Letter from Douglas Hudson to his parents



Letter from Douglas Hudson to his parents


Catches up on latest telegram and letter he had received and discusses his reply cable. Says he is trying out registered air mail to send letter as this may take only three weeks. New limit of two letters a week was due to increased number of personnel in camp. Says he is eagerly awaiting arrival of future parcels via the Red Cross. Mentions latest weather including recent rain. Discusses content of letters and mentions problems of flies and how dealt with. Tells of writing article in French about flies. Writes about pilot fellow internee and reminisces about their arrival in North Africa. Concludes with gossip about food.




Temporal Coverage



Four page handwritten letter and envelope.


IBCC Digital Archive


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[underlined] COMMANDÉE [/underlined]
[PAR AVION stamp]
[three postage stamps]
[four postmarks]
ET [underlined] LISBONNE – LONDRES [/underlined]
Sept 15th/42
[page break]
DE:- SGT. H. D. HUDSON 755052
[inserted] Remember Roberts M. C. shared locked. [/inserted]
[page break]
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,
As I am writing this letter I have before me your telegram dated September 12th received yesterday, and your letter No. 71 which arrived this morning. Your telegram brought the good news about the continuance of the arrival of my mail and reads as follows:- “Delighted cable received eighth twelve letters June 5th to July 17th Dad’s holiday weekend staying home all love” I sent the following reply this morning:- “Delighted prepaid cable twelfth received yesterday fourteenth your letters arrive in perfect sequence latest seventyone am experimenting writing letter today registered airmail well all love thoughts wishes Douglas Hudson.” As I [deleted] as [/deleted] say in my cable this letter is somewhat an experiment. I am sending it by registered mail because I have heard a similar letter sent from here some time ago arrived in three weeks. I hope my present letter will have the same success. I should think that from the philatelic point of view the envelope should be interesting at some future date. It will bear the usual marks of censorship, plus in all probability about 20 francs in stamps, together with the general registered stampings etc. If this letter should make a speedy journey perhaps you would cable me upon its arrival so that I may repeat the experiment. It appears from the trend of your recent cables and letters that there has been a considerably marked
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improvement in the general arrival of my letters since spring of this year, and that the cable situation has also improved during the past few weeks. This is very encouraging news and I have more heart in writing to you these days knowing of the better chances of my mail reaching you. My present letter is slightly longer than my average ones, as was my letter written to you exactly one week ago. I don’t think there is any particular restriction to the length provided the limits of reason are not passed. I mentioned in my last two letters that a restriction had been brought into force by the French, limiting the number of letters written per man per week to two. This was purely on account of the increase in personnel here, and to combat the difficulties of enormous quantities of mail accumulating, doubtless for local censoring. As there are many people here who are not particularly keen on writing frequently, and as many many [sic] others have not the note paper on which to write, I think that in personal cases this restriction will not necessarily apply. I shall always continue to write to you twice weekly whatever happens. I realise only too well the joy you experience when my mail reaches you and I am sure the joy of writing is as great. The arrival of your letters to me is wonderful as you must understand from my past cables. I am eagerly looking forward to the arrival of your future Red Cross parcels, and I repeat how much I appreciate your endeavours in preparing [deleted] of [/deleted] these useful things. They are appreciated out here where it is an impossibility to obtain such things. In an earlier letter you asked me why I put “Douglas Hudson” on my cables. Your surmise was correct, and the postal
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authorities insisted on the inclusion of christian names in case reference had to be made to the readers. I shall break off writing now and take advantage of the hour to get under the tap and have a cold swill deux. It is not anything like as hot now the worst part of summer is well behind and the weather is getting quite pleasant. Yesterday evening it began to rain and continued steadily for about seven hours. Altogether I imagine as much rain fell in that short time as we have had altogether since our arrival in Laghouat eleven months ago. This morning the ground looked like the beach when the tide has gone out. I believe I mentioned this to you once before when writing after a rainy night in January. When we arrived here I was given to understand that Laghouat never did have any rain so this came as rather a surprise. In your letter No. 71 which came to-day you mention mine of June 2nd which you refer to as somewhat “sad-making”. Spirits at zero evidently. I cannot remember this letter in particular, but I suppose at the time I was feeling temporarily “browned off” which is quite a natural proceeding here. As you go on to say, and which is perfectly true, I can keep on hoping for freedom and happiness again. This is a great consolation and one which helps to keep the fires burning. I am glad for John’s sake to hear of his success at last which brings in its train added comfort. I often wonder what his next move will be. I have a man here – John’s namesake – and strangely enough he served in the same capacity. You mention the flies. We have a lot here but not as many as at Kef. They were very deadly there and swarmed in clouds everywhere. Here we have netting on the windows which keeps them out. They do come in via
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the door but these can be effectively blitzed by means of waging a towel wafting war. Once expelled they are fairly slow in returning. It is however, quite a common practice still, to blitz several hundreds out of the door in the early morning. They come in during the morning because until about 9. a.m. we keep every available aperture open. I once wrote an article, very short, about the flies in French, as an exercise. I hope one day to be able to show it to you. I drew wonderful comparisons of flies coming in waves doing dive bombing attacks. Wizard! By the way we have a Stockport chap with us in our room now. He is a pilot but did his training at the same place as I only about two years later. Some of the old haunts are still as when we left, entirely untouched. Well time flies at an amazing rate. It is really surprising when I think back and realise that over two years have passed since we first disturbed African soil and sundry Arabs tilling their neighbouring land. I shall never forget the way they crowded round us. I felt like someone landed from Mars except considerably more cheesed. Talking of cheesed brings me to food. We do not do the individual cooking we used to for several reasons. Firstly we have our own Galley now and consequently eat far more of our rations than when we ate the Arabs own preparations. The food is the same only cooked differently. Needless to say it is all soup. The Red Cross supplies of late have been of the [deleted] [indecipherable word] [/deleted] cooked meat variety and jam and cheese etc. All we have prepared ourselves has been an occasional “Duff” made from old bread soaked in water and squeezed fairly dry, added to which have been raisins, prunes, milk etc. This concoction we have had baked by our own Galley people. On this note I must leave you until next letter. With all my love, thoughts and best wishes as ever. Keep of good cheer. Douglas.



J D Hudson, “Letter from Douglas Hudson to his parents,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed May 22, 2022, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/22862.

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