Tonight we have an interesting and chatty letter written from one NCO in the Royal Engineers to another in the months after the end of World War Two. The envelope shows the letter was posted in Perth, to Quartermaster Sergeant Fairbrother, Royal Engineers in November 1945:As can be seen Q.M.S. Fairbrother was stationed in Portland, Dorset at the time in The Verne Citadel, a massive mid nineteenth century fort that housed the Royal Engineers for a number of years until it was converted into a prison! The letter itself is written over three pages:I have transcribed it below to the best of my abilities, but the chap’s handwriting is not always that easy to read so I apologise in advance for any errors!
2090424 Sgt, G E Knowles R.E.
C/O C.R.E. Tay
Craigie House, PERTH
Your letter arrived on Tuesday for which many thanks, actually I had thought that you may, due to some of the strange ways of the army, be on your way back to the land of sunshine (in summer only). So you have a nice cushy job and billet. That’s nice, you lucky blighter. I’ve only got a bed sitting room to myself, a comfortable fire, piano, wireless & gramophone to play with according to my desires, a really tip top landlady and daughter complete. –the latter single, about 20 and pleasant. Do you now realise why I’m not worried about being up here, and no worries as to leave.
So Alf has taken Class B (i). Ah well, that’s his big loss. I wont have it at any price, and I’ve only to wait until Jan 1st or so. Not long.
By the way, a couple of my pals up here might be seeing you- group 23 sites (?), one comes from Oldham.- W.M.S. Ingham, and the other I think comes from Chadderton, Cpl Grainger. If you see or know them, mention my name to them at your peril. Watch that bloke, he’s dangerous, friend- leaking pith helmet and all that. A pair of fine blokes and we have had some fun together. We have had an office party, civy and military combined, and had quite an enjoyable time. I even got up to dance- One of the girls wouldn’t believe me when I told her previously that I couldn’t dance, so she got me up on the floor when the “elimination waltz, ladies choice” came on. On your feet Gio and up I got. We stayed until fourth from the end!!! Even now she wont believe me, I was only kidding and fooling whilst dancing- if you see A Dinghouse- he will tell you of that night and of my dancing experiences. Laugh I could have cried.
I have plenty of work to do, for which I am duly thankful, keeps me in trim and training me for office work next Jan, for I too am not staying away from work for long. Might feb (?) stake on something.- By the way. I’ll call & see you some Sat afternoon after my demob. I’ll come to Chadderton, but I warn you, my drinking days are over. I’m T.T.(ii) now. Shakes you; so that first you mentioned will be for yourself, sorry.
By the way, I’m taking up the piano accordion, and for three nights a week, I nearly drive everyone crazy with my erratic playing- no wonder no one will marry me.
Ah well. I’ll be seeing you shortly.
Best wishes to your family, better half and your own wee self.
(i) Class B Release allowed men with needed skills to be demobilised before their ‘place in the queue’ to help rebuild the country.
(ii) T.T.- Tee-total