War Letters – NW Australia: 2 Aug 1943, Darwin; Reviewing the N.W. Navy

W.E. Pidgeon
C/O DPR Unit
Army Post Office
Darwin
Monday night
[2 Aug 1943]

Dear Jesso,

I may as well carry on with the news concluded by the letter I posted you by today’s mail.  As I’m going down the road tomorrow I won’t be writing.  This letter will serve that day’s purpose as it won’t get away from here until then.  This week I am staying with a fighter squadron under the command of Caldwell – shall probably meet Flutter eye Gloria’s husband – I believe he is with the same bunch.

Thanks for thinking about my lack of amenities.  I’m running somewhat short – only 24 large packets left.

I hope Tommy got as much out of his drawing as he hoped for.  Selina is dopey alright.  Are you still getting plenty of steak over there?

The thing has started off again – Gawd help us!  Tap-tap-tap-BLOODY TAP!  This will be damn short – I get into such a helluva bate (?).  It’s worse than being in a machine gun nest with all guns firing and hailstones beating on my tin hat.  I’m not deaf enough to take it – Tap – tap – taP – tAP – TAP TAPTAP! – and so on.

I’ll write you tomorrow some time – or else wait till the bastards go to bed.  Up’em!

[3 Aug 1943]

Next morning – Much quieter – I am by far the earliest bird up here, all of which doesn’t help catch the non existent worms, but it’s plumb peaceful like.  Inside, spines are slowly being zipped into action, razors being flapped, and kidneys drained in preparation for a general exodus down the road in the wake of the Governor-General who has begun his tour of inspection.

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Yesterday he reviewed the N.W. navy such as it was.  We got out onto the flagship & under panicky directions of some naval lieut. allowed ourselves to be hid behind pipes, vents, doors, etc so that the G.G.’s august vision would not be defiled by the sight of the lowly non-combatant press correspondents.  It was wretched farce – the boys have wiped the navy or so they say.  Seems more like to me the navy doesn’t care about the press.  The review of passing ships was catastrophic.  Some of the old tubs couldn’t make any speed against the out-running tide, with the unhappy consequent cancellation of part of the programme.

The tide, by the way, has a rise & fall of 20 ft and as the approaches to the land here are very shallow the water when it gets a move on races like one thing.  In the harbour I believe it does about 5-6 knots and in the creeks about 10.  I’ve seen it coming in on the creeks – it moves alright.  The harbour is a big one with an average width & foreshores much like Botany Bay.  Because of its lack of depth the water is quite green.  Here and there the side of a sunken ship rises up.  Somewhere else the masts & funnel of another stick forlornly & ridiculously out to provide parking stations for the few sea birds to be seen in these parts.

Will have to leave now – have had breakfast the all are ready for the trip.

Mail came in & I have just got another of your letters – you beaut.  Haven’t read it yet – lots of love honey – look after yourself for Willie.

Possibly Darwin Harbour
Possibly Darwin Harbour
[Bomb damaged Destroyer in harbour]
Possibly a bomb damaged Destroyer in harbour

24 x 18 cm 24 x 18 cm 21 x 11 cm 24 x 18 cm 24 x 18 cm

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