Biak - Island off NE Coast
Dutch New Guinea
19 August 45.
Dear Jean & Mary:
I see my last was written just a week ago from Sydney. This is another Sunday which is a forced day of rest - Now that I have definite authority to come straight home to you, each days delay irks me, and makes me impatient, but the rest from travelling is perhaps all for the best.
This is sort of an air staging point, got in here yesterday by an aircraft which goes no farther, and now have to wait a chance for an onward lift toward Manilla. The camp is on a choral island - and the blue tropical sea Is just a stones throw in front of my tent. Here & there is a palm tree with its feather- mop top held up in the sky by the smooth caramel trunk, there were many more not so long ago, but the tops have been shot away by heavy naval fire leaving only a jagged end prong. There was very heavy action here, and many a [?] lad from the USA came ashore, never to leave. It makes me feel very humble to come to such a place after the others have made it safe.
The flight north from Sydney along the E. coast of Australia was comfortable, and full of interest. The aircraft touched down at Brisban, Townsville, Cairnes, and then across the Coral Sea where the Japs got their first real naval check, to Port Morsby, then over a high range of N.G.mountains to a base called LAE. I had business there for 3 days, at a real jungle H.Q. camp. Where the various [?] and service branches have cultivated beautiful little gardens In the moist tropical soil a little effort at gardening shows spectacular and agreeable response. We had heavy rains at Lao, and everything you wear, and in your pack gets soggy and wet. Managed to spread all my stuff out in the sun here yesterday afternoon - but today is showery again. The air is so humid that even in the sun, things take a day [?] to dry. In Egypt, things dry in a few minutes.
There are many coral islands and reefs - which have most beautiful colors when seen from the air. Natives are very little in evidence here, compared to India and Ceylon, nor are they as attractive to look at. However, I've only seen a few and maintain there are very different tribes and types.
Mary would be delighted at some clownish birds whose joy in life seems to be to make the queerest & jumpiest noises - They remind me of the gossiping old ravens in the forests of the B.C. coast.
It is hard to say how long this letter will take to reach you, as this is just about the most remote point for mail service East or West. Am looking forward to having a letter from you at Manilla, in a week or 10 days.
LOVE TO YOU BOTH -