Envelope : Posted by M Campbell
Railway Refreshment Rooms
Spencer Street (Melbourne)
Salvation Army letterhead
2 – 5 – 42
As it may be some days before I am able to write you I’m taking advantage of the time at hand to drop you a few lines. We had a marvellous crossing in the plane. Just two hours from Western Junction to Essendon. They served a tea of cold salad, ham and fowl followed by peaches and cream and coffee – though I didn’t have much of it, it was very nice.
A feature of the trip was coming through the search lights. After seeing so many search light displays and the planes picked up in the lights, it was an interesting experience to have them play on you.
We were supposed to move yesterday but at two o’clock we were told we would not be going till today and were given leave until 9.30 this morning so I went out to Ivy’s for the night. The youngster looks much better than when I saw her last week. They’re having a few people out to tea tonight as a little anniversary celebration and wanted me to go out but of course that’s not possible.
Melbourne is certainly full of Yanks. They’re everywhere in all the queerest array of uniforms you can imagine.
I can hear the sergeant major calling for a parade – it may be just another, or it may be the real thing so I’ll have to go. Goodbye for the moment Mother.
All my love
Flying to Melbourne
I assume the troops were flown from Launceston due to its central location – i.e. those living in the north west and those from the south could travel by train to that airport. It appears that ANA would have operated the flight that took Dad from Western Junction (Launceston) to Essendon (Melbourne) : From Wikipedia – When Australia entered World War II in 1939 the federal government requisitioned ANA’s four DC-3s, leaving it to battle on with its assortment of lesser aircraft. However, ANA was soon operating a network of services around Australia on behalf of the war effort. It operated a large number of Douglas DC-2s, DC-3s and even at least one rare Douglas DC-5 mostly on the behalf of the American forces in Australia.
Image – Dougles DC2 airliner (Wikipedia)
Image – troops leaving Hobart by train.(from C J Dennison Hobart at War 1939 to 1945)
Americans in Melbourne
World War II US Uniforms – from http://www.thephora.net
6th May 1942
Dear Mother & Dad
Just a few lines to let you know we have arrived at our new camp – quite a good spot too in most ways though of course we’re not quite settled in yet and there’s plenty of work to do.
I wrote a few lines from Melbourne but as I had no opportunity of posting it asked the lady in charge of the canteen where we had tea to put it in an envelope and post for me but don’t know whether she did so or not. We had a spot of luck at Sydney – we arrived there about half past one on Sunday afternoon and after being provided with a meal at the Railway restaurant were given leave till midday Monday. So I rang Mrs Toomey and went out there. Sydney caters well for the troops and there are quite a number of places where all meals – and good meals too – are free and it’s no trouble to get a bed either.
I was talking to Andy Morton, Dick’s offsider in the 31st RAP and he told me Dick was in hospital with malaria – pretty sick too I believe. That’s as tough a bit of luck as you’d hear about – to go through Syria and miss it when they were going down like flies and then to cop it here. If he had to cop it, pity he didn’t get it before he left home : it would have been a lot better for him to be in hospital at home than over here.
Ack Hallam, Jim McDonnell and a few of the others are working with the LAD’s at present at a camp in town.
Must say cheerio now. All the best to May, Ann and the boys.
According the Mayo clinic, the malaria parasite can lie dormant inside the human body for as long as a year, so it’s likely that Dick was actually bitten in Syria but the disease did not progress until he returned. He would have had his home leave before Dad because he arrived home a month earlier – so by the time of this letter he would have been in camp in New South Wales. His home was in Hobart – hence the comment that it was a pity he didn’t get it before he left home. If he had been in Hobart, at least friends and family would have been able to support his recovery.