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Date: October 21st 1942
Mother & Dad - (Wilhelmina & John Gray)
Hampton Gray

Dear Mother and Dad,

I am going to try typing this letter as I expect more will go on it this way. I am hoping too that these things are reaching you a little faster than ordinary letters would. I told you in the last one I wrote how quickly yours reached me and I only hope that we may be able to get something satisfactory. It is getting hotter all the time and we are all noticing it I am afraid. Everybody is getting irritable But the worst is yet to come I believe. About Christmas it gets really bad. It will be different at any rate spending Christmas in the blazing heat but I am not going to like it. A letter I got from Phyllis apparently written in Nelson was the first time I had heard about Syd Horswill. I was very sorry to hear the news and I hope you will tell the Horswills how badly I feel. The Kootenays are certainly doing their share Outside of that her letter was most interesting and I was so glad to hear that she had had so long with you. I expect it did everyone a great deal of good. Phyllis tells me, Dad, how fond Jane is of you and how she starts to giggle whenever you come near. I do so want some pictures of her but I shall just have to be patient until they come as Phyllis said tyey were on the way. – I wrote some time ago to Mrs. Potts, Dad, telling her where I was going. She will surely have had the letter by now. I have been doing a great deal of flying lately and enjoying it very much. We have a new commanding officer in our squadron and he is as good a C.O. as wec could possibly hope to get. He keeps us working pretty hard but no one resents it from him. The trouble is that most of the pilots have had a great deal of experience. It so happens that he has not had much and that might easily lead to friction if tact is not used. however he seems to be popular with everybody so everything goes along quite smoothly. I have yet to do any operations but that will come in time, I hope. That is about the limit of what I can say about my work I am afraid I wish I could spend a few days telling you more but that will have to wait for a bit. I have been acting as Officer of the Day all day and am at the moment sitting in the office using the office machine. It has been a dull job as all it seems to consist of is being a general stooge. It starts at about eight oclock with censoring the ratings mail and that is a terrible job. They all seem to try and write as illegibly as they can in order to make my job harder. And really some of them do put some awful drivel in; Almost invariably they start out “Hoping this finds you as it leaves me, in the pink.” I saw that so often this morning I felt like jumping out the window. But I seem to be complaining a lot. It really is not as bad as all that. I am actually quite well off. Gaunt was telling me some stories about the desert that made me feel just how lucky I was being in the place I am in. I am not sure but-I think I must be very nearly to the end of this page so I shall turn over and try to get some more on.

As you will be able to see I am not much of a typist. But this is an experiment to s see which way is the most economical with the paper so I shall carry on to the bitter end. I hope you will find it possible, Dad, to get another watchmaker as if you don’t you will be working much too hard. But I suppose it is almost impossible with skilled men like that being called up to make instruments and things like that. Both of you take care of yourselves wont you. I have some idea what a strain the last year or two have been. It is only a bit after ten oclock now but I am getting tired already. It must be the heat. I dont know whether I told you before but I have been moved out of that other hotel that I liked so well. They are trying to get everybody into the Naval mess. Well it is not too bad but the other place was better because we were able to get away from the navy atmosphere for a while each night. We could get into civies and do as we wanted. Also the food was better. But as I said before there really is very little to complain about so maybe I had better stop before I do any more of it.

All my love comes with this as usual. Give my regards too to all our friends around Nelson and anyplace else.

Much love,

My address is still
c/o Fleet Mail Office
Box 512,

B.E. Africa


[Editor’s note: The envelope’s censor stamp date has been used as the letter date.]

Original Scans

Original Scans

Page 1 of WWII letter of 1942-10-21 from Lt. Robert Hampton Gray, VC, DSC