War Letters to Joyce 1943

4 January 43

My dearest,

Had a quiet New Year, & remained up to see 1943 in. I am wondering if you are at present on holiday or is it not until February? I have recommenced reading after a 2-3 week’s respite & keep my day pretty full. Regret I haven’t received any letters since early December & your last in November, but presume you are well & enjoying the lovely East Coast summer. Here the snow has come. There is about 6-12 inches on the ground, which will probably remain until the end of March. We are very comfortably housed & I wear the same amount of clothes as at home. Fortunately never ail or go into a decline or anything so silly. Your hand knitted socks are so good Joyce. The elastic top is just the thing. I have dutifully darned one or two holes I’ve worn in the heel & toe. The stockings I’ve not yet worn. I think I told you the shoes fit me perfectly. Have resumed counterpoint.

Shan’t ever write any great music but want to have a good knowledge of all the branches of composition, as it gives me a good deal of amusement & my resources at present are too limited. Have commenced to rewrite a song to some words of Seigfried Sassoon, which I had in a rather chaotic form.

It is now some 2½ years since I saw you my Joyce. Wish I could take a holiday & be with you again. I cannot write very much to you but I think you know how dear you are to me & of how all my happiness & hopes are with my lovely one. Do trust you are well & happy pets. Playing tennis, riding & swimming. Don’t be taking any wire fences or gates! Robert has a birthday on 31 March. You might send him a cheque from me. I presume he will be working somewhere at present. My very best wishes for this year. Ever your loving Allan.

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12 January 43

My dearest,

Heigh-ho, lack-a-day, & what shall I write to my love? for at the moment I’ve no idea of what to tell you about, & the postman has missed me for some weeks. There is the weather pets, but that isn’t very interesting, as we shall now have the snow with us for some weeks & it is simply bracing & cold out-of-doors & owing to the ground being frozen, or rather the snow frozen, slippery. My state of health is always good. I weigh 10 stone & look much the same except for more grey hairs. Why they should come I don’t know, as I’m not subject to any stress or strain, merely leading a quiet life in this small corner of ours.

The routine of the day I have spoken of in previous letters. Am very well occupied & time passes very rapidly. I hope you are contented & happy Joyce. If one takes oneself in hand & thinks of the good things available, there is no need to be despondent. I am very fortunate in having good books, both in literature & medicine & one gets much pleasure from them. We have comfortable, warm quarters & clean white sheets & pillow covers on the bed, good food & though tobacco is scanty manage several pipes per day, usually.

After being a POW for 18 months I can imagine people desiring to lead a secluded contemplative life of scholarship, & retiring into a monastery, though I must assure you it would not be the life for me. I suppose you couldn’t send me any more photos of yourself. I still have the one of us taken in 40, in its original case with the Napier one of you before we met. The Verbenia I’m afraid has now lost its scent.

Where is Gertrude now & how are Walter & Joyce? Is Arthur still in NZ? Give my regards to any you think fit. Be happy & look after yourself my dearest & remember I look forward to the greatest day when I’ll see you again.

All my love & kisses.
Your loving Allan.

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19 January 43

My dearest,

The weekly letter for the mail in the morning. Time 9.30pm on a cold clear night & freezing I expect, though here we are warm & comfortable. Have just finished reading ‘Green Pastures’, a play dealing with the negro’s conception of God as He is expounded in the Old Testament. Another thing I’ve also read in the past week was ‘Musk & Amber’ by Mason, (nothing very special) & an interesting account of an exploration trip in Bolivia – ‘Green Hell’ by Julian Angioid. Am also reading some of Mohere’s plays, some each day.

I should very much like to see the East Coast summer weather at the moment Joyce, to be able to swim in the warm surf & to sunbathe. One seems to have more winter than summer in this country, whereas our real winter only lasts some 3 months, June, July & August.

Am hoping to receive mail any day now. Some weeks since I heard from you, the last letter was written on Aug. 20. However one must be thankful that any mail service is possible in such circumstances. I often wonder if your life in NZ is the same. Essentially I presume, horses will be perhaps more in commission. I hope there is less broadcasting, & that those wretched commercial stations are closed. They’re an unnecessary evil. Perhaps you have 5 cups of tea per day instead of 10 & drink less coffee & I expect there will not be much whisky available, except from Hokonui. I think I shall become almost a teetotaler after this war & certainly smoke & eat less, so perhaps altogether I may hope for a ripe old age.

Don’t concern yourself over me, my dearest, am very fit & in good heart – have had one or two disturbed nights lately but on the whole sleep extremely well

All my love & kisses,

Your Allan.

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27 January 43

My dearest,

The first month of the new year has almost gone – the days flying very rapidly. A remarkable thaw set in a week ago & the snow has all gone. There are a few ‘colds’ about. Barker is a bit sorry for himself at the moment. Wiltshire’s baby boy has just begun to walk, so he hears, otherwise we are much the same. Myself very well, not excessively busy, & plodding along quietly with my several activities. No tobacco at present. An old friend of my youth who is now in England has sent some but as yet it has not arrived. However that is a small thing. I presume Robert will be working somewhere at present. Hope my mother is not too lonely. She has much to keep her occupied & is very self sufficient & she’s got McKenzie. I expect he’s getting on now. 6 yrs old & probably has more inclination to lie beside a fire of an evening than to be out hunting. Presume you may go to Dunedin for your holidays if it is possible.

Our library has improved much in the last few months & yesterday more books came, & I have bagged a recent Priestley, ‘Faraway’ & Williamson’s Salar the Salmon. Today a gramophone & some records came from Stalag, amongst the recordings Schumann’s ‘Carnival’. You may remember it. Originally for piano – I used to play it, but has been adapted for orchestra & extensively used for the Ballet. We saw it in Hastings in 37. Don’t forget your little symphonies in movement my dear & have some ‘pas a pied’ for me. I don’t forget them.

No more news pets, save that I always love you & look forward to seeing you again. We shall have a good holiday somewhere, perhaps in England. Perhaps I’ll return to NZ & we’ll catch some more trout, we’ll see. Look after yourself my lovely one.

All my love & kisses,
Your Allan.

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3 February 43

My dearest,

One letter today posted on 17 Dec 42 from Grandad Eaton so I shall probably receive some of yours shortly – there are Sept, Oct & Nov letters not yet to hand. He tells me you are well & enjoying Gisborne & that he saw you apparently in November. Says you are working long hours. If that is so Joyce, it is not good. You never tell me whether you have regular blood counts done & I think you are apt to underestimate the dangers of secondary radiation which always occurs, no matter how well the tube is constructed. There is also considerable evidence that Xrays may destroy the ovarian germ cells without producing any outward sign of such action. I don’t wish to alarm you Joyce, but want you to kn…(words missing from page).   Personally I think you’ve done enough Xray work, but …(words missing) to dictate (certainly no right) what you shall do.

Enough heavy husband stuff! Hetherington’s wife’s address is ‘Queen St., Thames’. I’d be glad if you could send me news of him also of Blin Bull. I am not very busy at the moment, but reading a good deal & at weekends working at the Chopin studies & the Bach Chromatic Fugre, doing some counterpoint & generally keeping myself well occupied. Make a point of walking a mile or two each day in the courtyard. The weather at present is amazingly mild, like our early Spring. Am as usual fit & well & not getting the ‘cafard’ or in other words ‘browned off.

Do look after your lovely self my Joyce. Remember you’re my very dearest one. I hope perhaps that I may see you again in 44, but we must be patient yet awhile.

Trust you are happy pets – all my love & kisses,
Your Allan.

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9 February 43

My dearest,

It seems quite an age since I had a letter from you; there should be a whole packet of mail some day. Letters are a rather important thing in this life, as you may well imagine & one must be thankful that they are possible under the circumstances.

Am afraid I did a spot of growling in last week’s letter pets. Was feeling a bit testy at the time, so overlook it, but not completely, Joyce, as you’re the most important person to me. I won’t bother you with a lot of questions about our various friends & acquaintances as you’ll probably have written all you know of them. How are Pearl & the young son & Walter & Joyce? & your brother who was in Midah East? Grand-dad Eaton seems to have had a pleasant holiday in Auckland & Rotorua – said he found the baths there ‘pepped him up no end’.

I have just finished Williamson’s ‘Salar the Salmon’, a most fascinating study of that fish’s life, which must have involved much work & observation. Presume you may be on holiday at present Joyce, if so hope you’ll have a pleasant time with good weather. One thing about this war, there will be less fish taken from the various lakes & rivers & one should land better weights. I should like very much to be on the Tongariro at present, though doubtless there would be too much wind, a spate on, or the fish disinterested. One could not expect much better days as that at Waikaremoana when we got a limit bag.

I am very well, my dear, living my usual quiet life, not too busy & in good spirits. Give my regards to any you think fit. Will hope for a letter before next week.

All my love & kisses.
Your Allan.

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16 February 43

My dearest,

The second month of 43 more than half passed & we’re almost in the last month of Winter, as Spring begins here on 21st March. People seem to mark the seasons entrance & exit more definitely than we in southern climes, doubtless because there is a much greater variation in temperature than we know. For instance I’ve always been rather vague as to the divisions of the year in NZ, but have a rough idea of lambing & shearing times, when the cows are ‘dried off’ & when one can comfortably start swimming.

I read in a paper recently that Mr Fraser intended taking steps against the ‘Black Market’, which I should imagine is in every country at present. I presume you may be rationed in sugar, cocoa, tea, coffee & perhaps the South Sea island fruit but can’t imagine the necessities of life are affected much.

No further mail to hand but Grandad Eaton in a letter of 17 Dec 42 (it came remarkably quickly) tells me you’re well. I do hope you’ve received some mail from me in the last few months. At all events pets, we both enjoy the best health & I don’t become alarmed in the absence of news. Was pleased to see the NZrs were in the ‘March Past’ at Tripoli & extremely sorry that I wasn’t with them.

Are you on holiday at present Joyce? If so be ever so happy & enjoy the good weather. I often think of how I shall treat myself in England when this show is finished. Will have to harden the old body up with long walking I think.

Do trust you are well & happy, my lovely one.
All my love & kisses for your sweet self.
Your Allan.

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1 March 43

My dearest,

A spate of letters this week – the most precious being yours of Sept. Oct. & November to the 22nd along with 3 snaps, which are all perfectly lovely. I have just spent a couple of hours reading all your letters, from July 41, in all about 70, so I’ve really been most fortunate; not many have gone astray. I am very sensible of all your love & affection for me, my Joyce. Think you know how much I love you & simply worship your shadow; one needs the pen of a Keats to put one’s thoughts on paper.

The great thing for me is that you are my dearest, my absolute confidante, my very best friend & my adored wife. I’ve been fed up being away from you ever since I joined the army. The only difference now is that this feeling has sunk deeper & deeper & one has become accustomed to it, save for fleeting moments when it comes to the surface & ‘browns me off’ so to speak. They say man deteriorates in the absence of women. If it’s true I must be pretty hopeless by now. However, pets, perhaps you’ll find me more gentlemanly, certainly more wise & perhaps after all, not too bad. One thing, & I think the most important, is that I love you more than ever. I have no illusions about us having to get to know each other again for 3 years of life in these times must change one to some extent, but that is the great happiness I’m looking forward to, getting your views on this & that & hearing your voice again, & watching you wake up in the morning.

I’m very fit & well again. Have just read John Buchan’s ‘Memory hold the door’, was a bit bored with it. Had letters from Alex Hickie, my Mother & Uncle in Canada, whose son is away to the wars as a Lieut. Ask Mrs Bull to send my best wishes to Blin.

Bless you pets.
All my love & kisses.
Your Allan.

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7 March 43

My dearest,

One or two things to add to my letter. My mother had a birthday early this year which I think I forgot, would you please send her a cheque for £10, I think I can afford it. Also Robert has a birthday on 31st March. Would you send him £2. In addition I should be glad for you to send £2 as a donation to my mother’s Patriotic Society (she’s the President) say each quarter, for tobacco sent me. I have paid for the text books I received, as I mentioned.
Love, your Allan.

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Vor- und Zuname: Captain D. Allan Ballantyne NZMC
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Deutschland (Allemagne)

16 March 43

My dearest,

Received your letters of 28 Nov. & 19 Dec. 42 a few hours ago & am very happy. My mail seems to be reaching you better since the air service commenced.

You seem to be awfully fit & well pets. I shall look forward to giving you the pink carnations for your birthday myself, perhaps next year Joyce. Tessa must have been in a frenzy of excitement when you wrote, with her Jock almost home. I hope he’s not badly knocked about. Had a short note from Alex Dickie a week or two ago. He tells me Bob Christie & another lad of our year are in Egypt. Also today received a letter from Kean; most of the sisters seem to be about Napier still & Mrs Aplin (Gertie) still has holidays in Ward II.

Presume at present you are on holiday. Hope you can manage to see my Mother; she’s very fond of you & it would be such a pleasure for her to see you again. Am glad to hear you find the time goes quickly. Here I look forward to weekends, when I play the piano, whist on Saturday evenings with the men (there are some 24 British personnel here in all) & get up at 8.45am on Sunday morning, & have no out-patients. On Monday morning I’m glad to think a new week has begun, which brings me a little nearer home.

The weather here is unusually pleasant & Fosbrooke’s & my small room gets the sun now from midday till 5pm; the trees & shrubs are beginning to shoot, all of which keeps one cheerful. Have received several letters from people in England, some of Blin’s friends. Chatty letters from a girl who lives in Norwich & up till recently has been working in a factory – is now in the ‘Wrens’. Another very nice woman who has several sons in service, a major, Pilot officer, a private & a daughter nursing. People at home seem to be working very hard.

Am very well my dearest & in good spirits.

All my love & kisses.
Your Allan, as ever pets.

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23. 3. 43

My dearest,

The photographs you sent are a continual delight to me, two of them, the one in your uniform & the other sitting on the seat of a Vauxhall with the door open. I have superimposed ‘me’ in the portrait of we two. Am very happy to see that you’re as nice & blooming as ever. I think the snap of you nursing the small girl, with a large lady on your left is one of the best I’ve seen. So that with all these plus a few old ones I’ve saved I can see my Joyce in various aspects again. To the devil with this long absence & waiting & waiting & still waiting pets! a damned waste of our young lives.

I presume you are now on holiday & will be seeing Tessa & perhaps Jock. Give him my very best wishes, & regrets if he needs them (I sincerely hope he’s not badly knocked about) & tell him how much I envy his being home. You mustn’t think I’m too browned off Joyce, am very well, despite an orgy of inoculations recently, TAB & typhus, & in pretty good spirits.

Read a Dorothy Sayers at the weekend ‘Busman’s Holiday’ in which Peter Wimsey & Bunter were as delightful as ever. Am at present reading a French book, with occasional resource to a dictionary. Find them difficult to follow at times with my halting knowledge of the language, & get a bit out of my depth.

The weather continues very fair, Spring officially here & the lads have taken to basketball; football was too severe on the windows & has been prohibited. Trust you enjoyed the film ‘Ladies in Retirement’. Not inappropriate in some ways, my dear. A friend of Blin’s has just sent me another pound of tobacco & I had also a cigarette parcel last week, so am well off. The shoes are wearing well. Your pyjamas I’ve not worn as yet.

Be as joyful & happy as ever, my lovely one.
All my love & kisses.
Bless you.
Your Allan.

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30. III. 43

My dearest,

Another 3 letters from you. Jan. 3. 10. 15 & others from Sam, Alan Londown, my mother & Sister Field – the latter rather pathetic; a lonely old maid who wishes she was back in NZ & who hasn’t a very bright outlook on things. So good to know my darling pets is fit & well. Gisborne people are very kind Joyce!

You mention Mick’s mother had word of him from me. Someone told me in a letter he was a POW Italy so I dropped her a card. Shall check up from Geneva. Poor old thing my dear, I don’t wonder you couldn’t face another ‘packing up’. You’ve not had much of a life since you undertook me as a liability – moves every few months. I hope we can settle ourselves in some quiet country spot before very long.

Am reading Sterne’s ‘Tristram Shandy’ – heavy weather in parts, frequently low but in general amusing if you stand his facetious manner. Should imagine Sterne himself was a bounder. Robert never mentions Audrey in his rare letters & my mother hardly ever. Am pleased he’s waiting till he’s qualified. I should like to give him a decent cheque when he finishes. My mother says she is quite well off & not needing any assistance. He is my only brother & I know how one needs something when starting out. I should like him to have £50, in addition to a wedding present when that is required, & if you think we can stand it, to lend him another £50. You can let me know. I intend giving you full control of our financial matters in future as you’re much more careful than I.

Am a bit battered at the moment of writing, from pass-ball. Played hard for 80 minutes this evening & connected with someone’s fist in a melee. Am very fit & well, however, as you may imagine. My regards to Max Cato if you see him again. Perhaps I shall have the utter joy of seeing you again next year. We have much happiness to expect.

God bless you my lovely one.
All my love & kisses.
Your Allan.

Write legibly to avoid delay!

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5. IV. 43

My dearest,

6pm – (summer time – an hour ahead) & I’m writing in shirt sleeves with the sun streaming in the open window. You will be sound asleep, as your time is some 10 or 11 hours in advance. Had an outing yesterday to one of our commandos, where we played them at football (soccer), had a meal & came home at 7.15pm. Quite a distance out, necessitating two different electric & two different steam trains & some walking, of about 6 miles. We had trouble in fielding a team, as 3 of the men were not available, so Barker & I played. We always rather disdained soccer at school & I’d never played until I came here, so you can imagine what with my inexperience & lack of rigorous training I wasn’t an asset. However, we got a side & only lost 6-3. Am not too bad today – have sore heels & one leg is a bit stiff, as someone booted it instead of the ball.

I suppose there are a number of new books dealing with the war – we only get the other sort here. Hetherington was in London during a part of the blitz & described it to me. Thank God it can’t occur again. In the field one can see what’s happening & it’s not so bad.

Presume you are now back in Gisborne. Hope you had good weather. I’m reading a history of ancient Greece, more interesting now that I know parts of it rather well. Hope someday we may be able to revisit Athens, & to see some of the beauty spots in the north.

Had a letter from Alan Londown recently. Can still recall his wicked laugh – also one from my uncle Robinson. His 3rd son is now a pilot, the 2nd a POW at VIIIB & the eldest in the army, so they’ve only young Peter, about 8, at home. Am working at my books steadily, though find it hard at times to sustain the interest. I look forward to seeing you more & more, my lovely one. Perhaps next year. Tis necessary to be patient a little longer.

All my love & kisses pets, am so glad you’re my own wife & best friend.

Your Allan.

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Gebührenfreil

13 April 43,

My dearest,

Not much news for you this week. The weekly health bulletin is excellent, as usual, save that I’m afraid you’d notice I’m a bit more bald. The hair certainly grows quickly enough & I think I wear it a little longer, but the crown seems to be a little less densely populated. My weight remains fairly constantly about 10 stone. I certainly haven’t developed a ‘pot’; should hate to be fat.

The trees are in full bud & there is some bird life. One chap in particular sings away in the sun most of the afternoon; a black bird I think. How fortunate we are that these creatures don’t go to war, but continue their normal lives. I have not heard a nightingale as yet. Don’t think there are any about here.

Presume you are back again in Gisborne. Shall be so pleased to hear who you’ve seen, what you’ve done & to hear how everyone is. Noticed the Awatea has been lost in the Tasman – hope not a great loss of life. One thing the weather shouldn’t be too bad there at present, though the Tasman is very treacherous as regards sudden storms. You must be sure you always have your life belt at hand even when going to Lyttelton Joyce. I should simply crumple up if anything happened to you.

What will Jock do now that he’s home again? Is his injury bad?  I have learnt the Bach Chromatic Fantasy & Fugue. Have it almost note perfect & nearly up to speed but haven’t really got ‘inside it’ yet. Do you know it? It’s one of his most important works for the piano. Am working at the Chopin studies. Think they are as difficult as any piano literature. I only spend some 4 hours weekly so don’t get through a great deal of stuff.

Am pretty contented here at the moment, my lovely one, & am always with you in spirit.

All my love & kisses.
Look after your precious self.

Your Allan.

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

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Gebührenfreil

18 April 43

My dearest,

Changeable April weather, but generally warm & a good deal of sun. We have been discussing cars at dinner this evening, which reminds me of our palmy days touring in the Morris. I hope we shall be able to keep two, one for myself. One of the pleasures of my after war period will be owning a Wolseley or some other make.

At present I regret to say that I can’t really imagine any other life than this – have now almost completed two years as a prisoner. Being free to order your ways & to have holidays, to play golf, ride, & to fish – so long unattainable for us – that sometimes one wonders what they are like. No doubt we shall return to those days again & I imagine for a time I shall be a little overwhelmed, somewhat like a small boy who played truant & is spending his day in a warm bathing spot. As regards selling your car Joyce, I shouldn’t wait for definite news of my returning home but if you wish, & a good price is offering, dispose of her when you will, & invest the money. I don’t know if you are using her very much but perhaps at weekends she is very useful for getting to the country.

I’m a bit like old Nicholas Forsyte here, though it’s not a question of ‘nobody tells me anything’, but rather of ‘not hearing anything’, owing to present conditions & the censorship regulations. Saw Hurst today. His wife is a niece of Alan Tennent. ‘The Glamour Boy’ they called him in Egypt. He was apparently repatriated from Italy & is engaged following his divorce. I think I prefer Christchurch & Dunedin society to that of Wellington; hope we won’t have to settle there ever.

Have had the ‘cafard’ a bit this week but am now all right, save am always fed up without you. I flatter myself by thinking you’ll be glad to see me again. We shall be very, very happy, my pets. Perhaps sooner than we think.

All my love & kisses.
Your Allan.

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1943

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10. 5. 43.  16-19

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

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Gebührenfreil

25.IV.43

My dearest,

Easter Sunday. 3 years ago on the west coast, I forget the name of the lake & of the old man & his wife who died a few months later – 2 years ago Greece & last year Germany; next year I hope with you. That poem of the last war which ends ‘and mocked by hopeless longing to regain Bank holidays and picture shows and sports, and going to the office in the train’, hits the nail on the head, except that ‘ceaseless’ should read for ‘hopeless’, as the latter word is by no means applicable.

Good Friday today & tomorrow holidays, check parade at 9am so one gets up a little later. There are no outpatients. I usually do a quick round on Sunday mornings, & potter about doing such things as manicuring my nails, cleaning pipes & tidying the cupboard & taking a stroll in the courtyard. The weather is warmer. I’m wearing the short sleeved shirts you sent & already have a little sun-tan.

Read a very pleasant account of English farm life ‘The Cherry Tree’ by Adrian Bell, last week, & as an anticlimax finished today ‘Portrait of a Scoundrel’ by Eden Phillpots. I presume it is necessary to portray scoundrels, but it doesn’t make nice reading. The psychology of the fellow is, I suppose, interesting & the English is moderately good, but the book is devoid of humour – of necessity, no doubt.

I hope you didn’t find those clothes & sheets in the base kit too dirty, my dear. It was packed at a very few hours notice; there was no opportunity for washing anything. There was a silver mounted engraved pipe which I hope wasn’t lost. I pursue my quiet life as usual & have got through a moderate amount of reading this year. Still work at Bach fugues & the Chopin Studies at weekends, & do a little novel reading. I am looking forward to Sunday teas of poached eggs & toast & coffee by the fire & to all the many joys that we know. It’s impossible to say how glad & happy I’ll be to see you.

Bless you my lovely one.
All my love & kisses.
Your Allan.

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(…)  16-19

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

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Gebührenfrei!

NOTICE

Parcels containing written communications for the receiver and objects, which are prohibited or by the way in which they are packed, are intended to be withheld from the control (means of all kinds for facilitating escape) will not be delivered any more.

Prohibited objects are:
Money of all kinds and currencies.
Civil clothing for prisoners of war (interned civil persons excluded) and underclothing, which might be worn as outward civil clothing (pullovers are allowed).
Badges (brassards) for sanitary personnel sent to persons not entitled to wear them.
Weapons and tools to be used as weapons, large clasp-knives and scissors.
Ammunition and explosives.
Tools which are suitable for facilitating escape and for committing acts of sabotage.
Copying apparatuses, carbon paper, and tracing paper.
Compasses, haversacks (rucksacks), maps, cameras, binoculars, magnifying glasses.
Electric torches, lighters, match-boxes, matches, wicks, candles.
Spirit, alcohol, and alcoholic drinks. Solidified methylated spirits, objects which easily catch fire, radiators.
Telephones and apparatuses for transmitting and receiving and component parts for those.
Medicals of any kind and form, Vaseline tubes, ammonia muriate (solid or dissolved).
Fruit juice of any kind, chemicals, acids.
Books and printed matter of doubtful or indecent character, newspapers, books with maps attached to them.
Cigarette-paper, and cigar-holders made of paper.
Blank paper of any kind, notebooks, writing paper, postcards.
Potatoes.

NB. Books are to be sent separately (one at a time) or in Red Cross parcels.
Parcels are to be made up solidly and wrapped tightly to avoid losses or theft.

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[Postmark]
Ravensbourne
5. Au. 43. 3
N.Z.

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

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Gebührenfrei!

5 May 43

My dearest,

The censor here complains of my writing being too small so you’ll have to be content with a little less in each letter. Your letters of 30 Dec, 25 Jan, & 1 Feb. just come. Am very impressed with straight back on Breeze who looks a fine animal. Thankyou so much. Surely you don’t imagine you’re not pulling your weight. Damn it all pets, yourself working in a home hospital & myself a POW is enough. I should be unhappy for you to go overseas.

Just received a letter from an old friend of mine, a farmer, classed II for army & working very hard. He was married last April. Would be glad if you would send him a belated gift from me, say £3 worth. G.O. Baron, Kati Kati, R.D. Bay of Plenty.

A Jan. letter from Grandad who says Walter & Joyce have a son. Regret we are behind the times Joyce, it will have to be arranged as soon as I get home. Baron says he hopes we may spend a trout fishing holiday at Huka Lodge. You remember Alan Pye ran us on to Wairaki when the old car broke down.

Last Sunday had a team from one of the Kdos. to play pass-ball. I sat in a deck chair with Hurst & watched. Fed at 4 to their small band. I’ve started sunbathing & regular daily exercises & am absolutely well. So glad the Webbs have a son. Am very pleased with all the snaps my lovely one.

Shall be absolutely overjoyed to see you again.
This life is no good for either of us.

Kisses.
Your loving Allan.

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26. MY. 43.  3
N.Z.

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

St. George’s Hospital
Christchurch

[Stamped]
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Gebührenfrei!

12 May 43

My dearest,

Just received your 15.2.43 letter with the photo of you on the lorry. We had some photos of the British staff here last week, so I should be able to send you one in a few weeks. The £7 was for text books & other things sent me by the Patriotic Fund which I considered I should pay. You appear to be very well in all the snaps you’ve sent Joyce.

That thyroid adenoma is not increasing at all I hope? You should take iodised salt or have plenty of fish & develop a palate for oysters. Are you planning to remain at Gisborne next year? I really think that you should not do any more Xray work after this year. It may be all right for people like Jeannette but not for you, particularly at Gisborne where you seem to have much to do. You must please yourself over these things as I can merely advise.

I think your Oct. 28th 45 is very reasonable Joyce, although I sincerely hope it is before then as I’m fed up with life without you. We had a pass-ball game here last Sunday & I was glad to see two NZrs from ChChurch [Christchurch] & Wellington, one of whom I had in my M.D.S in Crete. Am looking forward to hearing as to how you spent your holiday. The weekly health report, ‘barometer high & steady’. Look after yourself my pets. I should like to be taking you off to Waikaremoana or to Taupo for a fishing holiday. Even to merely have those lunch hours on the beach at Napier would be grand. Life here the same.

Bless you my dear dear Joyce.

All my love & kisses,
Your Allan.

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

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

[Postmark]
Ravensbourne
5. Au. 43.  3

Gebührenfrei!

25 May 43

My dearest,

Am expecting your late February & March letters any day as I’ve had two mid March letters from my mother & Mr Clarke of Dunedin. Have written to Wallace Campbell’s people & also to his young brother Keith who has just started medicine. You may remember him as a lively little chap, as small as poor Wallace was tall.

The days here are long & sunny with little wind. It is now near 9pm & the sun still up. The longest day next month. I should compare the summer temperatures with those of central Hawkes Bay. Am afraid you must find my letters very much the same week after week. I can’t give you any descriptions of places I’ve seen or the people met, my ideas on things & suchlike; in fact it’s so long since I’ve written any decent letters that I should find it difficult. We simply live a quiet secluded existence with no diversions, (one doesn’t get cinemas, concerts or museums) except an occasional football or handball match. In other words one provides one’s own amusements.

I progress slowly with the piano. Have got Ravel’s Miroirs. Very lovely things but pretty difficult to ‘get into’. Also his Pavane & his de Falla. Had a YMCA man here today. They have supplied us with sports gear & gramophone & some records. No doubt you are all very well & happy at home. Am so glad you have the car for your weekends. Can only conclude by telling you again what a lovely thing you are to me & sending you all my love & kisses.

Bless you my dear.

Your Allan.

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Unidentifiable
17. 6. 43

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

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Gebührenfrei!

30 May 43

My dearest,

Celebrate my second anniversary as a POW today. Am become what may be described as ‘seasoned’. Shan’t forget that day as I probably reached the lowest ebb of my young life. 2 years of not uninteresting existence when I’ve learnt to do without fine raiment, arm chairs, cream on my porridge, a motor car & the ordering of a field ambulance company. I think altogether this life has done me a deal of good, though I just hate to think of what I’ve missed & am profoundly envious of Stanley & Carswell.

How you will find me is another matter. I think my habits are perhaps better, fold my clothes at night & my pyjamas mornings & put away my shaving gear tidily & my table is not covered with litter. Read for a while in bed but don’t snore & get up at a decent hour. Perhaps with a little aid on your part I shall be ‘presentable’.

One of my men, Williams, whose mother you kindly visited for me, arrived here from another hospital last week. He has lost his right arm but is very well, extremely bright & is making the best possible use of his L hand. His brother is in Italy, so there must be surely some 6 of the original company left, if that. You can imagine how pleased I was to see him.

Spent some 3 hours this afternoon on Ravel’s first miroir ‘noctuelles’, or ghosts; it is certainly a bit weird, but quite lovely. Shall try to learn them all before I return. You’ll enjoy him. Hope it won’t be too long before I see you pets; am quite tired of our separation. Shall probably be like a pup on first discovering his tail.

Bless you my lovely one.
All my love & kisses.

Your Allan

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[Postmark] (Partial)
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17. 6. (…)

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

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Gebührenfrei!

7 June 43

My dearest,

Rec’d your letters of 27 Feb. 6,12,19,28 March last week. Simply a deluge of love from you pets! I notice you place a question & an exclamation mark after your sentence about my still loving you; which made me smile. Can almost picture you when writing that – brown eyes shining & tongue in cheek. After 3 years I still have an acute hankering to see some of your devilries & to be scolded for dropping a wool skein. I’m equally vague about the films we saw before I left but think South Riding was in Napier.

Bill Struthers was with me for a short period in Athens. Thankyou very much for laying in a wardrobe for me. Hope the check isn’t broad as I shouldn’t want to look like a pocket battleship. Dearest you mustn’t spend too much of your time knitting socks for me! Who are all these people you mention? Josephine Sherratt & the Barkers?

Am so glad you have Breeze for company. Do you groom him yourself? Spent a pleasant day yesterday at one of the Kdos. Left at 7am & returned at 6. Saw a silent movie film in the morning – all about a pretty circus girl – played a game of pass-ball & saw some Cypriot dancing.

Have you heard anything about Hetherington & Blin? I asked you in a previous letter to contact the respective wives.

I simply can’t imagine meeting you again, my lovely one, although I never doubt but I shall. However I never could imagine myself grown up when a kid, or a doctor when a student or married until Oct. 39. Am very fit.

All my love & kisses.

Your Allan.

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9. SP. 43  10 A
N.Z.

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

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Gebührenfrei!

C/1505

14 June 43

My dearest,

No more mail, though am expecting early April letters any day. Today Whit Monday, a holiday. I hope I’m not too old before I see you again pets, but your estimate of October 45 is very sound, though perhaps we’ll be together before that. I never thought about growing older until I became a POW & reached my 30th year. However we are by no means middle aged & 2 or 3 years doesn’t make much difference. What irks me is the waste of our young lives, but most people are in the same predicament.

Grandad Eaton tells me Walter is out of the army & back on a farm. What was he in hospital for? Perhaps you will have seen him when on holiday – hope you’ve had your leave by now. Am wondering what my mother will do next year with Robert away; whether she’ll stay in Dunedin or move north. I think she finds the winter severe but is well dug in & has many friends. Glad to hear you had a good day at the races. I spent a pleasant day at Napier Park once – got 4 winners from Tud Gannaway, but the dividends were small.

Have you heard of Mrs Plimmer at all? I wrote her a belated letter from VIIIB.  Blin gave me her address. Should like to see some more NZrs as I get very little news of how things are at home. I am very glad to hear that Freyberg has been knighted & promoted to Lieut. General.  Barroclough is I presume Major General. He was our Brigadr. & a grand man.

Spent a quiet weekend & put in a number of hours on Ravel’s ‘Une barque Sur L’ocean’ & ‘Noctuelles’, & played pass-ball last evening.

Bless you my lovely one.
This far-awayness is a bore.

All my love & kisses.

Your Allan.

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Dunedin
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N.Z.

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

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Gebührenfrei!

22 June 43

My dearest,

A disappointment this week; 6 letters & none of yours. However, as 2 were April they will not be far away. Betty Day, Mick Gilchrist’s married sister, wrote to say he was well & living in an old castle in Italy.

Midsummer day here yesterday & lovely. The sun was really too warm for me & after an hour’s roasting I moved into a shady spot. The nights at present remind me very much of Hawkes Bay in January & February. Played pass-ball last evening. Am reading physiology, doing French grammar again, some German translations from a book on Xray of the lungs, & find my spare time almost fully occupied, so that the days pass very quickly. Williams, of my company, who hadn’t seen me since April 41, tells me I look much the same – a little thinner & a few grey hairs. No sign of a ‘pot’ pets & not completely bald, merely a bit thin on the top as always.

I look back on our various tours with much pleasure. The first to Waikaremoana, where for the first 2 days I felt a bit weak at the knees until you remedied that in accepting me, will always remain as one of the very bright periods of my life, & also those quite lovely days at Queenstown in March 39. One of necessity thinks a good deal here in times of the past. I can best describe our time as POW as not unhappy & not happy. At least the past is sure & one has enjoyed living & looked forward to each day with added zest. One hopes for the same in the future.

Bless you my lovely Joyce.
Am very well.

Kisses.
Your loving Allan.

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

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

[Postmark]
Ravensbourne
14. SP. 43  3
N.Z.

Gebührenfrei!

4.VII.43

My dearest,

Just at the moment I feel like seeking myself out a comfortable spot & falling asleep till the war is finished. However such would have many disadvantages. I should probably miss the earliest convoy home or else like Rip van winkle, oversleep myself, both of which would be disastrous, as it is most important for me to see you as soon as possible. One would also miss the little tit-bits of each day, some amusing anecdote in a patient’s case history, or during someone’s campaigning days, & being able to read a good book in the sun. Also I suppose all this schooling of one’s patience & of disciplining oneself to work quietly & steadily no matter what mood assails you is a good thing, so that I shall never become annoyed when you’ve not turned on the bath heater. I have felt rather ashamed of myself over that lapse of mine at the flat before Blin’s party. You remember the day I came home muddy & wet from hockey!

I am longing to hear what you are up to, my sweet pets, as your last letters here are March. Since then I suppose you’ve been on holiday & are perhaps now back again in Gisborne.

Blin’s friend, Mrs Douglas, has been very kind in sending me tobacco. My chap Williams went to VIIIB last week so I’m alone again. The Ravel goes not too badly & the Bach slowly. Am very fit my lovely one.

Send you my everlasting love & many many kisses.

Your Allan.

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

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Gebührenfrei!

12.VII.43

My dearest,

Am pretty lonely & fed up without you pets, even after nearly 3 years, so you needn’t ever worry about my forgetting I’ve got a wife at home. I shall be with you as soon as possible.

Saw a list of British casualties published in the official paper here (for POWs). I regret very much I am a dead loss as far as we’re concerned but I really tried very hard to avoid being captured in Crete, for the second time, but the fortunes of war decreed otherwise. I had a chance of perhaps getting back to Egypt later, but felt I couldn’t walk out on the sick. I’ve never regretted this step as I should never have had a clear conscience over it. Yesterday got a new battledress which fits me very well. After 2 years of living in these clothes I’m more attached to them than ever. One of the really bright things the army have produced. I notice that Admiral Harewood wears one when on operational duties.

Had an old letter from Tess Staveley & 2 old ones from my mother last week, besides a very welcome pound of Players tobacco from Mrs Douglas, so that all I require now to make life pretty good is some of your letters, conspicuously absent lately – the last were your March ones nearly two months ago. I am expecting some any day now. The summer here has been bad & I’ve not had a sunbathe since Mid summer’s Day. Saw Steve Wright & Neale last Sunday. They both look a bit older but are very well.

All my love, my dear one.
Be happy & enjoy the good free country air.

Bless you pets, Kisses,

Your Allan.

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

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Gebührenfrei!

18.VII.43

My dearest,

Very pleased to have a letter from you this week, even tho’ an old March one. Where are you keeping all the suitcases, clothes & things you have bought for me, my sweet? Won’t it be a relief when we have a fixed home after the wanderings of the past few years; some place in which one can feel snug & secure & settled. Only wish those god-children we had were our own, & speaking of such things I feel I should point out the danger of any more Xray work after this year. No matter how well you feel my dear, & no matter that there are no untoward signs, this matter is most important for you to realise.

I am so weary of not seeing you & not hearing your voice, & of not being scolded, & of not being permitted to take you shopping. You will remember the novices at our wedding who prayed that we might be happy & of some use on this benighted planet. Perhaps their prayers have been answered to some extent, but I hope we’ve a good life to look forward to, Joyce, as I feel I’ve not been much of a husband to you as yet.

Do you think we could send a cheque for five pounds or so to Mother Eleanor on each anniversary of our wedding to be used as she thinks fit? A few of the Serbs speak French, but mostly their own language which resembles Russian, & is a closed book for me, as I find German & French quite enough.

Am very well, & keeping fairly fit. I long for the perfect content & extraordinary pleasure your mere presence gives me.
So much in love with my wife.

Kisses.
Your Allan.

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

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Gebührenfrei!

25.VIII.43

My dearest,

Another batch of mail arrived, including your 22nd May letter. Am glad all your people are well & pleased you visited Pearl. Give my kind regards to her & Jim, Walter & Joyce & to Gertrude. Am sorry I haven’t enough cards & letter forms to write them. Really now have somewhat of a ‘fan mail’. Have you heard of your brother in Middle East?

We have an Edinburgh man staying with us at present, an MO from Crete & such a nice lad; very pleasant to have his company.

My mother has been visiting Mrs Dickie; says she is much better in health. Also a letter from Adrian Webb who is very proud of his son Terence. Webb seems to have got hold of that business of Sutherland & me in Crete. I am particularly anxious that this remains between Sutherland & myself only; even hesitated to tell you but considered you had a right to know.

It is now almost exactly 3 years since I finally said goodbye to my dear love one wretched midnight in Riccarton. Do you remember those last few days when I appeared again several times after bidding you goodbye? I felt pretty bad about it & was damned glad to get on the ship & away, but I shan’t ever forget your spirit & courage. Am extremely sorry I lost that letter you put in my pyjama coat pocket. I kept to your wish & only opened it when we were well into the Tasman. It was my most treasured possession & unfortunately went astray in Crete.

I am so very proud of you Joyce & hope I shall be able to make you a very happy home before long. Don’t ever think I might forget you, or come home with a dusky maid, as I once threatened. Don’t be too hard on Robert. He is very fond of you & is my brother, tho’ I’d like to see a bit more dash in him. Am very well.

Bless you, my lovely one.
All my love & kisses.

Your Allan.

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Par Avion
via: Nordamerika

[Postmark]
Unidentifiable
24. 9. 43

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
229 Main Road
Ravensbourne
Dunedin
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

8.IX.43

My dearest,

A wet afternoon & we’ve just finished a lunch of porridge, bread, biscuits, potatoes & Canadian cheese, butter & coffee. I’m stretched out on the bed under a blanket resting a ‘pulled muscle’ in my leg, a result of skipping too vigorously yesterday. Today shall dodge my jerks; these usually occur from 3.30 to 4, when I take a shower & adjourn for tea, though actually this week we’re drinking coffee & living high on Canadian food parcels. And so our little lives are spent, or partly, as I do some work daily & we’ve entered the 5th war year, which most people hope will be the last, but on that I’ll hazard no opinion.

But ‘tis a weary, weary life without you pets. When I see you again fear I’ll never want you out of sight & shall be wishing to see you brushing your hair, doing those delightful ‘petits-pas’ & sitting by the fireside, every hour of the day & shall be grabbing you pretty frequently to make sure I’ve really got my Joyce back. All of which you’ll be thinking will be a bit tiresome, but perhaps you’ll put up with it for a few days ‘til I’ve convinced myself you’re real, because, between you & me my dear, that mad song of Jack Buchanan’s about there being a limit to the honey in the bee, or rather in the flower, hits the nail on the head.

My clothes are all in good order; those socks you sent last year have worn well – I’ve diligently darned every hole that’s appeared – & the stockings I’ve worn only once or twice. Have just had my shoes resoled & heeled with English leather & toe & heel plates put on. Don’t ever worry your pretty head over me, sweetheart, am invariably fit & well, only get lonely without you.

All my love & kisses, Yoiks pets!

Your Allan.

Kriegsgefangenenpost

[Stamped]
Taxe perçue RM – Pf. 40

[Stamped]
Unidentifiable

[Stamped]
Par Avion
via: Nordamerika

[Postmark]
Unidentifiable
10. 10. 43  16.19

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

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

[Postmark]
Dunedin
C.I.
23. FE. 44  5.30P
N.Z.

Gebührenfrei!

15.IX.43

My dearest,

Have rec’d a few tobacco parcels & also Ravel’s ‘Sonatine’ (from Mrs Cobley) lately, but no letters for some weeks, dam me if I’m not very very anxious to know just what you’re about now, pets! Working hard, no doubt & I hope spending weekends in the country & riding Breeze, & playing with those two fine wee boys. I should like very much to be returning home for the opening of the fishing season; just on 4 years since we had that very lovely holiday at Waikaremoana, & just 7 Joyce since you informed me I might have a chance. Must confess I felt a bit weak at the knees until I’d got that off the chest, & wasn’t looking forward to the 10 days if you should have turned me down. We shall have to recommence all over again from that first Waikaremoana trip.

Have just read ‘Dover Harbour’ by Thos. Armstrong, a very good account of the times when Napoleon was contemplating his invasion of England. Tis a 1942 publication. Life here continues as usual, & I haven’t much to do. Have seen a good many functional cases & several hysterical paralyses, mainly among the French – things one sees little of in NZ hospitals, tho’ I expect they occur more in private practice.

See in the papers our elections are being held today. Do hope that some of our people have got home from Italy. Issues seem to be a bit confused there at the moment. I can think of nothing I should enjoy so much as to be in an armchair by the fire in Lighthouse Road, holding a skein of wool & being scolded for dropping too many turns.

Am very well & send you all my loving thoughts. Kisses,

Your husband as ever.
Allan

Kriegsgefangenenpost

[Stamped]
Stalag  IIID
48
Geprúft

[Stamped]
Par Avion
via: Nordamerika

[Stamped]
Taxe perçue RM – Pf. 40

[Postmark]
Unidentifiable
24. 9. 43

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
229 Main Road
Ravensbourne
Dunedin
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

22.IX.43

My dearest,

3 letters from you. 19.6 (the ‘bee in the bonnet’ one) 5.7 in which you’d had your new godson christened, 10.7 about the war bonds. You seem to be collecting a great number of god children pets, & I hope the fairy godmother stuff won’t be too severe.

Don’t send me any more parcels Joyce; I’ve only had one from NZ, your first some 10 months ago, & if I eat chocolate I’ll get fat. Very pleased to hear about Dick Pemberton – a good fellow. I hear Lopdell & Edgar Clark are still in clover. Your grand-dad tells me he was 82 on 2nd July – a great old boy. He writes very regularly; said you were looking exceptionally well & he appreciated the tobacco. Mother will be very happy to see you in January. Bob has a job; apparently the Dean wouldn’t allow him to leave Dunedin this year. In my time one was compelled to do 6th yr in one of the 4 centres.

I’ve 700 Reichmarks in the Dresdner Bank. British Govt. has agreed to give us 15 marks to £1 sterling. Didn’t save any till coming here as I used to give it to men on the rocks. We can buy a few things such as beer, razor blades, pencils etc. & use it for train fare on outings. I’m paid 32 Reichmarks every 10 days, which on exchange rates here is about £3. Shall be glad of the uniform – one is no good – the jacket made in Napier is cut too high in front – though am dubious about its arrival. Should have told you we have sheets & pillow slips changed 2 weekly & pay a small sum for personal laundry, done each week.

Give my best respects to Allen & Betty Rutter. Very glad to know you’re so well & enjoying life. Both you & my mother have that rare quality of being happy. So pleased with your letters.

Bless you my lovely one.
All my love, kisses,

Your Allan.

Kriegsgefangenenpost

[Stamped]
Stalag  IIID
45
Geprúft

[Stamped]
Par Avion
via: Nordamerika

[Stamped]
Taxe perçue RM – Pf. 40

[Postmark]
Unidentifiable
18. 10. 43  16

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

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

[Postmark]
Dunedin
C.I.
23. FE. 44  5.30P
N.Z.

Gebührenfrei!

13.X.43

My dearest,

A May letter from my mother last week with 2 photos, a very good one of her holding McKenzie who is looking just as dour & disgusted as possible. Grandad Eaton said in an August letter that lambing weather was good, that he keeps in pretty good health & looks forward to having a pint or two with me when I come home.

In a previous letter I asked you to send Robert £50 when he qualifies. Would you make it £25. As he has a job & is drawing good pay he shouldn’t be hard up & I can’t afford to be too generous. When he went to Otago I hoped he would get in with a good crowd, go to beer parties, play with some bright young things, give up the flute & lose his Victorian smugness. He appears to have immediately run under a thoroughly starched petticoat. I rarely hear from him & then only the briefest of letters.

The good autumn weather continues though we lose the sun soon after 3pm & nights are cold. Suppose you will be soon taking your first swim. I remember our Indian Summer of 39-40 with such pleasure; the mid-day swim & lunch in the hot sun on the beach beside the Morris. Have you still your red bathing dress pets? Tell me what you’re wearing & if fashions have changed as it’s nearly 2 ½ years since I’ve seen an English woman. If you’ve not already despatched my uniform don’t Joyce. As I’ve no faith in NZ parcels ever reaching me. Have only ever had one, 12 months ago.

Have no news I can tell you at the moment – shall have so much to say when I see & then I’ll be speechless with joy. Am thoroughly fed up with being a POW as you’ll probably know, but pursue a quiet life & really live very well.

All my love & kisses my dear, dear Joyce.
Bless you my lovely one.

Your Allan.

Kriegsgefangenenpost

[Stamped]
Taxe perçue RM – Pf. 40

[Stamped]
Stalag  IIID
48
Geprúft

[Stamped]
Par Avion
via: Nordamerika

Luftpost

[Postmark]
Unidentifiable
18. 10. 43

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

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

[Postmark]
Dunedin
C.I.
23  FE  44  5.30P
N.Z.

Gebührenfrei!

22.XII.43

My dearest,

I wish very much it were possible to ask Santa Claus to leave you some token of my love, but since he is merely a rather delightful old gentleman of legend this letter will have to suffice. However I do hope you have bought something particularly nice as a gift from me.

To our great joy, Stalag is permitting us to spend Xmas with the sole remaining British commando in this area, situated some 20 miles distant. Last year we at least had our own lads here besides British patients & enjoyed quite a fair time, except that I was kissed by a Frenchman, an experience preferably avoided. We go out by train on the 24th, spend the night & return on Xmas Day. No doubt you will have a good time in hospital & spend part of the holidays as the fairy god-mother to that fine wee Holden boy. Unfortunately I never had any attractive young god-mother. The females of the family circle were a bit Victorian, sitting sedately on stiff back chairs, replying ‘nicely thank you’ to polite questions as to their state of health, protecting themselves with armoured corsets & considering cosmetics fast.

A bright young Australian cousin who came over in 30 introduced a disturbing element & improved considerably life at Waihinga. Vera Frost (Aunt Milly’s daughter) was an exception but we didn’t see much of her.

It is possible we shall be moved after New Year as so few of our men remain in this Stalag. Personally I shall be very glad of a change for though very well situated here, we are rather an isolated band of 7 & would derive much benefit from some new faces.

No mail for some little time, but perhaps before new year.
I wish you a very happy Xmas, my darling, & we shall hope that 44 will be our last year of separation. Enjoy your riding, swimming & all the good things you have & know that you’re never out of my thoughts.

My dear, dear Joyce.
All my love,

Your Allan.

Kriegsgefangenenpost

[Stamped]
Taxe perçue RM – Pf. 40

[Stamped]
Stalag  IIID
48
Geprúft

[Stamped]
Par Avion
via: Nordamerika

[Postmark (partial)]
Dunedin
C.I.
7. JE. 44  5.30P

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

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Gebührenfrei!

Original digital file

BallantyneDA620_War_Letters-1943.pdf

Description

This is the third 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
Geprúft   Checked
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

4 January 1943 - 22 December 1943

Format of the original

Handwritten letters

Accession number

479965

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