Letter from Douglas Hudson to his parents



Letter from Douglas Hudson to his parents


Writes that this is first letter since new limit on mail came in. Proposes he might type letters to get more words on page. Catches up with mail received. Glad his letters were reaching them and complaints had me made about how slow mail home was. Compares his weather to that at home. Says he need PT badly as he is getting fat. Says it was impossible to buy new gear and he was wearing grass sandals and need footwear. Thanks them for parcel and was good to hear Red Cross had arranged to send Christmas food parcels. He is concerned over indefinite stay. Discusses Red Cross parcel soap allowance and washing routine and that water was off 18 hours a day. Mentions local food available during each season and drinking coffee and red wine. Is enclosing photographs and catches up on telegrams sent/received. Mentions deduction from pay and presumes this provided his allowance of 500 francs per month. Reminisces about events in past events and discusses some news.




Temporal Coverage



Four page handwritten letter


IBCC Digital Archive


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Royal Air Force. 755052 Sgt. J. D. Hudson.
c/o Consul General des Etats Unis.
Rue Michelet.
Alger. Algerie.
Afrique du Nord.


My Dear Mother & Dad,

To-day is Tuesday and I wrote to you last on Thursday. A new law imposed by the French has just come into force restricting our letter writing to two letters per week, and these are the mail days. Whether this will be only a temporary measure I do not know. Our people are doing what they can to get it altered. As in the past all my letters with few exceptions have been for you it will make practically no difference. I was wondering if you would care for me to type letters to you. I could get more words on a page by this means, but I doubt if you would prefer typed letters. I would rather receive written letters from those dear to me and until I hear from you I shall continue to write. If you would prefer slightly longer letters well – I will type them. On Dad’s birthday I was pleased to receive your letter No. 70 & two from Dorothy. Today I received two more from you Nos. 68 & 69. Therefore, I have the complete sequence of 07 except for No. 11. This is very pleasing as is also the news that my mail is arriving more steadily. Complaints were made at this end about our letters taking so long to reach you when your letters arrived in 3 to 4 weeks. As a result we have been granted permission by the authorities in Alger to write Air Mail for 3 francs. The envelopes are to be marked via Algers – Marseilles & Lisbon – London. I hope this will speed up delivery. Excuse the blots, this pen is atrocious & practically dropping to pieces. You write in your letter No. 70 reviving the

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memories of August 1939. Yes they are still very vivid to me as well. My roses bloom just as yours do & I think it is their fragrance which helps us to build up a faith in the future, that we shall be able to call the [indecipherable word] material[?] roses together again. That time will arrive once more to be appreciated more than ever by us all. All your letters tell of rain and cold, directly in contrast to the weather we have experienced. At long last it is beginning to cool down and I started P.T. this morning for the first time since last May. It is cooler now than it was then. I need the P.T. badly I am very fat after spending four months lying about in the sweat & heat. Sweating here does not make people lose weight. On the contrary nearly everybody puts weight on with a vengeance. Soap & footwear are my most needy requirements. My footwear at present is practically exhausted & it is impossible to buy new gear. I am wearing grass[?] sandals now. Previously I have been going about bare-footed. Thank you so much for the parcel I have already received & for the second one you despatched end July. It is good to hear the Red X have arranged to send Christmas food parcels but it is a long wait to Christmas and to think we shall require them is not very encouraging. However, when the time arrives we shall be very glad of the cooperation of this splendid organisation. Planning anything ahead, even for future benefit, in this place is to me very depressing. The thought of an indeterminate stay here gives m the “oojoos” that is a new word I have just coined. It means the “willies”. Well I have just realised it is impossible to finish this letter on one sheet of paper so I am going to start up on a second sheet and trust the people with

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blue pencils will spare a little extra time and censor both pages. I notice your remarks that according to the “Prisoner of War” the amount of soap allowed in each parcel is to be 11 ozs [sic] ie [sic] just under four tablets. If you could send this amount quarterly I should be able to manage together with the soap I hope to receive from future Red Cross ordinary supplies. Throughout the summer I have made a fetish of washing. I have seized [?] every available opportunity when the water has been on to strip (i.e. take off my shorts) & get under the tap. You must understand the water is cut off 18 hours out of 24. It is on for two hours morning, noon & evening throughout the summer. Last winter[?] it was never shut off. I am very glad to learn that you still get a good ration of boiled sweets & toffee. Such things are absolutely unobtainable here. Instead there is a supply of dates practically throughout the year. Oranges are plentiful in the season commencing November until Feb. March & April brings apricots & little green apples. Plums in May. In June & July we revert to dates, and in July & August & September peaches & grapes are in season, but we see very poor quality specimens. October brings the pomegranates & fresh dates start. We get very few potatoes, but a lot of carrots in. During the summer the staple vegetable is marrow, tomatoes yes[?] late summer & onions more or less throughout the year. The dried food which goes to make up the bulk consists of macaroni, split peas, lentils & cous-cous. That is a fair resume of our diet. We drink a lot of red wine & a little black coffee. An excellent diet for producing tummies, more often referred to as “pots”. I suppose it

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is satisfactory. I personally have a blemish less skin which is well tanned. We get sun for breakfast, dinner & tea all the year round. I am enclosing two photos of a gym display & one of the last[?] concert group showing “Snowhite” to advantage. These were taken at the beginning of April. The telegram you received on August 10th dated Laghouat Aug 8th left me on the day of your Wedding Anniversary. There is always this few days delay in despatch from this end. Lately, however, the general delivery of telegrams appears to have improved greatly. I am pleased you have resorted to the old “pre-paid” reply system. I find it more satisfactory. I understand that Air Ministry deduct £1.00 per month for all U.C.6. prisoners. We presume this covers the allowance of 500 francs paid to us monthly by the Consul, but we do not know definitely. Any information you could glean concerning this matter would be very useful. I am afraid there is no W/Op. George Horne[?] in our midst. If he was reported missing in June he would have arrived by now. I shall never forget our last journey in the Rolls to [indecipherable word], our little trip to the florists and never never the waving good-bye on the platform. Now it can be told I really did think it was good-bye and it was the worst time I ever experienced in my twenty-five years. I shall never never forget the moment the train steamed out. It is when I think of this that the days of confinement here seem more of a blessing than otherwise. This is my happiest[?] philosophy. There are several little points in all your letters I cannot reply to for lack of space, but I do notice them all. So until we rejoice together again, keep up good cheer. All my love is for you both together with my very best thoughts & wishes. Douglas.



J D Hudson, “Letter from Douglas Hudson to his parents ,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed January 20, 2022, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/22860.

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