Letter to Mrs Cahir from Jim Cahir



Letter to Mrs Cahir from Jim Cahir


Jim writes to his mother and brother of his routine service life and his fellow crewmen. He asks after her life too. He also describes his visit to York while on leave.




Temporal Coverage



Five handwritten sheets


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ECahirFSCahirM-V431003-0001, ECahirFSCahirM-V431003-0002, ECahirFSCahirM-V431003-0003, ECahirFSCahirM-V431003-0004, ECahirFSCahirM-V431003-0005


Base P.O.

[deleted] S [/deleted] Sun. Oct 3rd 43

Letter No 13.

Dear Mum & Vincent

It seems ages since I last wrote you a decent letter. I have quite settled down to conditions over here. There has been no leave granted yet except for one odd day when I visited York. Since I last wrote to you Mum I have received no more mail except of course mail from Auntie Louie & Uncle Shamus whom I drop a line to about once a week; this week I received a letter from Mrs West, she had received an [indecipherable word] from you consequently was expecting to hear from me anytime, I also received a letter from Spike, & wrote to him in reply but have not had an answer yet as he is on leave.

Since I last wrote to you I have moved once more and am now with an Australian Squadron, the Station we are on is an extra good station it is a permanent Air force Station consequently has more modern [indecipherable word] than the usual station. I have been crewed up, and am with four Australian & two English Boys, the skipper is an Australian from Sydney, the navigator & Bomb Aimer are from Melbourne & the Wireless-operator from N.S.W. , the rear Gunner is an English chap from London and the Engineer from Yorkshire. They are an extra good crowd of chaps and just the ones I like flying with, the skipper is a very confident pilot and nothing seems to get him ruffled.

The rest of the Boys love being crewed up, Bill Cashman & Lance Charlesworth are in the same Squadron [inserted] as myself [/inserted] but in different crews, so you see we are still all together.

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My crew are all sgts [sic] except the W/T op who is a P.O, still we don’t hold that against him.

How is everything at home Mum? I often sit & contemplate what you are doing at that particular time I am sure I guess right everytime [sic]. I suppose the football has finished now and cricket is the topic of conversation. How did Preston finish? I read in a paper over here today that Richmond won the premiership so I am not too far behind in the news.

Hows [sic] the Bank going Mum? I suppose you are back to normal now with no overtime. Baby no doubt will be sitting for the Post Office Examination this month, what is he going to do if he gets its [sic]? leave his present job!

Well Mum I suppose I had better tell you about my leave in York. I went [inserted] in [/inserted] with Lance Charlesworth late Monday afternoon. The entrance to York is through an old gate [deleted] go [/deleted] called the Micklegate, by the plate on the gate it was built in the 15th century (I was disturbed here by an air raid, there was a lot of flak fired but I don’t think [inserted] they [/inserted] hit anything) The main streets of York are very old and crooked, there does not seem to be any particular direction in the layout of the streets.

In the Evening we went to see Charles Laughton in “This hand of mine” it was a very good show; we had tea at one of the cafes, there does not seem to be any shortage of food in cafes as we had grilled tomatos[sic], Fish Cakes & spuds as well as buttered buns with jam. We put up at the Salvation Army Hostel for the night and got an early start in the morning. While I was in York I met another Australian from Nth Fitzroy he knew Mr O’Keefe very well and wished to be remembered to him, his name is Cecil Thomas, you might mention his name to Mr O’Keefe when you see him next.

Our first sight seeing tour started
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with the ruins of St Mary’s abbey, this old abbey was built in the 14th century and was destroyed some centuries ago; besides the ruins there is a museum where they have many objects of interest taken from the abbey. Amongst some of the exhibits shown were an apron made by Cromwell’s daughter in 1650 it is in perfect condition and really a beautiful piece of work, also shown were a wooden carving of Our Lady dated 1450, a [indecipherable word] Case dated 1308, and last but a most interesting object to the boys a bottle of wine that had not been opened since 1830.

When they were doing some excavation around the abbey about twenty years ago they found a few old Roman stone coffins as well as foundation stones of the Roman occupation, the latin writing on the stones is clearly seen.

Our next place of interest was the York Cathedral, it is certainly beautiful I think it dates back to the 16th Century, we spent sometime walking around the inside viewing the different tombs dating right back to 1700, most of the inscriptions are in latin and written in old English style of lettering unfortunately we did not see the famous windows as they had been taken out to prevent damage through bombs.

Whilst we were in York we saw the “Shambles,” it is just a narrow little twisting street with the houses on each side of the street leaning over at such an angle that their roof tops touch. The entire city of York is really a shambles especially inside the city walls, all streets are very narrow & twisting and many still have their cobble stones. The modern part of York if you could call it modern is built some distance outside the walls of the city which are remarkably preserved.

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In the afternoon we walked around the walls of the city, they are of an immense size, about every hundred yards or so there is an old arch way where the modern traffic of the day passes into the city. At the end of one section of the walls there is a ruined castle which we were shown through by the attendant, there is not much left of the castle but you can still climb the ramparts and see where the archers fought hundreds of years ago.

Beside the wall is a museum containing many interesting things. You could wander around York for a week visiting old churches & Buildings and still come away without seeing everything of interest. I rather like visiting these old places, but living near them is another matter, the older and more dilapidated a place is the more Holy it becomes, if you suggest pulling a place down such as the “Shambles” and building a decent clean living dwelling in it’s place you nearly get your throat cut by some of the locals, most of the older clan are drunk with tradition and can’t see past the 19th century.

There is no prospects of leave yet, I may get seven days in a fortnights time but that is only a chance. If we do get leave I intend spending three days with Auntie Louie, and three days with Uncle Shamus.

The meals on this station are extra good, we get porridge or Wheeties plus bacon & [indecipherable word] eggs (this morning I tasted my first [inserted] real egg [/inserted] I can’t say I miss them}, at lunch we get three courses, soup Roast Beef & vegetables (cabbage, peas, cauliflower potatoes) also sweets, for tea we get sausages & potatoes or a cold tea. The only thing that is really scarce is fresh meat, when we get roast beef it is always in small quantities. Butter or Margarine, (what ever we get) is plentiful & very good.

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While I remember Mum I want you to do something that might not sound too good to you but I assure you it is for my benefit. As you know I have to fill in many papers giving my next of Kin and anybody else I want advised, I always fill in Auntie Louie’s name, well in the case of accident and I am taken P.O.W. only the next of Kin can act for me, and I have been advised to get a written declaration from you giving Auntie Louie power to act on your behalf for me, if she had the power it would save valuable time and would be a great help to me, so Mum could you send a declaration properly signed with witnesses to me and a duplicate to Auntie Louie; God’s Will it will never be used, still you have to be prepared for anything.

This morning Mass was held in the Canteen there is no permanent Chaplin [sic] but a priest comes in from the local town, which is not too bad.

Well Mum that seems to be the news at the moment, I am in the best of health and have never felt better in my life, don’t worry over me if its God’s will everything will be all right. Remember me to everybody back home, when I get the opportunity I will write to Camberwell, how are they out there? At the moment I owe at least fifteen letters I just can’t catch up with my mail, I think most of my letters will stay unanswered for many months yet.

From your last letter I feel confident that Vincent is taking the place of three of us, keep it up Vincent!

Your loving son & Brother xxxxxxx


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Jim Cahir, “Letter to Mrs Cahir from Jim Cahir,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed February 29, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/20096.

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