Letter to Mrs Cahir from Jim Cahir



Letter to Mrs Cahir from Jim Cahir


Letter home to Jim’s Mother and Brother where he describes his arrival in England, visiting relations and settling in to his routine RAAF life on his station.




Temporal Coverage



Seven handwritten sheets


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ECahirFSCahirM-V430920-0001, ECahirFSCahirM-V430920-0002, ECahirFSCahirM-V430920-0003, ECahirFSCahirM-V430920-0004, ECahirFSCahirM-V430920-0005, ECahirFSCahirM-V430920-0006, ECahirFSCahirM-V430920-0007


Letter No 12. Kodak House

Dear Mum & Vincent

I have at last sat down to write a decent letter, It’s just a fortnight since I arrived in this country and am settling down rapidly to a different method of living. When I landed I had an idea that I would be able to dash across and see Uncle Shamus before we were taken to our reception depot, but all my hopes were in vain as we did not get any leave.

We had a rather long journey in the train up to London where we spent the night, the country side was really beautiful and all together different to home, the fields were very green and each little field was divided off with hedge fences. Instead of looking out of the carriage window & seeing one huge field as you would at home you would see hundreds of little ones; and the country side was just crowded with small farm houses dotted here & there. These farm houses looked very picturesque with their thatched roofs and poultry running around, everything was just how I imagined England would be. We did not see much of London this particular day as it was almost dark when we reached it.

The following day we travel [inserted] l [\inserted] ed on to our Reception Centre, and once again saw the Green

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fields & thatched cottages. The place where we were billeted was very nice, in peace time it was a big holiday resort, and now most of the Hotels etc have been taken over by the Airforce, I was in a room with hoy & cold water laid on, the only complaint I had about it was the fact that it happened to be on the sixth floor and there were 143 steps to climb everytime I went to my room.

During my stay at this particular spot I had a very enjoyable time, we did not do very much work except hand in a lot of equipment that was no good over here, a couple times we got the afternoon off and I played cricket, we played in a Park named after the suburb at home so I got a souvenir from the curator of the ground. In the evening time was our own, Bill Jeff and myself use usually go to the pictures or a show. The pictures over here start at 5.45 and are out by 9.30, its very strange to get use to at first but you begin to take it for granted after a while. The Black-out is perfect over here, we did not notice it very much at all, I suppose we got use to it on the boat.

During our stay in Sussex I had a look around the shops, it is really surpri [deleted] y [/deleted] [inserted] s [/inserted] ing what goods they have to sell, I expected to go into a shop and see nothing but bare shelves. Clothing if you have the coupons to buy it is cheaper over here than it is at home. Tinned goods are quite plentiful only the catch is coupons, I bought a lot of tinned Peaches pears Fruit salad etc in [indecipherable word] where rationing is unheard of, I dumped them on to Auntie Louie as well as hundreds of Amerrican [sic] Cigarettes. When you send a parcel to me don’t bother sending any butter it is quite unnecessary over here, we get plenty of margarine and I’m

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damed [sic] if I can tell the difference between it & butter, it took us about a week to wake up to the fact that we were having margarine on our bread not butter. To tell you the truth I think that living conditions [inserted] here [/inserted] are not one quarter as bad as they are made out to be in Australia, the only thing that has really been scarce so far is fresh meat.

Whilst I was [inserted] at [/inserted] the Reception Depot I got 36 hours leave, so rang Auntie Louie telling here of it and made arrangements to go down to see her, before I rang her I had written to her a couple of times. I use say you had no accent Mum! But you have and a very disti [inserted] n [/inserted] ct one at that, when I heard Auntie Louie speak over the phone I could have sworn that I was speaking to you, it took my breath away the likeness of her voice to yours. Aunt Louie sent my letter on to Bath so I got a letter from Uncle Shamus, they were getting quite worried over me I think they had an idea that the Atlantic Crossing had turned out for the worst. I also received a letter from a Miss Boyle who lived at “Hove” it appears that she is Auntie Agnes sister and had been advised of my arrival, she wanted me to visit her but unfortunately I was posted before I got the opportunity.

When I arrived at Reading I had very little difficulty in finding Auntie Louie’s house it is a little way out of town and in a very nice spot with a nice view of the surrounding country, I spent Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday at Reading. It is a very nice house double storey with a front room a dinning [sic] room with a glass door looking out on to the back lawn a Kitchen and a spare room, upstairs there is a bath room with hot & cold water two Bed rooms and a Work shop of Uncle Tom’s, Paddy would love to see the work shop it has all kinds of implements in it. I slept in a bed room that overlooked the back garden

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Whilst at Reading I took eight snaps Uncle Tom also took a few I don’t know when they will be ready but as soon as they are I will send them to you, I forgot to take a photo of the house, next time I will. I think I told you of my meeting with Auntie Louie still it will stand repeating; Auntie Louie was very much like you and I think I felt a little homesick when I saw her, still that is only what could be expected, she made me at home immediately I stepped inside the door, I am sure I am going to be well spoilt before my stay in England is through. All the time I was speaking to Auntie Louie I was imagining myself speaking to you, you know Mum! You are a bit of a dark horse I learnt more about your school days and life over [inserted] on [/inserted] this side of the world from Auntie Louie than you ever told us in the last ten years. Uncle Tom is rather a quite [sic] spoken man whose hobbies seem to be his garden & his work room, he keeps bees & gets quite a few pounds of honey from them. Uncle Shamus reminded me very much of Grandad in fact from my memory of Grandad I thought Uncle Shamus was the living image of him. Auntie Agnes I can’t say who she is like but she is extremely nice and looks quite young even though her hair is greying a little.

I am afraid I am rather poor at describing people Mum, but try and imagine them from my hazy descriptions. All the time I was at Reading I could not get [deleted] and [/deleted] the idea “that you should have been here not me” out of my head, never mind please God that after the war you shall come across & see all the places you use to know. Don’t forget to ask me any questions about Auntie Louie or Uncle Shamus if you do that I may be able to tell you more about them.

At the moment I am enjoying the country air in the famous county of puddings, the station I am on

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at present is not too bad but there is such a long way to go to Mess & the showers, we worked out that we walk [deleted] ed [/deleted] at least five miles for our meals every day. Most of the permanent staff here ride bikes so don’t notice the distances. Yesterday I went to Mass, it was held in the Airmens rest room, there were quite a few [deleted] chaps [/deleted] Australians in attendance. Our stay at this particular place will be very short I expect to move on again very soon. Bill Cashman & Lance Cha [inserted] r [/inserted] lesworth [deleted] is [/deleted] are still with me, I left Bill Purtell & Jeff Varcoe back at the seaside resort, I believe they are on leave now so I won’t be able to take them down to see Auntie Louie.

On our way up to this station we passed through London, I can’t say I was impressed by it, its too old! I rather have a modern City, New York any day for me. Perhaps I am judging a bit soon but that is my first impression and you can generally size up a City by a drive through it, however when I spend a few days in London I will let you know if I was right or wrong with my first impression.

The other day I was issued with the English Battle dress, its quite good and very comfortable to wear all I have to do now is to cultivate a Lancashire accent & I will be a real English man.

In the same hut as myself there is four Australians, the rest are Scotchmen, Welshmen and Lancashireites, I have great difficulty understanding what they are talking about and generally answer with a yes or no to any questions addressed to me, I was always under the impression that people over here spoke English, as far as I can [inserted] see [/inserted] they don’t! but speak a language perculiar [sic] to each country.

Today I received a letter from

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Auntie Louie & Uncle Shamus also one from Spike who had received a letter from you, and had addressed a letter a letter to Auntie Louie to be forward on to me.

Up till date I have received forty letters, twenty coming yesterday in one bundle, there is a couple of yours still missing namely numbers 1, 5, and 8 your letter number 10 written on [deleted] the [/deleted] July 27th is the latest I have received, I have also received three from Paddy the latest dated July 5th., from Vincent I have received two, the latest written June 25th. The usual half a dozen letters from the Egans have arrived with three or four from Dorothy, I also got one from Bunny, Jack Kelly, Mr McConas, Mrs Walton (from Rob & Mullens) Frank Dougan, Tom Clifford & Pat Ryan, a couple from Mullumbimby, and a very old one from Des, none from Doreen yet, I wonder what I said wrong there? I also got a letter from Kathleen, she writes an extra good newsy letter.

I feel quite ashamed of myself for not writing as many as I have received, I can’t write to paddy as he has a unit plus the place where it is situated as his address, I think you could forward all letters on to him I am sure he would not mind. I posted you an airgrath [sic] letter the other day, I will send an airgrath [sic] when I think I can’t write for a week or so, this is the twelveth [sic] letter to you, have you received all the others? I intend to send this one air mail just to see if it gets there any quicker, the airmail from Australia to England is not too good surface mail beats it here sometimes.

Well Mum I am going to stop here and go and have supper, it’s a great idea they have here, you have tea about 5.30 just a one course meal, then about 8.30 you have another meal with knives & forks, really there is four meals a day, it seems to be the habit as Auntie Louie had the same idea

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I was very sorry to hear about Betty, I hope she is not too bad and is up & on her feet again in a very short time, you are right when you say she’s the ideal girl, I am sure you would go a long-long way [inserted] to find any girl [/inserted] to come any where near her, please give her my kindest regards when you see her.

Well Mum I really must close now if I am going to eat, I am in the best of health and eating like a horse, don’t worry over me I will be alright both spiritually & physically, all the advise you give me in your letters I take to heart & I like reading it, I enjoy receiving your letters as you write just how you talk and I imagine that I am at home once more talking to you in person.

Your loving Son & Brother Jim xxxxx

P.S I received six cables for my birthday about a week ago, they were all very welcome. Let me know [underlined] how long this letter takes. [/underlined


Jim Cahir, “Letter to Mrs Cahir from Jim Cahir,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 17, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/20093.

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