraid that the lads who fought these magnificent battles have received little credit in view of the colossal affairs of Europe. Well, my destination was a very pleasant hill station where tea planters frequently spend their short leaves and I was able to go to a very nice hotel though it was unfortunately terribly crowded. However it was quite good fun though I was glad to get back. I always have a feeling that someone will be messing around with my outfit if I go too far away.


Well sweetheart you certainly seem to have taken my grumbling letters to heart. Your letters mean so much ti me that I’m not awfully repentant because I have received three letters from you within six days.

I do know that you are very busy sweetheart and you are doing a marvellous job having made a fresh home while I have been away and bringing up a somewhat difficult child. 

Well here is a titbit of news that will tickle your ears. I filled in my first repatriation papers today, having done over three years.

Actually this doesn’t mean very much but it does mean that sometime in the future I shall be allotted a number and then I shall definitely be able to consider myself in the queue if you see what I mean.

You know Darling I’m becoming something of an antique out here and it’s very rarely I meet anyone in the British Forces with longer overseas service-quite a veteran, you see. 

All my love to you my sweetheart and to our little son.

God bless you both from your adoring and loving husband,

John xxxx

Thursday 21st September 1944

Left Dinajpur at 10.00 and had to pass a lot of heavy stuff. Didn’t get to 57 metres till 12.30 for lunch. They recognised me and I had a drink with them. Left at 2pm and arrived at 5.30pm – rather fast as it was  raining like hell.




Monday 18th September 1944

The conference took place at Brigade but beyond getting to know a few of the chaps it wasn’t much good. Had dinner at Brigade in the evening. Found the BM very good company.


Notes: A brigade is a major tactical military formation that is typically composed of three to six battalions plus supporting elements. It is roughly equivalent to an enlarged or reinforced regiment. Two or more brigades may constitute a division.

BM = Brigadier Major



John Askew


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