WW2 letters from home.

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by johnsonsyard, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. johnsonsyard

    johnsonsyard Member

    Hi Everyone,

    Something to get yout teeth into .Does anyone know how long it took letters to arrive from England to Singapore ? A letter was posted in England to my Dad on 26/10/45 but by 17/11/45 he was in Worli Bombay. He received the letter before he left. Would appreciate any help with this.

    Thanks

    Nick
     
  2. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Nick,

    I have nothing scientific for you, but then I think all mail was very hit and miss from the Far East anyway.

    From letters received that I have seen sent to England from Burma in late 1942:

    Ordinary letters were traveling presumably by boat were taking up to 6 weeks.
    Aerogram/Airmail letters from military personnel to loved ones were about 28 days.

    I'm guessing as the war slowly began to swing toward an Allied victory, this may have improved?

    Of course mail from POW's took much longer as the Japanese often kept it back for censorship and this dramatically delayed delivery times.
     
  3. Tab

    Tab Senior Member

    When I was in the Army for three months all we were allowed to send home were field post cards


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  4. johnsonsyard

    johnsonsyard Member

    Thanks TAB , thats really interesting . I never thought how my Dad would communicate home. I'm researching his Service Record for the family and will certainly include this in it.


    Many Thanks

    Nick
     
  5. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Everyone,

    Something to get yout teeth into .Does anyone know how long it took letters to arrive from England to Singapore ? A letter was posted in England to my Dad on 26/10/45 but by 17/11/45 he was in Worli Bombay. He received the letter before he left. Would appreciate any help with this.

    Thanks

    Nick

    Nick,

    If I told you that men on operation in the Burmese jungle were getting mail delivered to them from the UK in 1943, dropped amongst their supplies on request.

    Then I can see no reason why a letter couldn't chase a man fairly quickly from Singapore to India, especially when you consider the war had been over for several months.

    I would say that perhaps mail delivery to the Far East got faster after the war in Europe was over and the Mediterranean/Suez Canal was available for shipping. However, 3 weeks is still very fast going.:)

    Hope this helps??

    Steve
     
  6. Tab

    Tab Senior Member

    Johnsonsyard.........We got these field postcards so that no confidential information could get out re our training for the invasion of Suez in 1956. After they were handed out most chaps just dumped them, me I stuck them in the back of my writing case but never sent any as I thought they would cause more worry than not hearing from me.
     
  7. PeterTaylor

    PeterTaylor New Member

    I'm currently writing a children's story based on my uncle, Harold Charles (Wag) Scrivener, who served in the RAF and was stationed in Lahore.
    Here's a Christmas airmail from him, set to my mother:
    [​IMG]

    Tab - I have mentioned the use of field postcards in the story. I see that yours is a pattern that was also used by the RAF. I'd very much appreciate it if you'd let me use images of your card, perhaps at a better resolution. You can email me privately at Peter (at) writing-for-children.com Of course, the story may never get published, but I can send you the text if you wish.

    All best wishes

    Peter Taylor
     
  8. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    In Italy, mail from home was pretty spasmodic and sometimes nothing would arrive for weeks and then you would get 4 or 5 letters at a time.

    Parcels were very hit and miss and I remember one sent by my dad tat contained a bottle of ink ( no Biros in those days)

    The inevitable happened, the bottle broke, and the whole parcel was covered in ink ;(

    Notwithstanding that, mail from home was a real lifesaver.

    Ron
     
  9. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Peter,

    I have examples of two similar standard letters, one is for the Chindit 1944 campaign and is a photograph from a War Diary, the other is a Word document transcription of the same letter sent to families in 1943.

    Not RAF, but if you wish to see them, just let me know.

    Steve
     
  10. zeezee

    zeezee Member

    In my grandfather's letters, at least 1/3 of each letter was complaining about how long it was taking for the letters to arrive from the UK to India & Burma to his mother or to his father. He was also experimenting with different ways to send them to see how long it would take, so sometimes he would send two letters on the same day. Sometimes it was 6 months before he would get a reply from his mother, and she would be complaining how he wasn't writing enough. At one point, while in Burma, he noted that the fellow who usually brought the mail around was found dumping the letters into the river. My grandfather made a comment about how the trickcyclist said he was in a creative period.
     
  11. Shiny 9th

    Shiny 9th Member

    Hi there, My information from my 97 year old mother who was writing to her then fiancee, my father in Burma,was that men could send one airmail letter a month and any number of surface letters. I have an airmail letter from him to her,referred to as an A.M.L.C which was post free, written in pencil on a special edition paper with Christmas Greetings on the front..He says " Today's date is 31/10/1944 and I am presuming that these will be kept back and delivered at some future date around X'mas".His Battalion -the 9th Royal Sussex was in the Mawpin area at the time.He wanted to send her a present but could not and says he can only buy stamps and woodbines! This was his 3rd Christmas away from UK and he was wondering if he would be home for the next one.The front of the letter has an FPO date stamp on the front- 5 November 44, but unfortunately I have no idea when it arrived in England. Clearly my father was planning on the letter being slow to arrive and as the airmail letter had Christmas Greetings printed on the front the authorities were taking the likely delay into account by making them available early.
    Sylvia (Shiny 9th)
     
  12. PeterTaylor

    PeterTaylor New Member

    Many thanks for your kind offer, Steve. I'm certainly interested.

    The story I am writing actually focuses on the Hindu legend of the Manjadi seeds. My uncle brought one home with him, the size of a pea, and gave it to my mother, and I now have it. It has a tiny carved bone elephant inside, not much bigger than a pin-head, though I believe they usually contain 12 but can have as many as 100. You are supposed to have one wish for each elephant - kept secret, of course. I wonder if anyone ever saw them being carved? I have read that children did this, but it was so eye-straining that many went blind or at least lost normal vision - and consequently the carvings have not been produced and put in seeds for a significant number of years.
     
  13. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Here you go Peter.

    These letters were used when the Chindits had gone behind enemy lines and could no longer communicate with their families. However, mail was delivered to the men during their supply drops of ammunition and rations and was deemed vital for keeping up morale.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. PeterTaylor

    PeterTaylor New Member

    That's so interesting, Steve. Many thanks.

    Peter

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Shiny 9th

    Shiny 9th Member

    I know of of one case,and there must have been many more,of a man getting a "Dear John" letter from his wife to tell him she had found another man.He was devastated.Had been away from home for years and could only communicate by letter.He eventually got a divorce,signing papers etc in lawyers offices in India in between actions.
     

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