Letter from Kenneth Gill to his mother



Letter from Kenneth Gill to his mother


Writes of life at Turner Field, Georgia, including food, putting on weight, weather, pay, the hospitality and American people, local churches, American cars and on base activities. Continues with description of visits to local town. Expecting to be moved on to Florida.




Temporal Coverage



Seven page handwritten letter and envelope


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[underlined] BY AIR MAIL. [/underlined]
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P.C. 90

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1438901. L.A.C. GILL. K.

FEB. 15TH/42.

Dear Mum & all.

Hello all, how's things with you at home? all well and keeping your chins up?

I'm doing fine here just now and keeping fit. The food is still very plentiful and delicious, although I suppose pretty soon rationing will have started for things such as sugar etc.

I've put on a bit more weight since I left home and scale 158 lbs (11st. 4lbs) stripped so I'm not doing so bad am I? My best suit still fits fairly well but my old suit has got as tight as a drum round the chest

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shoulders & waist. However we should be receiving khaki suits soon so that should relieve the situation. The weather here is still like our summer-time and my face has turned a little darker (like I am at Leuchars).

The service issue pants & singlets got a bit warm, so last week after being paid $20 we went on a shopping trip & I got two sets of under-clothes & a new shirt. Things like that are a little cheaper here than at home and I've still got $15 left after shopping & ten days entertainments & refreshments.

The American people are very hospitable towards us and last Sunday seventy-five of us were invited to dinner at Sylvester a little town twenty miles from here. Bert & I were lucky & had our names drawn from the hat. (Bert is one of my room-mates).

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Transport took us over to Sylvester and our first call was service at church. There we put all our names on a paper & the families put their names against the boys they were to take. The service was very good, a cross between Church of England, Methodist, and an oratory on Hyde Park Corner. The minister broke into his sermon by saying "O.K. folks that clock's wrong, & I'm gonna quit in about five minutes anyway. Still we enjoyed it & the hymns were sung in great gusto. After the service Bert & I found we'd drawn a Mrs. Cook for dinner, & found ourselves being introduced to a lady of about thirty with two small children, Sidney and Sandra. Their car was outside & we were whisked away to a large wooden bungalow. We were introduced to Mr. Cook and after a little chat we settled down to a large dinner. I can't remember the names of all the dishes but they were grand. After dinner we went

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for a drive round the town & countryside, while the negro maid cleared away the dishes. The car was a Dodge Super DeLuxe with 110 h.p. under the bonnet. It had a wireless, heater, cigarette lighter, and automatic synchronised gears as special features. We have to hand it to America for cars & car-comfort anyway. Returning to Cook's we played table-tennis until 3.30 p.m. then they gave us a pile of magazines and a large bag of pecan nuts & took us back to the church where we picked up our transport again to return to camp. Before we left they gave us an open invitation to return any time we liked while we are here. Since then I've been twice, once on Tuesday on my own, & again yesterday with Bert. On Tuesday I didn't arrive arrive [sic] there while 8.30 p.m. but was made very welcome and had a good time. We phoned them on Thursday and they asked us over for tea on Saturday.

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We arrived at 2.0 p.m. and Mr. Cook took us for a ride while Mrs. Cook cleared up a bit. After that Mrs. Cook took over the car and we toured Sylvester being introduced to young ladies & proud mothers etc. We finally found two who were disengaged sortof [sic] & bundled them into the car with us. The whole lot of us then went to a dance & had a very good time. There were quite a number of our boys there and plenty of girls. We had lots of fun trying to jitterbug and finally made the grade with a roar of approval from our host & hostess.

The two girls Betty & Marjery had to leave & attend to their regular social activities, so Bert & I & the Cooks went home to tea about 7.0 o'clock. Tea was more like late dinner & we had ham, scrambled eggs, chip potatoes, vegetable salad, tomatoes, pickles & cheese all on one plate. After that we had Butterscotch pie as dessert

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& finished off with coffee & cakes. We needed a rest after that lot so we sat & talked for an hour. They took us back to the dance at 10 o'clock & we said "Cheerio" to the girls etc. & departed after a couple of dances. Bert & I decided to thumb a lift back, rather than use our hosts petrol & tires, and we left at 10.30 p.m. after a very good day. It didn't take very long to get a lift & we arrived at the camp gates at 11-40 p.m.

A camp car picked us up there & drove us back to our billets by 11-50 p.m. By 12-10 a.m. we were in bed & fast asleep.

That's just how it happened and if all the people over here are like the Cook's and their friends we have nothing to worry about.

By the time this reaches you I'll have moved on to some

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other place, most probably in Florida and I hope we find the people there as good as they are here.

Well dad, I may be a bit late if this doesn't get to you before the 27th but I will wish you a "Very Happy Birthday".

That's all for now mum, I'm looking forward to receiving your first letter yet, but theyv'e started arriving so it shouldn't be long now.

Don't worry about me, I'll be alright, look after yourselves & remember me to Aunts & Uncles etc.

Good Night & God Bless You All.

Your Loving Son.

Ken. Xxxxxxxxxx.

David. Xxxxxxxxxx.



K Gill, “Letter from Kenneth Gill to his mother ,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 15, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/35566.

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