7th Armoured Division Christmas Card 1944

Sep 9th, 2013

7-Amoured-div.-xmas-1944

Tags:

Gilbert’s Portrait.

Sep 7th, 2013

Gilbert's-portrait

Tags:

I have had my portrait painted

Sep 7th, 2013

Capt. G. Tattersall

H.Q R.A.S.C.

7th Armoured Division

BLA

22 Nov 1944

Dear Harvie,

You must not pay for the cigarettes you send yourself. Draw cheques from my account using your Power of Attorney. This may go on for years, after this “DO” is over I am due for the Far East. My soldiering must not cost you a penny: it is extremely profitable to me. I receive £500 a year subject to income tax, and if I were a Doctor at home earning £1000 a year I would not be better off. In the last 6 months I have spent less than £90. I don’t have to buy clothes, lighting, fuel, or any food or accommodation. I even get a free servant and motor car. No, you must send me no more presents.

I have had my portrait painted and it is very good. The artist’s child was one day severely burnt by a petrol fire caused by an incendiary bomb and I was able to dress her burns. She has survived I am glad to say and the father insisted on the portrait.

We have been living in warm rooms lately, but there is always the threat of living in the open air. I have a tent which is quite commodious and comfortable and a 15 cwt. truck with a bed in it and my batman sleeps there although it is designed for me. I am sleeping in a schoolroom warmed by an anthracite stove. Remember I am used to the open air these days and no more dread it than George Schofield. Of course if the state of battle and good fortune provides comfortable billets so much the better. Wilfred will be worse off because it is almost certain that he is underfed, and hard worked. The work will keep him warm, but he must suffer form the lack of food and his reserves of good peace time living must be being used up. I hope to goodness that Germany capitulates soon.

V.D. and Diphtheria are likely to  prove troublesome amongst the troops, but the former is less widespread than in Italy. There I could only hold my breath at the extraordinary state of men’s J.T’s. [John Thomas’s – admin]

Cheerio – Gilbert

Tags:

Problems with post to the Isle of Man

Sep 5th, 2013

9 October 1944

Dear Harvie,

Since this letter is going to the Isle of Man I hesitate even now to put my army address on it. An order came out that letters addressed to the Isle of Man should have a civilian address or an Army Censor address on it. The Isle of Man was to be treated as a Foreign Country. Later this was modified to letters being written to or by internees. I don’t really know what the position is to this day.

[This refers to an interesting and often controversial issue, which was the internment of “enemy aliens” (and also British subjects) on the Isle of Man, chosen because of its remoteness from any military bases. After War broke out in 1939 local “Enemy Alien Tribunals” were set up to classify all Germans and Austrians, male or female, into category A,B or C. Category A was a potential security threat and interned on the Isle of Man. This was complicated on 11th June 1940 when Italy entered the war and Churchill ordered all Italian males in the country to be interned immediately. Among the famous internees were Kurt Schwitters, the Dadaist artist, Nilolaus Pevsner the architectural historian, Sir Charles Forte and R W “Tiny” Rowland. A fascinating book on the subject is “Island of Barbed Wire” by Connery Chappel to whom I am indebted for some of this information – Admin]

I don’t even know if you could successfully write to me except through Hilda.

I have been receiving your cigarettes regularly. If I cared to sell a packet in this country I could get about 4 shillings a packet. Of course I shan’t: I wouldn’t rob anybody of their hard earned money. My Batman and I will smoke them. he gets cigarettes from home too but at less regular intervals.

Where we are and what we are doing I am not allowed to say – except that as for so long I have not been doing much. My job is not a man-sized job – I sleep most afternoons. The troops have remained incredibly healthy and curiously enough have failed to get V.D : this is so unlike Italy that I feel sure that everybody is amazed. I confidently expect an outbreak but nothing has occurred yet. I do however expect an outbreak of scabies soon. British men have an incurable love of small babies and young children and quite a number of these suffer from scabies.

We have been well fed from captured German rations. Enough were captured to feed an entire army. Pork has been our staple diet. Pork all day long. Wines that the Germans filched from Europe found there way onto our dinner table. Each man was given a bottle each. We smoke German cigars too. We eat “Ersatz” honey and German cheese squeezed out of tubes like tooth paste. In the meantime I see children looking pale and vaguely ill.

We hope that the war will finish. The end of the war will not mean our immediate return to England. At a wild guess it would mean the beginning of short term leave in England and permanent billets for the winter where reasonable facilities for entertaining the easily “browned off ” troops could be obtained.

If these billet happen to be in Germany then they will probably have to introduce some measures to make sure that fraternisation with the Germans does not happen – some hope!! It is difficult to control troops when the British Army are adamant that they will not set up official brothels. I expect they will send out the A.T.S. instead, the purpose obviously disguised.

Well cheerio – Gilbert

 

Tags:

Are kippers in season?

Sep 1st, 2013

2 July 1944

Dear Harvie,

We are five officers. If kippers are in season and if allowed to post to B.W.E.F. would you please send me a box. we are all passionately fond of kippers. Letters normally come in 4 days, parcels take a little longer. I feel sure that kippers will keep, however. we will be happier when a field bakery is established and supplies us with bread. Biscuits are not very popular. We are well fed however – its all tinned of course. We have had local lettuce, cabbage and cream and cheese. Two local cheeses are Camembert and Pont Du Salut (Gervais) The latter is a Dutch type of cheese, very rubbery in consistency and smells to high heaven but has very little taste. A description by a commentator on the BBC interested us the other night. He was telling us of the armada of bombers which came over and obliterated a town. It was a very stirring sight I can tell you.

Cheerio – Gilbert

Tags:

Normandy is famous for cider, I am told.

Aug 31st, 2013

[A rare letter to Hilda – I am not even sure how this one ended up in the archive – admin]

25th June 1944

Dear Hilda

Notice the new address. the APO number is dropped and we are now B.W.E.F. we are very peaceful here. No scorched earth here. No doubt the Germans will begin scorching the earth when they are not caught on the hop. there is nothing to buy. There are lace handkerchiefs and cravats etc.. – all Handmade lace – but the prices are fantastic to all except the Americans. Everything else is trash except Camembert cheese, country butter and cream. Wine is too expensive – 14 shillings for a bottle of quite ordinary wine. Cider is more reasonable. Normandy is famous for its cider I am told. However we can live well on our tinned food. We even get tinned rice pudding. I keep a tin of Ascorbic acid tablets (Vitamin C) always at my elbow. One cannot be too careful

Gilbert.

 

Tags:

We are tired of Normandy.

Aug 31st, 2013

Capt G Tattersall

HQ RASC

7th Armoured Division

BWEF

Dear Harvie,

Your letter reached me after a delay addressed HQ RASC APO England with out you adding 7th Armoured Division. there is an HQ RASC for each division in all the Armies the British empire possesses consequently I am surprised it arrived so soon. Someone in this Division called Caine (obviously a Manxman) has received a box of Kippers, so the Officer in charge of the Divisional Post Office tells me, and so it must be possible to have them sent. I was previously told that food cannot be sent. Perhaps kippers are and exception.

The weather remains unsettled – we have scarcely had a completely fine day for a  month, which is about the length of time we have been here.

We are tired of Normandy and hope to holiday somewhere else soon. Breezes and rain make life in the open unpleasant. Campaigning in winter, the beginning of which is about 8 weeks away, won’t be too pleasant. Of course the war should be over in three months time – so they say – but then, I wonder

Cheerio – Gilbert

Tags:

We can get cream and lovely farm butter

Aug 30th, 2013

HQ RASC

7th armoured Division

B.W.E.F

24 June 1944

Dear Harvie,

the above is now my address and cigarettes can now be sent to me free of Inland Revenue. I would be very pleased if you could send me some fortnightly. Where I am  all is peaceful at present. We are in high spirits and hoping for the best. I came across a shop today which sells hand made Normandy lace. A handkerchief with a faint border of lace costs about 14 shillings, and one with a more generous border costs £3. The price is prohibitive. There was a black lace Fan of the most delicate workmanship with tortoiseshell “spokes”. A cravat to pin to ones chest costs £6 or more. Ridiculous. Everything is expensive except ironmongery and cheese. We can get cream and lovely farm butter

Cheerio – Gilbert

Tags:

Free to write a bit more –

Aug 30th, 2013

HQ RASC

APO: England

21 June 44

Dear Harvie,

Since the B.B.C. has announced that the 7th armoured Division are fighting in Normandy, I feel that I am entitled to say, as a camp follower of the same, that I am also in Normandy – and none the worse for it. I had a very pleasant sea trip to France. It so happened that I was the only Doctor on board and as such was taken under the wing of  the Chief Steward who is the sort of acting “Doctor” of the ship. A quack if you like – a bit cruel perhaps. I ate in his Cabin – food that was out of this world – and slept in his Cabin too. He made my trip extremely comfortable. There was a War Correspondent on board called Ditton who writes in The News of the World and consequently I suggest you get hold a copy of this next Sunday (25th June) which I think is the earliest he can get an article in the paper. I still have the above English address, and it will not be until we have an overseas address that cigarettes can be sent at the cheap rate. I will let you know at the earliest. We are looking forward to a time when shipments of “comforts” as well as shells is a possibility. We are in high spirits and I believe after reading the papers that reach us a day or so late that things are going well. No doubt I should add cautiously, like Churchill, that the hardest times are ahead, and no doubt set back will occur and so on. We believe however that eventual success is guaranteed. There is no need for anxiety about my situation in Normandy whilst I remain in the RASC. I couldn’t be more peaceful. I am in close proximity at present with cattle, calves, a donkey, chickens, rabbits, guinea fowl, horse and manure!

Cheerio – Gilbert

Tags:

and in this one not giving anything away.

Aug 29th, 2013

Capt G Tattersall

HQ RASC

APO England

12 June ’44

[The 7th Armoured Division landed in France on the 7th June and he is likely to be with them – hence the tone of this letter – admin]

Dear Harvie,

Please send me some cigarettes, say 400 a fortnight Churchman or Players No3. They will be at full English prices.

” I certify on my honour that the contents of this envelope refer to nothing other than private or family matters”

Nice weather, and nice time we’re having – ain’t it?

Cheerio – Gilbert

Tags: