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August 22, 1942

England is just about what I expected. I don't know how to describe it, but will just say it is a lovely country. The houses are mostly Old English type frame construction.

The other night a red headed Captain was assigned to keep the Generals coat hook clear until he came in. Every time he turned around there was another hat on the hook. He said "The next hat on that hook goes on the floor!" He turned his back and a minute later the General walked through hanging his hat on the hook. The Captain turned around and threw it on the floor.

August 30, 1942

"We get days off occasionally and work a seven day week. So far I have taken no time off but I plan to take some time off after a few days and visit London. I don't know what that will cost, most of the officers have gone, and the biggest amount spent was reported as 300 shillings and the smallest 40 shillings. Not knowing our way around makes it cost us more. Where there are amusements with cover charge they run around 80 shillings.

Now to tell you all that is possible about myself. Some of the boys write pages, and don't say a thing that is censorable, but I can't seem to manage to have a thing to say. We eat regularly, and fairly well, I have had annoying cold for about two months, but have not been marked quarters at any time for it. We have a comfortable place to live, very small to my first assignment at Fort Bragg.

England is veritable flower bed, everything is green and nice and pretty. There are not many females here, and most of the younger girls are gone somewhere. They have nothing to fix themselves up with, consequently they don't look pretty at all. Some of the girls who harvest the wheat look rather picturesque from a distance but few look like anything when you get close.

I dream of having a little place of our own, and a job that would let me be home every night. I almost wonder if it would not be best to resign after the war and look for a job that would let me do that. Anyhow we will solve that problem when the time comes, in the meantime your tough sweet-heart is building up to be a hard boiled officer and win this war. I sometimes think we will do it quickly, then again I think we won't. It all depends on how fast you all back in the states will work and build us thing to fight with, especially boats. We will all do our part over here, and most of us will die before we will be beaten. The British are a great people.

September 10, 1942

I have gotten two copies of the Colliers and missed two, but they may come later on. If they don't they probably are in Davey Jones Locker, however, reading material is scarce so would like some magazines.

I visited London last month and saw many things. St. Paul's Cathedral impressed me most, it was lovely. The vastness of the interior left me speechless. I went up into the whispering gallery, where a priest demonstrated by whispering that you could hear the slightest whisper for over three hundred feet.

I also went on top of the church for a view of surrounding country. The exact nature of what I saw should be censored so I'll merely say, it was the most stupendous sight I have ever seen.

September 15, 1942

I note the letter Patricia typed to me on top of your letter. Tell her I think it is just grand she is learning to write and I hope by the end of the year to have a note in her own handwriting.

I met a Canadian Officer who has a girl who looks a lot like Patricia. He has never seen her only by pictures and I feel sorry for him.

I certainly appreciate your lovely anniversary letter, more than any gift you could get. On that day I went to London, rode up on the train and it was labeled "Reserved for the female branch of the British Army".

September 24, 1942

Your letters seem to come in batches. As Lt. Bingham says, "I'll take the letter and be damn glad to get it even if it comes by Pony Express." He has not heard from his girl friend yet.

We have about a dozen or more outlandish pictures hanging in the Officers Club. We had a visiting Officer in to give us a lecture, and the lecture was in the club room. He stuttered and stammered a few minutes then said, "I will have to read this lecture, those pictures keep taking my mind off my work."

September 27, 1942

I spent my last day off in Salisbury. It is a nice town but not so interesting as London. I may go there again soon, I want to see more of the place.

Two of the Officers started a little feud - one said too many patients were being sent to him, the other said too many things were all wrong at the camp. One day the Dr. turned in a long detailed report on the inspection of quarters. It was seen and rumored back to the battery so we worked our ears off for nearly three hours fixing everything that we could think of that could be wrong. Actually there was nothing wrong. The report said, "cigarettes in the ash trays, trash in the trash cans, grease in the grease pits, salvage on the salvage piles, supplies in the supply room, hair on the floor in the barber shop". That burned us up so the next morning we sent the whole battery up to the sick call. Each one had a different complaint, one love sick, home sick, out of sorts, and the Dr., gathered all them up and gave each one a dose of salts.

I won't comment on the war situation, but read the papers about the situation in Russia because I put a lot of importance on events there.

September 29, 1942

I believe I told you that I had a letter from Vicky. I sure hope I see her but knowing she's on the way makes me nervous a little bit. I don't believe Hitler can really sink one of our troopships, but he might just catch the one she is on. I wish they would give us a little action. We will probably get plenty, but you can't win a war without fighting. Tell everyone back there to work their ears off and send us the equipment, we are more than anxious to use it.

Last time I was in London I visited the Zoo. There were many beautiful things there and I am sure that you would have enjoyed them also. They charge 2 shillings and 6 pence to go in, which is about 50 cents in American money.

When I first went in the first thing I did was look for the Bald Eagle who is the symbol of American might. He was there in a cage, but some how he doesn't look very impressive when in a cage. He just looked dirty so I did not linger long there. I went to the parrot house from there, and found them mostly Cockatoos, some from all over the world. Some were beautiful white ones, with brilliant red under feathers that showed when they spread their tails and wings. They also had the crested Cockatoos and the trainer put them through their paces for us.

If we could take Patricia to the Aviary in Catalina Island she would see many birds of a similar nature.

After leaving that house of parrots we went into one where they were not in cages, and all were very tame, but did not talk.

I wandered over to other parts of the fair ground, and got in one where they had many canned goods showing how well the people could can the various things they grew on their farms. They called this "Off the ration exhibition". It fairly made my mouth water so I left there for the restaurant.

Tea over here consists of what we might call a light lunch at home, except you get tea to drink instead of milk. It was really a good meal, and I enjoyed it lots.

I left there to visit the lions, and got there just at feeding time. The beasts were very restless until the man came along with a wheelbarrow load of steaks and poked them through to the lions. The lions were so excited over the load they didn't pay any attention to the piece he gave them till he was out of sight. Then they devoured the meat and growled all the time they were eating.

From the lions I went to the seal basin and enjoyed watching them eat. They had the seals trained so they would go up on a high rock and catch the fish as they threw them to the seals. From there after watching them play a while in and out of the water I set out for the lion cages again, and watched them but soon they were asleep. Then to the bears cages. They would sit down, wave their paws at us just like a person and all but ask for something to eat. Many a person threw bread and apples and the bears would catch them in their mouth.

There were no monkeys that I could find on the grounds, and we always think of our parks full of monkey's cages at home.

October 1, 1942

I have just been promoted form 2nd Lieutenant to 1st Lieutenant, about a half hour ago. There were quite a few others promoted among the friends of ours, and I'm sure pleased.

I have been all over one end of England today, and I saw many things of interest. Most people are riding bicycles, it is really interesting to watch the girls, now that it is getting windy. Some of them steer their bikes with one hand and hold their skirts with the other, some have developed a kind of cross knee stroke that keeps their knees together and others let the wind and nature take its course, but the combination of bicycles, wind, and ration boards control of skirt lengths makes a trip interesting. The young matrons have baskets on the back of their bikes for their babies, and 3 to 7 year-olds ride in a kind of a chair on the back. The older people usually ride alone.

Over here many houses have thatched roofs. They make them out of straw interwoven with hickory switches. They are about a foot or more thick and very steep. The roads over here are very winding, and very narrow. It is quite thrilling to ride with a G.I. chauffeur, they go where ever they please, and so do the British. You are always wondering if they are going to remember to pass on the left.

October 8, 1942

Last night all the Officers in the unit had orders to attend a party for a new (censored), so naturally I went and hoped to see Lieutenant Squire there. Only a few of the people that the party was suppose to be in honor of were there. Most of them had engagements and those that came were not -- well just -- I can't exactly explain, but none of us stayed any longer than courtesy demanded. When we returned we discovered that as usual the Officers of our unit had scored a scoop. They had the best looking girls available in our club and a good time was had by all for the rest of the evening.

October 16, 1942

I went to see a "Band Revue by His Majesties Royal Band, famous on broadcasts circuits." It turned out to be a performance by the local school children from ages one to six, approximately all girls and except for an old man, sailor, soldier, air pilot, policeman, obviously imported. They all tapped remarkably well for amateurs, and the baby performed a number involving back bends that would have been impossible for a person whose bones were fully developed. The baby was a little blond and reminded me some what of Patricia.

October 27, 1942

I must say that grub is improving, a couple meals were quite bad, but the last three meals in a row were grand, last night we had hot cocoa, mild cheese, vienna sausages, spam, waldorf salad, white bread, sliced tomatoes, pickles, and potatoes. We have had steak two meals in a row now and its grand.

We have a new chaplain, and I bet him a cigar there would not be over ten of my boys go to church and he said there was 18 in all, so I gave him the cigar. I told him that if he were not a preacher I would not believe him because I had all of them working. He says next I have to go and see for myself. He is a grand fellow, and thinks all the time of all of us, the one before him thought only of himself.

November 1, 1942

We are still having pretty fair meals lately, it is certainly not the government’s fault if they are not good, the material the cooks get is just grand but they can't cook worth a darn. Tonight we had coffee, doughnuts beef stew, rice cooked with veal morsels in it, spinach, peas, hot biscuits peanut butter, fruit salad, jam and butter.

I received a box from you today, you should see the vultures come around when I got the box. I had a personal body guard from the post-office to my room. Then five of them stood around while I sweated it out. I finally broke down and opened one of the boxes of cookies, and in five minutes there were twelve in the room. I really don't think they are as bad as I paint them, but I am over here on censored business, and my room-mate is all right, but the others its take and give nothing in return.

I am looking forward to a very sober Christmas, and hope that everything goes all right. Maybe I will eat Christmas dinner in Berlin, but not as Hitler’s guest, but it would give me great pleasure to have him eat dinner as my guest. No one who has not been over here can appreciate what this war has meant to these people, but I cannot say anything along that line. However I hope to get my fingers on a few of the people responsible for it before long.

November 5, 1942

I wish you wouldn't worry about not hearing from me, I don't get to write often, and some of the letters coming through now have been taking a salt water bath. If you mailed anything about September 25th it may have gotten a salty bath and still be swimming.

November 8, 1942

I have discovered some new British entertainment; they are called dance halls. The girls apparently habitually go separately and pay their own way; then the boys ask to dance with them for the first dance. After that the girls do the tagging and you are on the floor all evening. It is not considered etiquette for a girl to ask a boy to dance unless he is already dancing, then she says excuse me please and tags the girl on the shoulder. Most of the girls are not good looking but they dance fairly well.

The General says soldiers should not write anything home that would be hard on the morale of the home folks, because they are having a tough time back home with rationing and everything. So cheer up.

I heard that one Lieutenant wrote home and his wife had written him, "I need your letters to keep up my morals." He wrote back and said Morale is spelt with an E not an S. We told him she probably meant what she said. Anyhow I won't say "Having a good time, wish you were Her", like an Officer did by error.

November 19, 1942

Today I saw a wire fence that had a stone post. They had square stone posts with holes in them for the wire to run through. In this country their favorite way to build a roof on a house is to have the high part of the roof on the side and drain the roof towards the center of the house allowing the water to collect in the V formed by the two halves of the roof and then drain off on one end or other. Of course they only do this with their slate roof. It sure looks funny.

As I was walking along the road I saw a woman come out in the road ahead of me and walk rapidly down the road. She turned into a field that had a lot of cows in it. All the cows came running up to her, but they were not paying any attention to any one else. She was a milk maid. You will read about them in school stories and poems Patricia. I can remember lots of stories and short plays about them when I was in school.

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