The Letter Behind the Radiator
In 2006 an old letter was found unopened, wedged behind a radiator in Onslow Court. Imagine the surprise and excitement of George Rudd who used to live in flat 18 when he unearthed it. Unopened it presented so many interesting ideas, who had sent it and what did it contain?
The letter is dated February 1942; it had fallen from sight and lay undiscovered and unopened for more than 63 years. It appears to have been sent by a Mrs Comfort from Bromley, she sent it to Gunner R. J. Comfort of 3rd Field Regiment, Canadian Army in Worthing. The letter implies that Mrs Comfort is his wife; is the referred to boyfriend a joke or a euphemism or code even?
We know that there were many Canadian soldiers billeted in Worthing during WW2, but no one is sure they ended up in Onslow Court. Research at Worthing Library was made to try and find out more. Unfortunately records were scant and for a very good reason, groups of soldiers in buildings were kept secret during the war, records were either heavily censored or not made at all for fear of them (and the soldiers) getting into enemy hands.
Below is a transcript of the letter. If only the Royal Mail was as efficient now as it was then!
21 Bourne Road, Bromley, Kent. 4th February 1942
“My Own Dearest Husband,
I got your letter first post this morning. I am sorry to hear you’ve broken your nose again darling. I hope it doesn’t hurt too much. Tony has got to go for his Medical tomorrow, for this Army Training school. Joan is writing to you.
“I hope you can get up at the weekend, even if it’s only for one night dear. Have you got all that washing done yet? My boyfriend came to see me for a little while this afternoon. Of course you are forgiven for accusing me of putting port in your beer. It would be a waste of good port, besides spoiling your beer.
“I am sorry if the room was dusty. I only swept and dusted it Saturday morning, by the time you finish dusting it, you have to start all over again.
“It is not quite as cold here today. What is it like down there. Your letters don’t take very long to get here. The one I had this morning left Worthing at 8 o’clock last night, and I got it at 7.30 this morning. You left your Palmolive After Shave Talc here and your darts.
“Mrs Staples said Brian keeps telling her that Uncle Frank’s a soldier. John’s in disgrace again after being good all this long time. Mrs Staples has to stay away from work for a week as she is run down. I dreamt you were chasing me with a knife last night.
“I’m sorry this is such a short letter darling, but there’s nothing else to tell you.
All my love and kisses,
Yours forever dearest – Pegtips”
Did Gunner R. J. Croft ever receive the letter?
The letter is now in the care of Worthing Museum. Transcription, scans and research by Jan Beeson Flat 9