Letters, diaries and photographs from World War II

Letters and Diary

Wednesday 4th July 1945

I went to see the Medical Officer who suspects Fibrosis and refers me to a specialist. He considers Infra Red treatment and massage may help.

This entry refers to the injury John sustained in India when he fell from the roof of a building.

Fibrosis is the formation of excess fibrous connective tissue in an organ or tissue in a reparative or reactive process. In response to injury, this is called scarring, and if fibrosis arises from a single cell line, this is called a fibroma.


My darling Janie,

Well, I’m being fairly inundated with cheerful letters from you. No, this isn’t a complaint, I like it.

There’s a snag about your visit to London. It rather looks as though we are going to get Regimental Duties on Saturday afternoon and so I may not be home until later. The Regimental side of this workshop seems to be going through an awkward stage and making things as difficult as possible for the lads. It’s a kind of periodic disease in these large establishments.

I’m now quite resigned to doing no work and getting a good deal of study done in the office, which I share with my boss. I have him in my clutches at the moment as he wants a pair of bifocal lenses out of me and I’ve straightened his spectacle frame for him. 

I went to see the Medical Officer today about my back. He says it’s a spot of fibrosis and though it doesn’t matter much he is referring me to a specialist. He said something about massage and infra red heat treatment so that should keep me occupied and amused.

I’m not able to attend the Refraction Hospital yet as the builders are in but if I’m still here in September I shall do so then.

The two-month cram course is a full-time job and will start as soon as they have students so I shall have to leave that until I’m demobbed. I’m going to book as soon as they’ll let me as I feel there’s going to be a hell of a queue.

It would certainly be better for me if you came on Sunday but I felt it would make the changeover too quick at Minehead. However, come on Sunday if you think it’s ok but I shall assume you are coming Monday evening unless you tell me it’s going to be Sunday, say by telegram.

I must meet you at the station as taxis are very difficult.

Look sweetheart, if you can’t answer Girlie’s letter and not offer, then don’t answer the letter. I’ll talk to you about this next week.

Here’s a good joke:

First Girl: I shall be glad when these utility undies are finished. I like silk next to my skin. What do you like best?

Second girl: Skin!

So long my love. All my love is yours and Anthony’s.

And I’m still your own,

Johnnie xxxx

1st July 1945

Darling Janie,

It was nice to hear your voce on the telephone las night my sweet. t’s such a long time since I heard it. 

Yes darling, I had thought of you coming up here while your parents were in Minehead but I really didn’t feel that I should mention it. I should love coming home to you in the evening but you do realise sweetheart that I have to leave just after seven ion the morning and don’t get back until after six thirty in the evening. Of corse I’m back by one thirty on Saturdays but it does mean getting up eaeky, six am at the latest. Am I really worth it?

I’m suggesting that you take the 2.30 train on Monday from Minehead that gets to London about 7.30 and I would meet you as porters are hopeless.

Plese bring my watch, pen and another pair of shoes.

Don’t forget sweet that as yet I have not received permission, though I can see no reason for it to be withheld.

I’m off to India Office tomorrow to try and sort out my pay. Keep your fingers crossed my love, it’s our car going up the spout!

Can’t make head or tail of what I’m supposed to do at Woolwich yet, twiddling my thumbs seems to be the most important part. I’m getting quite dextrous.

Russell was on the phone this moron. He’s at Caterick now o course. He will apparently be due leave in about a month.

Yesterday I went to the cricket match with your father and it was a very pleasantly spent two hours.

Your mother and I went to Abbey Road Baptist church this evening and I saw los of people I knew. Everyone asked after you and Anthony: George Lines, Rose Seale and the whole family of Rae’s. Of course your mother and I fell to talking about them on the way home and your mother laughed when I said “Just look what I could have saved poor Hilda from.”

Well, darling, it’s time I went to bed. It’ll be fun when I go wit you but we mustn’t forget we have to be up early.

All my love is yours and Anthony’s my sweetheart.

I love you,

John xxxx

The ATS, Auxiliary Territorial Service, was the women’s branch of the British Army during the Second World War. It was formed on 9 September 1938, initially as a women’s voluntary service, and existed until 1 February 1949, when it was merged into the Women’s Royal Army Corps.

27th June 1945

My Darling Janie,

Just a few lines to tell you the latest news.
I’m feeling rather browned off at the moment. I always do when I get to a new place everything is strange and I don’t know anybody. On top of thus my fate is still undecided and until a certain major gets back on Friday I shall be none the wiser.
I am hanging about the Instrument Shop, which has several departments and not only has one to cope with ATS, but civilians, man and women, which is an impossible situation.
Also it doesn’t look as if people stay here any length of time and I can’t go taking control if I’m likely to be shifted at a moment’s notice. Finally of course the fate of my third pip is unknown. I don’t now where I stand.
As to living out, it is only allowed if you are living with your wife so as regards that we’ll wait until after your holiday and look at the situation again. It’s just hopeless trying to plan at the moment.
The situation at the moment is that I’m living at the R.A. Mess. The feeding arrangements are very good. My accommodation is three quarters of a mile away from the Mess. The room holds twi beds so my valise has come into little use. The remainder of the furniture is two chairs and a table. Oh yes, and a cupboard.
One batman may have as many as ten officers to do. Mine hasn’t that many but he doesn’t seem to be very clever so that pleases me.
The Instrument Workshop is at least a mile from the Mess so you see I’m going to put a great deal of walking in.
The hours are 8.30 to 12 and 2 to 5.30 so no one could find fault with that. Half day Saturday, so I should be able to make an odd weekend dash home. I shall have to work out the trains.
After I’d reported here I dashed back to your parents after lunch on Tuesday and got my valise and got it here on a bus. My, I had to smile hard to laugh that one off.
I shall go to your parents this weekend so I must try and get a ration card because I’ve already had a meal there and no coupons.
My best love to you both,
And I’m still your own,
Johnnie xxxxx
PS Don’t you get blue sweetheart. The browned-off-ness is only a passing phase.

Tuesday 26th June 1945

Go to Woolwich. See the adjutant and get fixed in RA Motor Transport Shop. Am billeted in Married Quarters three quartets of a mile from the Motor Transport shop. Dash back to Janie’s parents’ house and get my valise and manage to get back to Woolwich in a bus.

A regimental adjutant, garrison adjutant etc. is a staff officer who assists the commanding officer of a regiment, battalion or garrison in the details of regimental, garrison or similar duty.

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