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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 6, No. 11 August 11, 1943

Soldiers' Letters

Soldiers' Letters

Letters come in, in ones and twos, by every overseas mail, conveying thanks for parcels, stories of action, reminiscences of College life. There are many addresses—London, Harrow, M.E.F., Malta, all over the world. Here are a few of the comments:

S./Lt. Guy Smith, London, writes: "One compensation for enduring the English climate is that I'm continually knocking into chaps I knew at home—it certainly is remarkable the number of V.U.C. men who have found their way to this island . . ." This is one of the most voiced sentiments in these letters; from all countries we have reports of New Zealanders, Wellingtonians, Victoria College students.

Next from Flying Officer Hugh Drummond, breathing good public school air at Harrow-on-the-Hill. "Thanks a lot for the Christmas parcel, indeed a most welcome supplement to what is from time to time a pretty monotonous diet; although this is the wrong time to say that, as hanging from the tent ridge pole about four feet away is the corpse of a pig which we hope will provide us with several pleasant meals. We bought it from the local French farmer and have been fattening it for the past fortnight—it's not really in perfect condition for the table, but we could wait no longer."

From London, Cedric Wright, proud Sub./Loot in command of H.M. M.G.B.8 (that's bluffed you) states in dashing hand, "As you'll gather from the above I'm in the motor boat trade, Britain's light naval forces. A motor gunboat is a natty little packet not to be confused with an M.T.B. or the slower M.L. I like this England. I've had some pretty good breaks and have seen quite a lot of it—know the South Coast from here to Cornwall pretty well. Did a course last summer in the Western Highlands of Scotland. It was just like a holiday, had a rattling good leave in the Lakes district and spent another in Devon—usually look in on London when the occasion offers, it's a grand spot. Hope to visit Eire soon. Interruption just arrived. Guess I'd better get on with the war!"

Leaving Cedric to hold his end up we hear from Pte. Arthur Ashley-Jones, Egypt. "Life has of course been fairly unsettled lately, and since the beginning of November we have been constantly on the move, covering in our travels enormous tracts of desert. It would be difficult to imagine the monotony of these vast areas of featureless wasteland, so unlike the romantic pictures one sees of rolling sandhills. For the most part it is just a barren stretch of dust, sand, and stones, totally featureless. Still, it has its interest. We have had pleasant spells by the coast and have seen some of the battle-scarred coastal towns, notably Bardia and Tobruk. Both are reduced to pitiful heaps of rubble. The latter is in fact just a pile of crumbled masonry and gaping bomb or shell holes. Not a single house or building stands intact and the surrounding country is a vast scrap heap of wrecked or burnt-out planes, tanks, vehicles and guns, while the shallow harbour is chocked up with the hulks of sunken ships. Tobruk is a picture of complete devastation."

Not a letter comes in without thanks for parcels and praise for those who organise them. Not a letter comes in without interesting news of V.U.C. men and their exploits. This College may well be proud of them—more power to their elbows!