Oct 301942

Chatham, Kent
Well, we have made it! And we are doing the usual trick of running from one person to another. We have done reasonably well so far but, with a bit of luck, we might have completed the whole of our draft sometime today which would have given us a better chance of getting over to Cookham tomorrow. We may just be unlucky and be held here until Monday. I hope not because I have been put in duty watch and that means that I cannot go ashore either Saturday or Sunday! That is not a very pleasant prospect in this place. As soon as I know anything definite I’ll let you know. But I must go now and try to get a decent place to sleep in. I hope you are improving a bit, love. Just make a little progress each day and you will be fine.
Bye, angel. I love you still. All my love.
Ever your own,
Arthur X

Oct 311942

I’m in that dizzy state of mind which invariably arises from the first 24 hours in a new barracks. We spent one-and-a-half very valuable hours waiting outside Chatham station for transport to the barracks. Had we managed to get a lorry at once we would now have been in Cookham. We hared round everyone we possibly could yesterday afternoon – doctor, dentist, anti-gas school etc etc, and finally got to the gunnery school to find we were five minutes too late to do anything more. We got there at 8.30 this morning and began another rush round because we were told that if we could be ready by 10am we could go to Cookham today. From one night’s experience in this dump that would have suited us all down to the ground, but once again we were just a few minutes late and the lorry had gone. The net result of all this is that we are staying here until Monday morning and as Charlie, Jack and I are all in the duty watch we cannot go ashore, so I won’t be able to see Dot and Jack. Which is a great shame. We seem to have been cursed since we have been here for we were also just too late for tobacco! Ah well!
In many ways this place is not half as good as Devonport. The feeding arrangements are not too good and meals are something of a scramble. After Rottenrow – where we were undoubtedly ruined in this direction – the change is very marked, although I have no doubt that if we knew we were going to be here for any length of time we would very soon settle down. As it is, we find it very unsettling to be just birds of passage with no permanent stake in the place at all.
I think the barracks itself is a good deal better laid out than those at Devonport and there is not the same “you’re in the gaolhouse now” atmosphere about the place. Some of the gardens must have been really attractive in the summer for even now there are very healthy looking buds on some of the rose trees. Which gives you some idea of what a big change it is, from the point of view of weather, compared with Glasgow. Actually the weather has been very decent.
So far as we can see now, we will be going to Cookham on Monday morning and if we can persuade them to get a move on there we may be away on leave on Tuesday or Wednesday. We are all working towards that, anyway, and won’t linger over anything that will take us nearer leave. Anyway, as I have said before, I’ll wire you when I’m coming and, if possible, drop you a note the day before, although this letter may not be quite so easy.
There was no point in my giving you this address or the Cookham address because there would be no time for you to write. We are, by the way, to have our rating changed to Sig (A/M) but I’ll let you know when that comes into operation. We don’t know ourselves. Now that’s all the news from here. I thought I had better let you know all that rigmarole first.
Now, tell me how you are? A bit better? And not worrying about how your face looks? There is no real reason why you should worrying about that, you know, because you are behind it. We’ll do the worrying about your face! Seriously, love, I hope you are making haste slowly. That is by far the best way to do, you know. Just you take care of yourself until I come home and then we’ll have a full weekend to get you going on a normal routine again, although I don’t suppose you feel like that yet!
Well, love, I don’t think there is anything more to say except that I still love you and am waiting for the hour where I can make a dive for Euston and the Merseyside express. And the more express it is, the more I will like it! There’s one blessing. No matter what time the train is, I can always get to May’s without worrying about transport because the trains all stop at Mossley Hill.
Now do stop worrying about things, sweet, and concentrate on getting back to normal bit by bit. By the time you get this letter it will only be a matter of a day or so before I’m home again. Did you get a letter from here on Saturday? Even though it was only a note, I tried to rush it away in time. Must go now, to catch the post.
All my love, angel, and I do hope you are feeling a bit better.
Ever your own,
Arthur X