Just a line to let you know that I am alright and in the best of health. I had a letter from Ethel she told me you have had your letters returned no wonder they could not find me as I have been all over the shop lately. D.H.Q as broke up and gone to England so have finished working I was the only cook left so I did very well but such a lot of work. I had ten officers and more to cook for at the finish to much at it from 6.30 AM t0 10.30 PM they must have thought it was a restaurant but I pulled through we had the general with us to finish up with had a big dinner last night seven courses and I got congratulated on it so I was satisfied. I have not drawn any money since January 28 and I got 10/6 [£0.525] bonus from Feb 1st so that is about £9.00 to my credit and I have never had so much money while I have been in the army you see the officers gave us so much a week so I am set up now for a bit, I liked the job but I did not feel so well always being shut up I dont know how I shall get on when I get back to the factory again. I hope I shall be seeing you before long, how is Connie getting on. The weather here is very fine
My address at present is
9th Y+L Regt
I might get one with a bit of luck but I can quite understand the letters going back as I have been all over the shop lately I am in a little place call Tavernelle in the province of Vicenza near the province of Verona you will see it on the map. I hope you get this letter and I hope I shall be seeing you all before long
With Best Love
Just a line to let you know that I am alright and in good health I am not at Fuime but a small place called Tavernelle in the province of Vicenza it is next province to Verona. All the lads from our batt as gone to Fuime. I finished cooking two or three days ago when the D.HQ broke up. Ours was the only mess left and we had BGD general Beaman [Brigadier General A.B. Beauman, commanding 69 Brigade] with us the last few days so we had some big dinners all the officers thought me and the waiter was on the D.H.Q cadre and was going with them to England they were surprised we had to stop had they known we should have gone with them but it does not matter we should have been soldiers in England when I come home I want to get demobed. There is to much work cooking for officers 6.30 AM till 10.30 PM to much if I can get out I shall. We had ten officers and more sometimes to look after not bad I had a big dinner last night and got congratulated on it by all the officers and one or two had their wives with them so I was satisfied although I had a lot of work. Remember me to Agnes. If there are any more leave trains to Rome or Naples I shall try my best to get on one as I shall never get the chance again. I hope I do not have to go to Fuime I dont want any more guards or sloping arms, as I am fed up with that I would rather be up the mountains again. when do you think peace will be signed, cooking as been a good thing for me as I have not drawn any money since January 29 and I get the 10/6 bonus from Feb 1st so that is over £9.00 to my credit. My address at present is
32507 PT Lamin
9th Y+L C of G.H.Q
You can send a letter here I might get it with a bit of luck and I might not as I dont think we shall be here long
With Best Love
to you both
Harry has missed out on the moves. We can see from the war diary that a large proportion of the battalion has been sent back to England on "Dispersal Drafts". Another sizeable party has gone to do policing work at Fiume. 5 days earlier on 30th, the remaining "cadre" (a nucleus of skilled men) of around 20 men left for England. The 9th Battalion York & Lancaster Regiment has left Italy.
Harry, now cooking, with something approaching £500 (today's value) from his war bonus, must be the only one left! "Winning" the cook's job at DHQ seems to have backfired on him. Amazingly, he still sounds cheerful and up-beat. The bonus was paid to all soldiers who were due to be demobilised but were still serving, from 1st February. This extra pay was worth about £25 a week in today's values.
NOTE ON MILITARY ACRONYMS.
SNAFU - Used frequently in military circles - probably an anachronistic acronym, ( I like the sound of that) as it was almost certainly first created in World War 2. It stand for "Situation Normal, All Fouled Up." E.g As an answer to "How's the mission going?" The military language tends to be a little richer, but I can leave that for the reader to consider.
Many thanks Rocco. This link goes to a wikipedia explanation of various acronyms. Warning, they contain "military" language. BL