Day 12 – The Letter L:
Letters were the beginning of the family history trail for me. Finding this bundle of letters that Gordon Dinnis, my father had sent home to his mother sent me on a journey looking for my family. Reading through them, sent from Italy in 1943-44 really brings home the importance of letters in those difficult times. When Gordon was away, letters were the only link to his home back in Brighton, to his mother and his father, brothers and sister. Mum, Annie was at home, but was such an important link – keeping in touch with all her family and letting them know how each other were coping and keeping notes of dates and places.
The letters show that these young soldiers were just ordinary young people, concerned about everyday things such as the football scores back home and how the cat was behaving. Communication could be slow, but the joy of receiving these letters from home were clearly obvious to Gordon. They must have been especially important when he was injured by shrapnel in his right shoulder and spent some time in hospital. He was only 20 years old. In the letter above Gordon writes from Ward D7 of the 93rd British General hospital “My Dearest Mum, I just had to write another letter to you to thank you so very much for another 5 letters which I received from you today. You don’t know how pleased I was to hear from you, and to know that you are keeping well. The latest one is October the 10th (1944) and I must say they are coming through very quickly now. I only hope mine reach you quickly too.”
He goes on to explain his difficulty in writing, “I am getting along well now, and I find my arm is moving about a bit more now, although it’s still painful if I move it a lot. But there is no need for you to worry, as my hand is perfectly ok. I expect you will get most of my letters written in pencil now, as nobody has any ink. I’ve been borrowing it from the sisters, but they have very little now. Then I borrowed somebody else’s pen but that’s run dry.”
The photograph above show Gordon (left) Annie, his mother and his younger brother Ron (right).