(1940-01-18) Letters - January/February
Details for Letters - January/February
Summary: Correspondence exchanged between Gavin and Katie.
Date: 18 January thru 11 February 1940
Location: Her home, his barracks

January 18th, 1940

Dear Duckie,

I am so very sorry for that spectacle. I can't believe they did that. I hope that it didn't upset your family and the business too terribly. But well, now you've met most of my family. Daft tossers the lot of them aren't they?

Dump just shouted at me to make sure I sent his best to Jack. He's been boasting around to how Jack lit up when he saw the badge. I suppose they might be daft tossers, but near all are good men with fine hearts so they're worth putting up with. At least for me. I hope you'll never have to deal with them again in that capacity.

I miss you terribly already, what a sap am I? Knowing I won't see you until February causes knots in my stomach. You letters help of course. I can hear your voice and see your smile when I read them. The good thing about that farse yesterday is that I've gotten assurances that I'll be available next month around the 14th. I hope you'll forgive this sap for picking then. But you make me want to treat you to something special.

Will write again soon,

20 January, 1940

Dearest Gavs,

Don't be sorry for that, it was a wonderful time. Mum and Da appreciated the chance to meet all your mates, and Jack is still over the moon with his badge. It goes on whatever he's wearing, even his pyjamas! I loved getting to meet them all finally as well. And what a surprise it was! Such a grand gesture, it sure does something to make a girl feel special, and they were all lovely to go along with it. Although, with your Lieutenant, I'm sure there wasn't much choice. Mum says they're all welcome any time they're by the shop, and she won't even make them work for their supper next time. Jack is writing a letter now, for me to include, if you'd be a darling and pass it on to Dump for him.

I miss you as well, even though it's not been long since you were here. I'd gotten so used to seeing your face without even realizing it, now it just seems so plain without your smile around. (Stop calling it a farse, it was lovely!) I've not had a special Valentine before; I'm just delighted that we'll be able to see each other for the day. Just promise you won't be tempted to do something too grand. What we do doesn't matter half so much as just getting to see you again, and hold your hand. You'll be sure to let me know what I should wear, yes?

Stay safe for me, give our best to the lads, and know that you're in my prayers every night.

Your duck,

January 28th, 1940


I hope you are keeping warm! I am sorry for the delay in writing but after all the shoveling we've been doing I could barely lift my arms when we got back to the barracks. Thoughts of you were the only thing keeping me from freezing right through.

Something to wear is in the works. So don't you worry about that. I just hope the sizing is right. Don't worry about me going out of pocket over it, because I know you are. It's a gift from my mother. She's making it. Thankfully you won't be subjected to her just yet. She is going to need some time to come down of her rip she's on. Overly excited at the fact that I mentioned you to her in my last letter.

An overly excited Scottish mother is not something I'm willing to subject you to, not yet at least. Not after what you went through this last time. I am still amazed we all fit inside the Chippy. Some have been complaining about the smell, but I've been keeping the newspaper from that visit lined under Hutch's bunk. An oiled stained Churchhill looking down at me is something akin to a cold shower at night. But even his ugly mug isn't enough to keep me from thinking about you when I see it.

Your frozen Private,

31 January, 1940

My dearest Gavinsicle,

There's never a lacking for warmth in the shop when the fryers are going and things are busy. If you were here you'd not only be warm but well fed.

You've told your mum about me? She's making me something to wear? Cor, Gavs, I don't even know what to say. That's just lovely. If you could see the smile on my face, I'm so excited now. I can't wait to see, I just know that I'll love it.

I had to laugh about the chip wrapper paper. The things you do to torture your mates. I could send you a picture of Churchill that doesn't smell of oil if that would help.

How I miss your face.

Counting the days,

February 4th, 1940

Oily Duckie,

My brothers always seem to know when I've gotten a letter from you. I can't seem to stop smiling and I laughed so loud I woke Hutch up. He says hello and try not to be so wonderful next letter.

Speaking of letters, Dump read Jack's letter out loud to the whole barracks. Barely a dry eye in sight. They are very proud of themselves. But I'm the proudest man in the room because that's my girl's brother and my good friend. I miss all of you.

I will fight you over that piece of newspaper. It smells like the Chippy. If you could send a used bit of news with that beach picture glued onto it… that would be much better to keep.

It's a bit crowded around here. Most of the men and lads they scooped up beginning of January are all now trained and being shucked off to this place and that. One day the Barracks across the way is flooded with noise and men. Then the next it's a bare place you could hear a pin drop.

Wonder where they go, wonder where they came from. If they've got a great girl like I do. Most of the fellas, even the married ones - don't get as many letters as I do from you. How did I get to be so lucky?

Inclosed is a letter to your father, asking permission to keep you out all night. Proper accommodations are in order. It'll just be pretty late by the time we're going to be back. I'd like to keep things safe. I hope you and he trust me enough to allow that.


Two letters come again by return post. The first is written in a decidedly masculine hand.

8 February 1940

Private Ferguson,

Your letter of 4 February was given much consideration and discussion by Mrs. Hind and myself. We came to the conclusion that you have always been a respectful young man, especially where Katherine is concerned. We believe that, as you explained things in your letter, we would be able to allow our daughter, this once, leeway in her curfew. I'm sure that i don't have to mention that you will be held personally responsible for her well being.

Daniel Hind

Also included, as would be expected, a sheet penned in Katie's hand.

8 February, 1940

Dearest Gavs,

I don't know what sort of spell you've cast on Mum and Da, but I'm sure you know they've allowed permission for me to stay out. I know I'll be safe as houses with you, and I'm happy they think so as well. I can hardly think of anything else now, I'm so excited.

I sometimes think about the lads that pass through the base as well. It's sad that they might not get such faithful correspondence, especially thinking how far some of them are from home, and that you and I can at least see each other every several weeks, being both in London. We're very lucky, indeed.

Da said he will take a photograph of us together, if you'd like. I'll see what I can do about saving off a wrapper for you, silly as you are.

Not long now, until we see each other again. Still counting the days.

Your Katie

February 11th, 1940

Delicious Duck,

Desperately hope this gets to you on time. There should be a large-ish package that's come along with the letter. I really do hope it fits. If it doesn't then something layered so you can stay warm and be able to shed when need be. Meet me at Green Park Station at 1 in the afternoon on the 14th. I'll be under the lamp post just left of the exit. I don't have the car this time, so I'm afraid we'll be relying on London Transport this go.

Certainly hope that it all doesn't disappoint. It really isn't much. The best I can do on a Private's salary. But maybe now with you as some inspiration I'll get the lead out of my ass and get myself promoted. Not to mention planning thing from the barracks put quite the hamper on opulence.

But nothing is too good for my Duck. I am so pleased that I have earned the respect of your family. They are a fantastic group of people. All my best to them. Apologize for me that I won't be able to see them this leave. A lot to do in so little time.

Eagerly counting the minutes until 1 pm February 14th,

[With the letter does come a package, a dress box and a flower box. The flower box has two red long stem roses in it. One with a tag for Katie, the other for Mary. The dress box has, a bit unsurprisingly, a dress within it. It probably goes unrecognized, but it is a warmer (long sleeved, longer in the skirt) version of the dress she was wearing when they first met. The fabric and pattern are different, but it is very close. Also within the dress box are some (becoming rarer) silk stockings.]

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