A note on the letters. The transcripts may include abbreviations or spelling inconsistencies and errors. We have chosen to transcribe the letters as they appear so that they are an accurate reflection of John Oldfield’s style and personality. We have also included his original page numbering. Where language is used that we would deem offensive, those words have been replaced with XXX.
5th. Bn. The Green Howards.
Jan. 1. 40.
My dearest Mum, and Daddy,
Just a line before I go down to my billet for a bath and change. Have had a fairly energetic day and the actual take over is to – morrow when I shall be left to my own devices! My sabalterns all seem nice fellows – one which needs a bit of taming perhaps but otherwise good and I think I am going to like it though am feeling rather foxed by it all
[page 2] at the moment, but hope to get the hang of things soon. Michael Ward is not in this Bn. but is not so far away.
Last night there was a small sherry Party in the Mess with 3 of the wives (Company ones) in and then after dinner we went up to Major Lacey and Mrs. L for drinks. I left at a few minutes before midnight and arrived back at my billet in the next year!
Just one or two things before I forget about my kit, would you be kind enough to pack up what
[page 3] you can find of the following . I am sorry to bother you but wd. Be so grateful if you could get ‘em off – most of it will go in my Helmet Case.
1) My Mackintosh 2) Any Pipes you can find 3) Any Khaki Stockings you can find – I have one or two pairs somewhere – perhaps in the attic and the Hose Tops – the stockings with the feet cut off. 4) A few more handkerchiefs 5) An Ash – plant – or I can get one down here if you think best 6) Topee and case 7) Towels – say
[page 4] three medium size ones – or 2 bath and 1 face 8) The leather straps for Jodhpurs which I brought back with me from Taunton. 9) Me old cap and that seems about all. One thing there is no gramophone in the Company and I think that mine might be a real asset both in the Mess and elsewhere, at the moment it is sitting idle in my room. Could you possibly Send down these things for me. I am sorry to bother you but they are things I need. I do hope it isn’t too much
[page 5] bother .
There seems to be a complete lack of telephones here and no number I can give you – however I will try and get through to you on Friday morning, to let you know how I’m faring.
Let me know how long these letters take to get though.
Ref. the money I owe you – I have not got my Glyn Mills Cq. Book yet so am having to cash a Midland one for a fiver. As soon as I get the Glyns Cqs I will send up a blank one
[page 6] to pay you both what I owe and also put my Midland a/c straight after £5.
I wrote to Margaret Lewis this evening to ask her to send me back a watch I lent her in June – the one I bought in Palestine – as I do not want to risk losing my Rolex Oyster.
Do you think it looks a bit grasping ?
Well, Darlings, I must stop I am being kept very busy. I have a batman who is called Tattersall – which is a good
[page 7] enough name and hope he is as good. He starts this evening so I’ll let you know. Oh! and one more thing – most important – can you send me some name tapes to mark my kit with, I almost forgot that.
Must fly – I do hope you are feeling quite well again Mum and are up and about once more. I hope all these things I want won’t be too much trouble to you.
Godbless and all my best wishes for 1941 to you both,