AUSTRALIA

Tom arrived in Australia and was assigned to the medical corp on Magnetic Island, one of several Allied bases in the area. He wrote his first letter home on June 17, 1943.

Dear Mom,

Here is my first letter from the continent "down under". I can't tell you where I am, but after Langley Field, this is a lot more rugged. I like the country very much...

The voyage across was uneventful, and too long to be enjoyable. The fresh water shower on land was positively glorious, and the steak dinner I bought for three shillings was a luxury....

The people in Australia are very friendly, but a bit difficult to understand. The like slang and the best thing a "digger" can say about you is that you are a "bloody fine barstud"...Coming around a blind curve fifty miles an hour on the wrong side of the road gave me an awful fright. I imagine it would take a few days to learn to drive on the left side of the street.

Tom's time in Australia was relatively far from the battle and if he saw any action, there is nothing revealed in his letters from June through December of 1943. Now far from home, and separated from the few friends he made early in his enlistment, Tom worked to adjust to his new situation.

Dear Jim,

...Tonight I'm on guard duty so I don't expect much sleep. I have never had guard duty before and yet I'm corporal of the guard. Let's hope it's a quiet night...

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Dear Mom,

...I have seen a little more of Australia since my last letter, however where and underwhat conditions I now am is military information. It will suffice to say that I eat better and sleep better than I did at the last place, and I like the locality much better.


...I have been separated from my three buddies from Langley Field, and was terribly disappointed to leave Clem, whom I had grown quite closely attached to. I guess I will have to wait till this is over and I am back in Jersey to see him again...

...I have new hopes for O.C.S. [Officer Candidate School]. My acceptance back at Langley Field is probably void now, but they have an OCS here in Australia. However before even considering reapplying, I have to be in an outfit a few months in order to have my new commanding officer become well enough acquainted with me to be able to favorably endorse a new application. Until such time, I will have to work as conscientiously as I did for Capt. Stroud.

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Dear Mom,

Today I received two of your letters...I wish I could tell you how much I enjoy reading your letters...After a period spent so far from home and all the familiar things, each letter is opend with breathless anxiety. Pictures seem to increase that warm feeling inside...


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