1st Aust Corps
Thursday 10.15 am
[19 Jul 1945]
Am bored to tears – am uncomfortably curled up (one cannot stay reclined) on a pile of mail bags – and am hanging about 8000 ft above an awful lot of ocean about half way between Morotai and Borneo. We left the island at 7 am this morning and will not land at Brunei until somewhere near (censored) – It’s a helluva long way to fly. All around is a vast hazy world of blue – the horizon is indistinguishable but you guess it is out where the blues change tone. Above us long fingers of cloud point their stationery directions while below white balls like anti aircraft shell explosions spot the sea. It is cold too and I sit dismally wrapped round in a blanket. There are nine of us sprawled about half of them are either asleep or near it. I’ve been pushed off to Brunei first because accommodation at Balik Papan is limited – There will be no need for you to worry about me copping anything as I understand that we have gained all objectives and are now content just to hold them. Could go a cuppa or a feed right now with certain relish. I don’t know why they always like to get you up at 4.30 am to catch planes that never leave (censored) or 7. It means a lousy nights sleep and a stupid wakening – no tea and no grub till we land. Is that good or bad?
The cigarette position is grim. They are rationed and the issue is 2 ozs tobacco and 30 or 40 cigs per week. I did manage to come by one carton of yank fags but these boys have woken up to their exploitation by the Australians – so they now charge 5 guilders a carton i.e. 16/8 Australian.
Night before last I had been trying to do a bit of work about the mobile printing press the Army newspaper is produced on. Unfortunately I decided on my return to the camp at 11 pm to call into the Public Relations tent & was inveighed into a game of poker – at 3.10 am I was only just awake & down 8 or 9 guilders when to my great good fortune an air raid alert was sounded & the lights had to go out. The game was abandoned & I trotted off to a much needed bed. The alert was a phony but it helped save poor Will from greater disasters. Enough of this for the moment – I need to rest.
Arrived safely at Labuan. Am with Cliff Eager, Alan Dawes, Jimmy Smyth & Noel Adams. Mail is leaving now will write tonight.
Lots of love to you and bub.
[Letter included caricatures of fellow correspondents Cliff Eager, Alan Dawes, Jimmy Smyth & Noel Adams.]