Do couples still write like this nowadays?
The following text is from a censored Air Letter sent by a British officer, serving in Egypt during the Second World War, to his wife in England on the 23rd August 1943. There must have been a lull in action in the Middle East theatre as he writes mainly about his pay grade since “there is very little news these days”.
Well here we are again, I haven’t received any more letters since your No 63 which I told you yesterday in Airgraph 19 but today I had a letter from Eileen intended for my birthday! I’ve also had another batch of Listeners up to the 1st July. I’m sorry dear I think I must have confused you about pay. This is what happens. First of all on entering the service I got Acting Pilot Officer pay at 11/10d per day. Then on the date I was put on the Works Pool for overseas (30th October ’42) I was regraded to Pilot Officer and (essentially) I was paid 14/6 per day as from that date. Now on coming out here & doing duty as “Assistant Civil Engineer” (Air Ministry Civilian Grade) I was granted “Acting Rank” of Flight Lieutenant. Now whether I was made Acting F/Lt or not, six months after my regrading as P/O I became due for “Time Promotion” to the rank of Flying Officer (this being automatic if one is satisfactory). My query to you was I wonder whether my F/O or F/Lt pay will come through first. Actually of course F/Lt is through but I am getting (or rather you are) 21/9 per day but my real rank or War Substantive Rank is F/O. Actually nearly all officers nowadays above F/O are only acting. The only difference it makes is that if I were to be sent home or was ill for more than 3 weeks I should go back to F/O (at 18/9 per day) and would have to be appointed all over again. Incidentally Wilfred is in the same position. The highest rank he can go to is Lieutenant (equals F/O) but if he is appointed to a vacant post he could be made Captain (acting). I’m sorry darling I seem to have filled this all so much with a lot of tripe about rank don’t I? Actually there is very little news these days to give you. I’m longing to get the YMCA photos which you say are so good. I do hope they get through safely. Guess your tomatoes are coming on now, I should love to see your little garden & little Keith playing about. Does he eat well & enjoy his food these days? I hope too that he gets plenty of fresh air. Well I suppose if the time goes as quickly as it does now, it won’t seem too long before I am home again, but all the same I wish it were a lot quicker. Well my darling I hope you received my last letter in time for the 27th August. I have been thinking a lot about the old days recently, how I long to be able to talk to you and confide in you again, that’s the worst part of being separated I think. Roll on that day!! Bye bye for now my dear ones. Take care of yourselves and God bless you both.
Your ever loving Harold.
xxxxxxxxxxx for Keith.
Images + words © Ed Buziak 2018.
@postalhistory #postalhistory #airmail #letter #handwriting #war #WW2 #1943