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May 12, 1942 Arrival England



Letter 2 Somewhere in England

Part 10 May 12, 1942

Hello Darling:

Time is 0330 hrs & we’re on the move to get the lads up, eat etc. Unfortunately we were about the last to leave the ship, 1205, so it was left to our party to do a lot of cleaning up which was just as well as busy minds & hands have no time to get into trouble. Immediately upon leaving the station we travelled through inky blackness for over a mile before hitting light again. That is the first time I actually knew what real darkness meant, couldn’t even see the time on a Luminous Dial. We travelled very quickly & efficiently, stopping once on the way down at a station for 20 minutes in which short space of time we fed the whole train. Fell out on the station Platform & the girl in khaki did a swell job of tea & a lunch.

Talk about organization. Canadians are in the back ground, but again practice makes perfect. Skirted London & arrived at destination at 2300 hrs. Transport in convoy & we arrived at our destination a little late. Rain. Had a meal a few minutes ago & now to bed. Sleeping with Major Calder tonight. Tired, but glad its over,

Love,

Arnold



Letter 2 Somewhere in England

Part II May 13, 1942

Dear Sweetheart:

Still awfully misty & I didn’t even bother to get up for breakfast, disgraceful but then I really was done out. Went to Records office this morning & had our papers checked & then to our own company office & a how do you do with the Colonel. Dinner, & as we might be on call anytime during the day, which we weren’t, we shot pool, played cards & ping-pong until 1530 hrs when Holliway & I walked a mile & half to Post Office to send Telegram, hope you received same.

O.K. Walked another 2 miles into town close by & came back by bus, a two storey affair & say hold your hat when you’re in one, they practically fly. Supper & having a game of ping-pong with Polly Gay, & I was called to door to find Gordie. What a meeting & what a talk. Gordie really likes it here, he’s about 5 miles from us, so we took another long walk & discussed everything, pro & con. He left again about 2200 hrs.

Well Sweet! My first full day here & in lots of Ways it reminds one of Aldershot at home. Tomorrow, I’ll write you a more descriptive letter. Till then,

All my Love Sweetheart,

Arnold


Letter 3 Somewhere in England

Part 12 May 14, 1942

Dear Sweet:

Still foggy this morning, but the sun actually came out this afternoon & that’s the first time that we’ve really got a look at the old bean. Top hole, you know. Every chance we get we ask foolish questions or directions of the girls in Khaki just to hear them talk. I could sit by the hour & listen to it. This morning we went in to get our pictures taken for identification cards, & got them this afternoon. Do you like it? Personally I do, so say yes!

Well Sweet! We’re here now & we had a really jolly crossing on the best boat on the run, so no kicks from that quarter especially as the war was so Calm all the way over. The sight of Englands shores was something I’ll never forget, but the trip the following day was what really hit home. Apple trees etc all in blossom, pastures green. I can’t explain it, but everything is so quaint, miniature if you like. The grandure of it all just held us spell bound. All brick or plaster Houses. A house set in a plot as large as half our house & in that space a hedge, back yard, garden, & air raid shelter. If you can imagine that you’ve got England in the palm of your hand. Row upon row of homes all the same size, color, etc, street after street the same, packed tight together. Very few cars, mostly army, but bicycles galore. The trains can be explained only one way. Get about 300 yards away & they look like toy trains you see in the shop. There coal cars haul 9 tons, a seventh as much as ours do. Hedges are everywhere & trees are endless. You’d expect to see everything bare but the undergrowth is amazing.

From the papers last year you’d expect to see everything blasted to hell, but that is a very false picture, in first, we only saw two buildings blasted the whole way down & we passed one city which, according to Germany, had been blasted into kingdom come. Planes we don’t even bother raising our heads for as they are overhead almost continually. Everything over here seems to be backward, the cars on the left side of the road, everything so darn small, even to the toilets, you pull a cord & it works, not when you pull it, but when you let go. Just what they’re going to do with us, or whether going to train here for a while we don’t know, but the moral is high & we’ll try to keep it that way.

Love to the Darlingest girl in the world.

Arnold

P.S. Better let mother read this too.



Letter 4 England

Part 13 May 16, 1942

Dear Annilea:

Nothing to report of interest, sweetie, as I slept all afternoon, but this evening I went to a country club with a couple of the boys, 4 miles distance by bus. Cost 3 pense(?) or 6 cents. Buses are off the road by dusk so we had to walk back, getting lost in the procedure. Don’t forget, that in Canada you have long roads or streets, here, there’s a turn every 200 yds or so, & in pitch black. Well!! (At the country club) There were some very nice English girls there, & I had a few dances, but I must say that my impression is that in no way, looks or otherwise, do they have a patch on the Canadian girls. The one thing is novelty. I could sit all day & listen to them talk, That Oxford brogue, but I imagine that before long their language will be just as natural as our own. There was a slight accident outside our barracks, a man hit on a motor bicycle, but he lived.

Lots of Love to You Barbara,

Arnold

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