War Letters – NW Australia: 12 Aug 1943, Coomalie Creek; with the boys of a Beaufighter squadron

W.E. Pidgeon
C/O DPR Unit
A.P.O. Darwin
Thursday
[12 Aug 1943]

Darling,

How’s my little pet today?  Listening to Janie?  Going to the pub?  Reading to the Watsos? Or just thinking of Willie?

Am at another camp where I stayed last night.  Am moving up the road this afternoon where I shall pass the evening with the Sydney fellows from the Auto Club.

Beaufighter, possibly at Coomalie Creek, Northern Territory, 194
Beaufighter, possibly at Coomalie Creek, Northern Territory, 1943

The crowd of pilots fly Beaufighters, a twin engined job used for strafing the nips on islands 300 to 400 miles from here.  They are somewhat older than the Spitfire boys but are all in early twenties.  The Commanding officer is youngish tall, dark & could easily pass for a brother of Good-O.  Something about his face is remarkably like her.  The air force COs are much more friendly than their counterparts in the army.  I suppose this is so because they are much younger.

An Army Liaison officer attached to this unit came up to me last night and asked if I was wep. Said he thought he recognised me.  Asked if I recollected trying to cook sausages with a blow lamp in the main street of Tamworth.  He was at the dance at Tamworth Golf Club.  Fancy coming 2,000 miles to have that brought up!  Wep, my girl, is a name to be contended with! – A young chap of 23 took me in tow last night & fed me with a few whiskies.  At ten o’clock we suppered on toast, asparagus and SARDINES!  Sorry I can’t bring you any down but I am not supposed to buy anything from their mess store.  In case you get the wrong idea that I am wallowing in epicurean luxury I might add that the usual mess meal is only too often blasted tinned bully beef – (tasteless goddamn stuff) & margarine which no one I have so far struck is inclined to eat.  Dry Bread is the standing order now.  It’s 3 weeks since the troops have had any butter.  You can imagine my sufferings.

Possibly near Coomalie Creek, Northern Territory
Possibly near Coomalie Creek, Northern Territory
Possibly near Coomalie Creek, Northern Territory
Possibly near Coomalie Creek, Northern Territory

This is the best camp I have been in.  Situated on the slopes of one of the few hills around this country it is sprinkled amongst delightful open forest.  Beautifully green trees, plenty of palms – and birds galore.  Dawn is a rare pleasure – you wake to the low and penetrating calls of the birds, and the air is as soft & cool as a whisper.

The shower is the coldest I’ve had up here – dispersed my crumbiness in a trice.

Gave the old sand fly bites their necessary scratchings & offed to breakfast of bully beef rissoles and tinned bacon.  For heavens sake get some sucker down there to eat ours.  I’ve completely had it.  Practically every morning since I arrived.  I never want to see it again.  It dished up like limp ham boiled in washing up water.

I’m afraid you and I will have a few guests when I return.  So many of the lads have been very kind to me.  I have asked them all to give us a ring if & when they are in Sydney.

Hope to see you soon sweetheart.  Better get all beautified for you birfday & little Will.  Lots of kisses.  Wish I was at Darwin in case I get a letter.

Bye, bye darling

Bill.

(Note – Jess’s birthday is 5th September)

Beaufighter EH-Y, A19-70, 31 Squadron, RAAF
Beaufighter EH-Y, A19-70, 31 Squadron, RAAF
Beaufighter, warming up
Beaufighter, warming up
Beaufighter
Beaufighter
Beaufighter
Beaufighter
Beaufighter
Beaufighter
Beaufighter
Beaufighter

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