A wartime letter

62, Addington Rd


Sep. 21

My Dear Olive -

Thank you for your last letter - I have meant to write every day - but I don't seem to have got it done - and there are no "evenings" now. In fact I am now (9.30 P.M.) cosily tucked up in bed listening to the Barrage - its' pretty noisy but we are used to it now, and its' lovely to hear them doing something to stop the Gerries.

Our shelter is now very cosy and looks just like a caravan - the children are fast asleep in their bunks and V. and I have camp beds underneath (he is on duty tonight). We even have curtains up on the walls to make it less bare and a shelf on the wall to hold First Aid box etc; and odds and ends. I sleep very well, and never hear the All Clear - Barry is my alarm clock at about 6 A.M.

I'm glad you and the children are in a nice quiet place - I hope it still is. I have definitely got my second wind now and have quite got into our Air Raid Routine - but I wish they wouldn't start so early in the evening - we only just get supper through in peace. But we go to bed nice and early and read. We've had damage round here of course like every one - Hamsey Green (where Sutton lived) had it very badly the other night - two roads in which every house was damaged, and a house quite near Sanderstead Church was demolished, some in Selsdon Road damaged and others round about. We have several souvinirs in the garden - shrapnel and machine gun bullet but (touch wood) none on the house. I got through to Auntie Jessie yesterday and they are all well, but have had bombs round about - they all sleep downstairs and Peggy and Robert sleep in the cellar. Mother seems to be quite well - I have tried to phone her but can't - Sybil rang Vivian up at the office as she couldn't get through here to see how we all were as they hadn't heard from us - the reason being my letter had taken 4 days to get there - isn't the post awful now. Mother sent Barry's suit and coat (which are lovely) and it took 10 days! I'm glad it wasn't perishable.

Every body in Addington Road is beginning to get friendly at last and we all go and inspect each others shelters and compare notes. I'm very glad I haven't got a maid or nurse as it would complicate sleeping arrangements. Bessie is a huge success, and I am very pleased with her - one of the best I have ever had - I only hope nothing will happen to her! I'm awfully glad I didn't have a nurse - as the children are very good, and she would have had practically nothing to do while I was the maid. They play in the garden, or nursery or shelter very happily and Barry is beginning to be quite a companion to Paul. Barry is "in" to every thing these days - I caught him pouring the salt cellar in to the milk jug the other day. I'm awfully glad you've found such a nice school for Angela - what a bit of luck - even in peace time that was a long journey for her so it seems to have solved the problem. How does she like it?

I suspect by now you have had your week with Geoffrey, if you are able to have one that is - Has he been moved yet? Are you going back to Leigh with Dinah? The Barrage is going great guns again (literally) after having quietened down for a bit. Miss Lee rang up the other day - she was spending a few days with Auntie Lindsey while deciding where to go next - women and children were being evacuated from Hastings, and as she didn't want to be sent with the herd she moved herself. She only brought a suit case, as she hopes to be able to go back soon. I don't think there is any exciting news of people, as I don't go out except just along to the shops occasionally. Alec Whiteman was married last week and is going to live in the Tilleys old house at Hurst Green - they are renting it from the people who bought it who have apparently moved elsewhere. I haven't seen Esme. but Kenneth came in, with Ted Priest, the Campbells and Mrs Cunis, to have cocktails with us on our Wedding Anniversary - it was all quite cheery and impromptu as we only thought of it the night before. I managed to get the last half pound of cocktail biscuits in Selsdon - after trying three shops.

Well - I think I must go to sleep now - could you let me have the film of the snap of Dinah, Paul and Barry standing by the table? I had one and sent it to Mother with some others for her to see - and she kept it.

Let me know your plans when you have any -

Best love

from Bren


The regiment which Geoffrey so nearly joined is now installed at Selsdon Court Hotel! I understand it is the clerical department or something and that the regimental records are being kept there. It would have been rather funny if Geoffrey had gone.

Vivian has been dashing round Selsdon Park Golf Course helping to put out incendiary bombs!