"222 Northfield Rd.
I am seated in the dugout where I sleep, at the school for girls, Richmond. An air raid alarm sounded about half an hour ago and everyone on the school staff has gone to the dugout. The teachers are in number five and the chief man about the school, his wife, another elderly couple and I are here in number six. We have oil lanterns to give light and form and cushions, blankets to give us comfort. Just while the others are reading, I shall try and complete this letter.
I completed the bunks for the dugout at 23 Marchmount Rd. I expect Miss Sendamore, Miss Day and Betty to go back there in a few days time. I come to the school for meals and eat with the staff. Betty and I usually take our trays to the warden's private room where we lunch in peace, unless Jerry comes over and causes the siren to sound. The staff and children spent over six hours in the dugouts yesterday and only about three hours today, of course all night is spent there regularly by the staff--the children are home at night.
I heard from Critchley today. [Finally!] He is certainly doing his best and with Major Gen. Montague I'm certain he will get somewhere. I am confident that I shall get some kind of air appointment but I'm holding out for active service. Critchley told me that he signed my application and has sent it on to Montague for signature. He also asked me for my decorations--[2 Distinguished Conduct Medals and others from WWI] this puzzles me a bit. However I hope for the best. It is now about 9:30 p.m. I am going to assist tomorrow doing some varnishing at the school. The teachers have to do it in spare time as no men are available to do the work.
Well, Sweetheart, I hope to be settled soon and then we can plan things for our happiness.
I do hope you are not experiencing too hard times. I worry about just how you are and if things are causing you too much concern.
Heaps of love and keep up your courage. Kisses and hugs.
Note: the following letter was badly damaged. Mice chewed a hole right through the middle, but we'll try to make sense of it.
"Friday, Sept. 20th/40
We have just come in from our dugouts. I have had a wash in the general wash room (there are no girls about yet as it is only 8 a.m.) and a shave and feel ready for the day's activities.
I am going to the store early today to get a pair of gray flannel pants...as my suit requires pressing and I have no...laughed when I told her I told her I had ... establishment yesterday and asked...up while I wait. The attendant, ... spluttered something in his confusion ... will you wear in the meantime. I ... stall, but of course he had none. ... ever heard of the idea.
... raining quite a bit lately and I had to buy a raincoat yesterday (just a cheap rubber McIntosh). I have been trying to do with as little as possible as I shall be in the air force in a few days time and civilian clothes will be more or less a nuisance. I have decided thought to wear mufti (civilian) when not on duty, i.e. if we are permitted.
I have been helping Miss Day, Betty's immediate supervisor, and the teachers in general with the job of varnishing. Every window in the school has been covered on the inside with gauze (cheesecloth). This had to be stuck on the glass first and now I am varnishing over it. The purpose is to prevent the glass from shattering and flying in the event of a bomb falling nearby. It is sort of an elaborate precaution, but the parents would soon raise a howl if their children were in the class room and were ever injured by glass. When you think of such precautions being carried out all over England you can imagine ... it all is. The teachers ... Windows in their spare ... to varnish it also as the school ... to spend for labor, even if it ... it is not. Almost every ... thing or other in this country.
... during the daytime I amuse ... brush and wear Miss Day's apron. I wish you could meet Miss Day. She is about forty-five or so, tall, gray hair and most beautiful facial expression. She has all the grace and dignity that accompanies a well trained mind, and still has retained a keen sense of humor. She is extremely popular with all the teachers here, which is itself a real recommendation for a supervisor. Well all this is in store for you. I make them all smile. I haven't got accustomed to so many meals. The first thing they have on getting up is a cup of coffee and a biscuit. An hour later breakfast. 12:30 or 1 o'clock dinner; 4:30 p.m. tea and 6:30 p.m. supper. Imagine me who is accustomed to two meals a day having to endure so many interruptions. Well, I just don't take coffee before breakfast and they generally tease me when they see me sitting here writing my Sweetheart. They all think you must be a very brave girl to ... away. I tell them it is just ... that the shoe is on the other foot ... glad to get rid of me and ... are all most anxious to ... and I have them all pulling ... you come over. I becomes ... sible, as time goes on. I get mighty restless waiting. The postal service is so slow. I could put a bomb under the officials and hurry them up. When a case is so simple I cannot see why so much red tape should have to hold things up. This is a very great weakness in our entire economic and business life. We never seem to be able to rise above routine and precedent.
Betty is free again for the weekend. Her classes end today at 4 p.m. She has very kindly invited me to visit her brother near Windsor on the Thames. Honey, you will think I'm just a spoiled brat. Honestly the people have, and especially the Slades & Gliddons are so very kind to me, I feel like a piker. They just insist that I accept this hospitality. It has been most providential as it has made me ever so much more independent in my dealings with the military. Besides it has given me a real good chance to observe what is going on. But I wish you were here too we could have so much ...
I expect some mail ... By the way, Sweetheart, will you number your letters consecutively so I can tell ... letters. Bill and Marjory are doing ... helps to keep things straight ... anyone or doing anything ... long as you are happy in doing ... you don't overtax your strength or ... please keep yourself as free as possible from entanglements so that you can get away as quickly as possible when I see a chance for you to come over. I do want you here awful bad--so please don't stamp that little Irish foot, but think hard of coming, in other words concentrate on it and it will materialize.
Heaps of love, Sweetheart, and a great big hug & kiss.
Well, we'll see how long it actually takes him to get into the military.