Saturday, January 29, 2011

Friday 19 January, 1945, Earl's Colne

My darling
                 I intended to write yesterday but was out all day on duty. As a result of this delay, I have three letters to acknowledge, yours of 15th Jan and 17th Jan and your father's of 16th Jan. The enclosure that came with the first of these was from Stapley. When he left me in Naples he was on his way to Cairo but when he got there he found a telegram announcing his mother's death. As he was the only relative, he was posted home to settle her affairs. He doesn't seem to be doing much work where he is now, and finds service life at home very dull. His chief hope is that of wangling a posting near his home: it is in Uxbridge, so he should have quite a good prospect of success.

                  I've just read the whole of Churchill's speech and the comments on it by various newspapers. It seems to me to be one of his best speeches. No doubt the truth about Greece lies in some medial position between his attitude and that of Bevan but, even if it does offend your liberal sympathies, I think Churchill is the nearer to it. I've seen and conversed with Communists and Leftists in Corsica and France and I feel it is sheer folly for writers like Kingsley Martin  to attribute to such passionate illiterates and thugs their own refined sentiments. Many of the E.L.A.S. warriors are I'm sure only a few generations removed from bandits and can't have much notion of democracy or toleration.

                   The Russian news is overwhelming now and anything might happen. We'll know soon whether or not the Germans can put up a defence of their own frontiers. If they cannot, the war in Europe will soon be over. A rational German government would surely surrender now but I'm afraid the maniac element has got such control that much of Germany will have to be laid waste before it collapses. And I don't think the Russians will be slow to take their revenges.


                  Your father in his note says that Margaret had a nice letter from Andrew[Gerrard, D.F's cousin] today and adds that he'll leave you to tell me all about it. I'm afraid he has no comprehension of his eldest daughter's duplicity. By the way, have you any really attractive female cousins that I could start corresponding with?

                 Yesterday I was driven for hours round the northern suburbs of London. What a ghastly district it is. The townlets and suburbs are attractive enough in themselves but the pattern is always the same and is repeated endlessly. I should hate to live in any of them.

                 You have not mentioned yet if my ration card arrived. I hope it did since the grocer was so decent about advancing my rations.

                  The food here is really excellent. It has been a revelation to me to see what R.A.F. cooks can do when they have the advantage of decent kitchens to work in. They are a different race from the poor drudges overseas whose fires were always being blown away or put out by rain and whose raw material consisted of only dehydrated products. We get plenty of fresh meat here with occasional fish and eggs and some very nice lines in steamed puddings. I'll probably get really fat here ...

                  It is now half past ten dear, and shortly I'll be going off duty to trudge across the snow (yes, snow again) to my little tin hut. There will be a red-hot stove making it comfortable if not home-like. After putting this letter in its envelope I'll get under my seven blankets ...

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