Letter's received by AirDrop while behind the lines
Address was: C/O No. 18 A.B.P.O (Advanced Base Posted Overseas)
From: 14214509 Pte. A. D. Hunter (Cousin)
Signal Section H.Q. Coy
6th Batt. Seaforth Hlds
C.M.F (Middle East)
Sunday 7th May 1944
Hello Aga (Cocky's nickname in the village)
Just a few lines to let you know how
things are going up this way, for I don't expect you will hear much in
India as regards the situation, anyway it ain't too bad. I expect it is
pretty hot out your way at this time, for it is bad enough here, although
we have been issued with KD, but haven't got into them yet.
How the hell did you manage to get into that mob Aga?, for a crowd of your auld lot, The Rifles, came out with us and joined their unit which is with us. You may be better off where you are, as it has been hellish here lately, but as regards myself, I have been lucky for I was in hospital for weeks and am only back a fortnight, which has been pretty easy although the rest of the boys have had it pretty tough. It's just like home here Aga, only that Jerry's along with us and gives us a bit of shit now and again. When I read of the battle of Sheriffmuir and how they fought on the hills, I didn't think it was possible, but now I do, for it is all hills here.
I had a letter from you Mother today, and all is well in Menstrie, also I expect you will know that Helen was married to Jack in March. I was terribly upset with it at first but I have let it pass, and thought no more about it (also) Mum and Dad are both well, with the old boy doing a bit of gardening now and again to pass the time.
I wish the second front would hurry up and open, as it would relieve the pressure from us and let us get it over with, and let more boys join you out in Burma and get those yellow bellied rats finished too, for I am fed up with the whole damn show.
I met Tommy Mach when I was in convalescent camp in Sicily, he sure has a smashing job in the R.E, also David Stuart and Ian Gentles are on the island too, but I didn't see any of them. Some people are lucky, but I think that we will come out better in the end.
Bobbie Todd is with one of your lots where you are, but of course India is a big place and you might never see him (That's what he thought!! See biography).
Well Aga I think this is about all the natter I have in the mean time, but will have more for your next letter
Will close for now
Your aye Gus
PS. Hope to hear from you soon also give the wife and
baby my regards, and lets hope it isn't long until we meet again, Gus
Received from:1566526 LAC McMillan (Pal from village)
RAF Holmsley South
1st March 1944
Dear old Aga,
I received your most welcomed letter the other day, thank you very much. I was glad to hear you were fit and well but sorry to hear you were in such a bad spot. You will see by my address that I have been moved again. This is the 3rd place in a fortnight, and I am expecting to move again soon, however if you drop me a line to this address, it will follow me up.
The last station I was on, was very interesting. That mob you wanted to join, the paratroops were there. I won't say the name of the place for security reasons.
You say Gus is up in Italy, they did not waste much time in getting him a job. Tam is in the 9th Army now. I see his name in the paper here, it was all about the battle of Akarit where his CO. won the V.C. The newsmen were giving a description of the battle in the paper. Wull is getting married at the end of April, so he has asked me to try and hold my leave till then.
Well Aga, how is the family? OK I hope, it is a pity that you weren't in this country, as I might have come down to Alma's house with you and give them a tune on my bag-pipes ha-ha I bet that would be a scream eh? You might tell her and Doreen that I wished to be remembered to them both.
Well Aga about the pipes. I told you in my last letter that I brought a chanter back with me. I was trying to learn it by ear, but it is no good, I must get someone to teach me. At my last station there was a Sgt. Posted to our loft and he was mustard at it. He is a Pipe Major in the Bathgate pipe band, so he promised to teach me, but he came in the morning and was posted in the afternoon. So that was a bit of bad luck don't you think?
I am still doing away over here but leading a very quiet life, no women, no dancing and a thing I have never done, drinking. So at the moment I feel very browned off just now, but I suppose I mustn't grumble. I am still on the right side yet eh? Although I would like very much to go abroad and see the World, as I think it broadens the mind.
What kind of mob are you in Aga? I never heard of that regiment before (Sherwood Foresters). Is young Wooten still in the same mob? I suppose that he will have been looking if he can see his Brother out there, it would be alright if they could meet out there. There is quite a crowd of Menstrie lads out there but India is a big place. Dawson is up in Burma somewhere but which part I cannot say. You say it is like standing in front of the bake house ovens out there ha!, many a time I cursed that place but now many a time I wished I was back, even though old Shug used to do a bit of nagging. I bet I would be sure of an apple tart anyway eh?
I see by your letter that you ain't getting anymore flesh on your bones Ha ha, just like me, I don't think I have put on an ounce since I joined up, although I haven't lost any. I think we must be two of the Pharaohs lean cattle eh?
Well Aga, I am afraid I will have to close now as I have no more to write about, and what I have written is rather stale, so I will dry up now and slip into bed. So wishing you all the very best of health and good luck Aga, cheerio for now
Your auld Pal
P.S. Please write soon and put the date on your letter.
You never had it on the last one and I always like to see how long they
"Cocky's younger brother
My Uncle Rab
14709336 Pte. R. H. Cochrane
"C" Coy. 14th Batt. R.A.O.C
Group 2. B Site
Just a few lines hoping they find you in the best of health, as for myself I am keeping fine, and I fancy I will be seeing "Home Sweet Home" soon. It's six months now since I saw home. How did you feel when you got your first leave Wull? I myself am looking forward to it very much.
Rab Cochrane (Cousin) had a little accident with a flash bomb, he burnt his hands and face, but it is a lot better now thank goodness. I hope you have got my photo now (above), and what do you think of it? Still the same old Rab eh?
Alma had a letter from you the other day, she was very pleased too, in fact so was all the relations. Do you ever get any mail from the Hunter family in Menstrie? I haven't had a letter from them for over two months now. But that doesn't worry me, as I can still live without hearing from them.
Alma seems too be having a great time in Scotland just now. They were all at Causewayhead the other day, and wee Margaret (Sister) and Ray (daughter) had them in stitches laughing. Alma and Mum had some bother getting them out of the paddling pool. I would have liked to have seen them, and the going to Portobello last friday, so I don't know how they got on. Father was down the Manor Powis (Coal mine) at the salmon, and he has finished his holidays now. He wasn't anywhere special, except for Andy Bev's.
We are having a sing song in the canteen just now, not bad! We had a film in the canteen on Thursday, Abbot and Costello in "Ride 'em cowboy", good laugh it was. There is another one this week, the same two in "Who done it?", I suppose that you will have seen them.
Well I will close as I haven't anymore news in the meantime. So cheerio and all the best, and may God bless you always
Your loving brother, Rab
PS. Hope to see you soon, and I fancy it won't be
long now. xx
I'm sorry I haven't wrote you sooner, as I was busy before I went on leave, and busy for a few days after, so I hope you will excuse me.
Well Pal, I've had my first leave, and it was okay. It was a pity that you weren't home too, but never mind pal, it won't be long till it's all over.
When I was home I managed to see the "Vics" (Village soccer team) first game, but they got beat 8-1. What could you expect?, as they played Geordie, Lewry, young Joe Denny, and McMillan!
What do you think? Gandie Geddes went over the "Heron Pond" without a leave, but you can't have it both ways, as he got off for a wee while before getting called up.
The weather hasn't been very good since i've come back from leave, it's rained all the time! but the grub is a lot better.
Alma's two young brothers and sister are up at our place just now. They were evacuated from London because of these "Doodle bugs" or "Flying Bombs". I think it was today that they were going to school. Mother has a pretty packed house just now.
This is my day off and the mates and myself were coming along the road and were stopped by a R.P (Military Police) for being improperly dressed. We told him the usual tale and he didn't do anything, but he is a marked man when the dark nights come in.
Have you met any chaps you know since you've been out there? I heard that Charlie Wooten is coming home with malaria. I hope it's not true, as he is only a young lad.
Rab Cochrane (cousin) is still in this country, he's been lucky in a way (See biography about Rab).
Well Pal I will close, but I will write you again soon. So cheerio and all the best, and God bless you always,
Your loving brother Rab
"Bonnie Scotland, I adore thee"
I received an air mail letter from you the other day, and was very pleased, but I couldn't make out the post mark on it. By the way you wrote, it hasn't taken very long to come. Glad to hear that you are keeping fine, you really deserve a rest and a leave, a long leave. I don't think the War with the Germans can last much longer.
You seem to have received my mail alright, so I will try and send three a week now, when I get time. When I get Rab Cochrane's address of his Mother, I'll tell him about you not being able to write. I am getting Jock Luggy's address of Frank in my next letter. As soon as I get it, I will send it on.
The way I want out of this mob is, I don't agree with it! I'd like to get into something with a kick in it. I'm giving it another week, then I'm putting in for a transfer.
I hope you have got my photo by this time, if not, let me know and I'll send another one. I would be very pleased to receive one of yourself.
Wull, I have only been to Alma's once, there is a ban on that area just now, but as soon as it's lifted, I will pay them a visit.
I had heard of the Chindits, but didn't know much about them, as I never take much interest in War news in the papers.
Does Mum still send you the papers? I hope so. We moved into the huts last night, but I don't know the number of it yet. This address will get me alright.
Well Pal, I will close now. Hoping it finds you okay, Cheerio and all the best,
Your loving brother, Rab
I'll write again soon, and please excuse scribble
3066693 Pte. R. Cochrane
D Coy 7/9th Royal Scots
I received your most welcome air graph a few weeks ago, but I am sorry I couldn't answer it sooner, as I've been busy with exercises and training for boxing.
I haven't had much time to do anything Bill, but as I am on leave just now, I have plenty of time, for there's nothing doing in this place. It's just the same as usual, f_cking dead!
Well Pal, I was going to send an air graph, but there's not much room, so it's just as well sending one of these letters. You can get plenty of room, to let you know all the dope.
About D.Dale, I haven't seen him for the past two months. He's in another Company just now and they're billeted a few miles from D Coy, so I haven't a very good chance of seeing him. Anyway, as soon as I see him, I'll tell him he's to write to you.
Well Pal, here's a little news for you. I'm getting married my next leave. I was going to get married this leave, but I thought it would be better to hold on and get us a few pounds to get us started. She is a nice girl Bill, and I know she's the one for me.
She comes from Stonehaven and her name is Jean Burnette. She is 20 years old and a nurse. That's about all about her, only she's the nicest girl i've ever met. We are definitely getting married, I don't think anything will stop us.
By the way, how are you getting on yourself? I hope you are keeping well and in good health Bill. Keep knocking the stuffing out of those wee slit eyed bastards. I wish to f_ck I was beside you, I'm getting fed up staying in this place, but I suppose it can't be helped. Anyway, I hope my turn comes soon, for I would like to get a crack at them.
Well Pal, my brother James ran away two days ago to join the Navy. I don't think he will get very far, for he has f_ck all in his tail. If he only knew what like it is, he would change his mind.
Your Brother Robbie seems to be enjoying the Army life, and Alex seems to be enjoying the Navy life, but for me, I would give both my b_lls to get out of it.
I'm sorry pal, but there isn't very much space left, so I'll close here. Here's hoping this finds you keeping the very best of health, and I hope you have a speedy return home,
Your old Pal, Rab xxx
PS Mum Dad and all the rest send their love,
ALL THE BEST