30 August 1919

H.M.A.S. Clemnitz
At Sea

Dear Love

We are now a day on our way across the Bight & should reach Adelaide on Tuesday Nov 2nd where this will be posted. It will probably reach you on the 4th or 5th and I’ll be home on the 7th. After these years it seems almost unbelievable that I can reckon on my fingers the days between us, but it is so though at times it seems too good to be true. I have always thought that the voyage home would seem very long but this one has been actually longer than I expected. Fancy, 64 days between Plymouth and Sydney! Two months of sea-sickness (more or less) bad food & indigestion! I must have lost over a stone in weight and I’ll need the extra weeks holiday that landing after the 2nd gives me.

You’ll be thinking that I’ve developed into a confirmed grumbler and perhaps you’ll be right but I think a few days at home will set me right again. We put in a day at Capetown and six days at Durban & since leaving the latter place have only averaged about 10 miles an hour, due to the S.A. coal and engines badly in need of repair. We won’t stop more than a few hours in Adelaide and Melbourne and should arrive at Sydney Saturday or early Sunday morning. Whether I will get off as soon as the troops or not remains to be seen but at most I won’t be more than half a day after them.

Have been looking at my pay account and including the few pounds I’ll have in my pocket, I should step ashore worth £350. We will be able to consider together as to what use we’ll put it to. Some of it will go in traveling if we visit all the people who expect us. Don’t plan too early a start, Sweetheart for the visiting. I’d like to have a quiet week or so somewhere with you before we start rushing about the country. What do you think about it?

Yesterday morning we had our first glimpse of Australia, the S.W. corner and it seemed to bring the first realisation of the fact that we are coming Home. We lost sight of the land in the afternoon and now are experiencing typical Bight weather. Heavy seas and plenty of rain and wind. We’ll see land again on Tuesday as we go into Adelaide and after that we’ll be in sight of it practically all the way home. I just looking forward now to sighting the Heads and recognising again all the old landmarks that lead me to Home and you. How much those two little words contain of future promise. God has surely been good to us.

Monday Sept 1st

The sea is much calmer today but it is fairly cold and raining. The Orsova has passed us and is now disappearing into the mist. She is doing 14 knots to our ten and will probably be in Sydney a day and a half ahead of us. This old tub seems fearfully slow. Yesterday we only covered 235 miles and now it is doubtful we’ll get to Adelaide tomorrow in time to disembark the men who are to get off there. In that case it may be Monday before we sight Sydney but a day or so, more or less, won’t count now Sweetheart. How the time does drag out, though, it seems a week since I started this letter instead of two days. Well, in another week, this stormy chapter of our lives will be ended and we’ll start the new one in peace and love together.

I suppose I’ll have quite a lot to occupy by attention for a while and there’ll be plenty of study to do before I get to work. I’ll have to get a fresh outfit of clothing etc. and that will be expensive. Is there any of my old stuff about? If I walk into a tailors as a Major, I think the prices would take a jump and I’m mean enough not to want to pay anything more than the least. By the way Dearest, don’t expect me to go home and make a huge hole in a mountain of eatables. Doctor’s orders are that I have to diet myself for some time yet. However terra firma and exercise will put me right quickly.

I have brought a lot of souvenirs with me and I’m not sure how the customs people will behave about them. They are mostly scrap iron and fairly weighty. I have also quite a lot of books and they are not over light at all. I haven’t brought home any presents as a matter of fact my pay-book was never able to stand the strain. I believe I made Mrs Hyndman think me the meanest creature alive. She pointed out all sorts of lovely presents for the homefolk, laces, pottery etc but I declined to purchase anything. I think she expected me to get her something and I would have liked to do so but at the time, I had barely enough to pay my fare back. Later on we’ll correct these little omissions. Must close now Sweetheart as its getting late. Will write again from Melbourne. With all my love Sweetheart and looking forward to speedy reunion. Yours only and ever Viv.





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