War Letters to Joyce 1942

10 January 42

My dearest,

Had a Xmas card with short note from Tess Staveley this week & note from Canterbury branch of Red Cross which I appreciated. So glad to hear little Tessa so well & that you are her godmother. Let’s hope we shall have our own family in a few years besides the godchildren.

Snow has come again & temperatures are low, water left on the table freezing inside the hut of a night. I crawl out of bed rather unwillingly soon after 7am & make myself go through the usual procedure of showering shaving & dressing. Am sending you a photo of NZ M.O.s, dentists & padres – have an autographed one myself.

We all hope you are not worried over Japan in NZ. We get some news from an official paper “The Camp” & one can buy newspapers. I hope by next month to be able to read them with the aid of a dictionary. Weighed myself this week & go 70 ½ kilos or 11st 1lb. First NZ Red Cross parcels from America arrived today – much appreciated. No much more, my dear one. I’m passing this period of isolation as happily as possible – merely waiting patiently until we can resume our normal happy life together again.

I send all my love & kisses Joyce,

Your Allan.

Kriegsgenfangenenpost

[Postmark]
Ravensbourne
22. JE. 42. 3
N.Z.

[Postmark]
27. 1. 42-14

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Ravensbourne [Crossed out]
Dunedin [Crossed out]
229 Main Road [Crossed out]
New Zealand

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

[Prison Stamp]
Stalag VIII B
Geprüft
Nr. (…)

Gebührenfrei

15 February 1942,

My dearest,

Nothing of note save that I love you & am pretty lonely lately, momentary intensifications of a chronic state I’ve had for the past 19 months. I think life is a bit boring occasionally & then remember how fortunate my lot, living in a backwater, comfort, warmth, good food & clothes & having my lovely wife safely at home waiting patiently for me, when so many people on this troubled earth have nothing left, no future, no hope, no anything. In a year’s time we shall look back on this period, my dear & not forget the humorous side of it all.

I am very fit & well, managing to have a 5 mile or more walk weekly & a little exercise daily running round in the snow, which is still very deep, comparatively, about a foot. I have enough medical work to keep me occupied in the mornings, & have to elicit symptoms in doggerel French & German. French is not too bad, but German is a difficult language to get hold of.

Have just finished Bennett’s Imperial Palace & enjoyed it, also Chesterton’s Innocence of Father Brown. Mail has not caught up with me yet, but I hope shortly. The winter is slowly passing & is not severe this year. No more my lovely one. Be patient for some months yet.

All my love & kisses.

Your Allan.

Kriegsgenfangenenpost

[Stamped]
Stalag IIID
83
Gegrüft

[Postmark]
Unidentifiable
18. 2. 42. 16

[Postmark]
Ravensbourne
22. JE. 42. 3
N.Z.

Stalag III D/308

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
C/o 229 Main Road [Crossed out]
Ravensbourne [Crossed out]
Dunedin [Crossed out]
New Zealand

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Gebühernfrei!

C/1505

3 March 1942   Stalag III D/308

My dearest Joyce,

The thaw has commenced here & today we had a pleasant 5 mile walk in the sun. I did not wear a coat; have a rather awful old greatcoat & would like my Burberry, but it can now wait. I shall have a profusion of clothes & shoes after this war, though one can manage with the minimum quite well. Has the moth got into my suits? You might send my mother a cheque for 10 pounds, as a payment towards the typewriter. She mentioned 5 pounds but I should prefer 10 pounds.

Fosbrooke & I are doing 2-3 hrs daily on anatomy with the idea of sitting an English Fellowship. Wish I could do it from here. Have all sorts of plans & ideas of what I want to do but you will have to help me decide, but I would like an English Fellowship if you could put up with 2 or 3 years of flats & rented houses or locums. I hope to be able to sit ‘primary’ within 3 months of arriving in England. We shall see!

I am so sorry you’ve never had your own home since we’ve married & have had to move about so much. However it won’t be perhaps so bad when you have me with you. I’m very well, my lovely one, & apart from a chronic state of helplessness pretty bright.

Very lonely without you after 18 long months pets
all my love & kisses,

Your Allan.

Kriegsgenfangenenpost

[Stamped]
Stalag IIID
83
Gegrüft

[Postmark]
Dunedin
CI
(…). Jul. 42. 5:30P
N.Z.

Part of an unidentifiable postmark
12.3.42

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
229 Main Road [Crossed out]
Ravensbourne [Crossed out]
Dunedin [Crossed out]
New Zealand

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Gebühernfrei!

21 March 42

My dearest,

Nearly 3 months of the New Year gone. I wonder what in front. I think a wise Providence has obscured the future but I am looking forward confidently to honest work, happy days trout fishing & in the saddle & the sheer joy of we two living together. Your good philosophy of life will help you much in these days. My hair has grown long again & there is little if any more greying, less than I thought, so that you would probably not notice much difference in my appearance.

I continue to fill the week in the wards, seeing outpatients (English & Serbian) & working at anatomy with Fosbrooke, walking 5 or 6 miles twice weekly, usually at a cracking pace, eating & sleeping. Shop is a Godsend for one can forget one’s existence for a time and so our little lives go on.

At present I’m training a small choir in some arrangements I’ve made of ‘Ye Banks & Braes’ & suchlike, for a show the English & French staff are putting on at Easter. Such events at least provide a new subject for conversation. 4 of us have lived together now for some 2 months & have discussed most subjects from the war to women, as you may well imagine. Pardon my reticence, my lovely one, you will know my thoughts.

Dear Joyce! All my kisses.

Your Allan

Kriegsgenfangenenpost

[Stamped]
Oberpommando der Wehrmacht
gegrüft

[Postmark]
Ravensbourne
1. SP. 42. 3
N.Z.

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
229 Main Road [Crossed out]
Ravensbourne [Crossed out]
Dunedin [Crossed out]
New Zealand

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Gebühernfrei!

12 April 42

My dearest,

April showers, the first green buds on the bare trees, some 14 hours of daylight & warm sunshine – the winter past. In NZ North autumn. In the Far East I know not what. No matter, the Empire has seen bad times in the past & we must expect ‘blood & tears’, as Mr Churchill warned us. My worry that I can’t share them, but must remain patient in my little backwater. I console myself by thinking it not dishonourable, a P.O.W. for my country.

I have commenced a fitness campaign, decided I went in danger of becoming fat & lazy, & of course I couldn’t possibly come home with a ‘pot’, after your threats to leave me. Go down into a cellar underneath the building, exercise & shadow spar for ½ hr or so each day. At first I ached all over, but am gradually toning up & hope to get back to my previous standard of a 3 mile run without distress. We held a concert last Sunday week, mouth organs, singers (some pretty atrocious ‘crooners’ included), sketches, farces & a Russian choir which everyone appreciated. I played a few catchy tunes – ‘Looking around corners for you’ & suchlike. Altogether very enjoyable.

Would be glad if you would make sure my mother is not in need of money, as her rents etc, as such may be lowered. So long since I saw you Joyce, getting on for 2 years. A happy future ahead my lovely one, getting to know each other again. You’ll find me the same at least.

My love & kisses.

Your Allan.

Kriegsgenfangenenpost

[Stamped]
Stalag IIID
85

[Stamped]
Deputy Chief Field Censor]

[Postmark]
Ravensbourne
1. SP. 42. 3
N.Z.

Part of unidentifiable postmark
30. 4. (…)

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
229 Main Road [Crossed out]
Ravensbourne [Crossed out]
Dunedin [Crossed out]
New Zealand

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Gebühernfrei!

20 April 42

My dearest,

Your first letters from Gisborne 28 Dec & 4 Jan arrived today. I still get that indefinable feeling in the tummy when they come, & am very crestfallen when there is a mail & none from you. Sorry to hear of Molly Hull’s Husband & McVay’s brother. Do hope you will settle in & grow to like Gisborne. Margaret Christie is rather charming – has brains & a tendency to idleness, though not laziness. My regards to her. Thought at one time she’d marry Alex Dickie. Surprised to hear of Sandy’s thyroidectomy – must drop him a note – & of Waterworth’s new wife. Glad you did not have a lonely Xmas. You must be envious of June, my dear. No matter – later. Glad you’ve met Mrs Dodgshun, Joe is a grand fellow.

I am much the same pets, & don’t imagine any more of your ‘culture talks’ will be necessary. However that will be for you to decide. Yesterday being Sunday & not having any bad cases, I went back to bed after appel at 8 – got up at 10.30, after dreaming I was married to a dowdy dull woman & you were my sister – woke up very relieved. Bathed & shaved & sat in the sun with a Galsworthy. From 2-4pm worked at Bach fugues 4.30, tea – bread, biscuits, margarine, NZ honey cheese & lashings of hot tea – a good boon to have good British tea. Altogether one is not unhappy – I’m very fortunate – medicine (though scanty), music, books, good food.

All my loving thoughts, dearest Joyce & my kisses.

Your Allan.

Kriegsgenfangenenpost

[Stamped]
Stalag IIID
85

[Stamped]
Deputy Chief Field Censor]

[Unidentifiable postmark]
30. 4. 42. 16:17

[Postmark]
Ravensbourne
1. SP. 42. 3
N.Z.

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
229 Main Road [Crossed out]
Ravensbourne [Crossed out]
Dunedin [Crossed out]
New Zealand

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Gebühernfrei!

28 April 42

My dearest,

I’ve now been a POW for nigh a year, during which time I been thrown perhaps more on my own resources than formerly. Have had to cultivate patience, a more lively sense of humour & an appetite for less food. A good trend, really, so that you should perhaps find me a better husband, not so prone to growl when you’ve kept me waiting a little time in the car while choosing a new frock, or to complain when there is no hot water, or to deplore the absence of steak & kidney pie. In fact my dear, I shall be so overjoyed to see you again that you will probably find me rather perfect, & perhaps not need to take me in hand for a month or two. Meanwhile I’m exercising the brain & the body, not unduly but steadily. Each day add a little more German & French to my halting speech & keep my muscles a little in trim by walking, exercising & sparring & by having 2 cold showers daily, and my good condition is in accordance with our morale here.

Of news there is little, even if it were possible to send, as we have a secluded, almost ascetic life, & one can merely mention that the days are long & warm with bright sunshine & all the trees sprouting green. Do hope you are receiving my letters regularly – yours are the greatest joy I have. My regards to our many friends.

All my love, my dear, dear Joyce.
So glad you’re so well – kisses.

Your Allan.

Kriegsgenfangenenpost

[Stamped]
Stalag IIID
37 Geprüft

[Stamped]
Deputy Chief Field Censor

[Unidentifiable postmark]
15. 5. 42. 16:17

[Postmark]
Ravensbourne
6. OC. 42. 3
N.Z.

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
229 Main Road [Crossed out]
Ravensbourne [Crossed out]
Dunedin [Crossed out]
New Zealand

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Gebühernfrei!

18 May 42

My dearest,

Your letters of 11.1.42 & 8.2.42 arrived. Bless you for your thoughts of me, my Joyce. I notice the snaps are at last under way. I really would like one. Mentioned in a previous letter not to send any further parcels. Their arrival is fraught with doubt & I have sufficient clothes at present. Are our things in Napier all right? You might give Robert that Harris tweed coat & my medical books. No sign of my base kit!

Could you arrange with the Bank to send a cheque for £1.8.2 (sterling) to General Insurance Coy., P.O. Box 236, Cairo, Egypt, for next year’s premium. I have my gear insured for £100. As regards the car, you might be wise to sell if you have a sufficiently good offer. However she belongs to you so that it is entirely at your discretion.

If the books I’ve sent for arrive I shall be able, with any luck, to get Primary within 3 months of arriving in England, perhaps before you get over, or before there is any chance of my getting to NZ. Can then get a job & do the final with another 3 months brush up, & we should have ample cash to stand that, with a good holiday as soon as you arrive. We shall see. I want a country job in NZ but I do want an English Fellowship in Surgery. However I am anxious to settle down & make a home for ourselves as soon as possible.

So glad to hear you’re well & happy my dear one, don’t forget the blood counts. I’m very fit & well – things the same here.

All my love, dear, dear Joyce.
God bless you.

Your Allan.

Kriegsgenfangenenpost

[Stamped]
Stalag IIID
37   Geprüft

[Stamped]
Deputy Chief Field Censor

[Unidentifiable postmark]
29. 5. 42. 16:17

[Postmark]
Ravensbourne
2. DE. 42. 3
N.Z.

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
229 Main Road [Crossed out]
Ravensbourne [Crossed out]
Dunedin [Crossed out]
New Zealand

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Gebühernfrei!

Sunday 24 May 42

My dearest,

Two more letters from you, 18 Jan & 22 Feb. So very glad you’re enjoying Gisborne. Tell me about the horse you are riding. I hope he’s better behaved than was Brutus & that you are not taking any wire fences. A grand day when we can ride together again. Bull & I had a pleasant Sunday morning in Egypt on great stallions. There were many others in Crete who deserved mention before me, however I’m pleased for the unit’s sake. One of our men (B Coy) was awarded an MM.

Bishop Gerard must surely be the first such dignitary to enter a POW existence. I hope to meet him & also Gilchrist but it is unlikely if I remain here.

The building now has its spring garb, the whole front being covered by green creeper whose shoots even enter windows of the 3rd storey. Several chestnuts & sycamores are in full leaf, after months of bare branches. On these sunny afternoons the large courtyard is a maze of inactivity & activity. The inactive element sunbathes in deck chairs, the more active play a French game of bowls, & the English personnel have introduced cricket, in a modified form, the wickets & bat being homemade & a tennis ball saving the many windows. Fosbrooke & I had a pleasant walk last week in the grounds of an old estate, & saw deer & pheasants. I am awfully well & working steadily. Hope to be able to play the first 24 of Bach to you when I come home.

Bless you my lovely one, for all your loving thoughts.
All my love – kisses.

Your Allan.

Kriegsgenfangenenpost

[Stamped]
Stalag IIID
67
Geprüft

[Stamped]
Deputy Chief Field Censor]

[Unidentifiable postmark]
15. 6. 42. 16:17

[Postmark]
Dunedin
CI
11. OC. 42. 9-P
N.Z.

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
229 Main Road [Crossed out]
Ravensbourne [Crossed out]
Dunedin [Crossed out]
New Zealand

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Gebühernfrei!

Kriegsgefangenenlager       Datum: 7 June 42

My dearest,   An extra to my letter of today. Would you please write to Mrs J.D. Palandri, 9 Stanley St., Nedlands, West Australia & tell her that her husband is well. He is a major & has been my room-mate for some months & his letters are irregular. Not so fortunate as me. Blin is at another hospital not far distant (in the same Stalag) & I believe fit & well, but have not seen him. Neale also & is well.

All my love,

Your Allan.

Kriegsgenfangenenpost

Postkarte

[Stamped]
Stalag IIID
37 Geprüft

[Stamped]
Deputy Chief Field Censor]

[Unidentifiable postmark]
20. 6. 42. 16:17

[Postmark]
Dunedin
CI
11. OC. 42. 9 -P
N.Z.

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
229 Main Road [Crossed out]
Ravensbourne [Crossed out]
Dunedin [Crossed out]
New Zealand

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Absender

Vor- und Zurname:
Captain D. Allan Ballantyne N.Z.M.C.
Gefangenennummer: 23918
Lager-Bezeichnung:
M.-Stammlager III D
/308
Deutschland (Allemagne)

Sunday 26 VII 42.

My dearest,

Have just stumbled on the need of writing ‘LUFTPOST’ on my letters & of paying 60 pfennigs to ensure an airmail service to NZ. Imagined in my rather vague manner that all letters went by this route. Sorry wasn’t aware before but at VIIIB none of us knew. Trust from now on the service will be better & the postman more regular, as I write every week. I’m awfully fit & well & expecting a parcel any day.

We’ve had a few more books recently. This week read a biography of Lord Melbourne (incidentally dreaming last night I had his dreadful wife) & ‘Farmers Glory’, a pleasant account of English & Canadian farming – mainly cropping & dairying. Books are a great asset here. I’ve been fortunate in never wanting for them. I expect you will have spent the weekend in the country, it is a great joy to me that you are able to ride & enjoy the fine NZ air & food.

You’re a bad girl never to have sent me any snaps, ever! You must realize I’m quite as hopeless as ever about you pets, – think you’re quite the finest woman I’ve seen, with your ‘period face’, & ‘thorough-bred’ appearance. Have you heard how Edgar Clarke is faring? I’m afraid, as Robert once said about Sam Skinner, ‘I’ve eliminated him from my sphere’. Haven’t heard from my young brother for months. Is he still attached? My mother never mentions her name so I presume she has been disillusioned. Life the same here – not too bad.

God bless you, my lovely one.
All my love & kisses.

Your Allan.

Luft Post
Taxe percue RM – Pf 40
Kriegsgenfangenenpost

[Stamped]
Stalag IIID
37 Geprüft

[Stamped]
Par Avion
Via Nordamerika

[Unidentifiable postmark]
8. 8. 42. 16

[Postmark]
Ravensbourne

28. OC. 42. 3
N.Z.

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
229 Main Road [Crossed out]
Ravensbourne [Crossed out]
Dunedin [Crossed out]
New Zealand

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Gebühernfrei!

25 August 1942

My dearest,

The good weather continues & I’m at present enjoying some hot sunshine, even though in a foreign land. Have not heard from you for some six weeks, your last letter was posted on 2nd May. Am at present shaking off a cold, the first I remember for some 2 years or more, & have taken a spell from exercising & such pursuits for a few days. Have just read some Thackeray & am at present on his English humorists of the 18th century. Our library here has improved considerably of late. There are but few NZers in this stalag. We have one lad from Hetherington’s battalion at present, who comes from Hamilton. Did have an Irishman who was captured on the Rangitane with Frank Hunt but he has departed.

Pardon the above idle thoughts my dearest, it is dreadful to confess I find it difficult to write you a decent letter. There is so little happens here & less one is permitted to describe. I have sent an order to Base Pay for £7/4/6 stirling to be paid to the High Commissioner, for books sent me, the money being provided by the NZ Patriotic Society, & have requested him to notify you when the payment is made.

August nearly gone & myself nearly another year old, the summer coming in NZ & the winter not far off here. Heighho Lackaday! I sincerely hope we’re not too old & doddery when we take up life together again, my Joyce. You’ll probably find me a little older in appearance, but still young in heart & as wicked as ever.

Look after yourself pets & God Bless you.

Kisses – Your loving Allan.

Kriegsgenfangenenpost

[Stamped]
Par Avion
Via Nordamerika

[Stamped]
U.S. Censorship
Examined
By 343

Taxe perçue RM – Pf 40

Kriegsgenfangenenpost

[Postmark]
Berlin BW
8. 9. 42 – 12

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
229 Main Road [Crossed out]
Ravensbourne [Crossed out]
Dunedin [Crossed out]
New Zealand

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

[Stamped]
Stalag IIID
37 Geprüft

[Unreadable stamp]

[Postmark]
Ravensbourne
7. Ja. 43. 2
N.Z.

Gebühernfrei!

1 September 42

My dearest,

Thought I would write again today as I’ve a birthday. Regret I can’t send you any token of my love to you, will have to be content with my thoughts. Your husband is always the same Joyce, & would not like to contemplate life without you. Don’t entertain any worries about your growing thin to me, it does occur to some extent after two years, but the essentials don’t so that I could never forget your altogether loveliness if I were exiled for years & years. We shall have a very happy time, I hope, in the not too distant future, & then settle down to do good in our dear NZ country. Meanwhile take good care of your previous self, my sweet, & remember all my thoughts & love are forever with you.

You will find all this & of what I cannot put into words in some of Keats Poetry & in the music of Delius & in the Ballads, Etudes & Preludes of Chopin, which I shall play to you some day, & if you’ve a mind before then to hear them, listen to Corlat’s recordings. He plays a few wrong notes but I’ve not heard anyone to equal him.

You might inquire from my Mother if she wants any money, as rents may have fallen & taxation risen, & she may not have much to come & go on. Would be glad if she needs anything if you could loan her £50 from my account, if you think fit & also pay her £18/18/- for the typewriter. How does the account now stand & what amount am I receiving?

Am very fit – that photograph such a joy.

All my kisses, my lovely one.

Your Allan.

Kriegsgenfangenenpost

[Stamped]
Par Avion
Via Nordamerika

Taxe perçue RM – Pf 40

[Stamped]
U.S. Censorship
Examined
By 343

[Postmark]
Berlin BW
8. 9. 42 – 12

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
229 Main Road [Crossed out]
Ravensbourne [Crossed out]
Dunedin [Crossed out]
New Zealand

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

[Stamped]
Stalag IIID
42 Geprüft

[Unreadable stamp]

[Postmark]
Ravensbourne
7. Ja. 43. 2
N.Z.

Gebühernfrei!

3 November 42

My dearest,

Little did I think 3 years ago when we were catching trout at Waikaremoana that you would be back at work & myself a POW. However my Joyce, both we two are well & I think pretty fortunate. The good trout streams will keep & I look forward to a good holiday again with limit bags from Waikaremoana, Rotorua & Taupo. I believe some of the best fishing in NZ is to be had at Rotorua, so Hetherington & Dodgshun tell me, & my last season at Taupo was not very good. Do you think you could put up with camping or perhaps better a fishing hut or cottage? We shall have to have a larger car than the Morris & a small trailer. There are some delightful fishing huts on the Tongariro river. Good days which we can think about. I suppose you can still build good fires.

Had a letter from Sam Skinner a week or two back. He appears not any different. Did you see them when you were in Palmerston North? Have been moderately busy this past week writing parts for my choir & holding practices, reading & working & recovering from the football game last week. We play again tomorrow or the next day, after which I shall have some massage. Just finished Scott’s ‘Old Mortality’ & Buchan’s Julius Caesar & am now starting a biography of Mozart by Sachaverell Sitwell.

Do you know Hetherington’s wife at Thames (Mrs O.S. Hetherington). Should be very glad if you could let me know how he is.

The days are now much shorter & cooler, but so far I’ve not warn an overcoat when walking outside in the courtyard. Am very well & always wishing to see my lovely one. I am so weary of this long absence, my Joyce – however I shall see you in good time.

Bless you, pets.
All my love & kisses.

Your Allan.

Kriegsgenfangenenpost

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U.S. Censorship
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By 10022
V

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
229 Main Road [Crossed out]
Ravensbourne [Crossed out]
Dunedin [Crossed out]
New Zealand

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

[Unidentifiable Postmark]
12. 11. 42

[Postmark]
Ravensbourne
9. Fe. 43. 2
N.Z.

Gebühernfrei!

10 November 42

My dearest,

We’re now in our 4th year of the married state. Do you feel like a 4 year old matron pets? Must say I don’t, & I expect you’re the same. Poor old thing, you’ve not had much taste of married life, with our moving about & my being first in camp, then away from NZ & then to get myself into this POW life – However the fortunes of war my Joyce & it’s a poor man who places himself before his duty.

I shall have to be a perfect husband & do everything you wish though I don’t think I shall be so very different & probably continue to be wayward sometimes, waking you upon the morning to take tea & not being very tidy. One thing however my dear one, I shall always look after you very well, & I think we shall always be very happy.

Wiltshire & Barker seem to consider me a bit absent minded here at times, though I think they’re wrong.

Yesterday our hospital team beat one of the Kommandos at football. We had a very pleasant outing & came home just before dusk at 4.30pm. Saw Stevenson Wright on Saturday along with Neal & Putandri. Steve has aged a bit. He tells me Bill Carswell has a bar to his MC.

We’ve received a number of new books recently – I’ve just finished a biography of Mozart by S. Sitwell. (He wrote the words to Constant Lambert’s ‘Rio Grande’) & 2 detective novels of Dorothy Sayers. Have had a great deal of enjoyment from her books. The French goes slowly. I can make myself fairly intelligible & understand if the speed is not too great – they all speak terribly rapidly. German goes a bit slower, as I’ve so much on at present haven’t found too much time for learning vocabulary.

Presume you will be in hospital or with friends for Xmas Joyce. So sorry now you were sick & lonely the first one we had in Napier. I wasn’t very kind in those days.

Bless you my darling.

Your loving Allan.

Kriegsgenfangenenpost

[Stamped]
Par Avion
Via Nordamerika

Taxe perçue RM – Pf 40

[Stamped]
Stalag IIID
37 Geprüft

[Stamped]
U.S. Censorship
Examined
By 363

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
229 Main Road [Crossed out]
Ravensbourne [Crossed out]
Dunedin [Crossed out]
New Zealand

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

[Unidentifiable Postmark]
25. 11. 42 16.19

[Postmark]
Ravensbourne
9. Mr. 43. 2
N.Z.

Gebühernfrei!

17 November 42

My dearest,

Fine cool weather, invigorating, a few flakes of snow some days since, & today the slanting rays of a November sun giving us what heat is left after the long days south of the equator. Most of the trees are now leafless, & the day from 7am to 5pm.

I am making another drive in French & German & am tutoring one of the French doctors here in English, to my benefit & perhaps also to his. It is improving my pronunciation which though it generally answers, is not good. Otherwise life goes on much the same, the weeks passing very quickly. The lads are rehearsing for a Xmas concert. I’ve a small choir singing some sea shanties, negro spirituals & other things I’ve arranged, for which I’m using some harmonics to my taste on the piano. Wiltshire is more or less supervising the show, for which we’re hiring costumes through Stalag. It’s all rather good fun. There is a small concert hall in the building used as a linen room.

Have been getting some good results with duodenal ulcers in the past few months. Radiological disappearance & clinical healing with rest & diet. The Red Cross provide us with excellent milk parcels which are invaluable.

I think you have a birthday on the 25th pets, though am not certain. Anyway all my love & best wishes. Lets hope I shall be with you for the next. Have not received any later letters than Aug 20 & that a month or more ago. Am expecting some any day. Let me know how Bill Carswell, Jimmy Williams & the others are faring. What are you doing at Xmas? Trust you are well, my lovely one. I am very well & pretty content at present, as you may imagine. Have got myself now fairly inured to this existence. Give my regards to all our friends & relatives.

Bless you so much, my Joyce – My love & kisses.

Your Allan.

Kriegsgenfangenenpost

[Stamped]
Par Avion
Via Nordamerika

Taxe perçue RM – Pf 40

[Stamped]
Stalag IIID
37 Geprüft

[Stamped]
U.S. Censorship
Examined
By 363

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
229 Main Road [Crossed out]
Ravensbourne [Crossed out]
Dunedin [Crossed out]
New Zealand

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

[Unidentifiable Postmark]
25. 11. 42 16.19

[Postmark]
Ravensbourne
9. Mr. 43. 2
N.Z.

Gebühernfrei!

24 November 42

My dearest,

I’ve letters from you this week, a belated one of Dec 7 of last year & the other Aug. 23rd both so very welcome. Sorry we shan’t see Tom Milliken again. Was Rusty Page repatriated? Give my sympathy to Frank Hunt – am sorry to hear of Mrs Hunt’s death.

Did you use the car on your holidays pets? as you speak of it being a long weary drive to Gisborne; but I presume you travelled by service car. Am so glad to know you’re fit & well. Have been moderately busy of late with more outpatients to see.

Rehearsals go on for the concert on Boxing Day, a darts, chess & pingpong tournament is in progress & other such amusements for the long winter evenings. I’ve been reading some of Scott’s novels again with a great amount of pleasure. Woodstock, Ivanhoe & The Talisman. He gives an excellent historical background, with the customs & manners of the period & his tales are grand. I certainly shall be better educated in many ways after this POW existence. One of the French Drs loaned me a copy he has recently received of De’Bussys ‘Gardens in the rain’ which I shall relearn. Haven’t been able to get any De’Bussy myself. The piano here is not bad but the action is too slow for clean playing. However I’m very fortunate to have an instrument. Well remember how Schweitzer in his book speaks of his practicing Bach’s organ works on a table & form when he was interned by us in Switzerland, I believe, during the last war.

Life is not too bad. For dinner this evening we had soup, bully beef & mashed potatoes, apples & custard & sardines on toast, plus tea. So you needn’t worry over my losing weight or otherwise going into a decline.

Look after yourself my Joyce, you will know just how anxious I am to see you again – patience a little longer, my sweet.

All my love & kisses dear one.

Your Allan.

Kriegsgenfangenenpost

[Stamped]
Par Avion
Via Nordamerika

Taxe perçue RM – Pf 40

[Stamped]
Stalag IIID
37 Geprüft

[Stamped]
U.S. Censorship
Examined
By 578

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Cook Hospital
Gisborne

229 Main Road
Ravensbourne
Dunedin
New Zealand

[Unidentifiable Postmark]
4. 12. 42 16.19

[Postmark]
Ravensbourne
9. Mr. 43. 2
N.Z.

Gebühernfrei!

8 December 42

My dearest,

Have been considering for 10 minutes or so what to write & how to commence. The most important thing pets, is that I love you very much & spend odd moments of the day looking at your photograph & recalling our few happy months together. They seem a long time ago.

Had a letter from Sam & Ed last week. They seem very well situated at Hawera. Do you know the whereabouts of Fisher, who was Supt. of Waipukurau? He came as our C.O. from Twigg’s unit after John Plimmer was killed, & he, along with Sutherland & Lovell, were the last of our unit I saw. Also will you let me know how Hetherington is keeping. His wife’s sad loss (Mrs (Dr) O.S. Hetherington, Thames) will probably find her. Just one more thing my sweet, will you arrange to pay the insurance premium on my base kit Egypt £1/8/2 (sterling) to General Accident Fire & Life Assurance Corporation Ltd., PO Box 236, Cairo. I presume it is still there & not sent home. If you have it I should be glad of the service suit of English cloth but otherwise don’t bother.

Sandy Whyte must be quite busy as physician to both Hastings & Napier. I heard Lambert is Supt. of Pukeora, so that both the Campbell girls have their husbands at home. I hope Robert will have a job next year. Would be glad if you could see that my mother doesn’t run short of cash. She told me she had given a blood transfusion at Dunedin hospital. I did not say anything to her as she revels in social work & the like but think it was hardly necessary at her age. She’s a most contented person with her garden, her church & patriotic activities. My father was probably far more practical with a better critical sense.

I’m very well Joyce, as ever.
My best wishes to Walter & Joyce.
Have a good summer.

Bless you my lovely one.

Your Allan.

Kriegsgenfangenenpost

Taxe perçue RM – Pf 40

[Stamped]
Stalag IIID
37 Geprüft

[Stamped]
Par Avion
Via Nordamerika

[Unidentifiable Postmark]
17. 12. 42 16.

[Stamped]
U.S. Censorship
Examined
By 479

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Cook Hospital
Gisborne

229 Main Road [Crossed out]
Ravensbourne [Crossed out]
Dunedin [Crossed out]
New Zealand

[Postmark]
Ravensbourne
20. Mr. 43. 2
N.Z.

Gebühernfrei!

A Merry Xmas
and a
Happy New Year

Drawn By
K. V. Wood,
P. o W.

Printed by “The Camp”

Kriegsgenfangenenpost

Postkarte

[“Z shaped” Stamp]
Stalag IIID
37 Geprüft

[Unidentifiable Stamp]
179

[Unidentifiable postmark]
(…)

[Postmark]
Ravensbourne
29. Ap. 43. 2
N.Z.

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
229 Main Road [Crossed out]
Ravensbourne [Crossed out]
Dunedin [Crossed out]
New Zealand

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Gebührenfrei!

Absender
Vor- und Zurname:
Captain D. Allan Ballantyne N.Z.M.C.
Gefangenennummer: 23918
Lager-Bezeichnung:  III D/308
Deutschland (Allemagne)

[Stamp]
Deputy Chief Field Censor

13 December 42

My dearest,   A peaceful Sunday.

Got up for check parade, later on Sundays, bathed & shaved & washed & managed to boil some towels, whose lack of whiteness I’m sure would displease you, & walked in the fresh air for an hour along with a French doctor & a Serb officer, before lunch. This afternoon went into retirement with a rather delightful novel by Georgette Heyer ‘The Corinthian’. Have just finished ‘A Pre-Raphaelite Tragedy’ by James Gaunt & at last know something of that elusive Pre-Raphaelite movement which has always rather puzzled me. It will be interesting to see in what direction art will go in the next half century.

English music of this century (Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Delins & others) appears to be of a more lyrical nature, which I presume one puts under the general heading ‘Romantic’. We don’t seem to have followed on the Impressionists. I don’t know much about painting or the other representation arts. Of the poets Rupert Brooke was romantic, but the others, including the Sitwells of today I haven’t read enough to say.

We have a Serbian neurologist just come, who speaks a galaxy of tongues, including English with an American accent. The continentals are very facile in languages, a number speaking 3 or 4 from childhood. We must do the same with our family Joyce at least in German & French. I am gradually adding to my vocabulary in these latter.

Haven’t heard lately from you so don’t know how the airmail is operating but sincerely hope my letters don’t take 6 months or more in transit. Hope you are enjoying the warm sea bathing of the East Coast, & becoming well browned. Am very well, my lovely one, & in good spirits.

We had a whist drive last evening. I missed the booby prize by 1. My best wishes to our various friends.

Bless you my darling.
Send you all my love & kisses.

Your Allan.

Kriegsgenfangenenpost

[Stamped]
Stalag IIID
64
Geprüft

[Unidentifiable Postmark]
18. 12. 42  19

[Postmark]
Dunedin
C.I.
31. Mr. 43. 1.30p
N.Z.

[Stamped]
Deputy Chief Field Censor

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
229 Main Road [Crossed out]
Ravensbourne [Crossed out]
Dunedin [Crossed out]
New Zealand

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Gebühernfrei!

28 December 42

My dearest,   Had a quiet Xmas. A short service in the morning & in the evening a show for the English, lasting from 5 till 8. I think all the Kommandos did something – I know one performed Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs. On Boxing Day evening we had Xmas dinner with our NCOs. The rations were good & thanks also to the good Red Cross we had a fine dinner. Commenced work again today – merely doing the routine ward rounds over the holidays.

The weather is very mild for this season, though today I notice the frost didn’t lift. Have read several more books – ‘Seven Tempest’ Vaughan Wilkins, a novel of the early years of Victoria’s reign ’40 Centuries look down’, a novel of Napoleon’s conquest of Egypt. Both recent publications.

Am expecting mail any day from you, unfortunately none arrived for Xmas, save a welcome cigarette parcel on the 24th from London. I presume you will have heard the King’s speech on the 25th. Such things I shall hope to read when the peace comes.

The old year now almost gone & 1943 to look forward in. Don’t become bitter or discontented my dear. There is so much abroad at present but I hope it will go out with the war. I have had my mind filled with such thoughts at times, but not so much these last few months.

Are you remaining another year in Gisborne Joyce? I am vaguely afraid that you’ve done sufficient time with Xrays. I should hate never to have any family. However, I expect you know the risks & take adequate precautions. Look after yourself pets. You’re the most important person to me. I am very well, making New Year resolutions for hard work.

All my love & kisses, dear dear Joyce.
Another year nearer you.

Your Allan.

Kriegsgenfangenenpost

Taxe perçue RM – Pf 40

[Stamped]
Stalag IIID
37 Geprüft

[Postmark]
Ravensbourne
17. Ap. 43. 2
N.Z.

[Stamped]
Par Avion
Via Nordamerika

[Unidentifiable Postmark]
8. 1. 43  16

[Stamped]
U.S. Censorship
Examined
By 155

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
229 Main Road [Crossed out]
Ravensbourne [Crossed out]
Dunedin [Crossed out]
New Zealand

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Gebühernfrei!

Original digital file

BallantyneDA620_War_Letters-1942.pdf

Description

This is the second in a series of 5 sets of personal letters from Doctor Allan Ballantyne, held prisoner-of-war in Europe, to his wife Joyce, in New Zealand.

Each letter or postcard is displayed in date order of writing.

From the start of interment until mid October 1941, letters were written on a single sheet of paper then placed into an envelope, now rather fragile after so many years, then posted through a prisoner of war mail service for eventual delivery in New Zealand.

From late October 1941 until the end of interment, mail was generally written on one side of an “aerogram”-style sheet of lightweight paper that was then folded and sealed into an envelope shape, for posting.  A full picture of the address side of one of these letters is displayed for interest, thereafter only the main address panel is shown for ease of reading.In addition to these styles of letters, occasional “postcards” were produced within the prison camps, for mailing by prisoners.  Examples are sometimes found in the weeks preceding Christmas.

Due to the long delivery times experienced with correspondence sent between Germany and New Zealand and vice versa, it was difficult for either to know where the other might be living or incarcerated.  The most commonly used address for mail being sent to New Zealand was “229 Main Road, Ravensbourne, Dunedin, New Zealand”.

Changes start to occur early in the war when one finds mail being redirected to “Craighead, Timaru, Canterbury”, although no mention has been noted in the correspondence as to what Joyce may have been doing at that location.  Other addresses occur from time to time before Joyce started working as a radiographer at Cook Hospital, Gisborne, where mail was initially redirected before this becoming the regular address.

Postmark dates can be confusing as they reflect the dates when each piece of mail passed through the various postal services.  The letter writing date may be substantially earlier than the NZ postmark dates, depending upon the circuitous route that mail travelled.

To assist readers with understanding address details, commonly-seen German terms with suggested English equivalents, suggested by “Google Translate” are listed below.

Word or Label   Meaning
Kriegsgefangenenpost   POW mail
Postkarte   Post Card
Geprüft   Checked
Taxe perçue   Perceived tax
Luftpost   Airmail
Par Avion   By plane, by airmail
Gebührenfrei   Free of charge

Vor – und Zuname   First and Last names (of recipient)
Empfangsort   Receiving location (the street address)
Straße   Street (usually contains suburb or area name)
Kreis   District (Usually displays name of city/town)
Landesteil   Part of the country (Usually contains the name of the country to which the mail is being sent)
Provinz usw   Province etc (generally unused)

Absender   Sender
Gefangenennummer   Prisoner number
Lager-Bezeichnung   Camp designation
Stammlager   Main prison camp
Deutschland   Germany

Date published

10 January 1942 - 28 December 1942

Format of the original

Handwritten letters

Accession number

477345

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