1068529 Cpl Porter RG
616 Servicing Echelon
Royal Air Force
20 May 1945
Another letter from you turned up today posted on the 16th so things are not so bad as they might be.
Glad to know that you and the boys are alright dear. I am myself at the moment only, like you, very anxious to get home. Rightly or wrongly I feel that I have been given the sticky end of things and have taken the matter further than the officers here. I’ve had a letter put up to Group about it so in a couple of days now I hope to get some satisfaction one way or another.
Still busy at work are you dear? Well carry on just now but don’t forget what I told you the other day – no work for you when I get home.
The weather here is smashing sweetheart with the old sun trying his best to repay us for the cruel winter we had. I only hope it keeps like this tomorrow as three of us in the section are going up to a rest camp on the Baltic coast tomorrow for our day off. It should be a nice change.
Now darling as there is not a lot of news, shall I carry on with my experiences in Europe?
Alright I’ll carry on from where I left off the other day bidding au revoir to the friends we made in France.
Lille is not far from the border so that after passing through Mons, Armentières, Menen we were soon in the Belgium town of Courtrai. From there to Ghent the third city of the country which is a very fine, historic old town and at the time boasted one of the finest NAAFI I have ever seen. The best hotel had been taken over for the purpose and one could sit in luxury, listening to a dance band while drinking the kind of tea which only NAAFI can brew. I didn’t see all this till later because our destination was further on but I was back through Ghent several times and formed a very good impression of the place.
Lokeren was our destination, a town which lies approximately midway between Ghent and Antwerp. Here we were to stay for four months and without boasting can say that we left the inhabitants with the impression that the British are the finest people in the world. They arranged dances, gave the boys invitations out and fell over one another in the cafes to be friendly so that the boys felt indeed that they were truly liberators. Strangely though, this was our longest stay of anywhere, I did not make any particular friends. I dined on one or two occasions with Bob Boulens, who I think I told you about and became acquainted with most of the business men of the town but no one stands out in my mind. Maybe it is because they were all so good to us.
Christmas there was a great celebration which I unfortunately took no part in because I was so ill with that confounded catarrh, but judging by the din that was kicked up, a good time was certainly had by all. It was here at New Year that we got a terrific shock when Rundstedt broke through the Ardennes Salient This stopped us moving for a week or two and caused quite an amount of ring twittering in case we were completely cut off and made prisoners of war.
However, the breakthrough was held and we moved to Brasschaat on the other side of Antwerp, as near as I can remember the 5th January. Here there was real cause to panic and I never spent a more unpleasant three weeks in my life. “Doodle bug alley” was the name given to the place and one night on guard I counted 167 V1’s and V2’s from 9 o’clock at night until 7 o’clock the next morning. They were actually trying for Antwerp but ack ack batteries all round the neighbourhood insisted on bringing them down right over our little part of the world. What a life we led there until the CO got some of the big noises down to have a taste. We soon moved after that, this time to Tilburg in Holland, where we first saw just how bad the Germans did behave towards the Low Countries. With this part being flooded it took us longer to free, consequently the Hun had longer to loot and pillage absolutely everything, leaving in his wake desolation and starvation. It was here that I saw all those kiddies killed in a tip and run raid one lunchtime. I am not particularly struck on Holland and the people in Tilburg had suffered so much and had so little to do any entertaining. Four weeks was enough for anybody here and we moved on, ever nearer, Germany to ‘s-Hertogenbosch where the same conditions existed, only we had a bit of excitement here as Jerry, as well as being in front of us, was also behind us on the River Maas and kept bombing shells across every day just to show that he was not going to take things lying down. He did no damage, however, but just kept stirring up the rubble of what was the railway station before our boys went to work on it.
I was here, I should say, six weeks before a posting came in for me and I took a reluctant farewell of the 418 boys whom I had been with right from the formation.
And there I think I shall leave the narrative once more, sweetheart, in case you get bored stiff with all my memoirs. Later on when you have recovered a bit I’ll continue to l???? you with the rest of the story.
Now I can just repeat that I’m missing you like hell darling and loving you more than ever. In a couple of days now I hope to have some definite news for you. So till then my sweet, I can only ask you to do what you have been doing so bravely for so long, carry on with the good work dearheart. It can’t possibly be much longer now before I see you, so let’s offer up a joint prayer for the happy reunion.
Kisses to the boys and God bless darling, I adore you.
Yours for ever
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