January 8, 1944
This being the first letter of 1944 I wish you the happiest of New Years. What could be happier than a reunion for us this year! Every day is a day nearer that memorable occasion. How I look forward to seeing you and the children. Ruth and Ann will have grown beyond all recognition for me.
January 15, 1944
I am wondering how you took the news of my move from Italy - philosophically, I hope, yet no doubt it would be disappointing. The details I shall have to discuss when I get home. In the meantime, we make the best of things here ... I expect you to write soon and tell me that Ruth has started school. I feel that she and Ann must have a good education. If they can pass a scholarship, I feel you will agree with me that we should spare no sacrifice to advance them to a secondary or high school.
February 1, 1944
I will take this opportunity of sending my love to Ruth and wishes that she may have a happy birthday. How I wish I could be there to kiss her! I know you will do it for me. Does she remember her Daddy? God hasten the day when we can all be together again.
February 16, 1944
I especially needed cheering up as yesterday was rather depressing. We moved to another camp (same address) and old associations were broken. We were happy in our previous camp; but now it means feeling our way about again.
March 26, 1944
We have a New Zealand Presb. padre with us, and though we are not holding church services at present, we have some pleasant times together in Bible study.
April 3, 1944
My Darling wife
... You say you hope your castles in the air are not shattered again, sweetheart. The solution is - don’t build them! Didn’t that poem I wrote to you verse by verse convey to you that my castles were shattered the day I was taken prisoner? I do not wish to appear cynical, but I saw things in their true perspective that day and learned to live day by day trusting in God more and in my own plans less.
April 10, 1944
Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. I praise God that barbed wire can’t take away the glory of the Resurrection.
May 11, 1944
It seems that I am to be surrounded by a swarm of nephews and nieces when I get home. I feel that I shall be a stranger in a strange land, not even recognized by my children. However, roll on. I am longing to see you.
May 17, 1944
In your last letter you mention the sunshine and the birds singing. We too have enjoyed these and the green fields around during the last few days. As I lay in the sun with my eyes closed, listening to the larks, I could easily imagine myself in the English countryside.
May 24, 1944
I have moved into a new billet this week. It is much quieter than my previous one. They are all decent fellows and there is a very friendly spirit among us.
June 1, 1944
You will be happy as I am to know I received my first parcel this morning. It is the first you sent to this address. I can honestly say darling that I was in desperate need of some of the things. My present towel I have used now for two years, so you can imagine the condition of it. And so with the underclothes, etc. I am very thankful for them and for your discrimination in what you sent.
June 17, 1944
We have recently formed a branch of the St. John’s Ambulance Association with the purpose of giving ourselves a refresher course, and then instructing classes. Here is a sample of one day’s programme. Reveille 6 a.m. Roll call, breakfast, clean the room; 9 a.m. Morning Prayers; 10 a.m. - 11 Bible Class; 11 - 11.30 soup; 1130 - 1300 Mathematics or Geography; 1300 - 1400 lunch; 1400 - 1600 shorthand; 1600 - 1730 preparing and eating evening meal; 1730 - 1830 Visiting Church members in the camp; 1830 - 1930 St John’s Lectures; 2000 Roll Call; 2030 - 2130 Revision of Maths or shorthand; 2200 lights out. It leaves me with about an hour during the day without anything in particular to do.
July 11, 1944
I often wonder (not worry) what the future holds for me in the way of a profession. The easiest course, probably, is to remain in the army, or there may be opportunities in the Palestine police, or in the Post Office. I feel I am unsuited to any job with a fixed routine, which one leaves only when he is old enough to stagger into the grave. Of course, my choice (if I have any) will be governed to a large extent by the degree of comfort I supply you with, and the needs of the children.