14 May 45
You can imagine how little time I had just prior to leaving the UK, on Saturday the 12th and since leaving I have hardly had a minute to myself. At this moment it is about 6 a.m. and I'm waiting for them to decide to take off for Florence. Rolled out at 4 a.m. got my luggage organized and drove to the airfield by car. Expect to spend about 5 days in Northern Italy, then return to Naples, pick up the rest of my kit and then off to Cairo.
The flight from England to Naples was very good, took off about 10 am landed about 4 pm and got in to my H.Q. in daylight. Visibility was not too good, lovely bright weather, but hazy, and only an obstructed view from my window. We flew right across France, diagonally to Marseilles vicinity, then across to the tip of Corsica & along the Italian cost to Naples. Some good mountains on Corsica - made me feel more "at home".
Was hard leaving my boys at the 30 A Svy L Sec. Almost felt like blubbering - so cut my remarks short. Missed saying goodbye to Bill Hall, but called at Bert Haywards office and left the dress goods you sent. Got over to Morris's the night before and fortunately Bert Hammond, had just arrived on leave, from Holland, so it provided a distraction - and the farewell was easier. It was a big week in the UK - especially London, celebrating VE day etc. I was too busy to take part and did not try to get into town those 2 days.
Have at last got into the air, and am now in a US [?] Kite - seats along the walls (no cushions) and 7 or 8 passengers like a street car, facing each other. There is lot of rooms and weather looks good. Stayed last 2 nights in a tremendous palace of the Italian Kings - very much the grand style - lavish gardens, fountains etc. however it doesn't look too nice as a barracks, with dust being churned up by all the transport milling around. The British [?] are my hosts an treating me royally - keep meeting old classmates form the STC days early 1940. It all helps. Had dinner each night with the Brigadier - a fine man.
It is a wonderful feeling of relief to be started on the active & fascinating trip - and to be into a land of sunshine - I feel marvellously fit, and the change is going to do me a world of good.
Will write as often as I can, In case you don't hear from me for a spell, from time to time, don't worry, because in that case, no news is good news. Expect to return to Naples in about a week, then off to Cairo. My address there should be c/o Director of Survey, GHQ, MEF, Cairo, Egypt. I will be making out from there till about the end of June after that will be heading for India - All my love dear to you & Mary.