Search The Archive

Search form

Collection Search
Date: September 11th 1943
Mother & Dad - (Wilhelmina & John Gray)
Hampton Gray

R.H. Gray Lt, R.C.N.V.R.
Box 517,
℅ F.M.O. Kilindini
Sept. 11.

Dear Mother and Dad,

The underwear came today was I glad. I was down to my last suit as my boy had lost the other pair I got in my last Christmas parcel. There were four pairs, two tooth brushes and a note with a picture Jane and her cake. Thank you very much. I was very glad to get all of it. Jane is certainly cute. The chaps were saying she looks like me but I cannot agree with them. I cannot see that she looks like anyone in this particular picture. – I got a little booklet from someone called Canadian affairs. Some of the things in it shook me a bit. I did not realize that rationing had become quite so strict. You apparently get less tea than they do in England and then only if you don’t get the coffee. And the meat ration does not seem to be much more than they get there either. But from what I can gather things seem to be managed quite well and prices of the necessaries are being kept at a reasonable level. We will have to thank the govt. for that because from what I have read it is an extremely difficult thing to keep under control. I see that you can get 120 gallons of gasoline a year. That is not too bad but I suppose our tyres are nearly gone so you won’t be using the car much anyway. – The news seems to be all good lately. Every week I write seems to be better than the last. Today most of the Italian navy has gone to Malta and Italy itself is going fast. The Russians are going ahead without stopping, our raids are getting bigger and even the Japs are having a much tougher time. We can start getting a bit more optimistic about things I think. It is going to be over sooner I think than we thought this time last year. – Is business still staying good Dad. I suppose that very soon now you will be getting ready for the Christmas rush. It seems a long, long time since I had a Christmas at home. Perhaps I shall have it next year. The way the time flies that won’t be very long. As you will remember it is just three years the fourteenth of this month (Phyllis wedding anniversary) that I first sailed from Canada. Since then I have travelled quite far and will probably do a lot more before it is over but I only wish I could travel back to Canada with all this business over. That is the only trip I want to make now. – There is nothing fresh to report on this place. It is staying much the same although the rains seem to be over again for a bit thank goodness. – There is going to be a film in the mess tonight. Its very handy but they are usually such bad films that I cannot stick them. Going into town is just as bad. In fact since our last move I haven’t been out of the camp in the evening once. That is bad as one should get away occasionally but it just doesn’t seem worthwhile so most of us just sit around reading or writing and getting in lots of sleep. I would like a complete change from Africa. I have been here altogether too long. But I expect there are thousands of people worse off than me so I do not complain too much.

Much love to you both,


[Editor’s notes:
While no year was included with the written date, the letter’s contents indicate it was 1943.
There is an error in the date in the note added to the back of the envelope: “
Sept 11, 1944, 3 years on 14th Sept since left Canada.” The year given should be 1943 (Hampton first left Canada in September of 1940).] 

Original Scans

Original Scans

Page 1 of WWII letter of 1943-09-11 from Lt. Robert Hampton Gray, VC, DSC