War Letters – Brisbane, Sunday (11 July 1943), socialising

Oxford House


Sunday 8.30 am

I haven’t had malaria! – now aint  that a surprise to us all!

I’m leasing a monk like existence – Friday night after finding my kitbag I went to the pictures & saw “The Moon & Sixpence”.  It wasn’t much chop.  Saturday morning after returning from the hospital which was out along the road to that trailer camp we parked at five years ago I went with the boys to a pub and amazingly managed to get about six beers down before the drought set in.

Met another correspondent who had my phone number and a note from me in my own writing in his note book.  Neither he nor I have the faintest idea what it was about.  We had met him at the Royal Standard last year.  A civilian turned up who knew him – we were introduced & he said ‘not Bill Pidgeon?”.  “But yes” I say.  “Married a girl from the P.D.S.”  “U-huh” = me.  “Well” sez he “I’m Roy West, you and Jess had a drink with Jean Smith & I at the Great Southern just before we got married.”  What a teeny-weeny little world!  He and Jean have amicably parted.

Left him and went round to the Gresham hotel for dinner, in the midst of which a croaking voice hails me from behind & none other than dear old debtor Francis Clancy beams upon my shaken face.  “Christ, can’t I ever get away from you” I ask.  However he was sober and didn’t worry me.  Said he would ring this morning – but I won’t be here.  Am going down to have a look at what the boys call the press circus, i.e. G.H.Q. conference & handout.

I rang Eager but couldn’t contact him – he is away at his stud farm doesn’t return until tonight.

The food in this joint is very good.  The Yanks see to it that their bellies are well looked after.  According to the local correspondents they look after their John Thomases too with loving care & affection – see to it that they are never starved.

Went to bed at 8.30 pm last night.  Am getting sick of walking round the blocks!

Tell King I have met a lot of the boys.

Hugh Dash       –           Brammal

Lloyd Clarke   –           Hutton

Jack Brairs (?) –          Peterson

Mishael             –           Fitzhenry

Brisbane full of correspondents.  English Australian American.  I haven’t met Williams yet.

2 Replies to “War Letters – Brisbane, Sunday (11 July 1943), socialising”

  1. from my Dad’s diary, New Guinea, 1943 while on furlough in Australia:
    Friday June 18
    Finally hit Brisbane about 4 P.M. after a miserable trip and a poor night’s rest in a cold berth. We were lucky to get the last double room at the Oxford House – shaved, cleaned up and went out for dinner. Then to the usual show and back to bed. I’m down to 4 ½ pounds in money so will have to go easy ‘til I get back to Guinea. I see by the papers where they have had a few raids since I left. I’ll be glad that the moon will no longer be full when I return.
    The Allies made progress while I was on leave, taking the Italian Islands between Sicily and Tunisia. If only Italy and Germany crack this year we might get home soon, otherwise it looks pretty hopeless.

    Saturday June 19
    Breakfast at the Oxford House – no eggs to be had so for the first time in my life I had lamb cutlets for breakfast. Saw Col. Ammons and asked about my promotion but they have no record of it there and neither had it come through personnel as yet. I hope Todd didn’t give me the old run around. Sid and I took in a matinee, then came back to our rooms to shave and dress. Sid’s Australian friend Corp. Smith who lives here in Brisbane invited us over for dinner – a nice meal including a rare delicacy, chopped herring. Only the coffee was terrible, being boiled with milk and one teaspoon of coffee per cup.
    Looking for a photo of the Oxford House back then any suggestions?
    sid goldman sidgoldman@gmail.com

  2. Sid, not aware of any photos of Oxford House or what it even looked like. If it was only a boarding establishment then unlikely to have any, even sketches. On the other hand, if it had a bar attached to it then it is possible there is a sketch but without a photo I would not be able to identify it. I suggest searching Trove (http://trove.nla.gov.au/). There are no pictures but if you search “Oxford House” and Brisbane under newspapers and filter the results for illustrated and photographs then there are 88 results – more likely just people who may have resided there but you never know.Also, try the Queensland State Library and State Archives for their photographic collections, maybe even Brisbane City Council. – Peter

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