|About the Book|
My brother and I were aware of the existence of our parents letters as they had for many years been stored in a well used damp garage. Upon our parents death the family papers were entrusted to Dennis care and upon investigating a small oldMoreMy brother and I were aware of the existence of our parents letters as they had for many years been stored in a well used damp garage. Upon our parents death the family papers were entrusted to Dennis care and upon investigating a small old cardboard suitcase held together by a dilapidated pair of tights these letters and cables were found- the photographs being in a family album were better protected and survived also.Having fond memories of the years we spent in Australia during the war, I read the letters and found that they told the personal story of a family separated by war. When you read them you are in effect looking over the shoulder of George and Vi as they write, these are their words, nothing has been left out but I would advise that as a result of wartime censorship the contents of ones letters had to be restricted.If George or Vis comments offend anybody then let me apologize in advance. However, as most of the main characters have probably died I dont think anybody will take exception.William Henry (George) was born to William and Emily Carlton at 22 Burdett Chambers, Burdett Street, near what is now the Imperial War Museum in London on the 4th of February 1906. At about the age of seven, he had to walk to Covent Garden in the early hours of the morning to wash vegetables for which he was rewarded by being given a breakfast of kippers and a pint of beer before going off to school. By the age of twelve he had graduated to driving a horse and cart delivering bread. William joined the Royal Army Medical Corp as a boy bugler in 1921 and so to man service as a clerk in 1924 where he gained the nickname of George. During his service in Egypt he met Ellen Violet(Vi) the eldest daughter of Warrant Officer and Mrs Mann. They married in England in 1932, and had two sons, Richard and Dennis. George and his family were posted to Singapore in 1938 where he was commissioned as a Lieutenant (Quarter Master), in December 1941.As a result of the Japanese invasion of Malaya and their rapid advance down the peninsula- we, that is Vi, Richard and Dennis were evacuated from Singapore on the P & O liner Orion to Australia on the first of January 1942, our father being in the Army remained behind. We arrived in Melbourne via Freemantle with one suitcase, a sewing machine and a limited amount of money that included a Singapore Dollar. We were given temporary accommodation in the Victoria Palace Hotel, Little Collins Street, Melbourne, eventually moving to a bungalow in Sandringham with fellow evacuees Mrs. Gladys Barnett and her daughter Josephine. Thus the story as told in these letters unfolds.However, before starting to read, We would remind the reader that in these so called modern times when you can contact your loved ones so easily by Phone, Text, Fax or E-mail we tend to forget, or are unaware, that during the war in the Far East people lived their lives apart for years with only a letter, photograph, or just a fading memory to remind them of each other. Many spent a lonely horrific life in prison camps, on the battlefield, in the air, at sea or at home waiting for news. To all those soldiers, sailors, airmen, civilians and camp followers we would like to dedicate this work of love, and especially to the kind people of Australia who provided shelter and a home for our family. Finally when reading these letters please remember that the peoplementioned are only human.