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Web Transcript © 2003 Hubmaker. All rights reserved.
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August 19th 1943

My dear Boys and Girls,
This is the double summer number that I promised. I hope that you will like the verses, and the additional "Extracts".
Of course, both the expense and the paper shortage forbid me giving a double number every week, but if any of you care to send me some more verses, composed by yourselves, I will do my best to get them in another double number before Christmas.
I very frequently receive letters discussing your views on religious matters, and I can assure you I am very pleased to get them. It helps me now and it will help me, and you, a great deal more when you return to Civvie Street. If God spares me till then I really am looking forward to a very fine and very useful fellowship. As you know, the Church has followed you wherever you may have been, even to the farthest ends of the world, on the high seas, beneath the sea, up in the air, in the desert and in the wilderness, and has kept you in close touch with your home town and all that happens in it week by week. You have been kept in close touch with one another although separated bodily by many thousands of miles. All this good fellowship must not come to an end when the war ceases. Write to me and tell me what you think should be done to cement this wonderful fellowship, which, as I say, must not be lost. Well, my space is up, and so I will come to an end with wishing you all every Blessing, and, as you know, you are never, for one instant, out of my prayers.
Ever your affectionate friend and companion,

Correction. Mrs. John Grayson, of Kearsley avenue, who, when recording the birth of her son, we gave as (nee Martha Ward), was, of course, Martha West, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dick West, of Kearsley Ave. She married John Grayson, of Skipton, a soldier she met when she was in the A.T.S.
Mrs. John Taylor, Bannister Farm, Gorse Lane, has presented her husband with a son; Mrs. John Rigby (nee Margaret Iddon, Gorse Lane) has presented her husband with a son, and Mrs. Ward (Gorse Lane, occupies house where Fletchers used to live) has presented her husband with a daughter.
A fortnight ago Mr. and Mrs. Walsh, Hesketh Lane, received a cablegram from Tom, in airborne troops going to Sicily, saying "Safe and well; don't worry; Love and kisses." On Monday they received official notice from the War Office saying that he was reported missing believed drowned. On Wednesday they had an airgraph from him, written after date of supposed drowning stating that he was safe and well. He must have been picked up by passing ship.
Mrs. Dick Barron, corner Bungalow, Kearsley Ave. who underwent a serious operation in Liverpool Infirmary, is doing well.
Mrs. Isabella Barron, Banks Farm, Sollom, is in bed with a heart attack.
Preston holiday week last week; all shops closed and most people taking days outings to Southport or Blackpool.
Little Brenda Baybutt, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Baybutt, School Houses, Sollom, died on Thursday. She was 1 year and 8 months old. She was playing indoors when she found some pills her mother was taking and ate them all. In spite of being violently sick she died shortly afterwards.
Mrs. Will Ascroft (Coe Lane, next Rectory) has undergone an operation in a Manchester hospital, but has now returned home and is doing well.
Jack Robinson is on leave, also Hugh Melling and Sandy Laing.
Dick Fowler, Becconsall Lane, H.B., and Phyllis Dawson, Chapel Road, H.B. were married at H.B. Church on Saturday.
Little David Cottam, Blackgate Lane, is in Preston Infirmary suffering from Tetanus (Lockjaw). He fell and cut himself when playing cricket.
Bowling Green annual tournament in aid of their Fund for local lads serving in the Forces has been held on the last two Saturdays. On first Saturday it was won by John Heyes of Croston, and last Saturday Dick Iddon (Chubby) of Hesketh Lane was the winner.
Mrs. William Baybutt (nee Elizabeth Fazackerley of Hesketh Bank) has presented her husband with a son; mother and child doing well.
The Very Reverend W. Kay, D.S.O., M.C., M.A., Provost of Blackburn Cathedral, has kindly promised to preach at Tarleton at the British Legion Service on Remembrance Day, November 14th.

LAC Roger Watson, R.A.F. writes from India saying "I am in the middle of 14 days leave or compulsory rest, to be more exact. It's quite a change to be told to stop work and go away for two weeks! so instead of sweating in the midst of clouds of dust I am enjoying myself in the hills, 5,000 ft. up, and the tree clad hills are a glad sight. I had the most amazing luck. By pure chance I met my cousin here; he's in the Army. Please remember me to Malcolm Parkinson, Dick Rymer, Freddie Coupe and Arthur Croft. Arthur must be in my area."
Ken Robshaw sends two airgraphs from India saying "My mates here are chasing me to read the N.L.; one of them comes from Wigan and all the others come from Lancashire. Well, I am still in the wilds, wearing no shirt, just shorts and boots. The weather has been much cooler and we are getting rain every day. I still do a bit of running and have now started playing Rugby and enjoy the game. I was lucky the other day. I went to a picture show, we were taken in trucks. We sometimes get a road show for one night but not very often, something like the ENSA shows I used to see in the days when I was at home."
Sergt. Nick Dewhurst airgraphs from the M.E.F. "Please note my new address; we have not reached our destination yet, but when we do I shall be 2,000 miles nearer home. Many thanks for N.Ls and Magazines which are coming through grand, and I must say are still very interesting. Please give my kind regards to Robert Howard and tell him I am very proud to know that he has joined our famous Brigade. Also best wishes to Tom Dickinson, Tom Bolton, and Harley McKean, and say I hope that it will not be long before we all are back behind the Co op counters again. The heat here is very severe at this time of day and I hope that my next place will be a little cooler and not quite so many flies!"
Dvr. Robert Bond's airgraph from the M.E.F. says "Will you please tell Bill Hudson, through the N.L., that I haven't received the letter he sent me. I presume it must be lost. I don't get many letters from Chuck these days, and, by the way, I have a surprise for him. I have left Africa and landed in Sicily. Please remember me to all in the Forces from around home. The N.Ls still keen arriving, thanks to you."
Dvr. Dick Sephton sends an airgraph from the M.E.F. to say "I am keeping much better now and I have a good job with not much heavy work, so I should be O.K. I have travelled about a lot since I left hospital and most of my tour has been over new ground, so at least I am having a good scout round the Middle East. I am receiving the N.Ls much better now; even though I have moved about so much I still receive them O.K."
Stoker William Melling (H.B.) airgraphs from his ship to say "I notice in your N.L. you mention my cousin Rigby Melling. I haven't heard from him for nearly two years, so I would be so glad if you would mention me to him in the N.L. It is pretty grim here now that the monsoons have started, nothing but rain every day for three months. I am looking forward to some more news from home, and through the N.L. from all the lads on Active Service."
Sapper Dick Johnson sends by air mail saying "I am hoping to get in touch with Tommy Burns in a few days time. The concerts which are given here for the troops are, as a rule, very good and they are well attended, packed in fact. One especially given by a South African party last week was very good indeed. The weather here is very hot, in fact the hottest part of the year. I dare not say much more or the censor will have something to say."
Dvr. Sidney Ball sends two letters which both arrived with the same post, and both came from North Africa. He says "I have not heard from Ronnie Iddon or Bill Harrison for a month, so will you please give them a good shaking up, as I cannot write to them myself because I have lost both of their addresses in a move. I see that John Caunce has to pay 5 francs for eggs; well, tell him from me that he is being twisted, because the most we have to pay is 3 francs and we have got them for 2. Tell Tom Dickinson to drop me a line and we will discuss the times we used to catch eels a yard long on night lines. Give my best love to all N.L. fans."
Pte. Ernie Nicholson writes "I am back again at the same place I went to in 1940; the training is entirely different to what it was in the early days of the war, much more strenuous assault courses have been erected and route marches are non stop. We had a 3 minutes halt on the last six hours march. I shall be home on the 26th of this month; that is if the platoon survives next week's manoeuvres where we shall be shot at by N.C.Os who are probably fed up with the sight of us."
Dvr. Fred Taylor writing from North Africa says "I am on detachment to another company and am getting about more, but I still do not see anyone I know. I am not getting the N.Ls the same now and I can tell you that I miss them very much. Please remember me to Arthur Worth, James Latham, and John Hornby from the brickworks, and to all the lads and lassies in the Forces."
Gunner Arthur Harrison sends, as usual, from the far, far north, saying "I am just finishing a four weeks' course, but I cannot tell you what it is. I wish you the very best on your Birthday; if I had only known I would have sent you a card. You certainly deserve a special medal for your good work. I am just going to turn into bed, which as you know is the soldier's best friend, and may God bless all the boys and girls who, like myself, are away from their homes and loved ones."
Pte. Barbara Coupe writes "We are still very busy and get little time to ourselves; if we aren't working late we have parades or else have to clean the room out. I met Malcolm Parkinson a while ago when he was stationed here, but he is the only person from Tarleton I have met; still I don't think anyone would like to be stationed here. Will you please remember me to my brother Freddie in Canada and all the boys and girls of the village."
Pte. Peter Guy writes from India and enclosed two very good photographs. We cannot, however, give any extracts from his letter because while the rector was looking at and admiring the photos, his young dog got hold of the letter and ate it up. So will Peter please write again soon. The photos are safe and we thank Peter for them. The dog is still living in spite of its rather unique breakfast.
R/O Waters, Merchant Navy (Fermor Road) writes from his ship "I am enjoying this life very much and so far I have not bumped into any trouble apart from a few sleepless nights owing to a rather big attack by U boats when we were outward bound. I had an excellent time in Calcutta with my brother Jim, and on arriving here had another good "do" with my other brother George who is also in the M.N. I am looking forward to hearing news of my friend Jack Hodge who will be joining the Navy in the near future."
Pte. Harry Woosey sends a letter which contains within it such a really good sermon that the rector "lifted" it and, after acknowledging the source, used it as the basis of his own sermon on Sunday morning. This is not the first time the rector has passed on the thoughts of the lads expressed in their letters to his congregation at home. We like to read such thought-provoking letters. At the end of his somewhat long letter Harry sends his best wishes to all away from Tarleton in the Forces.
Gunner Philip Rigby sends an airmail from India saying "I went weeks without a N.L. but finally received twelve altogether, and two more to day. At the last camp I was in the sun was called "the ball of fire" by the natives and it was so hot that it set the huts on fire, and sometimes the dogs went mad. I was glad when we moved. You would be surprised to see the different kinds of ants from the big bull to the smallest which is the size of a pin head. I have seen the red ant, the one that would eat you alive. One of the most amazing things I have seen is a kind of hawk which circles round and round the cook house, and, if you are not watching and happen to be carrying any food in your hand, it will swoop down and, in the twinkling of an eye, it is gone; picked up by its feet. Please remember me to Bill Ellison through the N.L. I believe he is in the Middle East."
Pte. Lilian Dobson writes "We have a very nice Welsh Padre who comes and has a talk with us about once a month. We go to the Church once a fortnight. He is a very good preacher. I did not go to Church for a long time before I came into the Army, but I am making up for it now. We are not forced to go, but we go of our own free will. Please remember me to my cousin Hugh Sutton, of Bretherton, in your next N.L., also to Eva Foulds and Evelyn Taylor, both in the A.T.S."

What is it that makes the young soldier away from home burst into verse? Perhaps some psychologist can supply the answer, but the fact is that it is so. The Rector has been pleased to receive many a poetical effusion from his lads and, as he thinks that their friends might like to see them also, he is printing a few as a holiday (?) supplement to the News Letter. Gunner Harry Woosey sends the following:

I pray for your safe keeping
With every hour that chimes,
Through all the pain and peril
And terror of the times.

My thoughts are ever with you
Although we are apart,
In daytime and in darkness
I think of you, sweetheart.

We cannot be together
These troubled days to share,
But may you be protected
This is my constant prayer.

And may you be kept safe, dear,
Through all the strife and strain
God have you in his keeping
Until we meet again.

Signalman Stanley Frazer sends his lines from Paiforce, i.e. from the far Middle East. His poem is headed:-

Our mail is such a comfort,
The joy hard to believe
When we can write and tell you
Of letters we receive.

But let us change the picture
And tell our tale of woe,
Of mail that doesn't get here;
Wherever does it go?

In great anticipation
We greet the mail each day.
In greatest consternation
You often hear us say

No mail for us to day, boys,
No news for me from home,
Oh! why did I leave England?
Why did I ever roam?''

For when we're feeling lonely,
And things are not so clear.
A letter from our loved ones
Can brighten life out here

Dvr. John Caunce sends me the following, extracted from the British North Africa Force' own newspaper, the Union Jack, at the same time expressing the hope that some of the lads may like to see it.

The days, dear one, are fleeting by
On wings that never tire;
The day of days is drawing nigh
When I'll have my heart's desire.

Each day is but a steeping stone
To one that shines out bright;
So beautiful it stands alone,
T'will be my heart's delight.

And when, dear one, that day is here,
How glad my heart will be;
For that's the day which is so dear,
When I come home to thee.

Several lads have sent the rector copies of the "First Army Thanksgiving Service for the Victory granted to the Allies in North Africa." This is a very beautiful Service, well thought out and with most appropriate hymns. In spite of the fact that it was actually printed on the battlefield, it is delightfully turned out, printed on good paper and in good type.
On the front page is the shield of the First Army, with the following explanation of its mening.

First Army Sign.
THE SHIELD, representing our country our home set in the midst of the sea, a sure and a safe refuge - a land, shaped like a shield, which has stood us in good stead all through the long pages of our history. The base of our strength to day. "Breathes there a man with soul so dead, who never to himself hath said "This is my own my native land?"
THE CRUSADER'S CROSS. The symbol by which all men shall know the ideals and principles for which we stand. No sacrifice being too great in the cause of freedom. For nothing can be higher than the hope expressed by that symbol persecution, oppression and terror banished, and replaced by Christian peace and toleration. No one can doubt the intention of those who serve and follow the Cross.
THE DRAWN SWORD. Long ago a Christian Soldier gave us an example of the cause for which the sword should be drawn. This example we of the First Army endeavour to follow. St. George drew his sword and destroyed a Dragon which had enslaved a whole nation. We endeavour to destroy a dragon which has arisen in Europe which would enslave the whole world. We cannot sheath our sword until our task be thoroughly finished.

Some time ago either Harry Price, in India, or Bert Price, in England sent an excellent piece of verse to the Rector which he put on one side until he found room for it in the N.L., and now he cannot find it. If whichever of the Price boys sent it will re send it to the Rector he will take the greatest care that he does not lose it again and will put it in the N.L. at the first opportunity.


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