War Letters – NW Australia: 7 Aug 1943, Strauss Airfield; Heading back to the Tap-house

W.E. Pidgeon
C/O DPR Unit
A.P.O. Darwin
Sat morning
[ 7 Aug 1943]



Am going back to the tap house this morning & am in great dither to get a letter once more.  It’s an isolated sort of life the folks live up here – each day rapidly becomes the same as another when one stays at the camp for any time.  Yesterday I’d just about had enough – I couldn’t draw – I was damned hot – I was full of ants – I wished I was home.

This morning it’s a bit cooler.  Naturally I’m somewhat stronger.

I haven’t written to the boys at the office yet but I suppose you give them some information at times.

Have found out some more details about Paul [comment – Maj. W.M. Paul?] which I can tell you when I return.

A pleasant little item you can tell the lads. A notice on the routine orders board –

“Advice has been received from the A.P.M. N.T. Forces that an aboriginal – Mary – has been apprehended in the [censored] area.  On being examined by the Medical Authorities she was found to be suffering from leprosy (advanced).  Any person having had contact with any native in the [censored] area is to report to the Squadron medical Officer immediately.”

A pretty thought.

There is not a great deal to do about a fighter squadron – one plane is the same as the rest of them.  Main concentration has been on the dispersal room which I indicated in drawing to you last letter.

AWW 1944-02-12 P6 Waiting for the mission IMG_3764 - Copy
Waiting for the mission, The Australian Women’s Weekly, 12 Feb 1944, p6

There is much uninspired letter writing done from here as after the first month all novelty is gone for the pilots.  For 3 or 4 months their routine is exactly the same every day.  Up early – arrive at dispersal hut – then lounge in deck chairs all day waiting for a raid which seldom arrives.  Must be colossally boring.  Their reactions come occasionally when they get roaring drunk.  Leave every 3 or 4 months which is much more than anyone else gets.  But these lads need it alright.

Be nice if I could work in some comfort.  Disabilities & heat have just about buggered me this week.  And yet I don’t care for Darwin – it’s too far from any of the material I want & there’s also the bloody typewriters.

The steward at the bar here is an amazing replica of Ron Bennett (emaciated) complete as to hair, eyes, nose, mouth, chin, etc.  Face a trifle narrower.  Ron’s old man must have been around.

Don’t need eye-drop prescription.  A drop a day doesn’t take any away.

Attached are life like drawings of press correspondents at work and play.

Lots and lotza to my lil’ honey chile

from the celibate


Think I’ll come down in the Flying boat instead of wearying my way overland through Alice Springs.  A great squeeze for you.


An officer just came in with an official message.  Speaking of inter area personal communications over telegraph line.  Requested to cease.  Instances communication between air signals man & WAAF Signals women. “———-“ We could do with some WAAFs up here.”  Official comment is – This sort of thing must cease – if message such as this fell into enemy hands they would naturally surmise that a shortage of manpower existed in this area.