Letter from Douglas Hudson to his parents



Letter from Douglas Hudson to his parents


Writes of latest letter received with more photographs of parents on which he comments. Mentions how much they mean and looks forward to more. Pleased that they have now received most of his letters sent from previous camp. Discusses problems of out of sequence letters and problems of delayed responses to issues raised. Mentions what he wears at various times and a little of his activities as well as the weather. Continues with tales of cooking and mentions his nose was improving since his latest boxing match. Mention that this letter was muddled due to interruptions and concluded with more gossip, philosophical thoughts and best wishes.



Temporal Coverage



Four page handwritten letter


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Royal Air Force. 755052. Sgt. J. D. Hudson
c/o. Consul Général des Etats Unis.
Rue Michelet.
Alger. Algérie.
Afrique du Nord.
My Dear Mother & Dad
The last time I wrote was Sunday the 20th when I received your letter dated July 8th enclosing the two photographs of the old Lady & the Old Gentleman taken down the garden path. To-day I received your letter dated July 6th enclosing two more photographs taken sitting in the rockery garden. I am very pleased to have received these letters, & exceptionally delighted with the snaps. I really was glad to get them & to see how you both are looking after these twelve months. Dad who I expected to find extremely thin, looked on the contrary to be very fit & well, & apart from the fact that Mother’s hair has greyed she looks just the same to me as in the days of the pillion riding, which days may we soon re-capture. I am eagerly awaiting the remaining photographs. They mean such a lot these days, & I spend a great deal of time looking at them & thinking of the days gone bye. [sic] I am pleased to learn that you have received the last letters & p.cs written from Le Kef. and the first four I sent from Médéa. The correspondence does seem to get through in time, sometimes a little out of sequence
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but I often find that some of your out of date letters answer some question or other about which I was doubtful. A very noteworthy case was your letter which said my allotment had been increased & you were receiving it. That letter was behind the times in getting through. It has been very hot since Sunday, we are just about reaching the peak hot weather period which lasts until about mid or end September. I am writing this letter to you sitting on my bed at 8.45 pm, wearing a pair of small white underpants which has represented my [indecipherable word] clothing for days. Sometimes, on dress occasions, ie, on our organised morning walks, it is better to be smartly dressed & put on a pair of khaki shorts. And to think I used to work in a tailoring business, but in these climates one is not sartorially minded. As I am writing to you [deleted] k [/deleted] now my right hand, which is clenched, is dripping perspiration. Don’t get the idea that we go around perpetually [deleted] [indecipherable word] [/deleted] perspiring, that is not the case, because as you will understand the heat out here is a dry heat, & therefore fortunately a fairly healthy one, provided one treats the mid-day & afternoon sun with respect. It is strange that in your to-day’s letter you should mention making silver marmalade, because in letters which must have crossed I said we were making jam (of a sort) but which was edible. Since the arrival of the Red Cross parcels I have made a number of rice puddings. You remember how I used to hate
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milk puddings. I cannot bake them but boil the rice in milk made from the Ambrosia powder, & add two eggs beaten up. Eggs & rice are cheap & it costs about 2 francs per person for pudding. To-day I stewed my ration of plums & had them with the pudding. As tomatoes are in season & cost next to nothing I fry these when I can get the fat, but the latter is a problem to get hold of. Since my last boxing match my nose which you will recall was often troublesome, has been sore, but now is getting all right again. It is a pity because it may bar me from future fights as it will always be a weak link & one which any decent oponent [sic] will immediately go for. Boxing is a terrific sport & it is not until next day that one realises what one has “stopped” & then greet a bruised opponent & find he is just realising what he has been the recipient of the night before. If this letter is a little muddled don’t blame me, but I have had so many interruptions people keep breezing along & sitting on the bed etc. The tables are occupied. From to-day’s photographs the opinion is that I am like Mother, but I look very different in this semi nude state bouncing around like a cherub. You know in conditions like ours one realises just what children, in fact “kids”, men are or can be, & yet one feels, or perhaps I should say I feel that when we get home we shall be more
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“men” than ever. The things I have learned are numerous, & I think often of the saying of the Yorkshire man. “If tha does owt” etc. but life here is complex & extremely dull & yet viewed in a philosophical light might be interesting, that depend on ones patience. It is extremely difficult to do nothing & do it well. You might say – well learn French – but it is impossible at least to learn it decently, because as we are the opportunities for learning French are better in England. Regarding the cables. As I have explained in earlier letters I [underlined] have [/underlined] received three pre-paid cables from you & replied to each in turn, the last one was July 13th. I don’t know why the reply to the second did not arrive, but if in future the same occurs again don’t worry because other people have had cables go astray quite unaccountedly, [sic] but by far the largest percentage get through. I am eagerly awaiting your next cable & do hope it affirms the arrival of my last reply, & that there will not be any hitches in future. Once again it is time to say good-bye until next letter. I am wondering if I shall be in time with good wishes for Dad’s birthday. I have included them in many earlier letters in the hope that some will arrive in time, but Dad will know where my thoughts will be on September 5th. And now good-night – may you keep fit, safe & well. With all my love, Douglas.



James Douglas Hudson, “Letter from Douglas Hudson to his parents,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 2, 2023, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/22543.

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