c/o Chief Postal Censor
26 May - 1940
Here it is, Sunday again. The time seems to fly. We are still in some place, and still getting plenty to keep me interested. Besides the studies, we have been having practice exercise of various kinds, which break the monotony which might develop otherwise.
Yesterday I was able to get out of the fort for a 3 hour tramp along the country roads, and through sleepy little villages - It was a dullish day - and rained a little - the air was fresh and fragrant - the rain lovely - came back tired and hot just in time for afternoon tea. Then I had a good hot bath - got into clean clothes - and sewed on some buttons - and felt great.
I have indulged in a book - should be studying but I think it did me good to just lose myself in a good book for a few spare hours. "Grapes of Wrath" don't know whether you have read it - but I enjoyed it very much - all about the "Okies" - and I could picture the whole thing very vividly from my own travels on the big highways of the west and in California - and from your accounts of these unfortunate people. It is a propaganda book - and some of its stuff is very thought provoking. There is no restraint on reproducing the rough coarse language of the refugees from the "dust bowl" - However it didn't impress me as being deliberately crude like "All Quiet on the Western Front" - I have heard people talk just as the Oakies are represented to do in "Grapes of Wrath". If you haven't read the book, I think you would find it interesting, and I should like to get your reactions to it.
I had a short letter from Smedleys - they seem to be doing as well as can be expected of two old folks - and invite me to come up there when I get some leave, providing I don't expect too much. I have an idea that they think I will expect a lot of fun & excitement and may be hard to entertain - However I can imagine when I'm done for leave, it will be all I could desire to be on a quiet visit in the country - away from the routine and formality of the army, free to walk around in the country side in civies.
No doubt you hear the news from this side just as well as we get it here, and the present tune is a pretty anxious one for all of us - However we should have been foolish to think we could put Hitler out of business without a tough fight, and it is tough right now. I feel something of the same anxiety now as when you were having your baby - the possibility of infinite disaster so delicately balanced against those of infinite joy - and just as faith helped us through them - I think & feel certain that we will win - and what a magnificent thing peace will be when it comes. It seems that perhaps civilization, as a human accomplishment, will be better, and the more appreciated when an experience & threat [?] this makes us realize so clearly its blessings - it is so easy to take things for granted, and to forget what sacrifices were made by our fore [?] to win for us this great thing called freedom, a liberty -
No letter from you this week - but maybe there'll be one next. One can't expect regularity in overseas mail. Possibly you will be getting ready for your trip back home - I like to think that everything has gone smoothly - and that you & the baby have enjoyed & taken strength from your trip. We should get our pay soon, and I'll make arrangements to have some money sent to your credit in the Bank of Nova Scotia, Victoria as soon as possible. After that, it should come along in fairly regular monthly credits - Wish it could be more - I cant tell you yet just how much it will be, as I haven't got my mess bill yet, or pay.
I am sending your letters to c/o Mrs Swannell - as that seems the most certain address until you get settled. My best to those near you, wherever you are - and to you & Mary - all my love -
God keep you both -