Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Friday 10 August 1945, Marks Hall

Darling Margaret,
                         I normally would not write till this afternoon when I might have another letter of yours to acknowledge. But after lunch today, if Griffiths can persuade his car to start, we are intending to go to Colchester for pictures and dinner. I am told that Blithe Spirit is showing just now and I should like to see it.

                     We are still having wild weather here with frequent showers and strong, cold winds. It is in fact the kind of weather we ought to have had last April when instead we had an unseasonable heat-wave. Jean's pilgrimage with Monty around London should be much less exhausting this week than it would have been before.

                   Russia's entry into the Far East war, coming on top of the new bomb, has raised hopes that Japan may give in any day. Such an event would be welcomed by the general public but it would confront the Government with a nasty problem. Instead of having to deal only with the clamour raised by men of the lower demob. groups, the Ministry of Labour will be faced with the task of demobilising most of the armed forces as quickly as possible. The threat of the Far East has been a powerful incentive towards the exercise of patience and its sudden removal will have disquieting effects.

                  In fact, I find the attitude of many people awaiting demobilisation slightly ridiculous. God knows, I am as keen as anyone to get out, but to count the days and at the same time to fret at the routine jobs which after all help to make the time pass, seem to me a bit childish. It is pitiful to see the eagerness with which some of the younger men with no jobs to go to are awaiting the beginning of a new and much more difficult life. If the last war is anything to go by, in five years time most men will be looking back to their Service life with nostalgic affection.

                Don't let the above remarks give you wrong ideas. I loathe service life as much as anyone but I learned overseas that the technique of passing time is not to think of it, and I've been bored recently by the moans of men who will be out in a few months at the most.

               Demobilisation is beginning to make a noticeable difference here and practically every night some officer is to be found at the bar celebrating his last night in uniform. Most of them turn maudlin before they have finished and are heartbroken at leaving the pals whose faces have been boring them to distraction for months past. Alcohol produces a spurt of goodwill and toleration which is almost Christian in its effects.

              your letter of last Monday arrived on Wednesday just after I had posted one to you. I am sorry to hear of the unavailing pram-hunt and hope that Pettigrews* can supply one soon. At any rate I don't think you should do any more shopping expeditions to town. It is fine to hear of your continued good health and I hope you are coddling yourself in a suitable way. ....  I'm looking forward to hearing you on Sunday and to getting a letter today or tomorrow.....

*This link is to a fascinating site looking at the history of Sauchiehall Street through old postcards, several of which show Pettigrews department store.

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