Letters, diaries and photographs from World War II

Letters and Diary

Wharncliffe Gardens

24th September 1945

My Darling,

How glad I was to hear your voice over the telephone last night. I really was tremendously cheered. I do feel Darling that you handled the situation vey well. It couldn’t have been done better. The situation for you of course would have been intolerable, one person doing the cash and one the books.

CP certainly told her a thing or two, something he can do in  o uncertain manner if he has to. So be magnanimous in your victory. I’m sure you have been. You know, I’m rather proud of your effort. It only remains for you to prove to the others your efficiency and everything in the garden will be better than ever.

It’s lousy news about the demob of officers isn’t it darling? Snag after snag, it rally is most disappointing. And at the same time they are making it more and more difficult for the young lads to become officers and at the same time not allowing certain regulars to continue their commissioned services for a year or two.

Still, if this compassionate posting comes off all may be well as the course I’m taking will at the present rate of progress last into April 1946.

I’m hoping that in time you’ll be able to cut down the amount of work you do in the shop and be able to come and stay up here from time to time.

Dr.Bain’s letter has not come to hand so he must be giving it a great deal of thought. I’m wondering what line he’s going to take as he knows you’re staying in Minehead at the moment. 

I have just arrived home and found Dr.Bain’s letter waiting for me. It’s quite well done.

He says “There is no doubt that your wife’s health has suffered in your absence. The responsibility of a somewhat difficult child without your health and advice was rather more than she was equal to. No serious damage has been done in her case but you should use every effort to remain in this country where you can supervise your household and give her the support she needs.”

Well, from his point of view it is a masterpiece. But it leaves me quite a lot of work to do. Keep your fingers crossed ny dear.

Not only do I have to go to my lecture on Wednesday but I’ve got to double back and go on duty on Wednesday evening . Then on Thursday afternoon I’m one of the official time keepers at the Sports Day at Woolwich.

I haven’t found a good school bag yet and the prices are fantastic for the junk they represent so I’m still looking.

Could you please send my “old flannels” and razor strop please darling. Oh yes, and could you cut a little bit off the inside of the sleeve off your new shirt so that I can try and get a blouse for it or would you rather leave it till you come to town.

I don’t exactly hurry back here these days but get off the train at Baker Street and walk through the park. I spent most of the weekend swatting but went out for a couple of hours on Saturday on the bike and had an hour’s stroll on Sundayover Priumrose Hill. By myself on both occasions. I felt lonely. I’ve kind of got used to having you around. Still, the end sometimes appears in sight and every day is one day nearer so “chins up” and let’s keep that big smile.

I do so love you my sweetheart and bed is so cold and empty without you.

All my love is yours and Anthony’s and I’m still your own,

Johnnie xxxx

My Darling,

Thanks for the phone call. Please excuse me sitting on your ideas. You know how self-opinionated I am, but I do think I’ve got it right.

I feel that by far the most important part of our scheme is a suitable letter from Dr.Bain.

Should he, and it’s like him if he feels like it, insist that he won’t write any letters unless you live in London, then so be it and we’ll have to make arrangements about the business.

Of course I can’t be certain that our ideas will come off but I shall do my best and I feel that I’m in the right.

Goodnight sweetheart,

I love you,

John xxxx

14th September 1945

My Darling Janie,

I’ve just finished writing to DR.Bain but as it is to him I have cut it down to the bate minimum. You will be able to amplify it a good deal in the course of conversation.

Tell him you are able to ring me when you please, that if the worst comes to the worst, you can come up here and live until I am demobbed but were I to go, even to Germany, we would be separated.

If he says “Why doesn’t he get his discharge?” explain to him it is almost impossible. Take Ray’s case. You can tell him that I’m doing two or three evenings a week at the Refraction Hospital taking an exhaustive Refresher Course to get me ready to take over Cranmers again and that this course will be four or five months in duration, and it’s obviously better if I take thus course before I am demobbed.

Oh, and don’t forget to mention the pills this time and your leg.

This posting was direct from the War Office and didn’t please the colonel at all because there is no one to take my place now and I’ve got three months’ experience in and am just getting to grips with the situation.

Poor old Halstead was browned off but he’ll go down fighting but he did so want to go to Nottingham with time to fight it out. He lives with his wife and I imagine the poor devils are having a pretty dismal weekend.

Re: price control, I’ve written another soothing letter and I am now awaiting a letter from John Pickford about increased overheads. He says the wages bill has gone up about £500 a year so the increase percentage in overheads is large.

Thanks a lot honey for the overcoat in perfect condition but there is one other thing I want: my razor strop hanging up beside the basin.

Oh, I forgot to tell yu that the colonel had given me permission join Friday evening to continue to have Wednesday afternoons off for the Refraction Hospital course.

You know, I am at a loose end weekends without you around as I get enough time to do my swatting at work.

I have now been invaded by your mum and dad and Freda and Auntie Lizzie. It was service time and I was by myself. All hell or something like it is let loose now so I shall close my love.

All my love is your darling and our little boy’s.

Take great care and get cracking on Dr.Bain.

I love you,

John xxxx

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

Not to be reproduced without permission