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THIS week's letters are all from Malaya. Though the A.I F.
had not yet been in action many of the troops have had their first sight of actual warfare, and these letters tell us how they felt about it.
The Australian Women's Weekly invites readers to send in copies of the sections of letters which they think may interest others. £1 is paid for each extract published on this page.
Sapper E. L. Fauntleroy to T. O.
Abbott, Coolup, W.A.:
"OUR first raid we thought was
just a stunt.
"It was in the early hours of the morning, and we were cursing them for waking us.
"Then we heard the bursting bombs, and we began to think twice.
"Suddenly an ack-ack gun beside us spat into life, then a few more started blazing away.
"Someone yelled out, 'She's on!' and we realised that it was no stunt, but an actual air attack."
Corp. F. Boorman to his mother
in Byangum Rd., Murwillumbah,
"T HAD rather a hair-raising ex-
perience in one air raid.
"I was directing lorries of am- munition into a dump and they were lined up awaiting their turn to unload when planes were sighted.
"I had to stand there while every- one else ran for shelter. I was amazed at the courage of all the truck-drivers, who were Malays.
"They gave me a broad grin when the sirens went, and made some casual remark about the 'Jap cows,' then they curled up in the back of the trucks containing the "fire- works' and calmly went to sleep.
"One bomb would have sent them and their lorries sky-high, and prob- ably given me a headache, too, but
that bomb never came."
A member of the R.A.A.F. after
leaving Koto Bharu to his mother in Epping, N.S.W.:
"IT was quite a merry party while
"Too bad about your Christmas gifts. They got left behind in the rush, likewise everything but what
I had on.
"I'm happy to say most of our chaps are safe and sound and doing their bit. We have only had a few
alarms in the past few days. It is nice to get a quiet break after being ground strafed and bombed.
"Last night not one alarm, so we all had a good rest. Have been helping with a few camouflage nets this afternoon.
"God bless you all and make your Christmas as happy as possible. Re- member my comrades and me in your prayers."
Pte. H. Brown to a friend in Mur-
have been camped out in the open ever since the day war was declared, but the fresh air has not done us any harm, and we are all in good condition and the best of spirits.
"We have just had to demolish a town that has been evacuated, and found a lot of things to make our camp more comfortable. There are about six grandfather clocks scat- tered around the camp, hanging up in rubber trees, so now we are never in doubt about the time.
"We have tables and chairs, and dozens of mirrors, beds, and other things which we have found and made use of. Trust an Aussie to make himself comfortable, no matter what the circumstances may be.
"But of course there is always the possibility of our playground being at any moment turned into a battlefield.
"I am hoping we will be able to have poultry in abundance, as there are plenty of young roosters and ducks running around the deserted towns, also a few young porkers."
Pte. T. H. Hodden, A.G.H., to Miss
H. Harman, Byaduk, Vic:
""FROM our hospital we were able
to see and hear the first raid on Singapore, as it is easily visible from a great distance at night.
"Very little damage was done, for only about four bombs were dropped on Singapore.
"None of our men are yet in action, so we have not noticed any difference in our work.
"It is no picnic for the fellows stuck out in the mosquito-infested jungle, and they will have greater hardships before it is over.
"We are in the midst of the jungle in good clean surroundings, and under good conditions.
"For a week prior to war, all leave was cancelled, so we are more or less hermits, and not allowed to go to Singapore or away from hospital."
Corp. Douglas Faircloth to his
mother in Rose Bay, N.S.W.:
"YESTERDAY and to-day I have
been watching one of the most pitiful sights I have seen-the civilian population fleeing for safety.
"All lorries are packed to capacity and cars and little buses are chockful, and gear all tied on top and sides.
"The less fortunate are on foot with their stick with belongings on each end and carried over the shoulder.
"Some have walked many miles, and just plod past us with that hopeless look on their faces.
"Elderly people, little children, and all have their tiny bundles tied on the old stick.
"It is a terrible sight as they go past in thousands, but such a lot are still cheery and give us the 'V' sign as they go past.
"We get plenty of laughs out of one another. We've been cursing the planes in the morning, as so far they have a habit of arriving just as we are having breakfast.
"You just have to drop it and get to cover. We usually manage now to carry a good bit away, or at least get a good mouthful."
Sgt. A. Clark, Field Ambulance, to
Miss M. Lyons, Como, N.S.W.:
"IN no uncertain manner the Japs
are turning it on over here.
"However, I'll say now, as I've said before, they are not in the race.
"We have worked like Trojans, our orders being that all must work till they drop, and several times I've been mighty close to doing the sprawling act.
"I had 13 blisters on my hands at one time, but now they are hard and calloused like a bricklayer's apprentice.
"In two towns in the line of fire of the artillery the people were given six hours to get out. All they could take was a few per- sonal belongings.
"The engineers soon fixed things.
They moved in and blew the place
"Two towns in Malaya are no
"Gee, the beer was good while it
"Final extra: Just found 31 dol- lars. Hooray!"
Pte. R. J. Demery to Miss J. Blake,
"WE are camped outside a village
in the scrub.
"We built a small shelter for our carrier, and sleep in it as well, and it is getting more like home every day.
"We have a couple of easy chairs and a grandfather clock. By the time we leave here it will be quite
"I managed to salvage a silver cup, and it's for the first bloke who brings down a plane, so if I win it you will be able to put it over the fireplace.
"There are also two small shields for the first Jap shot. The shields are covered in Chinese writing, but we can't understand it, so why worry."