War Letters to Joyce 1944

12.1.44

My dearest,

After a mild depressive phase, no doubt following a mild bout of ‘flue & which you probably noticed in last week’s letter, the outlook has reached quite a record height, mainly because this week your letters of 12 & 20 Sept. came & also your August parcel. And what a parcel pets! The wrappings as good as the day you so carefully sewed the calico cloth, each item complete to the very useful ball of wool, everything marked & the uniform none the worse for its 3 journeys across the world – on its next trip I’ll make sure it contains me. How thoughtful of you to send gloves & shoes, my dear! They fit perfectly. I must mention the socks which are superb. Really Joyce, you’re a treasure & I can’t possibly thank you in a letter for all your kindness. The belt buckle doesn’t matter a damn. I’ll have a dome fastener put on at the right spot.

Thank you for writing to those people – sorry it was for nought. Dismiss them from mind Joyce. I’m very glad to hear you’ve so many good friends, but I can wait to hear of them, as there is little enough space in these forms & it is far more important to me to hear of yourself. My dear, dear one! I shall be so unutterably happy to see you again. A rare quality to be carefully guarded, that sense of companionship & complete content that can exist between 2 persons. Those good weekends in our ChCh. Flat, armchairs drawn up to a cheerful fire (& I shall be as extravagant again with fuel despite your disapproval) toast & poached eggs & coffee from the tea wagon & the Daventry news. Thank the Bishop for his good wishes & tell him how pleased we are to know he’s home again.

Michael Evans I must know but can’t place. My thanks & very good wishes to him, to Rutter & Marg. Christie. I’m quite well again – rec’d a pound of tobacco today from Mrs Douglas, an extremely kind lady. An awful longing to see you Dearest, but perhaps not so long now.

All my love, my lovely one,

Your very grateful Allan.

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Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
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Dunedin [Crossed out]
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Cook Hospital
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19.I.44

My dearest,

So many letters this week that it’ll take some time to answer them. The most important are yours of 26 Sept, 4,10,18 Oct. & 14 Nov. Others from England, from my mother & grandad Eaton & other people in NZ.

I was very touched by your sweet letter concerning Xray work & today received a very decent communication from Dr Tomb. Your letter has permitted me to allude to the subject again & from your own & from Dr Tomb’s letter I can see that my fears were groundless. I am most content to accept his opinion & your own good sense & more than pleased for you to remain at Gisborne where you seem to be so happy. I regret having caused you some annoyance & worry in one or two letters last year but don’t ever forget that you’re my wife, my very dear love & the joy of my young life & as such it is perhaps natural that I should be a trifle over concerned for your well-being, more especially since I haven’t enjoyed the privilege of seeing you for 3 ½ yrs. In this mail I am sending a card of thanks to Dr Tomb.

All your new clothes sound exciting pets, & your parties very pleasant, tho’ I’m afraid until I’d acclimatised myself I should be quite dumb before your bright chatter. I once spent an evening in the Fox home – a very nice family. Pat used to swim well & if he’s like his brother Graham is an extremely nice fellow. Don’t say you had to take him for I’m sure you’d enjoy his company & I’m very anxious that you should have the best possible time. Merely because I’m locked up in this country should not & must not affect your activities.

Am sorry to hear of your friend killed. Thank you for giving Bob £30; it is ample. Strange that you had only a formal invitation from McCauls. I must apologise for my family’s discourtesy. Did you know he was being married before the invitation came? I think Audrey considers me a disapproving brother as well as does my mother & Bob, for they never mentioned her till late last year.

I’m quite fit again. Do hope you’ve had a good leave.

All my love & kisses Joyce dear,

Your Allan.

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Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
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Kriegsgefanfenenlager IIID/308   Datum: 19 January 44

My dearest,

A card in addition. Letters today from Isobel Clarke, who is nursing at Hanmer, Mrs Spence of Maraekakaho. She has written now for a year giving me HB (Hawke’s Bay) news. She once mentioned reading an extract of a letter of mine in some journal, which disturbed me as I’m not anxious for any of my correspondence to be published. Also from June – a very nice person June. After you I think she’s the first girl I’d have wished to marry. Finally from Ann Huxley in the Wrens & Mrs Cobley, who is always wishing to send some book, music or gramophone records.

Quite a record bag. Your own perfectly splendid letters which I treasure very much.

Be very happy my lovely one & accept all the love I have.

Your Allan.

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Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.
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26.I.44

My dearest,

Not much to tell you from this land of Germany. The winter continues extraordinarily mild & no more snow has fallen. Several nights recently I’ve had to throw a blanket off my bed. The days are perceptibly longer; one can walk in the courtyard till 5.30pm. Time marches apace; it seems not long since we were wondering whether we should be permitted to spend Xmas with our fellows at 428, & now Jan. is almost gone.

I had 3 more letters today – a very bright Oct. one from my mother, another from Uncle Fred & the last from one of our repatriated lads in England. These fortunate people had 28 days leave & another 10 at Xmas. They seem to have received a terrific reception & as you may imagine, are on top of the world.

You’re a very nice person to be laying up treasures for the Ballantyne ‘castle’ pets. If you see anything you’d like don’t hesitate to draw a cheque. I don’t know what your ideas of furnishing are, but personally I’d like some good period stuff if available. However perhaps it is better to wait until we see what kind of a ‘castle’ we’ll have. Wiltshire’s wife picked up a 4 poster bed for 30/- at an auction & he’s pretty bucked about the idea.

Regret I’ve been interrupted in the middle of this to do a cerebro-spinal fluid for Barker – an Italian with meningitis & I am hurrying to get this done before bed time as the mail leaves early tomorrow. Well pettums, I suppose you wonder sometimes what I’m like after 3 ½ years away from home. I often try to imagine your sweet self & see you most in that brown costume & fur coat, or in your camel hair coat. Perhaps that photo has now reached you so you’ll be able to reassure yourself that I’m not much changed. I get very weary of never seeing you but content myself that the longest period is now past. Must confess to loving you very badly indeed sweetheart. Must be off to my solitary bed.

All my kisses my dear dear one.

Your very devoted, Allan.

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2 February 44

My dearest,

In a recent book of H.J.Massingham, ‘THE ENGLISH COUNTRYMAN’ published by BATSFORD, LONDON, I have found an account & photograph of your great, great (I’m not sure if it’s squared or cubed) uncle, William Barnes of Came. The photograph is extremely like one of your grandfather Ned, except for the clerical clothes. You’ve the same upper eyelids I know so well & many other of his traits. The account is of some 3 pages with specimens of his writings. It is stated that ‘few realise what a tremendous scholar he was, a man of unfathomable learning’ being well versed in old Anglo-Saxon, Persian, Italian, Hindustani & other languages, a playwright, naturalist, geologist, a host of other things & a very great country-man. One of his theories was that the Dorset dialect was the remnant of the speech of King Alfred. The author writes in praise of his work for the unlettered labourer & mentions your ancestor’s manor of Gillingham. He had the Barne’s longevity, living to over 80. See that you follow suit pets! One of his parishioners said of him “we do all o’ us love our passon that we do; he be so plain”.

Wiltshire & I went with a posten to a rather well known German hospital yesterday, taking some C.S. fluid (can’t make cultures here). A rather nice little girl in the lab. referred to it as “nasty contagious stuff”, (in free translation) to our mutual delight.

When you write Jean Elphinstone send her my love. They’re a lesser branch of the family related to Queen Mary but lived in an obscure spot in Tasmania tho’ having a fine farm, which has passed to her 2 brothers. I’m afraid she’s one of these asthenic short sighted women who become spinsters & play the violin just a little. Unfortunately missed her brother in M.E., having a letter only from him. Just remember her father, a bad-tempered old man whom I hated.

No doubt you’re as beautiful as ever sweetheart, having the fine free NZ air, bright sunshine & incomparable food. Other lands may share an equally good climate but there are few affording such a wholesome, clean & well ordered life. Health bulletin excellent. Barometer ‘setting fair’. Weather mild.

All my love & kisses dearest Joyce.

Your Allan.

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My Dearest,

An ‘extra’ to my letter of today. Am very fit & well & enjoying the mild winter. I wear a light vest & one of your shirts under the B..D. blouse & generally no greatcoat out-of-doors, so you’ll realise it’s not even as cold as Dunedin in July. Expect you have recommenced work at Gisborne – can just imagine your January & Feb. days. Are you well tanned pets? Remember your fine colour during that first holiday at Waikaremoana, some of the happiest days I’ve spent, after the 2nd day there – before I was a little on hot bricks. Very fed-up without you pets , but in general sailing along tolerably well.

Bless you my lovely one.

Your loving Allan.

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16.II.44

My Dearest,

There is a fortnight between my last & this letter. Last week I retreated to bed for 4 days with flue & had such a vitriolic outlook that it would have been unwise to have attempted any correspondence. However that is past & I have the feeling of having got rid of a lot of bad ‘humour’ from the organism.

February came in with snow & frosts & little sun, but the temperature has risen somewhat, melting most of the snow & with an almost daily drizzle, the ground is muddy, the air damp, & the general effect rather cheerless. I’ve finished that book mentioned in my last letter. On the whole it’s pretty obscure & I made heavy weather, but you & Gertrude would at least appreciate the remarks on William Barnes.

I’ve just commenced to wear the shoes from your last parcel; they fit very well. The first pair have stood much hard service & are at present being reheeled. For rough use & for walks I use army boots & gaiters. I still love you very much, my pets, & can imagine nothing better than seeing you again & restarting married life. This will no doubt be a bit strange for us both after so long a return to the single state, but very amusing & most pleasant. I shall be glad when we can get your ‘castle’ established for I’m fed-up with no fixed place of abode – feel it’s time I sunk good roots into NZ soil. However that is no doubt out of the question for several years.

No letters for some 3 weeks but a cigarette parcel arrived from Ottawa this month, & I’m looking for your late Nov. & early Dec. letters any day. The King & Queen have sent us a Xmas Card in the form of a folder containing their good wishes & a print of a recent photo of the Royal Family; a most gracious gesture. I expect you are revelling in the East Coast summer, riding, swimming & sun-bathing & have the healthy tan I know so well. Can’t think of much more to say Joyce, but I’m damned fed-up without you & occasionally get irascible when the days drag, which fortunately is not frequent.

Yoiks pets & all my love & kisses.

Your Allan.

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19. 3. 44

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

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23 February 44

My Dearest,

Another week by & February rapidly going out & I pursue my rather static life as usual. The health bulletin excellent. Since the longer days have come we’ve taken to hitting a ball about the courtyard with a baseball club between 5 & 6pm. It’s an excuse for running about & getting fresh air.

I had 3 letters last Sunday, unfortunately only one from NZ from Brownie Pemberton of early Nov. (I have yours of that time). The others from Ann Huxley & one of our repatriated NCOs, both of Jan.  Dick Pemberton is engaged to an Auckland girl. They all seem very well & the Dr is more up than down & enjoys his gardening activities. Ann Huxley is in the Wrens & says they wear souwesters & gumboots & were having a very wet winter. Our repatriated lads all seem to be in harness again & on top of the world, as I can well imagine.

I dreamt you were going to start a family the other night & that I’d taken you to see old Frankie Fitchett, the professor of clinical medicine in my time. You seemed your usual unperturbed self & took it all as a matter of course. I hope we’re not too ancient before that sort of thing happens in reality. My mother had a birthday yesterday, 68 I think. Would you send her something from me in retrospect please, having forgotten to mention it before. She is no doubt alone now & I trust not too lonely. Bob also has a birthday on 31st March. Perhaps you would send him a cheque for £2/2/-. Would you find out from Jean Elphinstone which 2 cousins were captured in New Guinea & ask for my sympathy & greetings to be sent them if they’re writing.

Well pettums, I suppose we shall settle down together again some day but it still seems a dim thought to me, though I must say a bit clearer than in 41. However please God, we may expect many happy years together & I ask nothing more than that I’ll never have to leave you again. This once is more than enough for life is so confoundedly dull without you. Only room to send my love which I hope you’ll find in every line.

My dear, dear Joyce – all my kisses.

Your Allan.

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19.3.44

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

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29 February 44

My Dearest,

So very pleased to get your letters of 8, 22, 29 Nov. on Sunday but my poor sweet pets, wondering if I were in Egypt! No my dear, I’m still in this land & am terribly sorry you had such a disappointment. Apparently only one NZ MO got home, Thomson of New Plymouth, commonly called ‘Pussy’ & a bit mad. In 40 he wanted the whole 4 Brigade, then at Bagush, circumcised & operated on himself to demonstrate to the D.D.M.S. what slight inconvenience would be caused. (This for your own pretty ears only pets).

My cousin Robinson was fortunate. I’m very glad. Robert married on 17 Nov. my mother says in a letter of the same date. A bit dangerous 2 weeks before finals! He wrote me on 15 Nov. a short letter. I fear we have little in common & that they consider me a disapproving relation. In 41 I was less wise but Audrey’s discourtesy to Gilchrist’s people & her selfish childishness displeased me & her criticism of you made me explode. I don’t suppose she’s changed one whit but I don’t intend a family feud tho’ I trust you have had her respects.

Mother would be delighted to have you for a whole month. I can picture so well you chatting together & your periodical delightful ‘fancy’ or ‘goodness’. Do hope the weather was kind & that you found all in Christchurch well. It gives me much pleasure to know you’re leading such an active life & have so many friends; to hear of shows & picnics is a breath of home & I’m delighted your Breeze landed a first. I should prefer not to appear in newspapers. When there is a job to be done one does it & the word ‘devotion’ is irrelevant and don’t think I’ve an exceptional character pets, I’m a very normal man who loves his wife & regards her as the finest & best woman in all the world. Your clothes were always perfect Joyce. After these years of monastic life it will be pleasant to relax in a feminine atmosphere. I shall be so decadent as to welcome lavender scented sheets & hot water bottles in winter.

The health is excellent & weight 10st 5lbs. Plenty of work. Am reading Wallpole’s ‘Herries Chronicle’.
Will bid you goodbye till next week dearest & send you my love & many kisses.
My dear, dear Joyce.

Your Allan

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14.4.44

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

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8 March 44

My dear dear Joyce,

No more mail & I’m getting letters of last month answered. Ed writes that life is dull without husbands, brother & friends, that Sam is away & that the infant is at the tummy crawling stage. Brownie & Miss Pemberton sent Xmas letters. Dick engaged to an Auckland girl & the family pleased. Jan. letters from Ann Huxley & one of our repat. S/Sgts. Bernard Canning, Ed says, in India.

Last night I reread all your letters of 43 to 29 Nov. Odd weeks are missing & there are no April letters, but considering everything the mail, like the tortoise, tho’ slow is fairly sure. Thank you for writing so regularly my dear, you can perhaps guess how I love to hear from you. Your letters, & I have every one, are the best thing I have. Altogether I’m not too unhappy, but am very weary of never seeing you wake up in the morning, never being able to tease you, not hearing your laugh & I’m quite fed-up with having to wash my own back. There was never a dull moment with you about pets & I’d hardly wish to return home if I couldn’t pull your leg again, receive a scolding or listen absently to the weekly culture talk that you instituted to counteract the derogatory influence of the army.

There is a good joke concerning culture, (you will know how much this word occurs at present). It will be one of a number of amusing things which must wait till I have your own nice ears. The Ides of March almost here & spring on 21st. We’ve taken to football – play for an hour each evening with spells doing medicine ball exercises. I turn out in shorts & a polo sweater, get up a good sweat, shower & change & eat a good supper & altogether feel very well.

Have you received the photo of last year? sent in October. How is the Morris running? You don’t forget to change the crankcase oil & to have her greased regularly & decarbonised every 10,000 miles. A good car to us & I’m glad you can still use her. What are the tyres like & what is the mileage?

I’ve just finished Walpole’s ‘Herries Chronicle’ the best thing I’ve read for some time – customs & manners & thought from Georgian to present times well portrayed. Pardon my quips pets; it is just my peculiar way of letting you know that I completely love & worship you. My dear dear Joyce. No one like you & no-one loves his wife more dearly than your husband.

All my love & kisses.

Your Allan.

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15.III.44

My dearest,

So delighted to get your 7 & 14 Dec. letters with 5 others. An Australian wrote giving me news of the family – Sister Field from Sydney, the poor old thing has osteoarthritis of both knee joints (some loose bodies removed from one) & can hardly walk. Adrian & Betty Webb who’ve had much ice-skating – the son Terence very well – Miss Johnstone of the National Provident, where I once worked for 18 mths. She’s head typist, getting on & a nice person. Mrs Spence of Maraekakaho who regularly sends me HB news – she’s a Red Cross rep. & originally wrote me re a missing man who finally arrived in NZ. She congratulates me on having the good taste of marrying a Highlander.

I am furious over Bob’s wife’s lack of courtesy & regret extremely having sent a card offering the olive branch. Unless I hear in your next letters that her respects have been offered you I intend to inform Bob that under such circumstances it is impossible for me to recognise this woman as a sister-in-law & that it would be preferable that he & I cease corresponding with, or seeing each other. Bob is a fool to expect the leopard to change his spots. My mother’s changed opinion astounds me. Betty is a favourite of mine, a very sweet child. I’m very pleased my mother is so well. She would be delighted to have you. Hope your return trip was equally good. Very pleased to know you have such a god-daughter as Tessa. The Venetian jug is attractive; you always had an impeccable taste, my pets.

There is nothing I should like better than to be demobilised in England, but after so long as a liability to my country I must pull my weight again. Besides this I’ve signed on for 12 mths following cessation of hostilities & we’ll still have the Jap. score to settle. From what we hear I’m very thankful not to be a prisoner of these Asiatics. Never worry about me my dear, POW life is boring & irksome, but we’re well off here.

I appreciate very much your thoughtfulness in spending Xmas with my mother & only trust Bob wasn’t there long to irritate you. Weather changeable – one day snow & the next warm sunshine. I do so long to see you, my lovely one, & sometimes become very weary of waiting. 3 ½ yrs too long without you. However time passes quickly enough & no doubt we’ll be together before we realise it.

All my love & kisses Dearest,

Your Allan.

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Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
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22 March 44

My Dearest,

The 2nd day of spring, light falls of snow, overcast & a fresh north wind. However the days are rapidly lengthening (blackout now about 7pm) & we should have some sun shortly.

I have not written anything to my mother concerning Bob & his wife beyond mentioning that I was not pleased about the news in your letters & in any case shall spare her feelings as much as possible. Your later Dec. letters should arrive in a week or two. We all find difficulty in writing when there are no new letters to answer. The environment remains the same day after day & week after week. There are changes, one goes out, as yesterday I went by tube to Stalag, but any descriptions of things seen are inadmissible & after so much censorship I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever be able to write letters again. However pets, once I get back to you it will be a bad day when our relations with each other are again limited to scraps of paper. Do you still feel as if you’re married, my dear? After so long I expect you wonder sometimes. I can assure you you’re most securely attached to your distant husband, even tho’ you’ve not seen him for 3 ½ yrs. Don’t ever think I mean possessively Joyce.

We got away from all that business (that loathsome father in ‘the Barretts of Wimpole St.) early this century, & a damn good thing that was. Perhaps my own feelings can be best put by saying I find it difficult to imagine any other life than the present & that I can’t imagine home without you. You will be thinking that I’ve put that very delicately, won’t you my darling? But I can definitely say that I retain some quite vivid pictures of you – going shopping in your brown coat, standing by you in the chapel being married – waiting for the Rangitira on Lyttelton wharf, that you are never out of mind & that I’ll be mad with joy to see you once more. Meanwhile I must continue to be a soldier, tho’ unfortunately in such a passive role, but just as soon as that is possible, to the devil with anything that keeps us apart. My usual fit self. Am playing a bad hand of bridge lately.

All my love & kisses, my dear, dear one.

Your Allan.
(as prewar but possibly improved).

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Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
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Gisborne,
New Zealand

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28 March 44

My Dearest,

After 26 months here I’m packing my traps & shifting tomorrow. Wiltshire & I are going to 2 separate POW hospitals in Bavaria. My new address provisionally will be Stalag XIIIC, HAMMELBURG, RESERVE LAZARETT EBELSBACH, but wait for a later letter for confirmation. I shall write Geneva & ask them to readdress letters etc. as soon as I arrive.

It is quite exciting to speculate as to the environment, the people you’ll meet, & what sort of a place you’ll find. The only trouble is uprooting yourself & getting you plus luggage there. One gets into a routine & well settled down, the mail is fairly regular & life proceeds quietly, & with a move it will be a while before mail catches up. The problem of getting clothes, books etc. into the smallest possible space & shifting them with you I hate. However I’ve got everything into a good alpine ruck-sack, a suitcase, a kit-bag & a cardboard carton (books). This latter I’ll check through if still possible, as it’s pretty weighty. A small haversack & a Red Cross food parcel complete the gear. We’ve got a good issue of cigarettes & tobacco from our Red Cross store here, & should have a good trip. Fosbrooke, Barker, W. & I had a farewell dinner last evening & afterwards B. W. & I had a party with the 2 Sgts. & our faithful Miles & played monopoly. Fortunately not much work this morning & I packed.

No doubt you’ve had news of another POW exchange shortly. It’s mentioned in English letters & semi-official here. One of the 2 Sgts. from here may go, but apparently no fit MOs will be included. I am very sorry I shan’t be coming home, my pets, but as I couldn’t possibly qualify other than ‘fit’ I’ll have to stay here. Am too healthy for commissions; they’d dismiss me immediately on my appearance.

Several letters came last week, one from Golan Maaka, the NZ were all early Dec. 3 from England Feb. & March. I have yours up till 14 Dec. so shall have to wait now a month or so for new mail & your letters to be sent on. Joyce, would you be a darling & write Sister Field every now & then for me? I’ve a host of people to write & not enough forms. Her address 26 PARK AVENUE, CHATSWOOD, SYDNEY, NSW (Miss A.M. Field).

Shall tell you in next letter where I’ve landed. Don’t ever be unhappy, my lovely one. I love you so very much & shall be home as soon as possible.

All my love & kisses, Dearest Joyce.

Your Allan.

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14. 4. 44

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
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Gisborne,
New Zealand

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Stalag XIIIC
RESERVE LAZARETT EBELSBACH

2 April 44 (Sunday)

My Dearest,

Just at the moment I’m feeling a bit lost in this new place, but shall doubtless find my feet in a week or two. Wiltshire & I left IIID/308 several days ago – were very thoroughly searched & all my letters taken for reperusal; they have promised to return them in some weeks. We travelled most of the way together – lucky in having a 3rd class compartment to ourselves, comfortable warm trip. Parted at a junction where I changed trains & arrived here the same evening about 8. Managed to transport my gear all right – had the hospital van to the station & at this end left my heavy box of books to be collected, & the posten gave me a hand with the rest, as we had merely a 10 minute walk from the station.

You will be pleased to know I’m in a quiet country spot, among green fields & low wooded hills, a very pleasant change from 308. You will know where the latter is situated from your Red Cross maps & anyway, letters used to come from England with the exact address, & outgoing mail bore the Berlin stamp mark, but I had better not mention the location in a letter. One Br. M.O. I found here, McDonald & a friend of Barkers, & as I, from Crete. The others are Serbs, French, Russian & one Pole. The stalag contains some 1000 Br., mainly Australians, in small farming Kdos. We have 30-40 Br. patients, & several Americans. I’ve seen men from Italy & a parachutist for the first time, & spent several hours gossiping. Bgdr Clifton was here a short time ago – wished I’d seen him – & a Sgt. from my unit has just left, but I seem fated never to meet a NZer.

Have no piano here, so shall get on with counterpoint & harmony. In all 340-400 patients in separate barracks & one will live more in the open air. Attended church this morning – first time for 12 mths – an English padre from Stalag. An International Red Cross commission visited us yesterday & a repatriation commission sits at Stalag this month. I’m well & resigning myself to being without your letters for some 6 – 8 weeks I expect. They’re quite the best thing in my life at present pets, & I still get that peculiar feeling in my tummy when they arrive. Easter in a week when you’ll no doubt be out with the Holdens.

Shall wish you a good holiday, my lovely one & send you all my love & kisses,

Your Allan.

The address is correct.

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48
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Unidentifiable
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APR

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

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Kriegsgefangenenlager   XIIIC   RESERVE LAZARETT EBELSBACH

Datum: 5 April 44

My Dearest,   A week here & one week nearer to your letters. The mail is slightly different from here. On the 1,5,10,15,20,25 of each month we receive 1 letter form & 1 card, making monthly in all 6 of each. Previously I have always had 8 of each monthly. To avoid any error I asked the Swiss commission & 6 is the regulation, so I shall write you a particularly loving letter every 10 days, my pets, with a card in between, which means you’ll have news of me roughly every 5 days, & use the other letter forms for my mother & for other people to whom I must write. Weather warmish & heavy rain, typical April showers this evening.

A letter in 5 days my Dearest.
All my love & kisses,

Your Allan.

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Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

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Absender:
Vor- und Zuname:
Captain D. Allan Ballantyne N.Z.M.C.
Gefangenunnummer: 23918
Lager-Bezeichnung:
M.-Stammlager   XIII C
Reserve Lazarett   Ebelsbach
Deutschland  (Allemagne)

10.IV.44

My Dearest,

Easter Monday & I’ve just come out at the ‘entracte’ from a concert which commenced at 2pm & shows every tendency to proceed until 5.30 or 6, as it’s now 4. The atmosphere is too oppressive, as we’re having warm spring weather & they have all windows shut. Continentals don’t seem to like fresh air.

MacDonald, the other Br..M.O. here goes to stalag, some 40 miles distant, at the end of this week to see a repatriation commission which sits on the 17th. He has a duodenal ulcer & I hope will go home next month; I imagine being ill as a POW must be most depressing. We’ve had a quiet Easter – a bridge tournament with the Br. in our barrack & tho’ I’m an atrocious player & invariably misbid & generally get mixed up in my finesses, good luck has landed my partner & me in the semifinals which will be played off this evening.

Yesterday there was an enormous dinner at midday, & coming after a good English traditional breakfast I retired to the bed & slept most of the afternoon. We mess with the other Drs & pool the packets. Until MacD. goes I’m sleeping in a separate block, where I have a small examination room to myself, but after he leaves shall have his bed in a room with 3 other officers, a Pole, a Frenchman & a Serb. chemist. There is wardrobe space, book-shelves, a stove & an extension radio loud-speaker, so that we get the news, the ‘LUFTLAGE’ (literally air situation) & some music. So far have not been afflicted by ‘Haw Haw’, as we were occasionally at VIIIB.

The American & Br. Red Cross have provided us with a good library, nearly all medicine, surgery limited to a book on fractures & one on E.N.T. There is a little surgery to be done, mostly wounded POW from Italy & the usual amongst 800 or so men. I am doing it myself save abdomens – have not sufficient experience & don’t feel justified in tackling them alone. Over the next few months I hope to get some further foundations for M.R.C.P. laid.

Don’t count on my home-coming before the finish, my Dearest; unfortunately any repatriation for me is I think, unlikely. Perhaps next Easter I shall be able, at the worst to write you under different conditions. Am longing for your letters pets but a few weeks yet I fear.

All my love & kisses my dear, dear one.
Shall send you a card in 5 days time.

Ever your Allan.

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Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

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16 April 44

My Dearest,

Sunday morning & tho’ overcast, pleasantly mild & I’m sitting outside on a chair in a patch of grass with my feet up on some odd timber. The church bells are ringing in 3 neighbouring villages, there is no wind & altogether life could be worse. I’ve just written to Golan Maaka, who is considering settling down in practice on the East Coast, so you may see him & his family sometime.

The collection of men for the forthcoming exchange has apparently commenced from lists prepared some months ago. None from here but tomorrow a number leave for stalag to appear before the International Commission which sits every 3-6 months to consider suitable cases. Those passed will have to wait on a further exchange being arranged before they get home; it is said in 4 months, but I’m not certain.

I’m settling down pretty well here & am getting on with some reading. I am most anxious to get your letters my pets & to know what you’re about, even tho’ several months will have passed since then. Perhaps they’ll come this week, assuring me you’re as lovely as ever & sending me your love. Really I never have any doubts on this (word unreadable) my darling but I do like you to tell me, for it makes your absence a little less noticeable & makes me very happy. I think no-one could have been more contented & happy than myself during our short time together & I look back on those 3 months at Lighthouse Road as my Indian summer, those perfect days when we swam & lunched on the Parade beach.

I’m reading old Pepys Diary again, after many years. A very normal man was Samuel, ‘The lieut. & I looked through his glass at two good merchantmen, & at the women on board them, being pretty handsome’. On our outings from 308 we invariably kept our eyes open & even Fosbrooke, a most respectable bachelor of 38, didn’t miss an opportunity of directing my attention to anything of note. Have an Australian here who says he was in my cousin, Colin Elphinstone’s regiment at one time. Colin was wounded, I think, in Africa & is home on instructional duty, & engaged to a doctor’s daughter.

I’m very well & love you more than ever, my dearest, dearest Joyce.
A card in some 5 days & meanwhile many many kisses for your nice brown eyes.

All my love,
Your Allan.

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Stalag  XIII C
Geprúft
D22

Luft Post

[Stamped]
Care perçue 40  (…)

[Postmark]
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Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

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Kriegsgefangenenlager   XIIIC   RESERVE-LAZARETT, EBELSBACH

Datum: 19.IV.44

My Dearest,
Great joy here at present, as 8 men presented to the International Commission have been passed & have their little tickets as pass-ports to freedom & home. My colleague MacDonald (from Skye) has also been passed, to my delight, though there will be no transport for several months. MacD. has a duodenal ulcer which has flared up again so I have put him to bed on a strict diet. I am moderately busy, having odd things from various fractures (happily no femurs) to a schizophrenia. Have a very good Australian Sgt. who is responsible for discipline & acts as confidence man, supervising Red Cross distributions etc. Myself as usual very well. No mail as yet. Trust you are well & happy Dearest. All my love,   Your Allan.

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Geprúft
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Care perçue  40  (…)

Luft Post

[Postmark]
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2

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Absender:

Vor- und Zuname:
Captain D. Allan Ballantyne N.Z.M.C.
Gefangenunnummer: 23918
Lager-Bezeichnung:
M.-Stammlager  XIII C
Reserve Lazarett   Ebelsbach
Deutschland (Allemagne)

25.IV.44

My Darling,   No mail up to today tho’ there should be a goodly batch of your letters somewhere. However I have instituted inquiries & a letter has gone to IIID, & it is unlikely I shall have to wait longer than a further 2 weeks.

This being Anzac Day we held a parade this morning at the cemetery in a nearby village, all patients capable of walking a couple of miles going. Mack as the senior Br. Officer said a few appropriate words, an Australian assisted me in laying a wreath, then the Last Post by an Aust’n bugler followed by 2 mins. Silence, reveille & we marched off. I wore the service uniform you sent & borrowed a Sam Browne. We were fortunate in snatching a fine hour in a day of heavy rain & hail, & didn’t wear greatcoats.

Life ambles on quietly enough. I have been out walking several times & yesterday did about 8 miles through bush & over hills to a certain church which commands a fine view of the surrounding country, returning by road & finding bitumen & cobblestones hard on the feet. This part of Germany is predominantly Roman Catholic & there are numerous shrines scatted about in the villages, cemeteries & in unexpected places. I came upon a life-sized figure of Christ praying in the Garden of Gethsemonie yesterday; the stature with a rock garden housed in an alcove on the side of a hill, & the whole well cared for. Haven’t seen any mediaeval buildings. The church interiors are my notion of Baroque.

Our quarters are thoroughly domesticated with cats. Mack has a large kitten which appears regularly each morning for breakfast, tries to go to bed with him & loves chocolate & malt & oil. Besides others we have 2 week old kittens. Altho’ pets are prohibited prisoners, cats seem to escape this law. They’re pleasant to have about the place.

The padre has sent me a number of useful books on music, harmony, plain chant, counterpoint & histories. I’m very well & very fed up without your letters pets. Do hope they won’t be long now in coming. Anyway it will be a bright day to expect shortly. No doubt you are my usual fit & lovely Joyce, the so adored wife of your husband. I’d just about sell my soul to see you. Perhaps fortunately that transaction is not in my hands, for a good part of that elusive organ, call it what you will, has never left you my darling pets!

All my love & kisses.
Your Allan.

Kriegsgefangenenpost

[Stamped]
Stalag  XIII C
Geprúft
D22

[Stamped]
Care perçue  40 (…)

Luft Post

[Postmark]
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Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

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Kriegsgefangenenlager   XIIIC   Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelsbach

Datum: 1 May 44

My Dearest,   May Day, a general holiday in France, Germany, Russia & other countries, apparently something to do with the workers. I’m a bit vague as to its signification, however I’m also taking it easy today. Yesterday Sunday, the padre from Stalag visited us & we had a church service. He comes once monthly & it’s quite a joy to see him. I’m very well my dear, itching to get your letters & to know how your Xmas went.

For some months have been making resolutions to get up early & do P.T. & have just managed to overcome my habitual laziness, at its worst on waking. I hope to keep it up after I come home. Will not distress you however my pets, I’ll sneak out quietly & not wake you.

My dear, dear one.
All my love,

Your Allan.

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Stalag  XIII C
Geprúft
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Poskarte

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Care perçue 40  (…)

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[Postmark]
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Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Absender:

Vor- und Zuname:
Captain D. Allan Ballantyne N.Z.M.C.
Gefangenunnummer: 23918
Lager-Bezeichnung:
M.-Stammlager   XIII C
Reserve Lazarett  Ebelsbach
Deutschland (Allemagne)

5.V.44

My Dearest,

I expect at the present you are watching events as we here & that when this letter reaches you many things will have come to pass. The papers write of Mr Frazer being in London at the Empire Conference & of the record tobacco crop NZ had last year. Occasionally one sees references to our land in the daily papers; the number of cows & sheep & such items. NZ House send a monthly news bulletin, but so far I’ve seen merely an odd copy. Recently I requested inclusion in their mailing list. I shall feel like the prodigal son on seeing our own shores again, for me the best on earth, tho’ no doubt my great grandparents first viewed them with mixed feelings a little over 100 yrs ago.  Perhaps in 45 my dear; my mother hoped to kill the fatted calf for me this Sept., but I told her it was not likely.

This life is most conducive to a vegetative existence of not very arduous work, food & sleep. At various times I’ve taken myself in hand. However, I’ve now instituted the habit of getting up at 6am when it’s quite light, despite an hour’s daylight saving; do some P.T. & skipping, bath & shave & make myself some coffee & read medicine from 7 till breakfast, at about 8.30.

Since arriving here I go walking at least weekly & yesterday did some 10 miles. It’s much more pleasant to tramp along country roads & across fields & thro’ bush than to be confined to city streets & trains & trams. No doubt you are gratified to hear of all these efforts to return home without a pot; I think you will have no grounds for divorce, pettums. In addition you will perhaps be pleased to hear I go to bed at 10pm. I remember your dislike of my late retiring at Lighthouse Road.

No letters as yet but probably not long to wait now. No doubt you are my same lovely Joyce, tho’ I’d so much like to assure myself in person, as it does seem such an age since I waved you goodbye in Riccarton. But I never forget you, my dearest, & obtain bright flashes of exquisite happiness when I remember your nice ways, & occasionally dream I’m back home with you. Am pretty fit & well & quite content here.

Do trust you’re well & happy my lovely one.
All my love & kisses & never worry your pretty head over me, Dearest!

Your Allan.

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Care perçue 40 (…)

Luft Post

[Postmark]
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Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Stalag XIIIC RESERVE LAZARETT
EBELSBACH
Germany

10 May 44

My Dearest,

Absolutely delighted to get your 10 Jan letter on the 6th, the day after I last wrote; your others will surely arrive any day. Very pleased to know you enjoyed Xmas & your charge & that you’re safely back in Gisborne – sorry about the bad crossing, nothing much worse than seasickness. I can so well imagine the chit-chat you’d have had with Joan Williams & all your friends in Christchurch – can almost hear her bright voice now. What is Gertrude doing? Is Walter still managing the farm? I am extremely angry over Robert’s wife’s lack of courtesy & am very sorry you have been troubled. I am disgusted that any brother of mine should make such an alliance. We shall not see them again. I have drafted a formal letter to him about the matter & stated that to avoid embarrassment it is preferable that we cease corresponding immediately. My mother will be a bit upset about everything. I have also written her & told her she must make her home with us when I can settle down.

Have you received the photo sent last October from 308? It may have gone ‘surface’ as I merely paid the usual 40 pfennings, not realising that the extra weight would need covering.

Some indifferent weather lately but today is beautiful, & if the days continue so, we shall be swimming next week in a nearby river. Yesterday did a leisurely 6 mile walk. I told you in a previous letter of my having turned over a new leaf, getting up at 6am & doing some P.T. & an hour’s reading before breakfast. I have a room to myself, (MacDonald is with 3 others). It is quieter & handy to the large shower room where I carry out my activities religiously each morning & finish with cold water. One gets that disgustingly superior feeling over other people who prefer to postpone leaving their beds till the latest possible moment.

My room is the Lab. during the day & I keep most of my gear in McDonald’s room. The latter tells me he met Tennent, Clay, deClive Low & Tremowan in Sec 41 in Crete, while they were en route for Italy, also Bgdr. Miles, who I hear is since unfortunately dead. I’m terribly sorry to hear Bill Turner has been killed. Feel pretty bad living so well here when I hear of our fellows’ ill-luck.

Am very well my dearest Joyce.
Kisses for your nice brown eyes & all my love.

Your Allan.

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[Stamped]
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Care perçue 40 (…)

Luft Post

[Postmark]
Unidentifiable

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Stalag XIIIC,
Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelsbach
Deutschland

15.V.44

My Dearest,

Only one solitary precious letter of yours has so far reached me, written in the hand I love so well on 10 Jan 44. However as mail has caught me up, the others should be enroute.

This morning I received an illustrated booklet on rehabilitation for NZ troops, (both men & women) from NZ House. The measures proposed are most generous & certainly beyond all my expectations, for after all one has merely done one’s duty. Loans are available up to £1500 for houses, to £3000 for farms, free loans to £100 for furniture & what interests me, scholarships & travelling bursaries of £250 a year for overseas universities, with which if fortunate I could get an M.R.S.P. in London, & before I’m too much older I hope.

At the moment I have a NZ.r from Italy. He left home in Sept. 41 & tho’ he’s not a very bright lad & has a bad memory is very interesting to talk with. An Australian from Tasmania also who knows some of my relatives, particularly the Elphinstones.

The Br. ward is full & I have besides several Italians for whom I’m rather sorry; they all seem so bewildered. They at least have good food & treatment while with us. Did I tell you we pool packets & mess together? Have a thorough Falstaff as mess president, a Yugo.Slav & really a gourmand, & a French cook. The meals are pretty varied, definitely Continental, which I have got accustomed to, save for the breakfast. I shall have porridge with cream & salt & bacon & eggs in our household & no mere coffee & rolls etc. One hears some 5 different languages at meals, 3 of them very noisy & accompanied with fork waving etc. If ever I take you to France you will not need to pay too much attention to their table manners, which are somewhat different from our own. Garlic is about the only thing I will not eat.

Yesterday donned my shorts for the first time but today is colder & I don’t think we shall swim this week. The early morning rising & P.T. is now a routine & requires less self discipline. My weight stripped 10st 1lb so reconcile yourself to no grounds for leaving me, my sweet pets, & the weekly culture talks I think will be unnecessary. We shall have more important things to do.

Bless you my Darling.
All my love & kisses.

Your Allan.

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Luft Post

[Stamped]
Stalag XIII C
Geprúft
D22

[Stamped]
Care perçue 40 (…)

[Postmark]
Unidentifiable

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Kriegsgefangenenlager   XIIIC,   Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelsbach.

Datum: 21.V.44

My Dearest,

The first 5 months of 44 almost gone & I shortly enter my 4th year of captivity & of further uselessness to my country. Lack-a-day, the fortune of war, my pets! No more mail so far tho’ NZ letters as late as March have arrived in the Stalag. I am watching the postman each day rather eagerly. It would be merely silly to worry when I know how well situated you all are at home. Life passes reasonably quickly, more so at the moment with a full ward.

Have just finished Scott’s ‘Castle Dangerous’ & ‘Kenilworth’.

How is your Marcus Aurelius & do you still go to bed with him?

All my love, Dearest.

Your Allan.

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Geprúft
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Poskarte

[Stamped]
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[Postmark]
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JUN
44

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Absender:

Vor- und Zuname:
Captain D. Allan Ballantyne N.Z.M.C.
Gefangenunnummer: 23918
Lager-Bezeichnung:
M.-Stammlager   XIII C
Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelsbach
Deutschland (Allemagne)

RESERVE-LAZARETT EBELSBACH
STALAG XIIIC,
GERMANY.

24 May 44

My Dearest,

No further mail, so that apart from your 10 Jan. letter you must pardon my being 6 months behind in your activities. I earnestly trust you are receiving my letters in good time. The reason is no doubt my move & other circumstances; however 2 days ago the representatives of the Swiss Legation were here & I have requested them to investigate the matter.
Today I received a tobacco parcel sent on from IIID so they apparently haven’t mixed up Wiltshire’s & my address.

In 3 days I enter the 4th year of captivity & am hopeful that it will be the last, for I’m becoming increasing tired of dealing with foreigners, & of being separated from all the amenities which we enjoy. There is no question Joyce, that life in NZ surpasses that in most other countries, & that we have passed our days in pleasant places. Little did I imagine that I should never, during a whole 3 years, drive a car, sit a horse, hold a racquet, drive a golf-ball, cast a fly, visit a cinema or play, & worst of all never see an English woman. Don’t regard this as a tale of woe, my Dearest, but merely as a few idle thoughts on my part.

I’m very well & moderately busy with little time to think about being browned off. Have you any ideas where we should site the Ballantyne castle pets? You might pick up any bits of furniture which take your fancy & debit such to me, and also any more linen etc. you may wish.

How go the ‘meditations’? I think you might be able to see his home if you could obtain leave shortly. Does the cold bath still function? I seem to remember you as a soulmate on this (& many other questions) soon after we first encountered one another. Do you still have any fibrositis? You must tell me all these things, my darling pets, as I’m simply delighted to hear as much about your lovely self as possible. Even though it is most inadequate it is the best we can do under the circumstances.

A sgt. from my unit, who’s not seen me for 2½ yrs told me recently I looked just the same. I’ve a few more gray hairs but a straighter back & am perhaps more wise.

I know you’re very well my Joyce, & hope you’re happy.
My dear dear one. All my love & kisses.

Your Allan.

Kriegsgefangenenpost

[Stamped]
Stalag XIII C
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D22

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Care perçue 40 (…)

[Postmark]
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JUN
44

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelsbach
Stalag XIIIC, Germany

31 May 44

My Darling,

A little variation in my quiet life since last I wrote, provided by a trip to Stalag; went off on Friday at 1.30pm & returned on Saturday afternoon, in company with the Padre, making his monthly visit here. Stalag itself consists of a small township with various camps of different nationalities & the central administration for the innumerable Kdos of XIIIC. Flower beds, trees & green grass somewhat diminish the depressing effect of wire & our own people are able to grow green vegetables & tomatoes. You reach the place by a 5km walk up hill from the local railway station (if very fortunate you may find a lorry – we landed a ride down) & have a fine view of the surrounding country; valleys of green fields & small streams surrounded by hills, in part also cultivated but mostly wooded. I hope to make a regular visit each 4 to 6 weeks to keep an eye on Red Cross medical supplies. The journey takes about 5hrs, including changing trains & walking at each end. It makes a pleasant change & I relax & am decadent enough to appreciate breakfast in bed. A Sgt. Penn from my unit looks after the medical arrangements there. It is such a joy to see him.

I hear Blin is in a hospital near Prague. While I share your opinion of him, he was my C.O., has behaved well as a POW & besides was kind to me when our situation was very different from the present. We have started swimming in a river 20 minutes walk away. I spent a couple of hrs. in the water & in the sun on Monday & again this afternoon – was a bit dubious as to whether a rather abbreviated pair of slips I made recently would stay on. They did!

Just 3 yrs yesterday since I flew from Crete to Athens as a prisoner, & not short of 4 yrs since last I saw you. I feel it’s about time we started life together again my pets. You needn’t ever worry over me Dearest for I’m well off here, but life is so much less elegant, less charming & less amusing without your lovely self. Please God perhaps only another year to wait. Let’s hope so. Am wearing shorts & an elderly Serb. Colonel tells me I look like a young man of 20. I requested his permission to tell you.

My dear dear Joyce – All my love & kisses.

Your Allan.

Kriegsgefangenenpost

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Stalag XIII C
Geprúft
D35

Luft Post

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Care perçue 40 (…)

[Postmark]
Unidentifiable
Jun
44

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelsbach
Stalag XIIIC, Germany

5.VI.44

My Dearest,

Am just back from a pleasant swim in our nearby river. We have found a nice grassy nook facing the afternoon sun & a few steps down the bank leads to a convenient rock from which you can dive into deep water. With the current one may enjoy a decent ½ mile swim, climb out & walk or run back. These hours at the river are quite the best since being captured.

Last evening the Br. here gave a concert which passed off very well. A lad with his guitar sang ‘South Sea Island Magic’. I suppose you’ve heard it – a rather torrid thing. My ward is overflowing at present & I’m pretty well occupied. 3 American air men arrived from a German hospital last week, one of them shot down this year.

The a.m. routine of early rising, coffee drinking, P.T., bathing & shaving & reading continues. I let myself slip on Sundays however. Start with a ward round at 9, then dressings & odd jobs & see any new cases, or go & watch my own Xrays done & check the chests; then case notes, all of which fills in the morning. In the afternoon may see odd men & do another quick round at 7pm. Do most surgery save abdomens myself with MacDonald & also fractures. Actually there isn’t much & I keep it down to a minimum. Get into bed about 9 & read till 10 so you’ll approve of my hours pets.

No further letters & I’ll make no further prognosis of when they may come, tho’ my sergeant received a 2nd April from Australia yesterday. Pets, would you be so good as to obtain the address of my uncle Bob from my mother & drop him periodical letters inquiring after the activities of his family & giving him news of me. I haven’t sufficient letter forms for all my correspondents. You must not however allow too much extraneous news to use up the valuable space in your weekly letters. No more news, except to assure you that I’m exceedingly fit & well & always regard you as my very Dearest & best companion. Do trust you are your usual bright charming self, whom I’ve longed to see every day since I waved goodbye in Aug. 40.

My darling Joyce.
All my love & Kisses & a photo for you pets.
MacD next me.

Your Allan.

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Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelbach,
Stalag XIIIC,
Germany

10.VI.44

My Darling,

A week of very good cheer for us, as you may well imagine. I expect you’re all on Daventry at present. Do you remember at the flat in Oxford Terrace when I got up at 5.30 to be in camp by 7? You were such a sleepyhead that I don’t believe the alarm clock ever disturbed you, despite your vague murmurings of displeasure, & my bathing, shaving & dressing was of the quietest. I was in the habit of hearing the 6am news & of presenting it to you with a cup of tea, both of which gifts from a kind & loving husband you found trying to accept so early on a cold winter’s morning before the sun was up. My poor pets! But I should most certainly do the same again. I had the pleasure of seeing you at least half awake & no doubt you lost no time in closing those half open brown eyes again till a more agreeable hour.

You will observe Dearest that I still show a tendency to pull your leg. Love is said to be made up of a good deal of humour & you must accept this bandinage as a peculiar manner of mine telling you that I love you just as much as that is possible, & that, though in no danger of my going into a decline, I’m fed up with this long separation. Listen to the first 7 OP.12 studies of Chopin. You will find some of my feelings, & perhaps your own, there. I seem to have developed a mild Korsakoff Syndrome in that my most vivid recollections of you, except one, namely in your nice fawn coat with a shopping bag & no hat, are not the latest. The picture of you on the Lyttelton wharf as I saw it from the ship & those March days at Queenstown are quite bright to me, whereas the Lighthouse Rd period, save the midday hours on the Parade beach, is less clear.

A NZr who was previously in an Italian camp with Joe Clay arrived here some days ago. Lives in Wanganui & was captured at Alamein in July 42 – in the dark days. A wretched week of rain & swimming will be off until the temperature rises again. I must apologise for leading such a tranquil life at this time – the very last thing I should desire, but unfortunately not in my hands to do otherwise.

Trust you are very well & very happy, my lovely one.
All my love and kisses,

Your Allan.

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Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazaratt   Ebelsbach
Stalag XIIIC,   Germany

15 June 44

My Dearest,

Another thunder storm today; that old song ‘Stormy Weather’ would apply here suitably at present. I notice in the papers some 900 ex-prisoners from Germany were exchanged at Barcelona & arrived in Belfast on 28 May last. The number included Gen. O’Connor from the desert. I noticed a picture of him going aboard the ship & altogether not looking displeased. My sgt. & I have been discussing cars. He is the manager of the Ford agency in an Australian town. Doubtless there will be numerous changes after the war. Plastics seem to have been very highly developed. I expect your Morris will be quite out of date.

What sort of a winter are you having? – your shortest & our longest day in a week. 6 of my 8 repatrices have left for Stalag, so that MacDonald & 1 American with a chronic osteomyelitis remain. It makes more room in the barrack. As in most hospitals, beds are always an asset here. A photographer from Stalag visited us 2 days ago & among others took several photos of me, so I hope to send you several snaps in about a month’s time to content your kind heart that your husband is in good fettle. The photo I sent some 2 weeks ago was of the various doctors (prisoners). MacDonald is on my left & the man with the baldish round head on my right is the mess president. Never have I met anyone who is so attached to food. A true Falstaff.

No doubt much has happened in the world generally & also at home since I last saw the north shores of the South Island disappearing from view & you will probably find me pretty ignorant. I’m quite sure I shall be all at sea for a few weeks after home-coming. I feel at present that I should become quite tongue-tied if I was so fortunate as to be able to walk into a drawing room. You don’t need to worry ever my developing any phobias or waking you up in the middle of the night with a nightmare. We leave those things to the novelist. Well my darling pets, it’s been an effort to write this letter as you will see from my meanderings. No news & life as usual. We’re pretty phased generally at the moment. Myself very well.

Till another 5 days my sweet. All love & kisses.

Your Allan.

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Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

RESERVE-LAQZARETT   EBELSBACH
STALAG XIIIC,
GERMANY.

20.VI.44

My Dearest,

I received a communication from Geneva this week replying to my change of address card & stating they will readdress all letters coming through, so I hope to collect a whole packet in the near future. Actually pets, at the moment about all my stores of news are exhausted & I find myself in somewhat of a quandary as to what to write. You will think this is terrible Dearest, but don’t take alarm at the thought that I’m forgetting you or otherwise changing in any respect. I shall blame the paucity of each day & the censorship regulations, for one day is simply as the next & there is much that would not pass muster in a letter at this time.

MacDonald continues well on his modified ulcer regime. I shall miss him when he goes. Just at present I’m quietly going about getting new quarters here. Since coming here I’ve slept in the Lab. which is of course used during the day & I’ve no room, except MacD’s which is rather crowded with 3 others, in which to work during the afternoon. We have been promised an empty barrack which is to be partitioned into 2 rooms, one for Mac. & myself & the other for my Sgt. & orderlies. It will be a much better arrangement & I shall have some room for my traps. Just think, how I used to complain of our Lighthouse Road place as too small! However after this war I hope we can get at least an 8 roomed house, as I want one room absolutely for my rubbish & in which I can arrange or disarrange things in my own peculiar manner – heaps of bookshelves, a large table or desk, comfortable leather arm-chairs & a large open fire place. And you will want the same for yourself. One thing we shall have pets, is a super bed. I’m all for it after ground, boards & straw. I believe ‘Vi spring’ mattresses are perfection. We shall invest in one.

Do hope I’ll have a letter shortly from your lovely self. Your written thoughts make this life a hundred times better. My dear dear Joyce. No woman has a more loving & devoted husband.

All my love & kisses.

Your Allan.

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Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelsbach,
Stalag XIIIC,
Germany.

24.VI.44

My Dearest,

Still no luck with mail tho’ we hear some has recently arrived in Stalag. If nothing comes this week I shall write to the Commandant & request him to inquire from IIID & also to find out what has happened to some of my personal gear taken at the end of March, as it’s about time it arrived.

I feel at the moment a 3 months spell at an Oflag would be acceptable. To meet some of our own NZ officers & also renew odd acquaintances, see some theatrical shows, hear some good music & revel in their library. I think 3 months would be sufficient as there are many advantages here. Better quarters, more freedom & work & having the responsibility of looking after your own patients, which is to one’s credit. Tho’ an absolute loss to one’s country you have the feeling of at least being permitted to keep our men fit. Also living at close shoulders with other nationalities is not uninteresting. You needn’t be afraid I’ll be in the habit of kissing ladies’ hands or any of that sort of thing when I come home, but one does get into the habit of frequent hand-shaking. MacDonald has happily discouraged it & I’m losing the tendency acquired during the past 2 years.

I have just written to 2 ladies in England Mrs Douglas & Mrs Cobley. Do hope they’re all right. No doubt you’re all mostly rightly delighted at the moment. I think I asked you once before to save any special news or speeches in the papers. Shall spend a week or so pouring over old copies when I get home. What is your winter like pets, & how is Breeze?

I’m very fit & well, still a bit barren in literary powers, as is the case with most of us here. Bless you my darling, don’t worry & I’ll see you next year I believe, perhaps sooner.

All my love & kisses.

Your Allan.

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Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelsbach
Stalag XIIIC, Germany

2.VII.44

My Dearest,

Our new quarters are finished & we are very comfortably installed. MacDonald & I have a fair-sized room with a window facing the west, which brings in the afternoon & evening sun & at present we can read by daylight till 10pm.

The Sgt. & other members of the British staff have an adjoining room & are delighted with the change from their previous cramped quarters.

I have 2 good sized bookcases on the wall above the bed & below these have mounted a number of snaps of yourself & mother on two sheets of thick white paper. Included in these is the first photo (Brutus & yourself at Fernhill) of yourself you sent me. Partly on account of this act of kindness I evolved the bold step of advancing my suit. Our combined photo, taken in Christchurch, with yourself in Sister’s uniform & with that fine straight back on Breeze obscuring me, lies on a bookcase. We have a double wardrobe, electric light & a table in the offing. A shower room lies a few steps away in another barrack. The Chevarzt will provide a stove for the winter, should that necessity arise.

You may rightly conclude pets, that I’m most content. A most pleasant swim this afternoon. I’m trying to improve my crawl – know just how the arm & leg strokes should be done & how one should breathe, but find it a bit difficult in practice. With these activities & sufficient work & ‘Quentin Durward’, which I’m reading again & enjoying, life proceeds very well.

Perhaps next summer we may be able to enjoy at least a short period together in the fine NZ out of doors. I am extremely sorry you’ve been so thwarted in your wish to get overseas, my Dearest, but perhaps it is some consolation in having married me instead; at least I venture to suggest this. Personally I’m entirely selfish in saying that I should wish you in no other place. I hope when peace comes when can see England & Scotland together. I shall be so very glad when I can be with you to enjoy that perfect companionship & utter happiness you have always afforded me.

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

Your Allan.

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Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelsbach,
Stalag XIIIC, Germany

5.VII.44

My Dearest,

A very wet day & probably little warmer than 5 July just passed – for as it’s 6.30pm you will be deep in that before-getting-up sleep of yours I know so well – in Gisborne. The thermometer has fallen about 20°F in the last 48 hrs, & I’m glad to be in battle dress again. It looks as if swimming will be a rare pleasure; we snatch the water & then lie low for a week or two.

I am expecting your letters any day so won’t worry you with questions. I’ve not written to Robert – at least not posted the letter – shall wait until I have more news but in any case am hesitant about casting him off unreservedly though I’ve not much desire to see him & his wife I refuse utterly to acknowledge as any one but a complete stranger. He seems to have developed into a fool – has inherited the worst traits of 19th century smugness. The one thing that may have made him is the army – as a private in a line regiment – I am sorry he’s been in a ‘reserved occupation’.

I regret to have to state I’m now in my 4th year as a POW. It seems almost beyond time since last I saw you from the gate of that place in Riccarton, my dear, & likewise it is difficult to imagine when we shall be together again, although I don’t think we have so very long to wait.

You won’t find me ‘nervous’, feeble or psychotic in any way. Perhaps still a trifle absent-minded, but MacDonald tells me his wife has often accused him of this failing, so perhaps it is merely a fancy of the fair sex. One’s mind is quite free, if not one’s body, though you do tend to become somewhat stale. It will be such a joy to be able to jump into the car & set off on a trip with no restrictions save the speed limit in urban areas.

No doubt you are very well & happy my pets. I shall be happier when your letters come assuring me in your own lovely hand. Am very well – Darling Joyce.

All my love & kisses,
A snap of MacDonald & myself pets!

Your Allan.

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Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelsbach
Stalag XIIIC,
Germany

9.VII.44

My Dearest,

My patience rewarded yesterday with the arrival of 18 letters from IIID, one from England & the rest NZ. Yours of Dec. 26, Jan. 17, Feb. 1,6,14,21, March 6 & 13.I’m quite overwhelmed with joy. Other letters from my mother, one from Robert (4 words to the line) June, Ed Turner, Mrs Dickie & Mrs Spence of Maraekakaho.

It is so good to read in your own nice hand that you’re well & happy & I shall look forward to the snaps.

These sad spells come periodically pets; I hope there won’t be time for many more.

Glad to hear you met Bgdr. Ingles. I reported to him on the 1st day of the battle of Crete, after extricating myself from a spot of bother. How nice to see [word missing] again. He tells me also he is most happy with his wife & daughters.
de Lambert’s wife is not a nice person to know. He’ll be well rid of her. I am most content to know [unreadable words] good friends.

The undies I simply cannot see too soon. I’m rather vague as to what georgette is. Where are the lace insertions? Perhaps you should keep that a secret. Allay any doubts immediately sweetheart, your husband will be delighted.

I’m enclosing two photos with this letter. The one of me alone a bit ‘posed’. I’m sitting on MacDonald’s bed – you can see his photos on the wall – & your photo has been turned to register on the film. The other of MacDonald & I, sitting on the same bed, I prefer, as there is no nonsense about me. I have a few more which I’ll send in subsequent letters.

Robert doesn’t mention his wife in his letter. I shall reply & merely apologise for asking him to present my ill-considered respects to this person.

Stifling weather for two days but last night a severe thunderstorm with torrential rain & today is more pleasant. A good afternoon in the river on Friday, or rather in & out, as it was running higher than usual & we sailed merrily ½ mile downstream in some 10 minutes.

I’m so delighted to have your letters with all your expressions of kindness & love. Be assured that your husband lives only to be with you once more. My dear dear one!

All my love & kisses.

Your Allan.
PS. Have looked up ‘georgette’ in the dictionary & am most intrigued. Bless you my Darling.

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Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelsbach,
Stalag XIIIc, Germany

25.VII.44

My Dearest,

Another month almost gone & nearly 4 years since I last saw you. What a wedge out of our young lives pets. However the longest period apart is over. MacDonald was to leave Stalag for the repatriee – collecting point last Saturday, though doubtless several weeks will elapse before he touches neutral soil.

We have a new Yugoslav surgeon replacing another who has left. I was not very happy with the original man & did anything I had myself, except appendices. The present man seems to be competent.

I have a very decent NZr from Whakatane in at present. He left the country less than 12 months ago & was captured in Italy last December. A most pleasant fellow for me to have & a delight to talk with.

Your services would be much appreciated here at the moment, for the radiologist has left & they don’t take very good photos; not altogether avoidable as there is no Peter-Bucky screen.

I know a little about chests, practically nothing about hearts & absolutely nil of gastrointestinal radiology. A French doctor has lent me a huge tome on the stomach & duodenum with excellent plates & descriptions & I’m working through it. There is another volume of the same edition on the colon. I can read the language reasonably well with occasional recourse to a dictionary.

However my Dearest, I’m afraid you’d be too dashing for this place. I hope in a few years I shall be able to take you to France & perhaps Italy, but you must be prepared for such gallantries as having your hand kissed & of being flattered. I have a shrewd suspicion you women-folk don’t altogether disapprove of such attentions. Husbands probably wisely consider such practices not in the best interests of marital discipline.

I am very well & in good spirits as you’ll gather from the above. Have written a letter of sympathy to Mr & Mrs Turner, though I hesitated a good deal as to whether they would appreciate a letter from a POW when they may have hoped that was Bill’s fate.

My lovely one & dearest friend! All my love & kisses always.

Your Allan.
PS. Another photo for your sweet self. Me trying not to appear self conscious & not succeeding.

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Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelsbach,
Stalag XIIIC, Germany

10. VIII. 44

My dearest,

Your 6 June letter arrived this morning, direct. I’m very pleased to know you’ve received so much of my mail following on the lean period up to March 13th. Be sure to address these letters correctly pets, the above should be given in full as Ebelsbach is some way from the Stalag proper.

Did your Grandad ever see the Rev. Barnes? What is your exact relation to him, for you have many of his characteristics? I’m never happy without you Joyce, though that doesn’t indicate a woeful outlook on life or a state of decline. Perhaps ‘never happy’ is not quite correct, as there are certain satisfying things in this life even, work & being able to swim occasionally & such-like. I had better say I’m chronically fed-up without my wife.

The last of my April commission repatriees, an American soldier, goes off tomorrow to join the party we hear is proceeding to England this month. This is the 3rd lot I’ve seen go & have missed. Do you know of any MOs who were in sound health who’ve been repatriated? I am inclined to think any who were included had passed a commission on account of being ill.

A welcome parcel of cigarettes from my good uncle in Canada last week.

Whether we shall produce any talented off spring I don’t know my pets, but it’s high time we made the attempt, don’t you think! Personally I should be rather pleased in my old age to find myself a grandfather & allowed certain eccentricities.

Life proceeds along fairly smoothly in this place & I’m left much more to my own devices than in IIID/308 where a German doctor & I did not see eye to eye. Here they are strict but most reasonable.

The weather continues most oppressive & I’m glad to wear shorts & to stand under a cold shower. After Sept. the temperature begins to fall though last year was most pleasant almost until Xmas. Your Spring flowers will be out in NZ at present.

Very glad to have your letter with all your love & sweet thoughts my Darling & to know you’re so well. Thank Dr Tomb for his good regards.

All my love & kisses, Dear dear Joyce!

Your Allan.

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Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelsbach,
Stalag XIIIC, Germany

14. VIII. 44

My Dearest,

Delighted to get your 19 June letter yesterday. Don’t send me any further parcels pets. I am pretty well off for everything & MacDonald kindly presented me with various articles of clothing before he left, as he travelled home light. Of soap I have plenty. There is a cake in the weekly food parcel & in addition we receive additional supplies in the medical equipment which arrives regularly. The Invalid Comforts Section of the Br. Red Cross supply us with anything we require from Surgical instruments to bandages etc. I indent monthly for my needs & they are most generous in supplying us. Chocolate I don’t need, it will merely make me fat.

Your idea of being in England to meet me is ‘the goods’ Joyce, provided I am permitted to remain there. I shouldn’t relish the thought of being shipped off on a troop transport & leaving you. Another point is that we might cross each other in mid-ocean. Altogether since no-one will know just when this show will finish & as I should probably, with any luck, land in England shortly after, I consider it more prudent for you to remain in NZ until we see how things stand. Again I may find myself sent from here to N.Africa. By being demobilised in England there is some question of losing one’s bonus & the scholarships offered by the Govt. for overseas study. I think that can be overcome by applying for leave of absence.

We both have deep roots in NZ & I shouldn’t ever consider settling elsewhere. It is impossible to write of all my thoughts in the past 3 yrs. Sufficient to say I’m very proud of my country & am most anxious to lend my weight in contributing to its welfare. I think we must all be prepared to work for that end.

Am a bit tired today after some vigorous swimming in the river yesterday afternoon. 20 miles on a horse would incapacitate certain parts of me at the moment.

My dear dearest Joyce.
All my love & kisses,

Ever your Allan.

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Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelsbach,
Stalag XIIIC, Germany

20. VIII. 44

My Dearest,

Just four years ago since we were having those protracted partings in Christchurch & I had left you the car & used to wait at the corner of the Main South Road for Wilson. I’m glad those days are past.

We have enjoyed three weeks of lovely weather & I’m just back from the river; spent yesterday afternoon & today there, the water most pleasant & refreshing. The spot where we swim is some 20 minutes walk distant. The sunshine this afternoon rendered conditions more pleasant in than out of the river, & I spent most of the time sailing down with the current & walking half a mile or so back along the bank, getting a fair amount of exercise.

Talking of exercise pets, you will be in pretty fair shape with your 20 mile horse riding. Though I’m much fitter than before arriving here, such a distance on your Breeze would about incapacitate me. I’m 9st.13lbs in summer kit here & very well.

I wish you could see our Mess President. He’s not as tall as me & weighs 96 kilograms. Multiply that by 2.2 & you will have pounds. If I ever become so fat, I’ll give you full permission to divorce me. The grounds would need to be ‘mental cruelty’ or such like, as I’ve never been able to raise sufficient interest in anyone else since I annexed your affections to do the decent thing according to Mr A.P. Herbert.

I have three American Lieuts, aviators, & an English Flying Officer, all of them extraordinarily nice fellows. They certainly brighten life for me. The F/O, a lad of 24 has most unfortunately lost his fingers & he is a pianist, in spare time – tells me his mother gave him a Bechstein for a wedding present last Xmas. He’s making the best of things. I used to think I should prefer to lose a leg than even my small finger. For some reason I’m perfectly whole.

Have written NZ House re leave of absence for an MRCP, depending on conditions of course. Don’t forget I’ve been a dead loss for 3yrs.

Well my darling pettums, this is a poor way of telling you how dear you are to me, but the best means I have.
All my love & kisses.

Your Allan.

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16 Sep.

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelsbach,
Stalag XIIIC, Germany.

27. VIII. 44

My Dearest,

Another letter in the hand I love to see. Yours of 6 June. You wrote two under this date & the present letter was Mondays! As regards pretending to be a monk in a monastery pets, I have really led a blameless life for the past three years, but to the devil with your suggestion of ten. Admittedly there are many advantages in such an existence for an ascetic & I can understand persons entering such a state, but it is not for me.

I find one’s capacities for study here are limited. There is a moderate amount to do, various social calls to make & frequently something to be arranged. Especially with this hot weather added to my natural laziness, I tell myself I’m tired & collapse with a novel, which also removes one from the immediate environment.

Four years ago today I left NZ. It seems in the dim & distant past. There is such a lot I want to talk with you about a number of things I want you to know but I shall merely mention the most pressing. The first is how much I appreciate your letters, their regularity, & all the brightness & sweet thoughts they contain. The second is your never complaining of your lot & the third everything you are doing for me at home. You’re a very good woman my dear & in spite of my various ‘passes’ at your expense I respect, admire & love no one as yourself.

No doubt we shall both find each other somewhat different after so long; I’m not the same callow young man you wedded – but I imagine we’re still the same at heart & that you will still be able to regard my peculiarities with a twinkle in your brown eyes.

A good afternoon in the river yesterday & I am off there again in half-an-hour after hearing the wireless at 2pm. We are very fortunate in being permitted to swim at weekends. Just at the moment you will be well in the land of Nod, – midnight Sunday night with you.

All my love & kisses Dearest.
What is your latest style in coiffure?

Ever your Allan.

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21 SEP.

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelsbach,
Stalag XIIIC, Germany

1 Sept. 44

My Dearest,

The rain is descending on us in torrents & I think the river excursions are finished. One advantage is that with the cooler weather one sleeps better at night.

Myself 33 today; I hope you’ve drunk a glass of fine sherry in my honour though no doubt such luxuries are scarce. When we can settle I must try to establish a cellar & we can enjoy at least one dinner a week together. Since leaving home I’ve developed a palate for well matured wine. I don’t think I shall be able to eat as much as previously – & a good thing too – shall become an epicure. There are a few things, food & others, I shan’t want to see again. The most obnoxious at the moment are vegetable soups & squeeze-boxes (accordions) for the former have appeared almost every day since we’ve been in this country & the latter have wearied me for the past 5 months. And I shan’t eat brown bread even to please you, my pets!

A repatriation commission is due early in October. I am preparing case histories & reports of some 18 patients to be presented from here – Australians, English, one American, one S.African & one Canadian. The latter appears to be a lone wolf in this stalag.

3rd Sept. Sunday. Got stuck with your letter & left it till today to finish. A wet windy day & I went over to breakfast in a dressing gown & then retired to bed & read & listened to some of Bach’s organ music on the radio. There is a loud speaker in the next room, which is a mixed blessing, for there is a great deal of poor stuff put over – light stuff which appeals to many. I like first class classic & good Jazz & nothing in between. Old Bach is most satisfying. I think Mendelssohn’s greatest work was his rediscovery of John Sebastian early last century before which these treasures had been forgotten.

Another month gone & one more nearer you. If everything goes as planned we can hope to be together again next year, so you may commence warming the nest for me.

All my love & kisses Dearest.
Expect you’ll be just about commencing to swim when this arrives.

Your Allan.

Kriegsgefangenenpost

[Stamped]
Stalag XIII C
Geprúft
D6

LuftPost

[Stamped]
Care perçue 40 (…)

[Postmark]
Unidentifiable

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelsbach,
Stalag XIIIC, Germany

10.IX.44

My Dearest,

No mail coming in at the moment but no-one minds greatly. Autumn is upon us & the nights have become chilly & a fire on odd days would have been more comfortable – we are to have a small heating stove put in the room this week. Today Sunday – too cool for swimming but warm sunshine nevertheless.

The padre has just arrived from Stalag & stays the night with us. A joy for me to see him, as it’s a bit lonely being always by myself. I have some 60 patients at present & not much spare time. One NZr again, captured in Italy.

Have you read any of C.S.Forester? I’ve read his ‘Capt. Hornblower’, ‘The Gun’ & just finished ‘Rifleman Dodd’. The last two are accounts of the Peninsular War. They are all well written & most readable.

Through the summer this place has been plagued with wasps & fleas. The wasps fortunately seem to leave me alone but to fleas I’m by no means immune. Campaigns waged against them seem to make slight inroads in their numbers. Probably the cooler weather will eliminate them. Fortunately I’ve never been lousy & have seen no lice for 2 years. Bugs, the other member of this trinity of personal pests, don’t worry us here.

I am simply itching to get home to you for it seems a pretty considerable time since Napier & Christchurch. No doubt you’ve had changes, but the soil, the air & the fine countryside will be the same & we’ll still be able to get away into the wilds of Taupo & Waikaremoana for the trout. That is the first thing I wish to do after making the various duty calls. Presumably your Morris will still serve us. That is of course, unless we don’t land up in England together. It seems that the better the news is, the more restless I become.

Kisses for your nice brown eyes Darling, & all my love.
Am very well – as usual.

Ever your Allan.

Kriegsgefangenenpost

LuftPost

[Stamped]
Care perçue 40 (…)

[Postmark]
Unidentifiable

[Stamped]
Stalag XIII C
Geprúft
D12

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelsbach,
Stalag XIIIC, Germany

16 Sept. 44

My Dearest Joyce,

Delighted to receive a number of old letters from you today. 19 Dec 43, 19 & 27 March, 3 & 10 April 44. So Mrs Dickie thinks you’ve a sweet face & pretty legs! I’ll admit that you’re just lovely all over pets. Your May letters are still missing but I hope you received the photo from IIID, sent last October I think.

Thankyou for sending my gear to England. I hope you can get there to meet me, so we can enjoy a holiday together & then I can start on an MRCP, provided that is permitted me. With 6 months hard work behind me I might give it a crack.

The representatives of the Protecting Power (Swiss) visited us yesterday. They tell me the British, American & German Govts. have agreed to retain per 1000 Ps.O.W., 2 doctors, 1 dentist, 1 padre & 6 medical orderlies. As a thousand is about the number of men here & as I’m the only British M.O., you can expect me home at the end of the war, which event is, I hope, not very distant.

How did Slater manage to get back? I presume he was lucky. I hear Fosbrooke & Barker have left R.L.119, for which I’m heartily glad. Wiltshire I hope to see next month as our commission cases are going to his place for presentation.

Did you receive any letter from me asking you to send my mother a monthly cheque for £4? If not, would you please send her this. Also any cheques from my father’s estate. These will have to be paid into my account & a new cheque drawn by you.

Do hope those moths won’t destroy too much of your things dearest. My suits will probably be somewhat ‘holy’ by now. No new mail is arriving but I trust communications are open again & that this will reach you. I’m quite well off for clothes, soap & all such necessities so don’t worry your pretty head Darling. Life proceeds as ever, myself fairly busy & very restive to get home to you. I’m simply longing to see you again pets.

My dear, dear Joyce – all my love & kisses.

Your Allan.

Kriegsgefangenenpost

LuftPost

[Stamped]
Stalag XIII C
Geprúft
D12

[Stamped]
Care perçue 40 (…)

[Postmark]
Unidentifiable
6 SEP.

[Postmark]
Dunedin
C.I.
7 No 44.  5:30 P
N.Z.

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

Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazarett  Ebelsbach,
Stalag XIIIC, Germany

24 Sept. 44

My Dearest,

No mail for nearly two months, apart from your April & late March mentioned in my recent letters. I confined myself to bed for a couple of days last week with a boil on the ankle; it has now quite disappeared. Everyone has a cold at the moment. I included mine with the boil & the number of handkerchiefs per day has returned to a normal number.

A wet Sunday & I rested from 2 till 4 this afternoon & am getting this written before going over to a barrack sing-song. The latter are good for the men, though as someone has said, it is preferable to have had a good hour in the mess before listening to their extreme interpretations of ‘a little grey home in the west’ or ‘Suvla Bay’. And I don’t like accordions, though they’ve given a lot of enjoyment in various places during this war.

Two more Americans came last week, captured some days previously in south-east France; the first we’ve had from this front. Our numbers I hope won’t rise much more as there aren’t many free beds left. I am looking forward to seeing Wiltshire again next month, as the repatriation commission is sitting at his place & I have some 20 prospective repatriees.

Your weather will be already summery Joyce. I like to think of our blue skies & pleasant sea breezes & can still scent those lovely summer evenings of Hawkes Bay. Doubtless Gisborne enjoys the same. I shouldn’t wish to live in any other country, & I’m afraid you would fade in the tropics & wither in a wet, foggy, sunless climate. My dearest one. I’m becoming increasing impatient to see you again. It will be a joy even to hear you tell me how bad I am growing. Do you still do your ‘petites pas’ & ‘pirouettes’? Don’t forget all those delightful expressions that I love & long to see. Must you still have your glass of water at the bedside? Oh Pettums, life is weary without you!

All my love & kisses darling Joyce.
Think we can say 45 all right.

Your Allan.

Kriegsgefangenenpost

LuftPost

[Stamped]
Stalag XIII C
Geprúft
D5

[Stamped]
Care perçue 40 (…)

[Postmark]
Unidentifiable

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve Lazarett   Ebelsbach,
Stalag XIIIC, Germany

25 Sept. 44

My Dearest,

Delighted to get another batch of mail from you, sent on from IIID 17th & 24th April & 1st, 8th & 15th May, along with others from my mother, Londoun, Kean of Napier Hospital, Mrs Spence of Maraekakaho, who writes me very regularly – some 2 yrs ago I traced a missing man for her, June & Robert; also a couple from England, April & one of 7th Aug. The latter obviously means that some new mail is in, so I’m expecting your late June & July letters any time now.

I’m sorry you’ve had such a mail-less period Dearest, but you will know it’s not because I’ve been forgetting to write. Perhaps by now you are well up to date. Glad you’ve seen what I’m like pets. It will reassure your loving heart. My letter with the same photo for you must have gone astray. Don’t worry about the moths ravaging our household linen etc. So long as I’ve got you safe & sound nothing else matters a jot. Do hope the permit for you to meet me in England has arrived. We shall have such a splendid time together again. I hear my cousin Edward Robinson, a fighter pilot, has recently married an English girl & that the wife & child of another cousin, (an English girl also) have just arrived in NZ. This cousin is in the admiralty I think – an engineer but cursed with bad eye-sight. Robert has had his wife in hospital & an ovarian cyst removed.

Trust your duck was tasty. The lakes & rivers about Rotorua are apparently better than Taupo. We must try them as soon as the chance arises. I’m extremely happy to have all these letters written in your own hand, that I’ve come to love so well. You’ve no occasion ever to entertain any worries concerning me & I feel quite sure we’ll land up together on some shore in fine fettle.

Bless you my dearest Joyce.
More later this week.
All my love & kisses.

Your Allan.

Kriegsgefangenenpost

LuftPost

[Stamped]
Stalag XIII C
Geprúft
D5

[Stamped]
Care perçue 40 (…)

[Postmark]
Unidentifiable

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelsbach,
Stalag XIIIC,
Germany

1 October 44

My Dearest,

September gone, three months of the year left & another step onwards towards being with you again. Delighted to receive your letters of 22nd & 29th May today, just after I’d commenced to write this – sent on from IIID. Mail is all at sixes & sevens as one must expect; for instance a March letter from Mrs Cobley arrived today – the first letter I’ve received from her since moving. I think all your letters of 44 up to June 19th have now come, except that there are only two dated January. Tonkin got an August today from Australia so I’m looking for July’s letters any day.

de Lambert seems to have managed to have got through this war very comfortably in Waipukurau – or is he unfit for active service? If not he will be another to the list of persons whom I don’t wish to meet again. Why isn’t the ex-wife working? Have they a child?

Dr Short is a little pompous I agree, but he does know chests & he’s a thorough gentleman. How nice of Williams to look you up! He’s a first rate fellow as was his brother who died. A bad business how he lost his arm but it cannot be replaced & we’ve enough bitterness in this world to get over without adding to it. He has been awfully decent in visiting my mother & Robert.

All honour to Milton for writing ‘Paradise Lost’ in prison, pets, but for these 4 years I’ve ‘Lost Paradise’ and I could pay you no better compliment Dearest! Don’t expect me home until Z day. I’m the sole British MO for this Stalag & enjoy too good a state of health to pass a commission, & I couldn’t develop a neurosis.

Tomorrow week I hope to see Wiltshire & spend a night with him, as my prospective repatriation cases are to be seen at his place. It’s 6 months since I wished him goodbye on a station nearby & I’m very pleased at the thought of seeing him again.

Sorry so few of my letters have reached you. Perhaps now you’ll be up to date. I think the mail is handled much better here than at IIID. I am so very, very weary of being away from you Pettums, but continue to be patient & to look forward to all the brightness, happiness & laughter you bring.

All my love & kisses, dearest Joyce.
One more winter & then the Spring!!

Your Allan.

Kriegsgefangenenpost

[Stamped]
Stalag XIII C
Geprúft
D10

[Stamped]
Care perçue 40 (…)

LuftPost

[Postmark]
Unidentifiable
17 OKT

[Postmark]
Gisborne
17. JA. 45. 3:30PM
N.Z.

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept, [Crossed out]
Cook Hospital, [Crossed out]
Gisborne, [Crossed out]
New Zealand [Crossed out]

C/O Bank of New South Wales
29 Threadneedle St.
London
England

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazarett   EBELSBACH,
Stalag XIIIC, Germany

6 October 44.

My Dearest,

Life proceeding much the same as usual though I’ve recommenced some medical reading which had lapsed for 3 months or so owing to the hot weather, work & my natural laziness. From today we cut our Red Cross food issue roughly to a half & tobacco likewise, so I must smoke less. You needn’t have any worries as to my health because I shall not go hungry here. The cut is a temporary order to all British & Americans in this country & will continue until further stocks have been accumulated.

I hope to spend at least one night with Wiltshire, probably Monday the 9th as the international commission is sitting there on the 10th. A good thing to have this commission over, as I can then get rid of a number of men & cut down the overcrowding in my barrack. In the summer it doesn’t matter so much as all up-patients can remain outside by day & at night the barrack well ventilated. Hope this will be the last winter in Germany.

I expect you will soon be resuming sunbathing & swimming. How is your colour pets? I remember during your time at St. Georges you were rather pale. Have you still that attractive red bathing costume? And do you still keep that great collection of shoes?

I am well set up for the winter. Woollen underwear & good boots & socks in plenty. For the last two winters I’ve not worn anything extra but here it is somewhat colder & one is out-of-doors more. My stove functions well & the room is very comfortable. So far, except for a light frost or two in the mornings, which I relish, we’ve had no low temperatures.

Each day brings me nearer home & makes me impatient to be with you again. It will be a strange business having a wife again, but so very, very nice. Shall be patient a few more months. Such a joy & a thrill to have you to come home to my Dearest.

All my love & kisses, my dear, dear Joyce.

Your Allan.

Kriegsgefangenenpost

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[Postmark]
Unidentifiable
21 OKT

[Stamped]
Care perçue 40 (…)

[Stamped]
Stalag XIII C
Geprúft
D12

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

Cook Hospital
Gisborne

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazarett,
Stalag XIIIC, Germany

12 October 44.

My Dearest,

I have just enjoyed a couple of nights with Wiltshire, seeing the International Medical Commission which sat at his hospital. We left on Monday afternoon & arrived some 5hrs later. The commission sat at 4.30pm on Tuesday – they were somewhat late – saw my cases first, then some officers from an Oflag & finally about 64 cases Wiltshire had (some prisoners for 3 weeks only) including himself on account of a chronic dermatitis of both hands. He’s to go home. Fourteen of my eighteen men passed, one was referred to the next commission, (none of us expect to see another) & three were turned down & I am very satisfied.

We left at 4.15 yesterday morning & got back at 9.30. The hospital there is much better than here & more roomy. They are snowed under with work – about 140 cases, nearly all new prisoners from the west front & many parachute & air-borne troops.  It is pretty terrific an occasion like this, as you can imagine, isolated as I am here.

I met a couple of NZ officers. Gatenby is stated to be managing the NZ club in Rome & his twin, Ryder, whom I know, is in Oflag V something here. I took Wiltshire a good shirt MacDonald left me, some good shaving soap & razor blades, as I remembered his shortages. We ragged each other as of old & I was hugely delighted to see him. Today I feel a bit flat. He’s had some patients from Fosbrooke, who is tucked away in a quiet spot in south Germany. Of Barker we’ve no news. In the middle of everything the padre arrived, so we had a proper party. Next week I hope to have a thorough clean-out & to get rid of some 25 cases.

I hear there is some mail for me in Stalag, so shall probably receive some letters in a day or two – hope they’re not simply official ones from the Red Cross. Well pets, 5 years ago at this time I was experiencing last minute doubts as to ending my bachelor days – & you the same I expect. The only thing now that matters for me is to get back & never, never to leave you again.

All my love & kisses.

Your Allan.

Kriegsgefangenenpost

LuftPost

[Postmark]
Unidentifiable
23 OKT

[Stamped]
Care perçue 40 (…)

[Stamped] Stalag XIII C
Geprúft
D11

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelsbach,
Stalag XIIIC, Germany

15 October 44

My Dearest,

I wrote you on the 12th, having missed last mail so you should receive these two together. Sunday evening & I’m just returned from a 6 mile or so stroll. The country roads here are quite lovely at this season, winding up & down & in & out, sometimes through woods, at other times through green fields, with every so often a small brook or little lake as an added interest. The leaves are turning & commencing to fall. A variety of warm colours with the sombre green of the pine as a fundamental tone. A richness to be found in Keats & Delius.

We go walking for 3 or 4 hours on Saturday & Sunday afternoons. I managed to get some leather soles & heels when with Wiltshire – good American stuff & have had both pairs of shoes repaired – well stitched. That pair you sent me in 42, ‘Cable’, have now had four resoles & heelings & are still in first-class condition. I have worn them a great deal. They have been much coveted by various people in this country, especially where I was previously.

No further mail to date, except one official Red Cross letter – perhaps next week. My last was your 20th June, to which date I am fairly complete. Do hope you are receiving some my dear, & that the photos sent from here have reached you. I have just read that book ‘This above all’ – you remember telling me of the film. Am rather surprised at the language used in places. Absolutely typical of course. It’s interesting for me to read here – is very overdone, the girl’s a silly little fool, & the medical diagnosis was appallingly bad.

I’m feeling it’s about time we were together again pets, for life without you is so dull. Most men seem to need some weapons of defence against the stresses & strains of this life, even Nelsons & Napolians have sought these in their Lady Hamiltons & Josephines. Perhaps it’s that comfortable ‘close-togetherness’ Shaw speaks of in a letter to Mrs Patrick Campbell – so very reassuring.

All my love & kisses my dearest Joyce,

Your Allan.

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[Postmark]
Unidentifiable
28 OKT

[Stamped]
Care perçue 40 (…)

[Stamped]
Stalag XIII C
Geprúft
D11

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelsbach,
Stalag XIIIC, Germany

28 October 44

My Dearest,

I recall last year on this day writing you that I hoped the next anniversary of our wedding would find us together. It does appear however, that to say the same thing again today is not veering too much to the left. We can celebrate all these missed events when I come home & although these years are irretrievably gone that vague fourth dimension which seems to be time won’t occupy any place when I’ve really got you again.

This separation has been of necessity. I feel that I shan’t suffer any qualms of conscience in the future about not having done my bit, although I should wish to be anything but a prisoner. However that was none of my making & I feel more satisfied about things since coming here & having assumed responsibility for our own & for allied men.

Do you remember the letter you placed in my pyjama coat pocket with instructions to read when on the high seas? The best parting gift you could have given me. To my eternal sorrow I lost it in Crete.

The longer I am away from you the more anxious I am to tell you again & again of my absolute love & devotion. Please believe me Dearest, when I say that no man could have a better wife, nor could anyone appreciate more than I your thoughtfulness & kindness.

You will almost certainly find me changed. Such is inevitable through these varied environments of the past four years. No doubt I shall appear a little older, with one or two added grey hairs & be a trifle thinner. I think I have grown more tolerant, become more reserved & improved my manners & imagine I’m less impatient, more wise & understand life better. Your own good judgement will tell you if your husband has improved or not pets when you see me again. Perhaps however I shall growl occasionally when there are no hot scones or steak & kidney pie & I’m certain to take the greatest pleasure in getting you out of bed in the morning. Your good sense of humour will pardon these & other failings. But I’m simply aching to get back in the midst of the complete & utter happiness with which you have always surrounded me. Excuse the expression Dearest, but ever since first meeting you I’ve thought you ‘the cat’s pyjamas’ & now am doubly certain of it.

All the very best to you, my Darling.

Your Allan.

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[Postmark]
Unidentifiable
17 NOV.

[Stamped]
Care perçue 40 (…)

[Stamped]
Stalag XIII C
Geprúft
D5

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelsbach,
Stalag XIIIC, Germany

5 Nov. 44

My Dearest,

I forgot to tell you in my last letter, your 19 June letter had just arrived – the one in which the Morris refused to start & you were off to Wellington on 8 July. Your late August have come but not all the intervening letters & this was the first I’d heard of the trip. Hope you enjoyed a good 3 weeks holiday. I shall look forward to hearing whom you met, where you stayed etc.

My Uncle Whitehead died recently; an awfully good sort he was – secretly I think always hampered by my Aunt, a good woman, but without humour & just a little too pure for my vulgar taste.

Robert’s wife apparently returned to her mother on discharge from hospital. Some damn nonsense about a lot of steps at the flat, & she was not returning to him. He certainly has hanged a mill stone round his neck. It’s all a bit too, too … don’t you think pets? I mean they ought to return to earth somewhat.

Last weekend I went to Stalag & stayed a night there; the padre gave me a bed in his room. Got up at a quarter to four to catch an early train from here. Pitch black & raining & I had a trying time getting out of the hospital – walked into a ditch & fell over some concrete steps & made myself very cross. However stumbled down to the station in good time. I’m not doing anything special at the moment except to prevent myself becoming impatient – get a bit fed up in the mess occasionally; these continentals all talk too much & too loudly. Have another American officer who left England the day before arriving here. I think the poor chap is still a little dazed at everything still.

Went for a walk yesterday – a short one to break in a pair of new boots & watched some small trout swimming in a stream. Put on a spinal plaster cast during the week for a fractured vertebral body – no dislocation fortunately. A certain amount of ingenuity necessary as there is no orthopaedic table.

Delighted to hear from you again my Darling. Not too long now till I see you, I hope. Life’s pretty wintry without you. Best wishes for Xmas & New Year & my special love Dearest Joyce.

Your Allan.

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17 NOV.

[Stamped]
Care perçue 40 (…)

[Stamped]
Stalag XIII C
Geprúft
D5

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelsbach,
Stalag XIIIC, Germany

12 November 44

My Dearest,

The dates of my last letter were 10 & 11 Nov. but today I was overjoyed to receive your 11 July & 7 August letters & decided to commence this on the spot. There is probably a late June & one or two July ones missing, as I haven’t heard how you fared with the Rt. Hon. Peter Fraser; otherwise I’m complete to 28 Aug.

So the relatives prosper pets! They are a smug lot though Aunt Milly’s rather an exception – a nice woman. They’d be delighted to have you. You yourself took them by storm & they have the idea, or used to, that I’m a passable fellow & somewhat of a credit to the family. Thankyou very much for all your activities on my behalf Joyce. I’ve written NZ House about the business, but I certainly don’t wish to remain in England if you’re not there. It would take me a year to get everything up to scratch for an M.R.C.P. & that’s too long away from you. However, we can see later. At all events I’m determined to sit the exam as soon as possible.

My mother writes in a similar manner concerning the booklet! Laughed over your description of Parker’s Mr Sutherland. “Worn by the better people, you know Dr!” What is Bruce Rennie doing? Isn’t he back in practice? We seem to have a ‘stone-waller’ batting at the moment but it’s all a question of a determined bowler & a few extra in the ‘slips’.

Your birthday on the 25th I think Dearest. Please buy yourself something from me. All I can send you from here is my special love & best wishes. Pleased you are getting some letters from me. 14 Nov. Everything going smoothly again & the patient now perfectly recovered. Weather typical of the European November; no sun to speak of, rain, sleet & snow most days. Dark soon after 5 & just breaking light at 7am.

Wish I could be with you in Gisborne enjoying the late Spring sunshine, my pets! Freddie Bowerbank just back from a world tour! He used to be known as the best dressed man in Wellington & was one of Boyd’s ‘bêtesnoires’, but I don’t know him myself. Pleased Col. Wallace was so charming. Have you heard of Winston’s ‘Blitz Suit’? No one like him. All at present, my dearest.

My very warm love from this wintry spot.
Kisses for your lovely brown eyes & my best wishes for Xmas & New Year.

Your Allan.

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[Postmark]
Unidentifiable
29 NOV.

[Stamped]
Care perçue 40 (…)

[Stamped]
Stalag XIII C
Geprúft
D9

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept., [Crossed out]
Cook Hospital, [Crossed out]
Gisborne, [Crossed out]
New Zealand [Crossed out]

C/O Bank New South Wales
29 Threadneedle St.
London

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelsbach,
Stalag XIIIC, Germany.

19 November 44

My dearest Joyce,

Two more letters from you on Friday, July 3rd & 24th, two from my mother of early Sept. & one from Ottawa. I’m very pleased you’d received the March & April letters pets & sincerely hope by now you have the photos.

Thankyou very much for your activities in Wellington on my behalf. I am at present waiting on a reply from NZ House but have just been advised in a circular that all such queries should go to NZ Headquarters, London so shall write them immediately.

What misfortunes Mr Edgley has suffered! Does Marie still have that weakness for impossible men? Mother tells me Robert needs my sympathy. I’ve a mind to write her that this life doesn’t breed that quality & that it’s entirely of his making, but shan’t say anything. He’s apparently married the family. All I hope is that he doesn’t realise he’s been such a fool. Both he & my mother are shockingly lacking in critical judgment.

Do you know why mother is taking another lad? Is she hard up? Have you had my letters of last & this year asking you to forward her a cheque for £4 each month? It just seems silly to me.

The padre spent last night with us. Held a service this morning & left early this afternoon. It’s always a joy to see him & a change for me to talk to him. I’m getting down to my books again & trying to settle into a daily routine. It is difficult to sustain the interest from week to week; however I’m not vegetating too much. The saying ‘one either becomes a cabbage or a philosopher in this life’ is not far wrong.

One does become fed-up every now & again. Your letters always stir me out of a sluggish phase. You may imagine me continuing in the quiet life & just waiting patiently until I can get home to you. This has been a long blank in our young lives Dearest, but I’m delighted to hear you say you still feel married & wouldn’t change your lot. Neither would I really, only I should wish to be doing something more active. Bone of my bone & flesh of my flesh pets & also the same of my spirit. Thank God I retain some of that latter part of your lovely self.

All my love & kisses Dearest,

Your Allan.

Kriegsgefangenenpost

LuftPost

Care perçue 40 (…)

[Postmark]
Gisborne
17. JA. 45  3:30PM
N.Z.

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept., [Crossed out]
Cook Hospital, [Crossed out]
Gisborne, [Crossed out]
New Zealand. [Crossed out]

C/O Bank New South Wales
29 Threadneedle St.
London
England

[Stamped]
Stalag XIII C
Geprúft
D11

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazaarett   Ebelsbach,
Stalag XIIIC,Germany

4 December 44

My Dearest,

I haven’t kept a tally of the letters I’ve written you but it must be somewhat over a hundred. It’s pretty wretched, isn’t it pets, having only this means of contact with each other? However at least it’s a contact & I am able to know you’re well & the lovely Joyce I married five years ago quite unchanged.

Last week I had a letter from Leo Hannah who asks me to send you his best wishes. He’s in England but I’m not sure still in or out of the army. A nice fellow with a choice spirit. He asked me to send you an address of some friends of his in case you were lonely in Gisborne. Mrs Audrey Long, 212, Ormond Rd, Gisborne. I always hesitate to pass on such addresses but Leo is such a decent lad & tells me Mrs Long ‘is a first class lass’ & her husband an old school friend. Leo’s only brother killed this year, R.A.F.

The snow has all gone, but it really doesn’t seem any warmer – rain & a cold north-west wind most days. My stove however keeps the room most comfortable. Slater is unfortunate with a spondylitis. Do you know anything of Thomson of New Plymouth? Mother said he’d arrived home. You’ve heard nothing of Mrs Plimmer I suppose. Several men besides myself wrote her but I haven’t heard of anyone having received a reply. I know very well that prisoners haven’t been regarded in a favourable light by certain people at home.

We’re thinking of Christmas decorations & celebrations at present, as I expect you are. Hope to decorate the ward & perhaps have a Xmas tree & look forward to a good fall of snow. I look forward to reaching England about the middle of next year, if all goes well, so I do hope you can arrive about the same time. It seems almost too good to believe that there are perhaps only six more months to wait but at the moment I’m banking on being with you in about that time. We shall see! I’m very well & pretty well occupied. Don’t get much time to read. Have a good library of medical books & some useful books on harmony, counterpoint, fugue etc. Manage to glance at them almost daily, but want your stimulating presence my Dearest.

What a day when I can see you once more.
The worst over now Sweetheart.
All my love & kisses.

Your Allan.

Kriegsgefangenenpost

LuftPost

[Postmark]
18 DEC

Care perçue 40 (…)

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Radiological Dept.,
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand.

[Stamped]
Stalag XIII C
Geprúft
D11

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazarett   Ebelsbach,
Stalag XIIIC,
Germany.

10 December 44

My Dearest,

I’m very happy today; your letters of 4, 9 & 17 Oct. have just come. All your friends seem to be having or about to have babies! Have you collected any more as God children? I’m still pretty furious about all the Ballantyne minors’ discourtesy. In such circumstances it is quite unpardonable. Robert is a damn fool ever to have married such an impossible woman. However it is better simply to leave them to their own devices. From one of my mother’s letters the lamb she’d imagined seems to have been all the time a wolf cub. I’m sorry for my mother though I considered her unwise to encourage such an affair involving those frightful whispering bouts over the telephone & the importance of ‘mummy’.

Just wait patiently my pets. You’ll likely have to wait like me for the day we’ve both looked for these past years. And we’re not the only ones. I can’t tell you how much I’m longing to see you Dearest. There are a number of people I anticipate meeting again with much pleasure but most important is the absolute happiness & tranquillity you bring me. Whatever the scientists say about the wave vibrations of two persons synchronising may be right, all I know is that it’s the best thing I know. All this applies except, my pettums, when the bath water is cold, there are no hot scones, & when I’ve neglected to telephone that I’ll be late for dinner. I’d better make no more promises about being a better husband, it might make life a bit difficult for me. And thank God Dearest, I think you love me with all my faults of forgetfulness & testiness & the others.

How are you doing your hair, the same way? Really I shan’t mind having to take a hot bath, to use Nivea cream & to go to bed at a reasonable hour again!

This afternoon walked a little over six miles to a neighbouring village & back, hardening up my feet on a bitumen road. It has been a cold day with rain & a little snow. Glad to hear my letters are reaching you in reasonable time & hope all the photos have arrived. Thank you so much for all your love & kind thoughts. A Merry Christmas & may all our plans for ’45 be successful.

All my love & kisses Dearest!

Your Allan.

Kriegsgefangenenpost

LuftPost

[Postmark]
Unidentified
(…) 1 45.

Care perçue 40 (…)

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand.

[Stamped]
Stalag XIII C
Geprúft
D11

Gebührenfrei!

Reserve-Lazaratt   Ebelsbach,
Stalag XIIIC,
Germany

15 December 44.

My Dearest,

The weather will need to become a little colder for us to have a White Christmas. At present the same overcast skies, half-cold temperatures & drizzling rain every second day. I long for our NZ winter weather with sharp frosts & bright clear skies. It is quite understandable to me now why these Europeans look forward to holidays on the Mediterranean & regard North Africa in a romantic spirit. It means so much more to them I suppose, never having seen the blue Pacific. I ache in my bones to see our shores once more.

Red Cross parcels are short these days but I’m hoping some promised us from Stalag will turn up shortly so that the men may have a decent Xmas meal. Odd personal packets continue to arrive. I was fortunate today receiving a pound of Players from England. The Y.M.C.A. have recently sent us a lot of useful gear – playing cards, chess sets & a gramophone & a number of records, the latter from my point of view mainly rubbish but the men will appreciate them. I like good dance music & classics, except Strauss’s waltzes, & anything in between such as musical comedy & light orchestral stuff leaves me cold.

Amongst some gear that MacDonald left me I found some Nivea cream & some Ponds, which remind me of your dressing table at home. I use it from time to time after shaving, when I remember. You still have your array of creams, soaps & powders I presume pets! It must be a relief not to have a husband about who uses that expensive face soap for the bath! and it’s just on four & a half years since all that! Life certainly is dull without you, my Joyce. My most clear memories of you are our first holiday at Waikaremoana, the one at Queenstown & waking you up to make sure you were alive & well in the early morning before leaving for Burnham. The latter procedure, I remember, took some time & I still smile to myself over your appreciation at seeing me at 6 o’clock of a frosty morning.

I’m very well pets though finding the interest difficult to sustain at the moment.
A very happy Christmas & New Year, my Dearest.
All my love & kisses.

Your Allan.

Kriegsgefangenenpost

LuftPost

[Postmark]
Unidentified
(…) 21 5.

Care perçue 40 (…)

Mrs D. Allan Ballantyne
Cook Hospital,
Gisborne,
New Zealand.

[Stamped]
Stalag XIII C
Geprúft
D11

Gebührenfrei!

Original digital file

BallantyneDA620_War_Letters-1944.pdf

Description

This is the fourth 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

12 January 1944 - 15 December 1944

Format of the original

Handwritten letters

Accession number

Germany

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