MY 300th POST

I wanted to make this post special. My 300th post, a milestone reached, a memorable day. I wondered what to write about, then realised it is September, and just a few days away from my father’s birthday. This inspired me to look back, to write about another birthday of Dads. His 21st birthday, in 1944.

pageofletterfiveWhen I began looking into my family tree one of the first exciting finds in my search was a bundle of letters that my cousin found in her mothers loft.

They had been written by my father to his mother during his time in the Army in World War II. Some were written during his training in Hartlepool in 1943 when he was 20 years of age. The letters went on until the end of his war in 1947.

I know it’s hard to keep track of someone else’s family, so here are the details of the Dinnis family, who were living in Blaker Street, Brighton.

Joseph Taylor Dinnis had married Annie Cleeve in 1915 and they had four children: Jack born in 1920, their only daughter Nancy followed in 1922, my father Gordon in 1923 and lastly Ron in 1925. Joseph had already served through WWI.

Left to Right: Gordon Charles Dinnis, Nancy Dora Dinnis, Joseph Taylor Dinnis and Ronald Stanley Dinnis

Left to Right: Gordon Charles Dinnis, Nancy Dora Dinnis, Joseph Taylor Dinnis and Ronald Stanley Dinnis     June 1943


Left to Right: Gordon Charles Dinnis, Annie Dinnis (Cleeve) and Ronald Stanley Dinnis

Left to Right: Gordon Charles Dinnis, Annie Dinnis (Cleeve) and Ronald Stanley Dinnis June 1943

Gordon Charles Dinnis

Gordon Charles Dinnis             March 1943

Jack Douglas Dinnis March 1943

Jack Douglas Dinnis
March 1943



















Gordon was very good at keeping in touch with his mother, and all seemed well until his birthday in 1944 when Annie received the following:


The date on it is 29 Sept 1944, Gordon’s 21st birthday, and it informs his mother that her son was wounded in the Central Mediterranean Theatre of War. No details, just an amendment slip stating “It has not been reported into what hospital he has been admitted, nor are other particulars known, but in the event of his condition being considered by the Medical Authorities as serious or dangerous this office will be notified by cable and you will be immediately informed. In addition he will have been given every facility for communicating with you himself. I am to express to you the sympathy and regret of the Army Council.”

Gordon was serving with the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment at the time. He soon got in touch with his mother, trying to reassure her that he was in one piece. His second letter to her gave more information.

Sept 30  1944       WARD D7, 93rd BRITISH GENERAL HOSPITAL C.M.F.

My Dearest Mum,

This is just a few more lines to let you know that I am getting along very well indeed, and pleased to say that my shoulder is getting on very nicely. Of course I find it very difficult to write, but I am not in any pain at all.

Letter describing birthday part oneI hope you are keeping well, and getting some nice weather for a change. It has been wet here for the past couple of days, but I don’t worry about that as I am in a nice bed. I also hope you aren’t getting these flying Bombs.

Well Mum, now I have a big surprise for you. Yesterday, being my 21st Birthday the Sisters made me a big Cake, with the words 21st Birthday Greetings on it. Then another Sister brought me in a parcel which contained a Cake, bottle of Gin, Sweets, Cigs, Razor, Soap, Toothbrush and Blades. She also put a nice vase of flowers on my locker.  Another Sister gave me a cigarette lighter. They were all very kind to me and I shall never forget them. They made it as good as they possible could and I do appreciate it. I’m sure not many would do all they did for me to make it a real happy birthday.

Of course I thought of home a lot and know that you were wondering what I was doing.

Oh! Please don’t send me any more razor blades, as I have got a different kind of razor now. I lost my small pack when I was wounded, but there was nothing important in it.

Party envelope1I hope you are hearing regularly from Jack, and that he is enjoying himself at that town every night. I suppose Ron still manages to get home every week, and I hope his arm is not bothering him now. Mine’s a flea bite compared with Ron’s arm. Dad no doubt is still getting the same terrible weather. Is there any chance of him getting any leave at all? Is he a Capt now?

I heard from Nancy before I was wounded and I also had an air letter from you. I haven’t received those photos yet that you sent me in July.

My Best Wishes to everyone, and please tell them that I shan’t be able to write yet awhile.

Well Mum, Please Don’t Worry as I am really getting along O.K. and not getting any pain at all. Good luck and all the best. Hope to see you again soon.

God Bless You Always. My Fondest Love, Gordon

Gordon Dinnis Rome August 1944

Gordon Dinnis.
Rome. Taken one month before he was injured in August 1944

As I read this letter, over and over it tells me so much. So much about how Dad loved his mother and didn’t want to worry her. She must have known it was worse than he was letting on, because his previous letter showed that he couldn’t hold a pen for long.

He had written on September 25th “My Dearest Mum, Just a few lines to let you know that I am in Dock again and have been wounded in the right shoulder, so am finding it very difficult to write. The shrapnel has already been taken out, and I am now waiting for it to heal up. 

“Don’t worry Mum will you as I am quite OK, I just got in the way of a bit of lead that’s all. I always was awkward.

badly written letter

The next time he wrote was on October 12th, and he finally told his mother more about his injury, “My Dearest Mum, I think I can now write and give you a few details about my wound. I have had three operations, and have had it in plaster for a fortnight. Yesterday I had another operation and he removed the plaster and just put my arm in a sling. 

“The Major said it healed up quicker than they thought it would. I am very pleased indeed with it and there is no need to worry at all. 

“Fancy them taking 14 days to let you know I was wounded. I would have written sooner only I was laying on a stretcher for 3 days before I got to hospital, and then I couldn’t move my arm until he’d operated on it. Still all the shrapnel has been removed, and it is getting on really famous.”

Of course Gordon’s mother must have worried so much, but he kept in touch regularly with letters and photographs. Here are some he sent home from Italy after he had recovered.

Centrocelle, near Rome Italy May 1946

Centrocelle, near Rome
Italy May 1946

Italy 1946

Italy 1946

Italy 1946

Italy 1946

Rome, May 1946

Rome, May 1946

Aquila August 1 1946 Taken at the swimming pool during my 7 days leave

Aquila August 1 1946
Taken at the swimming pool during my 7 days leave

Gordon Charles Dinnis (2)

Italy Star, War Medal 1939-45 and 1939-45 Star

Gordon Charles Dinnis – Medals.                     Italy Star, War Medal 1939-45 and 1939-45 Star.




About Jackie Dinnis

Welcome to my blog where I am enjoying meeting my family - past and present - one at a time. Join me as I learn who my ancestors were, where they lived, what their occupations were and what everyday life was like for them.
This entry was posted in Annie Cleeve, Gordon Charles Dinnis, Jack Douglas Dinnis, Letters, Nancy Dora Dinnis, Ronald Stanley Dinnis, World War 2 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to MY 300th POST

  1. Vibrantnand says:

    Congratulations 🙂

    Beautiful pictures.
    Anand 🙂

  2. Maddy says:

    Gordon was a real sweetie, that almost brought tears to my eyes.

  3. Peggy Guiler says:

    That was fun. Letters are such a great treat. I miss them.

  4. Congratulations on your 300th post and many more to come!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s