Sunday, 14 July 2019

Letters Home, 14 July 1944

Two letters home from the front, Normandy, 14 June 1944.  The first is to his mother, the second to his university friend, Desmond Leeper.

Cake is contraband: sending cake is criminal: eating contraband articles criminally despatched must be among the gravest of sins.  Sin, black velvety sin, was, as everyone knows, always a delicious thing – this sin was this indeed… Four of us wolfed it there and then, washed down with sweet tea, and everyone voted you Honorary President for Life.

I continue to learn about dirt and desolation – and, for that matter, au contraire, health and virtue.  The greatest joys, next to sleep, are the Mail, and (well, there it is - ) reading the new staggers and scoffing illicitly sent cake.  Writing this in the inevitable dull orchard with its geometry of trees, nothing ramshackle here, and surrounded by the equally inevitable and for ever blasted bloody mosquitoes.  Living too soiled a life to read the New Testament – or too irrelevant possibly – one can only thrive hopefully on the dignified paganism of the 91 st psalm and its like.  An odd comment on modern manners incidentally is that under heavy bombardment all the boys pray like bloody hell and incessantly.

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