A picture show, an extra good concert … and serious training begins (2 letters)

TX 1004

Sgt Max Hickman

2/33rd Bn AIF

3rd Sept 44

Dear Mother

Being Sunday and having finished the washing and been to church shall settle down to write a few letters – owe quite a lot this week.  How are you Mother.  Happy and well I hope – and Gran too hope she’s better again.

Had a letter from Ivy during the week – suppose you had one too.  Youngster is quite thrilled having Bill home from leave and then a southern posting – the best news (family news) I’ve had for a long time.  It’s to be hoped the posting holds for the rest of the war – don’t suppose there’s many places they can send Naval men when they’re unfit for tropical service.

The amenities in these parts seem particularly good.  There was an extra good concert on Thursday night – one of the best I’ve seen – army concerts have reached a really high standard these days though of course being Divisional shows they don’t get around to unit areas much.  This show has quite a lot of high ranking artists.  The singing and musical items being particularly good – could have listened to them all night – and the variety programme left little to be desired.  The organisation of continuity was excellent – never a break and never a dull moment.

Then last night we went to a picture show – although both pictures were old – had seen one of them twice before and the other once – I enjoyed the show.  The first picture was San Francisco – don’t know if you’ve seen it but I think it’s one of the best Jeanette MacDonald made.  It’s really a powerful picture.  The other show was Desert Victory.

There was rather a funny incident during a stunt on Friday.  We stopped for a smoko and of course made the most of the shade at the side of the road.  One of my blokes no sooner sat down than he bounced ten feet in the air having sat on a snake.  He’s no sooner landed on his feet than two hornets went to town on him, one of them scoring a direct hit, much to the amusement of the mob.

Must do something about these fleas this morning Mother.  There’s so much dust and straw that it’s just a little playground for them and you can imagine how they go to town on a tasty morsel like me.  However I’ll scrape up the dust presently and see if I can get some phenyl.  Cooper’s sheep dip powder would be the drill but rather doubt that there’ll be any about.

Got dragged away to a meeting of the mess to determine the prices of spirits – not that I suppose we’ll get that much but still it’s just as well to know what we’re up for.  Had a bottle of Fosters last night – very nice too.  They tell me we’ll be getting two bottles a week.

I must say cheerio now Mother.  There’s been another menace here to disturb me – had my blankets airing on the telephone wires and apparently it upset things so had better do something about it.  Give my love to May, Anne & Carline & regards to the boys

Love

Max

Entertainment

The image at the top of this post (AWM 066540) shows members of the 4th Division concert party erecting their portable stage for the night’s show. … On the concert stage truck (Fargo type) the steel framework is bolted together and canvas awnings are slung over it to complete the mobile stage.

The AWM collection contains many images of concert performances, such as the following :

TX 1004

Sgt Max Hickman

2/33rd Bn AIF

9th Sept 44

Dear Mother

Received your welcome letter early in the week but haven’t had a chance to reply till now as we’ve been very busy – nothing really tough so far but one doesn’t get much time to attend to letter writing particularly the sergeants with so much time taken in administration.  However Mother am on guard today so hope to catch up a little.

Was glad to hear that life is moving along smoothly , that you, May the children and the troops are as happy as possible with things as they are.  Haven’t heard any more from Dad.  I didn’t answer his letter as he’d said it would be no use doing so as he had no fixed address and from the way he wrote it didn’t sound as though he intended to stay.  However Youngster has had a letter since and from the tone in which she wrote to me  I think he’ll try and see the season through now though he’s finding it very hard – Ten hours a day of that work is too much for him.  It’s a young man’s job.   I hope he’ll give it away and go back home.  Don’t suppose it’s any use writing him to the address he wrote from though I suppose it would catch up eventually.

I am pleased to hear that Daisy’s baby is better – those things can be very tough can’t they.  If you do manage to get down give her my kind regards Mother will you.  Really must try and write to Daph and May but once again time is the big factor in the appreciation.

Bill turned up alright and apparently things are going along very nicely.  Ivy sounded very happy and it seems that the baby is thrilled too.  They’ve had a few short trips in the car and done a show.  Think it will mean a lot to both of them to have him stationed near home.

Thank Laurie for me for looking after the car Mother will you – wouldn’t like to have it deteriorate for want of a run occasionally.

Will say cheerio now – give my love to May & Anne & Carline & regards to Laurie & the boys.

Love

Max.

We’ve been busy

The battalion Diary and Training Schedule indicate the return to ‘training in earnest’…

The AWM collection holds images of training in the area at this time – though not of Dad’s Battalion.

Image 081082 : September 1944 – Troops of the 2/14th Infantry Battalion advance up a hill to take a position during a battalion exercise.

AWM 085195 : Danbulla, Atherton Tableland – December 1944 – Vickers machine gun used to provide fire power over the heads of advancing forces in an exercise being conducted at HQ 7 Division.

Surprising omission : September 7 Memorial Service

I wonder whether there was still an order in force, preventing mention of the Liberator disaster (see http://www.liberatorcrash.com ) in letters. It’s the only way I can rationalise the fact that Dad didn’t mention the memorial service held on the anniversary of that event – September 7. It’s mentioned in the Battalion War Diary (see image above) and in the following week’s Griffin, and I’m sure Dad would have been strongly affected by the service.

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