The transcript which follows 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.
On active service
Mrs. V. E. Oldfield, Headquarters
Sandsend, 5th Division
Near Whitby, B.E.F
March. 7th . 40.
My dear Mum, Daddy and Jum,
This is just a line to you before I go to bed – though I’m afraid there’s not much news to tell you. Everything seems to be altered and I can make no plans at all and tell you still less about the prospects of out leave. As you know, we should have heard on the 6th – yesterday but nothing has come through yet , and the most infuriating is that we might have had it all this time. However, as I say there is so much in the air and nothing seems definite but all one can do is hope for the best. Which I am doing like Hell.
The only letter or rather mail I have had from you was the Whitby Gazette two days ago with all the Goathland news. Very interesting it was too – but I should like to know who “a voice” is, wouldn’t you ? A letter like that really makes you sick. Like the person when asked by a very ‘horsey’ man whether she hunted much ? And she replied ‘Only when I’ve lost something !’ which is what ‘a voice’ might have said. Well I hope all your effort to keep the Hunt going will succeed and I’m sure there are a lot of people away from home who are hoping as hard as I am that the Goathland will not have to give up.
I have just had a late supper having been to a flick in the village. They have organised a by-weekly show – Tuesdays and Thursdays – in the local village Cinema with English films and to-night was the first one. Damn good it was too – Labelled Lady with William Powell and Myrna Loy who are always very good.
Twice in the last fortnight the Duke of Gloucester has arrived unannounced for tea, a meal which is generally conspicuous for lack of anything to eat at all, and that cake I’m waiting for would have been just the thing ! Just like last time Mum, that will be grand.
I had a long letter from Margaret this afternoon – the first letter I’ve had of any sort – for nearly a week – and she seems to have simply loved staying with you all and doesn’t take to the club kindly again at all. I really am very fond of her and feel awfully sorry that her father gives her such the hell of a time.
Very personal this bit – I have a small fissure up my bottom inside which the M.O. says is caused by passing something rather harder than concrete ! So I swallowed your chocolates and have been on the run ever since, – Take about Run, Rabbit, Run ! It is rather painful actually sometimes
but the M.O. thinks it should heal up fairly quickly as they caught it in the bud- as it were.
Well dears, I’m sorry this letter is such poor stuff but there’s no news and as I say everything is way up in the air. I will let you know just as soon as I hear anything at all.
My Love to you.