[2018: images from the “Thank You For Your Letter” project have been deleted to make space for new posts. The images have been retained within Derbyshire County Council’s internal records system so that we may re-use them in the future.]
D5994/2/87: Norwich, 24 November 1940
A breathless dash, an effort to race time itself finishing with that relief expressed in other and quieter days at the cinema by “Hurrah! Here come the U.S. Marines”… Just in the nick of time as the vernacular has it. The margin to be exact was two minutes. Enough to assure my arrival in Norwich so I’m not grumbling. To my chagrin though I was forced to travel in the company of people – poor souls probably forced from home – who had brought all their rations along, and some, so that the journey was an unbroken collation of which I was not a participant but an unwilling observer. There was of course a “terrible child” unmanaged by parents, all the while casting aside his own fodder and demanding that of fellow passengers. He climbed all over the place, had he been prehensile there is no knowing the antics we might have suffered.
Enough though of that distasteful subject, and on to other better things. I had a couple of hours to wait in Norwich and spent some of the time over a meal at the Gaumont Café and in solitary state, pensive, a little ‘triste’ – Glad of the happy time spent, regretful of its speedy passing.
Yes sweetheart I was very happy during the time we were together. Though brief, it swept through the arid life of wartime service down the months past to the other times we knew. The time, place and people all perfect, more delightful because of the surprise and suddenness with which you sprang upon me all you had planned and with what fiendish efficiency were plans laid, it is true all within the frame of fortuitous circumstance.
Greatest of all it produced for you a grand birthday party though I regret it was not on the actual day, but there the war waits for no man. I hate myself soundly that I have so far not marked your anniversary. I had fondly imagined doing something about it on Saturday morning, but we weren’t in town, but in my desperately unimaginative manner I’ll endeavour to effectively meet my wishes in the (matin?) when I can get into Norwich during shopping time. I hope that a suitable marking of this happy event might bring some forgiveness to this errant knave!
Dear one, you have probably gathered from what has gone previously how tremendously enjoyable was the time spent with you I was truly “aux anges” – in brief it was heavenly. In spite of ambulant ‘jerries’ I thought the chosen spot delightful, and of course it was great to see the old couple again. Laurie was looking fit though not tanned as I had imagined. I think the life is good for us, it won’t be until we get commissions that a worn and worried look will come to us under the burden of such vast responsibilities, in spite of that we trust that these wishes may be realized that full honour might be done to our “loves”. I wonder…
I do hope my dear that your Auntie did not mind my just more or less inviting myself, quite without warning them and jettisoning all arrangements with such precipitancy. On both scores I would be glad if you would offer your Aunt & Uncle my humble apologies, and please dear, confirm that any future moves on my part of a similar nature will be in order. The sudden entry of an airman, violently propelled, can be no joke to self-respecting Teddington householders. Please reassure me.
This day earlier was not good but now the sun is shining and I think when this session concludes at 13.15 I’ll hike my way into town. I have not seen the place at a respectable hour for some weeks, usually due to rain or need of sleep – still that is something on which I’m always rather behind schedule now. I shall try and call on the Observer Corps whilst there.
There was no news from Mother awaiting me so that tomorrow will most likely bring news. I hope things went well.
My dear I can add nothing to what I said in my last letter in the nature of good wishes. Let me only say that a happy day is what I hope you may pass. I wish I were with you. May the happiest of returns be rang!
I must thank you darling for always the happy times I know with you, no less this latest occasion – every moment a joy.
So for a while I must leave you.
All my love
Followed, on 27th November, by this:
Tardily, I ask you to accept with all my love the enclosed. May your birthday have been a happy one, and my wishes are that it may auger well for your future.
I hope that it may be my fortune to mark many more of these, your days, in more original manner and happier circumstances.
You were much in my thoughts on Sunday and I chafed at the annoying habit of wars coming in between those who love.
Always my love and wishes for the future we shall know