Letters From AC2 Malcolm Davey Royal Air Force To His Parents Herbert And Lillian In Sutton Surrey 1945-1948
Malcolm Davey was born on the 2nd November 1926 in Sutton Surrey. He grew up Brandon Road Sutton with his parents Herbert and Lillian Davey. Sutton was a relatively small town in the 1920s and 30s and although an only child his mother Lillian had grown up in the town and had lots of relatives so Malcolm had a big extended family. The local school was just around the corner and his area to the west of the town still had fields and countryside close to his house.
Letter Dated 30th December 1945 To Mr & Mrs H W Davey, 3 Brandon Road, Sutton, Surrey.
AT 123, 3039129 AC2 Davey M W. No 1 Wing, 5 PDC, RAF Blackpool, Lancs. 30/12/45.
Dear Mum and Dad,
Once again here, I am fit and well, hope you are both the same. Blackpool is a smashing place, infact I've decided to come up here after I'm demobbed on a holiday. And now I will try and describe to you what it is like, the front is about three miles long, sand all the way on which there is three piers, north, south and central, pleasure gardens, amusement parks, swimming pools, pleasure beach, also theatres, cinemas, and odd places including pubs which all go to make Blackpool. Then of course there is the Tower we've heard a lot about it on the radio but believe me it's even better to go there, infact this afternoon I'm going there to see Reginald Dixon- afternoon passed - I've now seen Reggie and believe me, you would have liked to have been there , it was wizard, a whole afternoon musical programme for 9d not bad aye. Besides a super ballroom there is a zoo, aquarium and roof gardens, amusement parks, cafe, circus, boxing and wrestling and the arts. Yesterday afternoon (Saturday) for the first half the organ was played for dancing then after an interval The Tower dance band took over and baby they certainly know how to play. red hot and otherwise.
So much for pleasure, now for duties. We've spent about two hrs since we've been here, thats counting every parade, so you can see we have a lot of time to ourselves. Last night I was on guard but all we did was sleep so that was OK. The weather here has been OK, sun shining every day, except late this afternoon when a mist came down making it very cold. Our billet is very nice and they look after us very well and we are quite comfortable so don't worry. Now as everything in the garden is blooming and I've put your mind at rest I'll close with wishing you all the best and may God bless you both. S.D.S.
Love and Kisses
P.S. Have I left my scissors at home?
Letter Dated 31st December 1945 To Mr & Mrs H W Davey, 3 Brandon Road, Sutton, Surrey.
AT 123. 3039129 AC2 Davey M.W. No 1 Wing, 5 PDC, RAF Blackpool, Lancs. 31/12/45
Dear Mum and Dad,
Here we are again happy as can be, all good friends and jolly good company. How is Sutton getting on without me, not so good I expect and especially when all you good people are making New Year resolutions, what's Dads going to be, never another pint, only quarts. Have you seen anymore of Derrick? He goes on the 3rd. And what about young Mance, he'll soon be in bell bottoms. After I posted my last letter to you I once went again to the Tower to hear Reginald Dixon. He played another popular selection of dance tunes so I was in my glory.
So today is New Year's Day, well well, and do you know how Bill and I welcomed it, no! Well it was like this, first of all we went to the cinema, after which we had supper in a cafe then for a pint of beer in a very crowded pub, as all the pubs were, and then a walk at at 10.30 p.m. along the north prom (three miles there and back) past the Tower along the south prom (one mile) to the bottom of our road. As we were walking along the north prom, the sea was up to the wall making a terrific din as it hit the wall and as it rushed back to do the same performance over and over again, out at sea there was a mist which clung to the water and an erie blackness beyond. We stood and watched all this amidst the quietness of the old year and the sprey came up and hit us in the face. On arriving at the bottom of our road the time was 11.50 p.m. so down to the sands we went. All the lights had gone out along the south prom, the trams had stopped running, sorry they call them street cars as there of American patten. We walked to the waters edge and as we did the bells of the churchs stopped, we were alone, quiet and everything was still, we heard the water running up the sands, we could see the erie white horses and the mist and darkness beyond. We lighted a cigarette, it was two minutes to twelve, we gazed out to sea expecting to see something but nothing appeared. Then as if controlled by one hand all the church bells peeled out and so the New Year came in and the old went out. We walked up the beach onto the prom and there back to our billet. It was the first of the first, nineteen forty six.
Today we have been on parade twenty five minutes, ten in the morning and fifteen in the afternoon so this morning after parade we went back to bed until after dinner time, this life is making me lazy. Tonight we are going the Tower to hear some more music so that should be OK. I'm going to pay accounts tomorrow to see if I can that business settled. I'm sending home to Dad two seaside postcards which I hope he will add to his collection. I don't think there is any more to say except to wish you both once again a happy and prosperous new year. May God bless you both.
Love & Kisses S.D.S.
Letter Dated 21st January 1946 To Mr & Mrs H W Davey, 3 Brandon Road, Sutton, Surrey.
3039129 AC2 Davey M.W. Draft 1550 RAF S.E.A.C.
Cairo West Monday 21st Jan 1946.
Dear Mum And Dad,
Well this time I am really shaking the sand out of my shoes, it's the desert, miles and miles of sand. On arrival at Castel Benito yesterday we had a very nice hot meal, followed by a wash and brush up. The air was lovely with a warm breeze coming in from the sea. Afterwards we went to the NAAFI and had a jar of tea on the verander just as dusk was falling. It was there that I posted my last letter to you but I omitted to put "In Transit" on the back so wether they will accept it remains to be seen. If however you don't get it let me know and I'll try and send a duplicate copy, it's about my last hours in England and my first over the continent.
We took off from Castel Benito at 18.33 hrs B.S.T. -19.30 hrs N. Africa time and we flew through the darkness, there wasn't much to see, only a few twinkling lights, signals etc. The best sight of the journey was the airfield here light up with the flare path right down the centre. We arrived here at 01.40 hrs Castel Benito time 02.40 hrs
Cairo. We've lost so far two hours which when you get into bed at 03.55 hrs is and can be taken as a dim view. We leave her ( take off) at 17.00 hrs Cairo time 15.00 hrs B.S.T. The camp in which we are insituated (tents) is 30 miles from the airfield, so we had a lovely open air truck journey through the desert at 02.00 hrs, with the moon shining. From this camp we can see the Pyramids, not bad, there about a mile away from here. The only "B" is that we have had our money changed into Egyption currency, my God what a job though. I can now understand the rate of exchange. I've attached a list of rate of exchange so you can see what is! The only other point is that on reaching barracks it will be changed again.
We have just had dinner, it consisted of salmon, peas and cheese, jam tart and custard, one orange and that reminds me that in the NAAFI this morning I had a tomato roll, two jaffa oranges and two bananas, gosh they were certainly good. Out here the It..... do all the dirty work, such as keep the camp clean, clean, ablutions, latrines, cook houses etc. Along the road the wogs try to sell you all the things under the sun. Well I must close now as I want to post this letter off to you so for now all the best and God Bless.
All The Best,
Letter Dated 1st February 1946 To Mr & Mrs H W Davey, 3 Brandon Road, Sutton, Surrey.
3039129 AC2 Davey M.W. "P" Staff H.Q. Base Air Forces RAF India 1/2/46
Dear Mum and Dad,
So today starts a new month, last new months day (New Years Day) we were at Blackpool , my my time flies. I expect your surprised at getting two letters bang on top of one another but as I have nothing to do I thought that my time could be better employed by writing home. So Dads still on the settey, gosh does he live there. I didn't mention in my last letter that I was enclosing three paper cuttings about the R.A.F. strikes which appeared in the local Delhi paper "The Statesmen", what I want you to do is to read them, also the two which I'm sending today and let me have the hubbies opinion also any newspaper cuttings on the subject and also when you have read them would you please return same. Out here the weather is very fine, sunshine and blue sky, like an old English summer, it's a bit cold first thing and last thing at night but at midday it's boiling. Will endevour to write to "Hinton" as soon as I can but out here one cannot keep writing, besides we do it each day. By slow degrees we are picking up the lingo and most of it English slang which originated from India and was brought back by troops to the UK.
I'm sending home my surplus UK stamps. I have just shown them to our Cpl who replied, "Coo foreign stamps, is this the country that is out of bounds to BORs." BORs stands officially for British Other Ranks, thats from Warrant Officers downwards but we call it "Browned Of Romeos". You see this Cpl has been out here three and a half years and he comes from Edgware, we've taken to him a lot. If by chance you come accross and good pictures or photographs of "Joan Leslie" please send them out - thank you.
So Doris has been making enquiries, well, well, I hope you play your cards right because I'm the bloke who will suffer if anything goes wrong. How are the neighbours, please remember me to them and so forth, also tell them that they may moan and groan about the UK but theres no place like the UK even when your leading a life of luxury out here, never the less I'm happy and I'm pleased to have the chance to see the world, and I've travelled a few odd miles and seen a number of places, and it also broadens ones outlook on life, also when you get back to the UK you know what the other half of the worlds doing, what say you Dad?
Well time flies and its about time I had a cup of char, there you see the word char, how many people in the UK use it, millions and how many know that it's the Indian way of saying tea. Every day and all day and night come to that a Char Wolla - Tea Boy comes round and at any time you can get a mug of tea, sweet Indian tea, I've drunk more char since I've been out here than I did in the UK so don't be frightenend to mention tea. How is the food situation at home? and how is the new business down the street progressing. I'm sorry to hear that Mr & Mrs A had flu, I hope they are better now. I read in the paper where the UK had a 75 MPH gales, did you cop it. So once again the page of scrapbook turns and with it my very best wishes to you both and don't do anything that I wouldn't.
Love & Kisses (S.D.S)
P.S.There's a shortage of decent girls out here so please send some out.
P.P.S. Ive just written six pages of foolscap paper to the office , that should please them.
Letter Dated 3rd February 1946 To Mr & Mrs Davey 3 Brandon Road, Sutton, Surrey.
3039129 AC2 Davey M.W. "P" Staff H.Q. Base Air Forces RAF India 3.2.46
Dear Mum and Dad,
Well, today has been a day of surprises, yes it has, it all started at breakfast. I sat down at a table and started to eat my breakfast, I was half way through my meal when somebody sat down at the other end of the table on the opposite side, quite naturally. I just glanced to see who it was and then looked back to my meal then in a flash I looked at him, he looked at me, we looked at one another in surprise for two seconds then our grin broadened and ho do you think it was, none other than Johnny Mustard, well you can imagine how surprised we were. So e sat breakfast out together, with him was a Corporal who I thought was his pal. Conversation followed and I asked him what he was doing here, he replied “I'm in detention” “Detention” I said “What the hell for” He replied “Going AWOL.” and the corporal with him was his S.P. Bodyguard.
Well it appears that he was posted from Delhi to a station out North, previously he had asked for leave to go to Calcutta to see his Uncle who was going back to the UK. He as refused so on route to this station he went to C. for seven days and from there to this station. He had altered his movement order to read the date that would arrive up North. On arrival there he was immediately put under close arrest, brought back to Delhi, put on a charge and there he was, his detention ends tomorrow. Well he asked if I would go down to the Guard Room and see him that morning, the corporal had said it would be OK, so about eleven after a shower and a change, down I went and visited him until twelve, well we had a lot to talk about as you can guess, all about the old days etc, so along came Tiffin time (lunch) and the cpl S.P. Told me if I liked I could take him to the mess and look after him. Tiffin over we went back to the guard room where the NCO in charge told me that if I liked I could take him out this afternoon and once again look after him, well this I did, poor old John didn't want to stay in a place like that he had been there long enough, so I signed the book and he was then under my wing. We spent a very enjoyable afternoon at the races and we also spent a little time at the billet, again chin wagin about blighty etc, after dinner we went back to the Guard room where I signed him in etc. I'm going to see him again one day next week as he is stationed in Delhi doing signal work. His camp is about a half a mile away from mine so we are going to make good use of the future and I've told him to stay out of trouble, to which he replied “You bet I am, I've had enough of this.”
Now a word of warning , if you see Mrs Affs please tell her that I've met John out here and give her all the gen that I've told you because if it wasn't for him getting detention I might never have met him, Delhi's a big place, tell her and this applies to you also, not to mention the fact to his mother about his detention as he hasn't told her yet but by all means say that we have met and that we are going to have some fun. John thought he was going to get away with it, his luck ran out on him.
I'm once again enclosing some newspaper cuttings, yours and the British publics views on the situation would be greatly appreciated. Nothing fresh has happened to me since my last letter but for one thing. It appears that every Saturday morning before work we have a parade, well we knew about the blasted parade but nobody had told us what time to parade, where to parade, how to parade and at what time to parade, sorry I've said that before haven't I, never the less as you know we walk to work and it generally takes us twenty to twenty five minutes so we left R.C. Camp just after half seven and arrived outside K Block about eight, K Block is where we work and that is where the parade was as we were to learn sooner than we thought . On arrival at X all we saw was four airmen standing against a wall and a group of officers so we ambled across to the opening in the wall and there low and behold on the other side was the parade all fallen in, had been since quarter to eight, then we saw our Waterloo, who should it be coming across to us but the Senior Warrant Officer, a short and rather tubby gent, who was in no means in a humourous mood, now for the fireworks, his first words to us were “What bloody time do you call this to come on parade aye.” I replied we had walked from the RC camp. “That makes no difference” he barked back, oh how I wished then that he was an AC2 and I a W/O, in a few seconds I sized him up, we had previously met this character on arrival here who gave us a pep talk saying “This is India” as if we didn't know, he continued “Out here you walk about properly dressed, none of the business with your caps off, if I catch you you'll be on the books, and I don't like doing that.” much thought I and he continues with showing us the places out of bounds in Old Delhi on a map, that was when we saw him last and during that lecture he had been looking at old Bill all the time and Bill in his normal way has a sarcastic look about him so I don't expect that pleased the old boy, Mr five by five, I don't think he's ever seen his feet since he was born, his mother must have been frightened with a bicycle pump at his birth, and no as I said I was sizing him up, he could never have had a father, he's the kind of bloke who if in charge of a pay parade and a bod happened to come in late would say “Wots yer name” “Phillips Sir” “Right git down wiv the Fs” Finely educated in the RAF style of regular W/Os . Mind you this flashes across my mind in a matter of seconds because no sooner had he ended his last remark “That makes no difference” he was booming across to another W/O who took our names and told us to fall in at the double. So off we doubled in view of the whole parade, I didn't care that's the mood I was in. I felt like telling the station commanding officer that he ought to have his parades at civilised times. Well the parade came and went and all was quiet until we were told by a Cpl that we were to report to a W/O in room 78 at 8.30 Monday (tomorrow) no it wasn't the SWO, another of his cronies who we had met unfortunately before, but fortunately we had met “Tiny” a Flt Sgt air gunner who we made very good friends with on our arrival and who was always dropping in on us for a jaw. Well Tiny worked in this so and so room and he didn't give two hoots for this other W/O and it was our luck to bump into him when Howard and myself were coming back from having a cup of char. With a broad grin about his face he said “Why weren't you two bods on parade this morning” we replied we were and told him the story, so he said “Come into the office and I will tell you what flight you are in, you've been marked absent” so in we went and he began to rub out the crosses against our names and put fat ticks. I stopped him and said “No can do, we've got to report here on Monday” “Oh” he said “then I can't square it for you, anyway I'll talk to the W/O about it.” Well I hadn't finished offering round the fags when who should walk in but the W/O himself so I promptly stubbed mine out. He muttered something under his breath about a rabble so I let it pass. Then Tiny starts shooting a line about and all the gen that we have told him and suggests to the W/O that it wasn't our fault etc and all that should happen was that we should be warned. “They will not be warned” replied the W/O and then he and Tiny have a natter. Then the W/O looks at me and said “When did you arrive here” “Thursday Sir” I replied. “Did you read orders” “No sir” I replied and no blinking W/O has to tell me that it is the duty of every airman to read Station Standing Orders, I wasn't a drill instructor and NCO for nothing, I might be able to tell him a thing or two, I said might, and to see the tripe that's pinned up on there notice boards would turn even the stoutest heart away and all stuff on there is out of date. As a matter of fact I did look for them. “Well “ he said “ In future you will read orders, understand, you may go.” Out we went Tiny behind us. When we were away from that place we thanked him “Oh that's nothing” he replied “I'm cheesed of with this place and I owed him one.” So we got away with it but believe me in future we will be on parade at 7.45 hrs and also show this S.W.O. and all concerned that the R.A.F. in the UK with R.A.F. Regiment training under Cpl Board will knock, vulgarly speaking, knock shit out of them and show them up. Before they start showing us the way they want to learn how to take charge of a parade, I only wish they would give me the chance. So ends our little story and all that it contains.
How is Doris, give her my love and I hope to write to her soon. Also in this issue I'm sending home these surplus stamps you can use them and make some good of same. Well I'll close now but before I do have you heard the story of the chap who swallowed a wrist watch no! Well he took Epsom Salts to pass the time away. Goodnight to you both and may God Bless you sweethearts, tomorrow's another day.
Love and Kisses (S.D.S.)
Poem to remember (Found on Lav wall at N. Weald)
When you are sad and deeply thinking
Of loved ones far away
Remember the sunset slowly sinking
There'll come another day
PS I have written to Walton the letter should arrive the same time as this.