We landed in Liverpool harbor Christmas Day, 1941. The dock areas were a favorite for German bombers so we were hustled off the ship onto waiting trains and moved to Bournemouth. On the Letitia and throughout the convoy, strict blackout conditions prevailed but now we saw what it was like on land. When we stopped at a station, we could get a cup of tea and a biscuit or something from the N.A.F.F.I., who were at all the railway stations. Everything seemed very drab and run down. Generally the toilets were plugged and overflowing and maintenance and cleaning was poor. It was easy to see the austere conditions the people were living under.

Bournemouth was a very popular resort and it was full of hotels and similar establishment. These had all been commandeered for the Airforce. We were billeted in these hotels and we went to a central location for meals. The weather was mild and we had nothing to do but amuse ourselves while awaiting postings. I got a few days embarkation leave and my brother George, who was in the Royal Canadian Artillery, also got leave and met me. He had just got out of the guardhouse where he had been sentenced for disciplinary measures. Apparently he had been on guard duty and he was supposed to wake up an officer at a certain time. He didn't do so because he figured the officer should know when he had to get up and shouldn't need a lowly private to tell him. I recall I had scabies, I probably picked them up on the ship.

I went to London but I didn't like it much. Then, I believe, I went to visit cousin Florrie in Flookborough Lanchashire. She was a cousin of Dad's and she was an ex-school teacher. She had her own house and car, she drove me around the Lake District as much as her petrol allowance would permit. Then I went to visit another cousin of Dad's in Ulverson, Lanc. (These places are all in the scenic Lake District of England.) Her name was Miss Mabel Atkinson, she was very friendly and I recall Dad always saying he liked cousin Mabel. Neither Mabel or Florrie had much of an accent.
Whenever I went through a large city there was the rubble and debris from the bombings. Food was poor and not very plentiful. For example if you got a sandwich from the N.A.A.F.I. at the stations, the bread was unpalatable and the meat fillings contained very little meat. The pubs had quite restricted opening hours and there was no hard liquor, but you could generally get beer. Whenever you wanted to go the cinema or take the tube, train, etc. there were always lineups (queues) for everything. The people were very orderly and no one tried to push ahead or get any advantage. The women would queue up for hours to get their rations allotments at the stores.

It was quite a sight to see all the people sleeping in the underground stations in London. Looking back it amazes one to think of how adaptable people are. Everyone seemed to accept their lot without complaints and I admired their selfless acceptance to the hardships of war.

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