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Dee's Letter home from London

29 April 1942


1942 April 29th
Please send me Edith Wilde's address in Cheshire darlings.

50 Carlton Hill
St Johns Wood NW 8

My darlings -

How are you all my pets - I've not had any news since Ned's letter written on Jan 30th & I'm longing to hear but guess things will come again soon. I'm trying to imagine what my Australia is like these days & what you are all doing now you are in the front line bless you - have you a blackout, is food, clothing & etc. difficult - it must be grand to see Americans in masses & to have the great McArthur in charge & most of our lads back from the Middle East - do tell me by cable the moment the boys get home - if they should do so - bless them - I long to know - it is all so grim & dreadful this appalling war - how I wish it were over - this dreadful loss of life - I can't tell you how I feel about our boys in the RAAF over here - it just kills me - so many of them have gone - few of them will be left to get back home - & they are so splendid I am so terribly thankful Wal is at home tho & not here - these operations night after night - one day the boys are fit & well, ring up & chat - or dash down for 24 hours leave if possible - then the next thing one knows is just silence - awful stark silence, no details - just nothing - & we can do nothing either - it leaves one with an awful feeling of emptiness & futility. I think I'll never get used to it - it's all so dreadful - still there is no need for me to tell you all these things you already know my dears.

Life is fairly industrious, I am at UCH doing some surgical work again - I like it - on day duty the weather is sheer heaven - sunshine but with cold winds - I'm still in woollies - but it's such sheer joy to see sunshine again & not to be half frozen with cold - & how heavenly all the new baby green leaves look just opening out on the trees - I feel I can cope with things better when spring & summer is here.

Our new flat looks so nice it's full of heavenly daffodils from Holbeck - Mrs Neal Green sent me down a big box full & also a chicken the other day - they are dears to me. Wednesday I met Mrs Dixon & Michael & had tea with them at the Mayfair - Michael has been down from Scotland on leave - amazingly enough is an Intelligence Officer attached to the AIF Forestry Unit up there - he is very amused at how our lads talk abut going into the bush & etc - over here one says forest - or woods - bush is typically Australian - the boys are all very fit but want to get back to Aussie of course - I know just how they feel about that.

Thursday afternoons at Australia House are quite entertaining - the broadcasts to Australia take place then and are re-broadcast to you short wave on the following Monday mornings at 7am or so. Do you ever listen darlings - do so & remember I am in the audience. Last Thursday was an especial day - the opening of the new canteen for the boys - the Boomerang Club. The Lord Mayor of London - Mr Bruce, the Caseys who are a couple of awfully nice things & masses of others - Eric Baume - Joan Hammond - she sang of course - she has a magnificent voice & is rather nice - just looks exactly the same as she looked when she played golf Neddy dear - the complete big artist - it was a grand afternoon & I love being with a bunch of Aussies - saw lots of folk I know & of course all the RAAF lads on leave were there & sent messages home bless them - Edley Anderson sent messages to his wife & family & then sang - he has a very good baritone voice.

Saturday I managed to dash down to St Martins-in-the-Fields for the Anzac Service - it was very unspectacular & impressive all the boys were there - masses of Australians & New Zealanders - Mr Bruce & Mr Frazer read the lessons - the Caseys were there - also those 2 nice old boys Sir Ian Hamilton & Gen. Birdwood - I felt so proud to be an Australian in the congregation. Sunday evening a couple of the boys came out to supper - two brothers in the RAAF, friends of Muriel's from Perth - they brought us down some eggs from a nearby farmhouse where they are stationed so they are good lads. Monday night Mary & I went to see "One of our Aircraft Failed to Return" - do see it if you can darlings - today Tuesday 28th I've just received Neddy's letter dated Feb 17th & I'm so thrilled to hear all the news & your bits & pieces darlings - also the bits about Mum, Alma & family going off to Narromine & Orange - you and Pat will be quite batchelors (sic) how I wish I could be home with you - still, we keep on hoping - in the meantime we carry on - Mary is on day duty at the Clinic, Muriel has just ushered the Goldsmid baby into the world - it was meant to be the heir but was a girl instead so Muriel is pinning up its napkins with gold safety pins valued at £5.5.0 hope she doesn't mislay it - you see, life is so if one is a Goldsmid - thank heaven I'm a Walsh & just ordinary me.

I've had no news of the boys for an age - but mails are like that - I have a feeling Johnny Winter & Reg got home but our boys missed out - am I right pets? I spose you have heard nothing of Geoff or Trevor Holman - how I hate this beastly war -

I can guess how the Bridles will miss their Barty - he is rather a grand person in the house - I've had one letter from him from Cowra & he's enjoying his soldiering & it will do him the world of good - I am rather worried about Harold Croydon. I've not heard from him for over a fortnight - he's not answered my last letter & he generally lets me know he's OK - maybe he's gone on leave earlier & is enjoying Scotland - he's going up there for his 12 day leave - but they have been busy this last week - the full moon - so that's that - one can only hope - let me what is going to happen to Wal - perhaps things will be better for him in the RAAF now more planes will be arriving in Aussie - I'm very anxious to know - tell him not to lose heart.

You must miss Pete & Jennifer, Patsy & Neddy - how are you Mummy dear - I do hope you are your old self again - do not worry too much - after all we have been very blessed - so far - a big hug to you all darlings - write lots & lots & thanks for all your lovely long letters Neddy dear - they are heaven - bless you.

Lots of love & blessings

Doe

NOTES:

Lord Mayor of London in 1942 was Sir Samuel JOSEPH

Rt Hon. Stanley Melbourne Bruce was Prime Minister of Australia from 9 February 1923 to 22 October 1929. In 1942 he was High Commissioner for Australia to the UK, a post he held for a total of 13 years from 1933.