Letters From Bill – Oct. 27, 1944

Dear Mum, Dad, Sis and Jack the Commando,

Back at it again folks and this time I have some news which is a big change, eh. First of all I want to tell you what a big surprise I had yesterday….  There was a show called Gentleman Jim on yesterday so I went to pass the afternoon.  Just after it was well started my name was called out on the public address system. I was wanted at the back of the hall. It was a good show and I was mad because I had to leave, but when I got to the back that soon changed.

I went out and who do you think was there, Hugh Fraser! So help me I nearly called for the eye specialist. When I saw him at first, I wasn’t quite sure—he was so fat. He was in the south of England and had a day off and came to London. He went to the YMCA and made some inquiries there and they found out where I was for him and out he came, it only being a forty minutes ride. He got here about twelve thirty but they wouldn’t let him in until one thirty. We really did a lot of talking in the short while we had.  The last time we saw each other was in 1939 in Halifax so we had a lot to talk about. He was asking me a lot of questions, and I found out where he was the past five years. When we finished shaking hands the first thing he said after looking me over was “You are OK. Where did you get hit? After I showed him the three places he couldn’t get over how lucky I was—guess he expected to find me with an arm off or a leg.

As for him he sure looks swell, fat as can be and him so small. I didn’t know he was in the U.S. Merchant Marines, but he is, eh? And is doing OK for himself, too. I found out about his visits to New York, etc. and then had to tell him all about Limey land.  We sure thrashed over the dirt but he had to be back to his ship by ten thirty so couldn’t stay long.  He left at four but you can bet I sure was glad to see him. I told him you folks would be certainly surprised as I was. Well today I was all through Lady Astor’s estate. You see the hospital is built on her estate and her home is only a ten-minute walk from the ward. You probably have heard of her, an American who married Lord Astor and she is now in the English House of Commons. Her home is known as the Cliveden, a well-known place in England. I have a calendar with a picture to send you of it and the Thames, really nice. She visits us quite often and brings us peaches etc. really a swell woman and likes Canadians. Her home is massive about as big and nice as Windsor Castle…. I stood on the spot where two Dukes fought a duel over some Lady in 1668. Really old stuff. So you see the last two days were a bit different than the ordinary routine…. Have been doing really OK as far as money goes in my pay book. I have about one hundred and five and forty more to go in it so I shouldn’t do too bad when I get out of here, eh? There is no further word about going home or anywhere else so I have no news on that end.

I have been wondering if Dad caught any deer, he should have one.… If this letter is disjointed blame it on the boys here, they are under and over my bed. I told the Sister you were short of butter and couldn’t send any Scotch cake and did I ever get a blast from her. She says you are not to do it.

Well folks, I guess this is about all for this time, but I write soon again. Please keep those letters coming. They sure are looked forward to. Give my best regards to everyone. All the best in the world to the swellest folks a soldier ever had.

Hope to see you all soon.

Sincerely,

Bill
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