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Date: July 24th 1943
Mother & Dad - (Wilhelmina & John Gray)
Hampton Gray

RH Gray Lt,
Box 517
F.M.O., Kilindini, Mombasa,
July 24

Dear Mother and Dad,

We are now settled nicely in our new place and getting along well. We are having a lot to do and enjoying it a lot. But it does seem such a long time before you get anywhere. I left England nearly fifteen months ago thinking I would be doing something exciting but I have been in Africa ever since doing really very little but since it is not my fault I dont mind too much. – The only thing of interest here at the moment is that there is a smallpox scare on and we are confined to camp. I have been vaccinated twice but it has not taken so I am safe. It is really quite a nice feeling to realize that you have been vaccinated at just the right time. – I got two letters today, one from you and one from Alison. They were both very welcome as since moving mail has been very slow. I hope with you that nothing has interrupted Paulines plans. It won’t have been very serious I suppose and by now they will be happily married. Alison seems very pleased to be a wife and seems to be getting along alright. She would enjoy the “old wives” party that you gave her. I hope there will be an eligible young lady for me when I get home. I think you had both better be on the look-out for me – I am always glad to hear about business keeping fair, Dad and I know how pleased you will be too. Just don’t work too hard will you. The war news keeps better and is such a great influence in keeping people more cheerful that that in itself is enough to make us want it to continue. But I am afraid it is going to be some time yet. – By the time you get this Jane may be with you. Give my love to my favorite niece, won’t you and don’t spoil her too much because I feel like having a hand in that myself. – I have not got the underwear yet but it should arrive soon. Parcels take a long time. – I have just read your letter again and am wondering if there is something wrong with Pauline and her boy. Do tell me if there is, please. I would like to know. – Speaking of clothing again I am afraid I have developed a bad habit. Not long ago I needed some pyjamas so I bought a pair of silk ones. I am afraid I like them so much that I won’t want anything else now. This is not a hint to send me any because I don’t mean that at all. It is just a matter of interest. – We are finished now with the rains for some months, thank goodness. It is really very nice at the moment, the best time of the year as a matter of fact. It is pleasantly warm in the daytime and nice and cool at night with a good breeze blowing off the sea. It is very pleasant swimming too although I don’t like the salt water much. – It really is a hard job writing letters. There are so many interesting things I could tell you but I just can’t and trying to make a letter interesting is pretty tough when you can’t say all you want to. All I hope I can do is impress on you that I have a good job, am enjoying it and am probably quite as happy as I could be with a war on. And I shall stay that way as long as you are not worrying unduly about me. There is no need to do that as there is nothing at all to worry about. Just leave me in the Lord’s hands and I shall be alright. – What are food and clothes like at home. Are you very heavily rationed. Is there anything that I could get you here maybe that you cannot get there – some of the chaps recently bought some silk stockings recently that cost 7 pounds for two pair. That is about 15 $ a pair. That seems a bit too much, doesn’t it. I hope you are not as short as their wives or girl friends seem to be. – By the way I am called by the ratings in the squadron “A Yank in the Fleet Air Arm” because of my accent. Much love to you both.

Your loving son,


[Editor’s note: The envelope’s postmark has been used for dating the letter's year.]

Original Scans

Original Scans

Page 1 of WWII letter of 1943-07-24 from Lt. Robert Hampton Gray, VC, DSC