Sketch by Jack Chalker

Coming Home

The following is a transcipt of a letter I sent home when plans for our repatriation were sorted out:

September 1945

 

7th September 1945

Dearest Sue,

Well sweetheart, the day has at last arrived and now we are free. It is certainly a wonderful feeling. What I am now, of course, looking forward to is a speedy return home to you and Alan.

We were given the official news this morning re our treatment and return home. It is briefly that from Here, Saigon, we shall leave by plane (boy I am looking forward to that) to Rangoon in Burma, starting the 11th or 12th of this month. Then to be fitted out with kit and, after a very short stay, we set sail for home, probably via the Middle East for a period for acclimatization. After a very brief halt for checks etc, I will be knocking at the door of number 19, so get rid of the lodger.

In all our informant told us it would take 6 weeks to 2 months from leaving here and we will have 3 months with full pay to celebrate in. We shall also, so I am informed, be given priority in the matter of demobilisation, so for us at least sweetheart the future looks very rosy.

I am writing this from a café in Saigon sitting outside on the pavement with the Saigon life teaming by (teaming is certainly the proper word). Chinese, Anamese, French, Dutch, Indians, various other Nationalities and not forgetting our friends, the nips. They are still walking about with their big swords trailing about after them but they have lost all their arrogance and are now almost unnoticed. We on the other hand have practically the freedom of the City and are feted wherever we go.

There was a little trouble a few days ago between the Anamese and the French causing a few deaths and several wounded but now everything is quiet. The cause of the trouble was the Anamese had a demonstration against the French control of Indo-China. They do not wish to be ruled by the French anymore but would prefer to be under the jurisdiction of the British or Americans. There are still banners across roads and buildings with slogans such as ‘Down with French Imperialism. Independence or death. Welcome to our Allied Commission’ written, of course, in English with other similar slogans in Anamese and Chinese.

We have certainly had a splendid time here as everything is being done to give us a good time. The two opposite factions are vying with each other to curry favour.

Our relieving troops have begun to arrive, all Indian with British Officers, and soon they will be in command.

Well ‘ au revoir’ sweetheart until next time with all my love. I am forever your loving husband,

Harry XXXX

I arrived home in October 1945 still looking gaunt even after putting 4 stone on in weight. I will never forget my very first sight of Alan on the station platform with his Grandad Thorpe, I thought it was our Terry, my eldest brother’s son who was that age when I left home.

Home Again

Having gained four stone but still looking guant

When we arrived home our street was decorated with bunting and I was "allowed" into our kitchen to meet Sue. I am not telling any lies when I say our relationship, after 2 minutes was as if I had never been away. Tensions rose a little when everyone had gone home and we prepared for bed but once in bed, well……………..

 

Next Chapter

Fighting the Peace

 

 

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