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World War II newsletter
February 3rd 1942

My dear Lads,
I suppose that if you will insist upon putting a quart into a pint bottle some weak spot in that bottle is bound to crack. I have known for some time that I have been working at far too high a pressure, but every little bit of my work I thought to be so important at this present crisis that I did not, and even now do not, know what to drop. However the inevitable happened and last week found me in bed with Dr. Croft in attendance. For six days I did not do a single stroke of work, and how I shall ever pick up the lost time heaven only knows. But you, at any rate, will get your N. L. just as though I had never been ill, for I did manage to creep downs stairs and get that off my chest. It was not work, it was pleasure. The only thing, I think you will find lacking is the amount of local news I am usually able to pick up as I go about the parish. All being well I should be out and about again at the beginning of the week. You see, for one thing, I miss my trusty henchmen, my Servers and other lads who waited on me, for although you really did not know it you were, in one way or another, doing a Curate’s work and relieving me at every turn. Even the younger lads I brought in at the beginning of the year have now all joined the Home Guard and every minute of their spare time is occupied.
I think that it is only now that I myself fully recognise how much I did leave to you and what a tremendous help you were. I thank you for your loyalty, willing service and good companionship and pray that I may be spared to weather the storm until you all come home again and share once more with me the joys of service which, I know you will agree with me, were joys indeed. Ever your devoted, grateful friend, L.N.FORSE.

Extracts from Letters.
Seaman Dick Burns, R.N. begins "Just a few lines to let you know that I have changed my address and am still alive, and I hope that it is the same with you." Goes on to give the interesting news "I have to start work at 2 p.m. this afternoon till 9.15 tonight, and I believe we have to clock in and out, so it will seem just like going to work; and also the men who are in charge are civilians and while we are in there, the Navy have nothing to do with us, so it will be a change." Wishes to be remembered to his brothers Jim (Middle East), Tom (R.A.S.C.), George (Irish Guards), Johnny (Home Guard), and his brothers in law, George West (Tank Corps) and Harry Forrest (Middle East.) Pte Ralph Whitehead says "We have lost our Padre altogether now as we are considered too small a Unit to warrant one on our own. We have Church Parade every Sunday morning and go to the village Church. I am afraid very few people would go unless it was a parade, so in some ways it is not as good as it should be. But this is often the case in the Army" (And out of the Army, Ralph.) Says he does not expect to get home before Easter. Pte Ken Ogden, who is in the extreme south of England, says that it is very cold indeed where he is. Also says his brother, who is due for being called up, hopes to get into the Navy. Spent a week doing gardening in the Officers Mess grounds, but had to give it up owing to bad weather conditions. A.C.1 Robert Moss has moved to a new camp, which is indeed new. Says it is built on the 'dispersal plan". "We have to walk 25 minutes for our meals; also at the messing site are the only places where one can have a wash, so, I am afraid that we only muster one per day. One good point. I came with about ten boys that I knew, so I have not had to make any fresh pals, but none of us like the camp very much." Is still doing his old job Sparks of the R. A. F. Dvr Will Bridge says "I think this is the worst place I have ever been in, rector, as it is miles from anywhere. I go to Church nearly every Sunday, in fact I have been this morning. The rector himself is a civilian and quite a nice chap, in fact he is in the canteen now and comes quite regularly." (As a matter of interest to Will during the Rector of Tarleton's last visit to the lads in May of last year he stayed the night at the local pub, a very clean place, and called upon and had tea with the rector, and he told him that he was formerly a Rear Admiral in the Navy. He is also a D.S.O. But rectors come and rectors go and since May he can easily have been transferred to the latter category. An interesting letter comes from Mr. and Mrs. Farington, of Longton, saying that they have just had a letter from their Jimmy in the middle east, and he wishes his parents to thank the rector for making enquiries about him when he was wounded. Pte W. Seddon has gone to a new address. Says "We went on a stunt and had to sleep in a barn the first night. There were rats running over us all night. When we got back to our camp on Thursday night I was glad to find my box from home and my News Letter. It did make things a lot brighter. You can imagine what we looked like, not having shaved for four days. Please remember me to Harold Aspey. I think I had better close now; being on the police is a busy job." By the same post comes an ordinary letter dated 20/10/41, and an airgraph dated 30/12/41, both from Dvr Ronnie Pilkington who is in the middle east. In letter says the heat comes in waves and strikes one in the face, and when a sand storm is on one cannot see a single thing. Says that he has had a rough time for a few weeks but at the time of writing all was back at normal. In Airgraph says that he has received all the N.Ls up to date which, as he adds, is marvellous seeing how far he is from home and how inaccessible even out there. Says "It is not at all pleasant at this end of the world, but I am thankful to say I still have my N.L. regularly every week, and have to thank you and Miss Webster for the trouble you take to supply it to us lads out here." Thanks the M.U. and all other kind friends and sends congratulations to Corpl Jimmy Burns, also in Middle east, although he does not know where, on his promotion. Corpl Jimmy Burns sends a very good photo of himself taken in middle east which makes it appear that he has put on weight very considerably. No letter accompanies it but from his smiling contented look he does not appear to be taking much harm. Seaman Will Ball, R.N. (Scoot) wrote two long letters, one dated Oct.26th, the other Nov.27th. But arrived at Rectory by same post. Says when they visited a South American port they had a marvellous time. Went to a great dance organised by British Community, ship’s company were taken sight seeing in busses, given a lovely lunch in the city, had a game of football, then went shopping, and then back to the dance which finished at 12.30 a.m. Then busses were waiting to take them back to the ship. Will does not say whether the dance lasted for twenty four hours, but from the way he writes it seems as though it did. In his later letter says he is back at sea and has not received a single letter from home for twelve weeks. Hopes that all his friends received his Christmas cards (thanks, Will, the rector received his), and wishes them all a prosperous New Year. Pte Bert Price says "Last Saturday we had a football match for the Mayor's Aid to Russia Fund, and the Servicemen played the Police and won 6 2. The proceeds amounted to £3.10s, and the Mayor congratulated my team upon the splendid game we played." Ends "Last Friday, at the close of a Carrier Course, I was passed out A.1. as Driver in Command.” Sends his best wishes to all the lads. Seaman Jack Marsden, R.N. writes; "Well sir, as I have said before Scotch people are a grand lot, we get asked to their parties many times. Last night about a dozen of the boys went to a party given by the Wrens, but as I was on duty I couldn’t go. There is a party being held in honour of Robert Burns, it is called Burn's Supper, and a few of the boys have been asked." Corpl Doris Molyneux, R.A.F. who is in the Home Counties, says that she is hoping to arrange a 48 hrs pass for next month, although it does seem a very long way to go for such a short time. Also says that her lot are organising a Concert Party which keeps them all very busy during these winter evenings. They hope to give the show in a few weeks time.

News from the Home Front.
Rector in bed all the week with a severe cold and overwork. Dr.Croft’s skill, attention and genial disposition has now put him on his feet again, Everyone most helpful. Mr. Magrath of Rufford took funeral, and Mr. Chaffey, the new Vicar of Penwortham who has two curates, kindly took all Sunday Services. Gdsn John Moss did not get home for his grandfather’s funeral. His C.O. wrote a nice letter to Rector saying that John had moved to other quarters the very day letter arrived and it was impossible to get in touch with him. The Rector’s father started on his 92nd year last Monday. Preliminary meeting in schools on Monday evening in connection with the Warship week (Feb 14th to Feb. 21st) to raise £800,000 in area comprising West Lancs R.D.C. and taking in Southport. Girl Guides Dance in Schools on Friday evening last in support of Free Buffet for Servicemen on Preston Station. Mr. Charlie Southworth, Blackgate Lane, who has kindly played the organ for the past two months while Mr. Penn was away ill, has the ’flu, and Mrs. Hinds, Fulwood Avenue, played at all the Services on Sunday. Philip Barron’s (junior) baby girl was christened on Sunday with the name of Brenda. The Rector being ill, Mr. Chaffey administered the Sacrament. Miss Jennie Fishwick, who has been in Preston Infirmary, is doing well. Every day in every week the rector goes out sleuthing, snoodging, nosey-parkering round the parish sniffing out items of local gossip that may interest one of other of the lads away, in the N.L. This week, having been confined to his bedroom since Monday he “has nothing to report” Doubtless a great deal has happened, but he simply does not know about it, so he has to apologise to all readers of the N.L. for the lack of dainty, spicy tit bits. So he cannot tell anyone what has been happening at Bolton’s Meanygate, Tabby Nook, Pepperhillock, Sollom (except that as far as he knows it has not turned gay) Hundred End, Slope Brew, Longditch, The Strine, Town End or even Park Lane.


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