War Letters – NW Australia: 15 July 1943, Darwin; Regimental Beach Picnic

W.E. Pidgeon
Army Post Office
[15 Jul 1943]

Dear Jess,

Or should I say darling?  This is the first time I have been alone in this house.  Until 11 pm typewriters & dopes clack out their stuff and I cannot settle down to think of you and myself to the exclusion of everyone else.

God, darling, if you and I had a house to ourselves (and heavens know there are many empty) we would have a time such as only those days in the trailer gave us.  Tonight for some reason one of the permanent lieutenants asked me to accompany him for a drink.  He & his & our understrapping sergeant enlisted more or less together in 1940 and they have a fellow feeling or pact to get stinking at least once a week together.  Tonight they asked me to accompany them.  This of course all under the lap as far as this end is concerned as officers & sergeants just don’t drink together.  Be that as it may it was my privilege (and I take it as such) to have been the only one asked to drink with them.  From what I can gather they really hate the guts of the fellow correspondents!  Any goodwill I seem to have gathered is because I still can mix with people of the lowlier orders without being the perfect quince &/or pounce, or pounce or (blast it you know what I mean!).

There is so much to tell you honey.  I can’t fit it all in these rapid scribblings.  The pages left unsaid in which I could say how much I would like you to be here are legion.  I went to the pictures again tonight & saw “Johnny Eager”.  Robert Taylor & Lana Turner.  God only knows why they insist on showing pictures in which the dames crawl all over the man’s body.  Not very helpful to the troops.  Got home about 10.30.  (Harold Dick took us in his car by the way.)  Had a couple of gins on return & then went out with this chappy and polished off (amongst us) some port & sherry.  Returned about 1.  Strangely enough I felt very restless & a bit sick.  I tried to get to bed – lay there ½ hour, decided to put the old finger down the throat & write you.  Not since Thursday previous to my leaving have I had so much to drink.  (Special note – The mosquitoes are really  eating me alive.  When I say that it’s no foolin!)  Everyone is asleep and its nice and peaceful and I feel as if I love you with the affection of a thousand Willies in the month of July 1932.  Look after yourself, pettie.

Went for a swim today.  The water was wonderful.  The whole setup was much the same as we had at George Warnecke’s place at Ettalong.  The weather is the same & the surroundings fairly similar.

Tomorrow I am going on the road again.  Always it is about as far as Mittagong to get anywhere.  And the dust is colossical.  I’m getting an occupational disease – you could almost call it potters lungs – there is so much clay about.

Cards on a northern beach
Cards on a northern beach

24 x 18 cm 24 x 18 cm

Have spent the day on the beach watching a regimental anniversary picnic.  Quite a GOOD SHOW marred only by the untimely death of the pig for the greasy pig race.  Poor bastard snuffed it about 2 hours before it was due to appear in the race!  This really is a wonderful winter climate – you’d go nuts about it.  The town is full of slick & well conditioned brown gods – not that you’d notice them!  The only soft bodies here are senior officers & war correspondents.  Am getting sunburnt.  Lolly pink – that’s about my status at the moment.  Shall meet fluttery eyed Gloria – from the Officer’s husband, F/O Newton when I get down to Caldwell’s Spitfire Squadron.

Guess I should go to bed.

Send me a little kiss in your letter.

Love from Winnie the Poo

P.S. (Something out the back stinks something dreadful!)

1 NW Australia Letters-14

1 NW Australia Letters-151 NW Australia Letters-161 NW Australia Letters-171 NW Australia Letters-18

War Letters – NW Australia: 16 Aug 1943, Fenton Airfield; at an American bomber field

C/o DPR Unit,
APO Darwin
[16 Aug 1943]



Just a note – I haven’t much time to write at any length as I’m only staying at this American bomber field for a day.  This will be fully occupied getting around & having a look see.  It is a big camp & takes a lot of covering.  Will let you know more about it later.

USAF B24 Liberator

Won’t be getting back to Darwin until Wednesday which is unfortunate as I  can’t get my mail until I return.  Hope everyone got my letters OK.  Unless Mrs Jackson [Alice Jackson; editor of the Australian Women’s Weekly] gets up here before I leave I expect to be home fairly shortly – am getting to the stage of saying Thank God for that.

[Making Hamburgers]
Making Hamburgers
The yanks do themselves pretty well in the way of food – they have more variety & pay much more attention to its preparation than do our own troops.

Expect to be making back along the road tomorrow and to complete a couple of notes I have taken.

Christ it’s hot here.  Sweat is just cascading off me.  However it is not all distressing – feels quite pleasant as a matter of fact as the breeze evaporates it almost immediately.  Nothing like Sydney’s heat – i.e. Sydney’s summer heat to you.

Lots & lots of love honey.  Am looking forward to getting your letters – I feel quite out of date.

A bloody bushwhacker, that’s what I am.

More love from


P.S. A booful flower from a NT gum tree for you.

AWW 1943-12-25 P11 US Air Force camp Clr neg 10 - Copy
US Air Force camp, The Australian Women’s Weekly, 25 Dec 1943, p11.
AWW 1943-12-25 P11 US Air Force camp (Study) BW neg 18 - Copy
US Air Force camp
AWW 1943-12-25 P11 US Air Force camp (Study) BW neg 17 - Copy
US Air Force camp
U.S. Hospitality Tent
U.S. Hospitality Tent
Sketch for U.S. Hospitality Tent
Sketch for U.S. Hospitality Tent
Cooking hamburgers
Study for Making Hamburgers


Study for: Horseplay in the officer quarters. A US aircrew off duty
Study for: Horseplay in the officer quarters. A US aircrew off duty
Horseplay in the officers' quarters. A U.S. aircrew off duty.
Horseplay in the officers’ quarters. A U.S. aircrew off duty. – The Australian Women’s Weekly, 25 Dec 1943, p10.
[Study for The Briefing]
Study for The Briefng
The Briefing
The Briefing; The Australian Women’s Weekly, 25 Dec 1943, p11.
Waiting emergency landing
Study for Awaiting emergency landing
Awaiting emergency landing
Awaiting emergency landing, The Australian Women’s Weekly, 25 Dec 1943, p10.
American ordinance truck
American ordinance truck
Yank command car
Yank command car
The cafeteria line-up in an American officers' mess
US Officers’ cafeteria, The Australian Women’s Weekly, 25 Dec 1943, p10.

24 x 18 cm 21 x 11 cm 24 x 18 cm 24 x 18 cmControl tower at US Air Force camp, most likley Fenton Airfield 24 x 18 cm