To Jessie from Harry Redgrave



To Jessie from Harry Redgrave


Three-page (undated) handwritten letter from Harry Redgrave to his wife Jessie. Harry writes about life at RAF Dumfries including the conditions they are living in.




Three handwritten sheets


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My Darling
Heres just a few lines to tell you we have got here safely but I am afraid they will be [deleted] anything [/deleted] nothing but a scribbled expression of my indescribable misery.
I can only give you a faint idea of the chaos that has marked our arrival. We reached Dumfries Station about 8 AM and with commendable promptitude buses came along and took us to a hall opposite the aerodrome where we were supplied with a breakfast of beans bacon and tea which we hungrily consumed. From then on the day has been most miserable. We waited about until noon and then were taken through small country lanes round to the back of the flying field where the camp was situated. Well dear I have never seen anything like it. Throughout the whole morning it had been pouring with rain and to our dismay the camp was deep with water and most of the buildings were still in the course of erection and everywhere was the confusion of sand and wood and bricks that we see on an unfinished building estate. We were directed to a finished brick built hut with concrete floor on which were straw filled paliasses [sic] and pillows and then had to wade across the mud
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to collect blankets. From then until two o’clock we waited for some dinner which after queueing up in teeming rain turned out to be a small piece of corned beef two slices of bread and marg and a small piece of cake which we thought we may be able to eat as best as possible on the floor without as much as plate still less a table. Even this doubtful comfort was not to be for no sooner had we squatted down than we were told to be in the main hangar with all our kit in ten minutes and so through the mud and rain again we tramped and had to board buses again and were taken to where I now await some tea
Its six thirty and we have had some bread and jam and tea now and I will try and give you some impression of the awful place we are billeted in. It is apparently a disused factory something to do with bones and hides I would imagine by the smell and it is terribly dirty and was fitted out for an emergency stay of the Norwegian Expeditionary Force. Beds consist of wooden bunks (rough wood) one upon another and about a hundred on a floor with about two lavatories on each floor. The sanitary conditions are deplorable and honestly prison or a concentration camp would be a hotel Ritz besides this. Cooking arrangements are most primitive and are only better than the camp in that the camp has no cookhouse at all yet and there is not water laid on in
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the wash-houses and lavs. I think we have a week of this to survive and as things are I cannot give you an address so just save up your writing for me until you can get through to me.
Give my love to all at “Emorf” [sic] and tell Ethel and Horace I would give everything to be back there with you all this evening.

All my love darling
Your miserable husband
Harry xxxx

P.S. I have written Leslie to tell me what is done to the motor byke [sic] and he will forward his reply through you.


Harry Redgrave, “To Jessie from Harry Redgrave,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 14, 2024,

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