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British Double Summer Time

Posted by on January 23, 2017

April 2 and 7, 1945: Stanley writes two letters to Dad from England. Based on the comment that he just received Dad’s letter “which was written on the Ides of March” it looks like letters are taking about two and a half weeks to get from McCook, Nebraska to Deenethorpe, England.

He writes “I guess spring is here to stay. Everything is so nice and green. All is growing so fast. Some of the shrubbery has white flowers on it. In the evenings when a cool breeze is blowing the refreshing aroma of fresh blossoms is really something out of this world. Yesterday was Easter… It was quite windy and we did have a bit of rain.” Another sign that spring has come to Deenethorpe is that they set their “clock an hour ahead. We now go by the British Double Summer time.”

He shares the experiences of his first Sergeant who just got back from Paris and showed him some photos. “He said it was really nice over there. The weather was perfect. …he said he had plenty of champagne and wine. If we stay here a while maybe I’ll have a chance to go there on a pass. The pictures he had really came out good. The Eiffel Tower is still standing.”

Before he closes his short letter, Stanley turns to the latest war news. “The news on the radio seems to be improving each day. If it keeps up like that it won’t be long before we all will be home for good.”

On the seventh he writes a letter that is a little longer. He is taking the opportunity to relax in the barracks “after getting everything else done.” He writes that he was “busy all day long” and that “sometimes you get so sick of the work that you feel like taking everything and throwing it into the fire. I had so much work I didn’t know whether I was coming or going. I’m trying to write as often as I can and if you don’t hear form me too often you’ll know that I was too busy to write. Every chance I get I’ll try to write.”

Apparently in one of his recent letters, Dad had mentioned to Stanley that he was having a problem with one of the payroll clerks in McCook. Stanley offers some expert advice. “He could have redlined you on the payroll for Feb/45 and could have paid you on a voucher and it would have cleared you up. I have the same trouble sometimes when you go through hundreds of pay cards fast in order to finish the payroll on time you can easily slip up on something.”  

He writes of some of the routine things that happen on base, like that it was his turn to clean the barracks and he “won’t have to clean it again for about twelve days.” Outside of the base, “the farmer over here plowed the fields and planted seeds. After having a little rain for a few days the seed sprouted and the plants are about two inches high.”

He also ruminates, “I’m getting to the point where I need a haircut but don’t have the time to get one. When I am ready the fellow who cuts hair in our squadron goes on pass in the evenings and I’m stuck again for a haircut. Pretty soon I’m going to look like Paderewski with the long hair.”

Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941) Pianist, Composer and Statesman

He closes, “Well, it is almost eleven in the evening, British Double Summer Time and I’m getting sleepy so I’ll close for now. God bless you, brother.”  

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