Letter from Harold Gorton to his wife



Letter from Harold Gorton to his wife


He writes of a journey through Birmingham and of domestic arrangements.




Temporal Coverage



Eight handwritten sheets


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[Royal Air Force crest]
S/Ldr. H. Gorton
[deleted] FISKERTON [/deleted] [inserted] Ingham [/inserted]
Tuesday 12/9/44
I was hoping to be able to write to you last night when I arrived, but couldn’t manage it, so I’ll send you a report of my activities now.
The journey was no trouble – except that I had to keep asking the way through B’ham – but I missed you very much, as it was no fun at all to drive without you sitting beside me. I ate my sandwiches while I was going along & arrived at Spalford at 5.25, [deleted] f [/deleted] six hours ten minutes for a journey of 164 miles. Incidentally, George Lane offered to let me have an extra gallon any time I wanted it!
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Mrs. Gibson made tea for me & then I set about my various jobs. I paid her £4-4..0 (rather a wrench, that!) & also gave her the tomatoes & bacon that had come from the grocer, as they were the things likely to spoil.
I went & had a chat with the milkman (he hadn’t brought any milk, but I didn’t remind him of that). I told him that Mrs. Gibson would let him know when he was to call again, & then we had a chat about horses. I said I wanted him to teach me how to ride when I had a bit of spare time! He then explained to me in detail how to take up hunting & make it pay, & he also told me what a tonic it was for him if he spent some time with people of good breeding (i.e. the hunting
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crowd). I forbore to point out to him that most of the people who hunted nowadays were nouveaux riches, & just agreed with him.
I went over to Trevor’s with the petrol cans & found he had quite a posse of R.A.F. blokes working for him – two decorating the living room & one digging the garden. There may have been more, but I didn’t see them. I spoke to the decorators & they said Trevor had already arranged for them to do our house when they have finished the present job.
I forgot to say that the two mirrors arrived unscratched & the rest of the crocks as well
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I think, but I hadn’t time to examine them.
I also saw Mrs Inch Smith. She is still hopeful about getting a house, but otherwise will stay until the 30th. A few of the tomatoes have turned & I have arranged for her to sell them to Margetson for us each week when he comes; the first time will be on Friday. There was a bit of a frost last night so I am rather anxious about them.
I was telling her how much stuff we had brought up already so she suggested that we park some of it in that lumber room of hers. It is already cleared out as she has been getting rid of her junk, so I think I will move some of the things there, as I really don’t think you could live
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in the downstairs room as it is at present.
The only correspondence waiting for me was the Somerset application form (which I shall fill up later tonight), & a letter from the Ministry of Fuel with regard to your shopping petrol. Apparently it is necessary to fill up another form for that, so I am going to do it as best I can & send it off. There was also a book from Smith’s – A Cornish Childhood, by A.L. Rowse. I’ll read it & then let you have it.
This Petrol form is Dom/1, & is a supplement to R(MS) application form.
[circled 1] Name of nearest place for getting essential foodstuffs – North Scarle.
[circled 2] Walking distance (nearest 1/4 ml). 2 miles
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[circled 3] Available public transport – None.
[circled 5] What goods are delivered by tradesmen & how many times per week. Meat & groceries – Once a week.
[circled 6] State whether you are the householder
– Yes
[circled 7] Number of permanent residents –
[circled 8] Any special circumstances which necessitate the use of a private motor vehicle.
This is where I put out our main case – that it is essential to go to Newark or Lincoln at least once a week as there are so many things that must be bought, apart from rationed goods.
I hope the above meets with your approval. It might be as well if you kept this page so that we can put the same answers down next time.
(Pause while I eat an apple.
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Tell your mother I’ve already eaten the pears).
All the arrangements I’ve described above naturally took some time, so I had to cut out the idea of taking my washing to Fiskerton, & arrived here at 8.30. I would have written to you last night, but when I reached my room, I found that there was no light, as the current had been cut off.
We had lectures all day until 5.0 p.m. & then I got in the car & drove to Scampton. I was lucky in finding a tailor who would do some overtime on my tunic for me; he charged me 5/- on each tunic, but
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of course, it’s quite a big job, & as far as I’m concerned, well worth it. While he was doing my tunic I went to Fiskerton to collect soap & towel, which I hadn’t brought with me; my dressing gown & slippers are still at Spalford, but I’ll collect them on Thursday.
All my love, darling. I hope you are feeling rested now.



Harold Gorton, “Letter from Harold Gorton to his wife,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed March 1, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/9260.

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