2. Out of time

Letter to Mary O’Connor, 8 December 1944

Mrs F O'Connor
Puni, RD Pukekohe
North Island
New Zealand


Tpr M.J. O’Connor
18th NZ Armed Regt

Dear Mum,
A few lines once again to let you know everything is O.K. with me over here. Hope you are all the same there. Raining again here tonight. Hardly seems to stop at all lately. Still we must expect it. After all it is winter. The old roof is not the best and is leaking in a few places. Have to cover up the old bed with groundsheet. Could be a lot worse though.

Received a couple of parcels yesterday. One a cake and the other tinned stuff and socks etc. Both in good order. Should have got you to send a case of Waitemata but of course it would probably receive some attention before it arrived over. I suppose we will get by alright on the old plonk. Haven’t plucked up courage enough to have another go at it lately. Most of the banter has died down again though. Next time I’m going to be one of the criticisers.

Went to see if I could dig up Les McGuire the other day but was out of luck. They had apparently moved just before I got there. Will catch him one of these times if I keep trying I suppose. Was not far away from him once but never knew until afterwards. Never heard of Des Rogers at all. Nobody seems to know him or what he’s doing at all. Maybe you could find out from his people. Saw a joker who I thought was Jim Berger, but I could see by his hat that he belonged to another regiment.

I think I mentioned once before about a novel stove we had. Well we ditched it. Now we have a little beauty. You should see it. Plans and specifications are strictly secret. Work has been proceeding on it in closed premises. First night it went perfect but last night something went wrong. All had different theories as to what was the trouble. The inventor said it needed cleaning so we started to take the chimney down. A bend in it proved to be full of soot so of course we decided that was the trouble. Never thought about the straight part. Well to tell what happened. I was holding the weight of chimney, while another chap took off the bend. The fire is still going remember. The other chap cleans the bend and replaces it. Of course it draws suddenly with the result that he gets smothered in soot. You can understand his feelings. Very funny for the rest of the party. Nobody seems to notice how the thing is working tonight. Some of the makeshift affairs made over here would really beat the best of scientists.

The old war seems to be going along pretty well these days. Of course I’m willing to bet it won’t be finished before Christmas now. Maybe Easter we hope. I’m getting a bit like old Churchill. He doesn’t commit himself.

How is Molly getting on these days. I suppose she will be having holidays by this. Some day while all the girls are there you had better get a photo of them and send it over. Put George into line too. Speaking of George, who is girl-friend these days. I could probably give him some good advice, but not through you. Maybe he wouldn’t appreciate it anyhow.

Well my supply of news is running low, so is the temperature of my feet, so will say cheerio hoping you have, or had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Will definitely be home before another such celebration takes place.
Love to all from,
Excuse writing

Telegram to Mary O’Connor, 11 May 1944


Mrs MR O’Connor
Aka Aka

Have pleasure in informing you that 450484 Tpr O’Connor M F has arrived safely at overseas destination.

F Jones
Ministry of Defence