C/O DPR Unit
Tuesday 10th [Aug 1943]
Got another letter from you posted the 6th. Thanks sweet you’re doing very well indeed. Sorry you haven’t had any mail for 5 days. I can’t understand that as I don’t think at any time have I gone longer than 2 days without sending you something. Maybe a censor somewhere has tossed one out. Why I wouldn’t know.
Sometimes I get fed up with it here. I think I’ll just clean up a few more things & come home within 3 weeks. To cover everything would take me months. So get ready to receive me right. Am looking forward to seeing you again – it does seem such a long time – doesn’t it?
Wrote 4 letters on Sunday to you, George Finey, King Watson, and the boys at the office. So that’s that. I was quite exhausted after it all.
We have all been washing & ironing today as the batman is sick. Frank Tierney knows all about the job. I think he must have been a good wife to somebody.
Yesterday I spent with a bomber squadron and managed to get a good set up of the ‘erks’ (as the air force call the ranks who do the hard manual work) loading bombs into a plane.
Sunday afternoon I make a very quick note of a funeral near here. Two of the mercantile marine seamen who were killed when Japs bombed a ship a few days ago off the coast north from here. I think it would make quite a good picture. Made a quick water colour sketch of one of the bombed houses here. Water colors are hellishly awkward to manage out of doors. The colour dries on the box before you can get it onto the paper.
Am dashing this letter off because I’m going up the road a little way to finish off a painting of a swimming pool I started some time ago. As the mail will go before I return I am in haste to express my adoration.
Flash – last night two of the pilots after a sufficient steeping in the fiery juices set off on journey back to tent. One – hopelessly lost curled up on the floor of a brother officers tent. The other made the grade & work about an hour later with the tent in flames around him. Much hilarity whilst domicile was razed to the ground.
May be off to see “In which we serve” tonight – that is – if I don’t get sucked into the alcoholic vortex which is apparently about tom swirl any tick of the clock.
I’m still not 100%.
It doesn’t look as if I’ll be down by the 24th. You will probably forgive me but it would be best for me not to dash down without properly doing the place over. I’d love to be there. However have a good dinner. Get that or the other casserole or what ever you like – go to £20. With love from your devoted, Willie.
Thursday [12 Aug 1943, possibly Wed, 11 Aug?]. Bad show I didn’t mail the above pages this morning. I went up to the strip with a crowd of pilots at 6.30am and arrived by at 4pm. Consequently missed the bus, I mean the mail.
This blarsted country is full of things wot bite. Between the heat & the wogs I’m as knobbly as a mills bomb.
All day the fighter lads lounge about inside their dispersal hut (near the ‘drome) in attitudes crooked but horizontal.
There they remain, with but slight variation waiting for the call to arms. One morning early at least 4 of them were asleep when an alert came over. Like trains through a station they were off & in the air. Fortunately the aircraft responsible for the alarm was identified as friendly.
The weather seems to be getting hotter. Myself more enervated. Sweat rolls off me – thirsty ants swim up my cascading body & quaff the salty juices. Beaut-O!
There’s been quite a lot of feeling that it’s near time the yellow men come over. They sunk a ship a few days ago & have been fairly active. A couple of months have passed since they did anything and the fighter lads are anxious to have a crack at them to relieve the boredom.
Hope Harold Coy has been behaving. Also the damned old Ponty. You poor darling I dare say Jane has been giving you the real works. Is Tommy up north indefinitely?
Hope Dossie’s little girl doesn’t have 6 tits – it’ll be awful hard to find a beau with 6 hands.
Some bear bandit or other has got down on my bottle whilst I was away. That’s the sort of thing that leads to lynching in this h’yar country. You can as King from me – Where is the Ethics Committee of the A.J.A? What are they doing about it all? When are they going to send a missionary up here?
That there smudge is sweat.
Which reminds me you mentioned Turkish Baths. Haven’t you had any? Why don’t you go away somewhere for a couple of weeks? It’s getting right hot, mu chickadee. I’m afraid this climate would suit you down to the ground. I can’t see how one could stay very flat what with all this here perspiring going on.
Don’t get too morbid, honey. It won’t be long before I’m home. How’s the houses for sale? Why don’t you go around and have a look at a few just to get an idea of value, etc. I can’t think of anything for the flairs.
When its winter
Way down yonder
It’s a pint’er
Beer I ponder
And a bit er bread
An’ butter an’ a sponge
Which reminds me how’s frige behaving?
Lots of love from yours meltingly,
[* Note: The funeral services held on 8 August 1943 were for George Dew and Harold Keller, killed when their vessel, 'Macumba' was sunk during a Japanese air attack. This particular scene is of the funeral for George Dew which was conducted by Padre T. Gee, Church of England Chaplain - see http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/055131/]