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Letters to my father 2 of 4 - Feb 42 to Sep 43

by georgehenry

Contributed by 
People in story: 
George Henry Parsons serving in the navy, Walter Parsons, my uncle, serving with the 8th Army, my aunt Min, at home in Birmingham with May, my mother and my grandmother, myself born 3/11/43, referred to as Sandy
Location of story: 
North Africa and Mediteranean
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
27 January 2006

Walter Parsons, serving with the Eighth Army

Military Airgraph Service authorised by Egyptian postal Administration
Date 8/8/43 Passed by Censor 1/3/194?
Senders Address T/7044847 L/Sgt Parsons W
‘A’ Platoon,
Dear George,
A few lines to thank you for your letters which I have recently received. I have also had quite a number from home. I suppose they have been held up somewhere according to the dates.
I believe I told you in my last letter that I am seeing a little town life and it is quite a pleasant change from the desert. Anyway I went to a concert the other day and one of the artists used expression “As the saying goes” and I had a good laugh when I thought of the firewood king. Just sit back and collect the money.
It is starting to get warm now although not so bad as farther east. As you say many miles have gone by , and I hope that we do the little extra.
Trusting you are fit and everything is O.K. All the best Walter

By Air Mail
Date 03/05/43
HUT 13
R. N. A.S.
Sender: Pte Parsons
142 G.T.Coy
Dear George
Many thanks for your letter but was surprised to learn that the air mail services has been suspended from your end as I cannot recall any suspension from here. Due to probably it is due to coming events.
Thanks for your offer of reading material, but with the papers I receive from home and about half a dozen motor manuals I find that I am never at a loss. In the latest bundle of papers I received I found a new edition called “True Love Stories”. It may have been alright at home, but out here it seems to be a little out of place. No doubt mother has had a change from Aunt Martla?
I am afraid that my musical career ended rather abruptly on my entry into the Army. The fellows seemed to know a lot of other tunes besides ‘Love is All’ so I have to console myself with the fact that it will be a well sought after number on our first Christmas home.
As I think I have previously said I get half a day a week off, and as it was to-day I went along to one of the local cinemas to see a film called “Coney Island” which was not bad, although I am not a film lover. I was more for sixpennyworth at the hippodrome. From the papers which I receive I do notice that entertainments are going as strongly as ever and a few additional places have opened.
At the present time the weather is fairly warm, but it is various. A few nights ago it actually started snowing. However I am all for the cool weather. I notice from your letter that you were indulging in a couple of pints. Is the beer plentiful?
Have just received a very nice photograph of your son and heir and I think I can safely say that he is very definitely a typical Parsons.
All the best /

Air mail letter
Date 12/05/43
Sender:- m. Parsons
64A Grange Rd,
Small Heath
B’ham, 10
Dear George
Please to hear you arrived quite safe we were being to get a bit worried. I expect you find it very different there. How is the beer going down not very well I expect but still you can suck an orange instead.
How is your indigestion these days mine is off colour a bit I am getting a bit short of wind can you send me a bit over.
I told your mother on Sunday but she did not seem any to please over it she has not mentioned it since but I have not told Minnie yet because you know what she is she will be telling everybody in the Shop and they will be all looking and inspecting I shall have enough of that when I get bigger.
Don’t forget to send me a photograph I shall want something to look at when I am having the baby. Well all the Best
Lots Love May

Military Airgraph Service authorised by Egyptian postal Administration
Date 3/6/43 Passed by Censor Lewis 6/06/43
Senders Address T/7044847 L/Sgt Parsons 47
‘A’ Platoon, 142, G. T. Coy
Dear George,
I have not heard from you for some time, due no doubt on account of your move, so I trust you have not found conditions too hard and your trip trouble free.
I received a letter from home, saying that you had sent them a wire and also giving me your address.
You did of course like myself find the conditions and surroundings vastly different from home, but it is surprising how soon one can adapt himself to these. You find that you learn things as you go along and once you have the experience it comes easy. By the way do you expect to be fairly static? If I get out that way I will look you up. When I get a reply from you I will let you have a photograph I had taken.
Well. There is not a great deal of room so here is wishing you the best of luck and trust it will soon be over.
All the best - Walter

By Air Mail
Date 2/8/43
P/MX86830 Mess 24/35
Table 13
R. N. Depot
Sender: T/7044947 L/Sgt Parsons
A Platoon
142, G.T.Coy
R. A. S. G.
Dear George
I was pleased to receive your letter recently and to hear that you are now settling down. From your letter it does not appear to be a particularly interesting place, but then the majority of these places out here seem to be nothing but wide open spaces.
No doubt you will have heard from home that I am now in Sicily and everything is going fine. Although it is still very warm I do not think it is as hot as it was in North Africa. Compared with the desert this place is l100%. One does see civilization, roads over switchbacks until you felt sick, and there is plenty of home grown stuff such as fruit, grapes, nuts and of course tomatoes for which I think this island was most noted for. The people seem quite friendly towards us and there is or seems to be and inexhaustible supply of wine or vino although at the moment I think the Scicilians are more for quantity than quality.
After the finish of the North African campaign and prior to coming out her I travelled quite a bit and went to one or two decent places and had a very good time. I think that in your letters you have been teasing them about oranges, etc, but ar the places were I was it was even possible to get strawberries and cream. I suppose that you were surprised when you saw the prices of articles out here. It is the same everywhere, at least 100% more than at home and some of them ask exhorbitant prices. Anyway it is nearly always possible to knock it down to about half of what they want with a bit of arguing. Beer is also pretty expensive.
You did mention cafes in your letters, but out here there are many more than in England.

In some of the bigger places such as Cairo or Alexandria there are hundreds and some of the out-door ones are very pleasant. They do not however seem to cater for pastry.
I must now conclude, but hope to hear from you soon.
All the best

By Air Mail
Date 14/8/43
P/MX86830 Mess 24/35
Table 3
Sender: T/7044947 L/Sgt Parsons
‘A’ Platoon
142, G.T.Coy
R. A. S. G.
Dear George
I was very pleased to receive your letter although it appears to have been travelling around quite a time as it is dated 11/6/43. However I can understand why, as from about that time I was moving about a lot and I do not think the mail had time to catch up with us.
They wrote from home some time ago saying that they had not received any letters from you but I did try and point out the difficulties of the mail service. I suppose that by now they are receiving your letters frequently. Note that the address has changed to C.M. F (Central Mediterranean Forces) instead of M.E.F. Although it is not so far from North Africa it is a step in the right direction and if Hitler will do as Mussolini has done it may not be long before we are back on New St Station.
As I mentioned in my previous letter there is an abundance of fruit on this island such as figs, peas, grapes, tomatoes, lemons and bags of nuts, so you might know that I have had plenty of samples. I wished it was possible to send some home. The climate is pretty deadly, but that is nothing compared with the fly menace. I have mentioned it before but I have a pen in one hand and a fly swat in the other. No doubt you find the same thing were you are.
As you say the time seems to fly past but as I have told you before when I was in the desert I hardly knew what month it was, much less the day. However do not think it will be long enough for you to think about a quiet life when you get home. I would not be surprised if you are trying to get a bit of snooker playing in to give you a chance to match my standard.
You mention in your letter about work, but I do not know what I shall do after the war. The Army life I suppose does alter ones ideas but it is not that so much as the fact that being in the Army for such a time puts one out of touch with things and l wonder if it is worth it. However we shall see after it is all over.

I trust that by now you are settled although there are one or two things to overcome during the first few weeks. If I ever get near to Gibralter I will be over there to look you up.
Will now conclude/

Date 9/09/43
To: L/Writer G.H. Parsons, ,P/MX 86830
Mess 35, R.N. Base, Gibraltar
14, Dale End,
Birmingham, 4.
Telephone; CENtral 8440
Telegrams: “DYNAMO,” Birmingham
Our Ref. Ch.Acct.
Dear Parsons,
I was very interested to receive your letter dated only five days ago, which only shows the good job you fellows in the navy are doing. According to reports in the papers (or, anyway the German version) it is extremely fortunate that you fellows on the Rock were not recently flung a bit further than you really want to go, but I have no doubt that all doubtful Spaniards have now been well and truly examined.
I always understood that the conditions on the Rock were fairly good, except from the boredom aspect. A friend of mine recently had about 18 months there as and officer in the R.E.’s and he gave quite good reports of the place.
I shall indeed be very interested to hear the tales that some of you will have to tell, particularly those in the navy. I have already heard some very exciting ones. The only real excitement we get here now is trying to keep the Department running almost entirely with temporary female employees. Six more senior men are just about to be taken away I am afraid. H.Spence reports on Tuesday next, and E.Luke has just had his medical, but I understand that he has been graded in a low category, but whether they will actually take him away from here or not I don’t know at the moment. Cost Office is still going strong, and I am hopeful of retaining Mr. Mellor, Corfield and Service.
The very good news we had last night raises our hopes that it won’t be long before Hitler follows Musso’s example, and we shall soon be able to have all of you back in the office once more.
Your colleagues wish to join with me in sending their best wishes and kindest regards.
Yours very truly
FN/OM Chief Account

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