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by eveline shore

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eveline shore
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27 January 2006

March 11 1945. Sunday. BLA.
Dear Mother and Dad,
Received your letter on Friday. You will be surprised when you know that the parcel beat it by a couple of days. I noticed the slip inside had March 2nd on and post-mark was March 3rd. It came here on March 7, Wednesday I think, by far the quickest ever. I did tell you to cancel it because I thought I would get a letter of warning first, then probably 10 days wait, and finally the parcel arriving before I went on leave.

The parcel arrived in really good condition, only a few bars of choc broken, and I actually cut my cake this afternoon. I thought I would have a good “do”, took it to the mess room and had it as part of my tea.
A chap on the same table saw it and said “Hey, where did you get the cake from?” I said “Why? Didn’t you see it on the table where the cooks are serving out?” off he went, thought he was missing something. I saw him arguing with the cooks and many fingers were pointing in my direction. He came back and called me all sorts of horrible names for making him a bit of a fool I guess.
I wish you wouldn’t rob yourself though; it must represent about a month’s choc ration for a dozen people. Anyway it’s all beautiful and I’m certain the Cadbury’s choc is much creamier and nicer than even pre-war.
Thank Mr Adams, will you. I certainly like the choc biscuits and to make people envious too. The chaps eyes pop out of their heads, just like organ stops, when they saw me with a real choc biscuit. It’s probably the first they’ve seen since the war broke out.

So you had action stations, hey? well, that’s a surprise, isn’t it. Could you find everything? The whistle, tin-hat and what-not.
Not same as Old Chippy once did. We were on our way up to Antwerp and stopped for a break. Chippy parks near a few bushes and decides it’s nice and quiet so he will do a natural thing. So he cleaves his way through the bushes and head down, finds a real live German automatic, loaded and clean. So he doubles back and hides it in his truck, and proceeds once more to carry out his original intention. This time he goes farther in and almost stumbles over two Germans lying full length with arms outstretched. So back again to the truck, struggles to extract his gun from beneath loads of kit, only to realise his magazines are empty and it’s quite a lengthy performance to load, even if he had the rounds; so he clamps an empty mag on and full of gusto calls the Jerries out. 4 altogether. They were tame enough, though.
I went to Armentiers again on Saturday. Old Monty was in Ypres when I passed through. I didn’t see him so I shall hear about it I’ll bet.
It seems as though Harry is better. I’m very pleased. I’ve never been in hospital but chaps who’ve been say there’s little respite from Regimental discipline. It may be a rest at times but I would rather be A1. Tell Levi I will see about the petrol etc from this end, but I’m pretty sure there will be no positive results. All our office staff have had their leave and are not quite interested these days, kind of jealous and certainly not helpful. No-one dare go into the office with a question of leave on his lips or anything appertaining to leave, but I will risk it sometime.
The latest number to go is 289, and I am 334. They’re sending 19 on Tuesday, the leave party before was 28. It’s so irregular we can’t judge it at all.
I’m figuring on being home about Easter, but as we’re moving it may delay it, so we can only hope for the best.
Well, I guess that’s all for now. I’m keeping fit and just longing for the end of this month. Thanks again for the parcel, and Levi too for his letter. Don’t know when I shall ever have time to write and thank everyone personally. Cheerio and love to you all. Yours ever Alb. Xxx.

April 11 1945. Wed. 8.0 pm. Returned to Regt in Belgium after leave. BLA.
Dear Mother and Dad,
Here we are again. It only took me four travelling days. I was lucky with all my connections. I just had time to say Hello to Ann Kent and Sam’s wife on Barlaston station.
The train was an hour late in Stafford and never made it up, but I was in time at Victoria. We had to spend what remained of the night at Dover and sailed on Sunday.
Then we were stuck in a transit camp for 24 hours, and 24 hours on one lorry after that. Then a few more odd lorry journeys brought us here Wednesday dinner time.
I’ve got back quicker than I thought, but it’s been a long journey and I’m glad to be safely with the old firm once more, not that it’s my ambition, but being as we’ve still got to do a bit more, it’s good to be back.
I didn’t care for passing some of these woods and none of us having a gun, yet we didn’t meet any barbary gents. There’s many thousands of slave workers making their way across country to the Rhine and their homeland, and thousands of prisoners being carted off. They do look browned off.
Well, the sea crossing didn’t make any of us sick. It was quite a good crossing. I was on the deck all the way.
I wonder how the war’s going on. I haven’t heard any news for 3 or 4 days. I always say, someone is bound to tell me when it is all over.

Well, Mother, it’s not a long letter. I’m pretty tired but it was worth it. I would go again tonight if they would let me.
I’m OK for everything and don’t worry. Love to you all. Yours ever, Alb. Xxx.

April 21 1945. Saturday. BLA.
Dear Mother and Dad,
We’re just waiting to move once more. I keep wondering how many more moves before it’s all over. I’ve just been away for 3 days, way back towards the Rhine and when I got to the place where the unit were supposed to be, they had moved the day before. But I eventually find them and do my business. Then of course, I have to find our unit, but it’s all pretty easy these days, not like the desert.
There’s miles of ex-POWs on the roads, mainly Russians and Poles, and I dare say Joe is having all our chaps and Yanks. I reckon Hitler did all this for a purpose, just to make things as awkward as possible; but he will suffer in the long run. I noticed these chaps were content to walk westwards at first and as days went by I saw them with horses, carts, bikes and farm tractors and trailers. I don’t blame them either. I think the Jerries are pretty lucky so far. It’s a wonder these ex-POWs haven’t robbed them of everything or burnt their houses down.
It’s raining today, first time since I came back. It will at least lay the dust on Adolph’s wonderful roads. They’re by far the worst in the world. The main roads are like ploughed fields. What a surprise after being led to believe it was a country of super supers. Old England wants some beating.
Remember reading in the papers about the typhus area which Jerry had agreed to call a neutral area? I saw on my travels the other day quite a number of fully armed Jerries in our trucks, driven by our men and making for the front. I thought at first the war was over, but it was the end of the truce in the typhus area, whereby all German soldiers after a certain day were to be taken back to their own lines. I should have liked to see Jerry do that, especially as they were administrative troops at the big concentration camp where unthinkable things were performed. In my opinion, they all ought to be made to clear it up, then shot. We’re far too easy, always have been. The best of it, old Jerry never left any transport for them, not even a bike, so we had to spare our precious lorries. Have you heard of Jerry’s latest regiments? The SS Handcart Regt; the Wheelbarrow Brigade (Hitler’s Own), and the Cycle Battalion. He certainly is in a bad way for transport.
I’m glad to hear that our friend Joe has begun to drive round Berlin. It won’t be long now before he joins us. I hope the rain doesn’t affect it.
I think people are foolish to think the war is over any day, same as last Sunday’s Express headlines “Any Minute Now”, and we’re still as far off this Sunday as last Sunday. And then everyone seems to forget Denmark and Norway. It may go on for another 3 months yet. But still I’m hoping to be in Civvy Street some time this year, maybe pretty late, but I don’t care. I should like to be pensioned off at Trentham Con Camp until my papers come along.
I’m OK for everything so don’t worry. So cheerio, God bless you, love to you all. Yours ever, Alb. Xxx

April 23 1945. Monday. BLA.
Dear Mother and Dad,
your first letter arrived yesterday. Why ever were you getting anxious over the delay on my first letter. I told you it would take me almost a week to get back and I wrote as soon as I reached the unit.
Up to now I haven’t heard off Eve that she has had any of my mail yet, but I can’t expect a speedy mail service while the war is in its present stage. Yes, I was certainly pleased to be back in the old Regt; it was like coming back home. I feel more safer with them.
I’m glad too that Eve wasn’t upset much. It was pretty grim leaving you all, but I felt better that time than at any other leave. It must be because the war is nearly over.
When are you off to Birmingham again? I suppose it will have to be by train this time. I hate trains. I don’t think I will ever travel on one after the war. They bring horrible memories..
Well what about the news now. I knew it would start soon. I told the people I was living with in Belgium just before I came on leave that in one month we shall be in Berlin and that was March 28th, so I look like backing a winner. I believe there’s 2 miles to go. I wish some-one would tell me I shall be out of the army in one month’s time, but I can see what’s going to happen. I will get my 14 weeks leave in mid-December when I shan’t be able to set about “putting the house in order; anyway we shall have to wait and see.
I’m still OK and don’t need anything,.
Cheerio, God bless you all. Yours ever, Alb. Xxx.

May 4 1945. Friday. BLA.
Dear Mother and Dad,
I received your letter 3 or 4 days ago, but only just getting the chance to reply.
A lot has happened since you wrote and I am fairly confident that long before you get this, it will be all over out here. I’m expecting it to finish tomorrow.
I’m not keen on writing to anyone outside the family these days. I am far too excited about the prospects of the war ending any day or hour. We’ve come across a prison camp full of RAF and Dominion flying officers. I’ll bet they’re mighty glad it’s over for them. One chap had been POW for 4½ years; some have come from the camp where 50 of our RAF chaps were murdered.
Are you following the old Division? I saw them in the news headlines a few days ago, still pushing along. You surprise me when you talk of the Budget. I don’t remember it ever being mentioned. Too bad about the petrol problem, but when these thousands of 4 engined bombers cease to flit about, I guess we will be able to get plenty.
The mail has come in for today and there’s none for most of us, although one of our crew has just had 5 letters. It must be his birthday. He’s out at present so it will be a surprise when he comes back.

We’ve had a few Jerry planes over these past few days. They must be what’s been hiding down underground places these last two years or so.
The weather has been rotten just lately, plenty of rain and very cold, right when we need a week or two of good summer to finish it off.
My old mate, Frank from Barnsley, is on leave. He went 12 days ago, so I suppose he’s panicking now about what time train he must catch. But |I heard his party got an extension. He will see his second daughter for the first time; she is almost 8 months old.
Well, Mother, there’s not much news from here. The newspapers tell you more than I dare do. I’m not wanting anything thanks, so until next time, and I hope it’s not so long, I will sign off and catch the evening post on my way to the cookhouse.
Cheerio and God bless. Love to all. Yours ever, Alb. Xxx.

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