March 12th 1946 – Wedding Day!


Angela and her father outside the church in Stokenchurch

Angela and her father outside the church in Stokenchurch

Bill Robinson and I are staying at Hambledon preparing for a wedding, my own, at which he is best man. We spend the morning polishing Sam Brownes and swords. Old Hume sends two table napkin rings. John and Betts (JDW: Angela’s elder brother and his wife) give a sort of party in our honour on Saturday with some very good rum punch, where I meet Mike Chates, O.H.

A. and I have a puncture on the way and I have to change the wheel. I cause a sensation by walking home from High Wycombe yesterday, and spend the afternoon writing letters. Last night Tony, John, Bill and I finish the last of the rum punch and some cocktail sitting in the dining room on hard chairs before an electric fire, and hold forth on life, and soldiering, in general.

From March 18th entry:

I get married by the ex-Bishop of Singapore, and everything goes O.K., except that I sit on my hat and try to put the ring on the wrong finger. Bill and I discover that we can’t raise the necessary, after the Verger has presented the bill, but fortunately J.J. is at hand and passes £10 over the pews.

At the reception I stand on my sword and shake a lot of hands and try and pop down a lot of drinks as well. One old buffer says “Nice to see an officer properly dressed again – with a sword.” I produce my speech, already prepared, which seems to go O.K., and we later depart in the Morris 8 for the Woolpack Inn, Elstead, Surrey.

At the wedding I remember Aunts Babs and Vivy, J.J., Peggy, Gigs, Wendy, Mike Jacobs and Freddie, Mike Lowry, “Stew” and Anderson from Roland Gardens, and Mrs Steele Smith. Mike presents me with a cheque for £15! (JDW: c. £450 in today’s money). Also Ronald Deakin and Cecil Williams, who carries out one of the bridesmaids, Mary Haines, the other being her sister Vera. I am reduced to tears in the Vestry, and forget to kiss A.

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March 9th 1946


I come up to town and find that I am out of the RAF on March 1st. A chap called Cam gives me 14 days leave at the India Office, but later increases it to 21 days, as the wedding is on 12th March and there is a draft sailing on the 15th. I sell my blue uniform to Moss Bros for £2 and my raincoat for 30/- and put on my old Sandhurst superfine barathea (JDW: a type of super soft material), enlarged somewhat, and not so well at the back, by “Flights”. I go out to christen it, and meet Ronald Deakin, a Major R.A., and we have quite a session at various bars, including the Brevet Club where he becomes a member. He later takes me home to his flat where I have a couple more scotches, and suddenly realise I have had it and go out and am sick, fortunately in the right spot. He then drives me home to Nuffield House.

Next day I come home straight to Stockenchurch, and Ma arrives a couple of days ago, and it’s damned cold and she is definitely off her best form. Yesterday I high-tail it to Moss Bros and hire a sword and meet Bernard Fergusson and Brigadier Sanders-Jacobs there. I appears that I have to make a speech, which will be difficult as I shall be overpowered by the other side – few DW supporters being present. It all doesn’t seem quite right, and yet it does!

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March 2nd 1946


I spend a couple of days in town with A. and then come down to St Ives. We go to Cinderella and see her friend Peggy Murdoch in her dressing rooms where the fairy godma displays a lot of brown powdered flesh. Next day we go down to Kew Gardens, where I have a sudden longing for the Wynnaard near the Nilgiris, and then have drinks with Cecil and Vera Williams and their Ma at the Normandie, and later dinner at the Bristol Grill, where I dance around with A. with a little more zest than the last time in the Tregenna. Perhaps it was the music.

St Ives: An O.H. (JDW: Old Harrovian) at the local box factory is going to fix up my trunks in crates, and then I have to pray that the weight is under 4 cwt or I shall have to reshuffle everything again. We meet Bunny Stone in the Sloop and are to go drinking with him tonight. Ma unpacks all sorts of silver and gives us a little! I get to thinking of India last night, and God knows what I shall do. Start off again as a Coy (company) officer knowing nothing?

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February 25th 1946


I arrive for another weekend at Stockenchurch after an evening’s drinking with Tony Keable-Elliott down in the London Bridge area where the scotch is ¼ a shot. I go riding with A. but don’t seem able to grip with any great strength. We ride through some woods and I have to take up a couple of fence posts to get through into various fields. We have lunch in Henley with her grandmother, known as “Wuffy”, who is a bit deaf, so I leave the talking to A., putting in a few topical asides myself in a voice that she does not hear.

The odd cheque rolls in, and today we go to Oxford where I find a suitable zircon ring – £35 – which A. seems to like.

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February 22nd 1946


I spend the weekend at Stockenchurch, helping organise the wedding at 14.30 hrs on March 12th. A. has flu and toothache but goes back to work Monday morning, driven by me. I also meet Tony, and lots of old hags, and get a lift up to the Wings Club with some M.A.R. type on Tuesday. I meet Burt Mann and Bill Robinson and we have a minor party with his current girlfriend Daphne Lyall Grant.

Today I go to the Air Ministry and find my case is still pending, so I rush it through a couple of departments with some WAAF officer, and a civil servant then telephones the India Office and I shall go and see them tomorrow. I get two fivers from the Sproats and two guineas from Susan Fraser, who can ill afford it. My kit will be limited to 4 cwt, which it probably exceeds, and I shall have to try and get a couple of boxes crated. I want to go down to St Ives in the meantime, and Ma wants to come up, so God knows what will happen.

I get pulled up in Piccadilly by a F/Lt Provost, who stops his car, gets out, and says “Excuse me, do you mind taking your hand out of your pocket when you walk down the street.” I have one in my raincoat pocket! I meet Clapham, a Lt Colonel, in the street, who commiserates me on my future rank!

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February 18th 1946


I take A. over to Penzance on Friday to try and get her an engagement ring, but the shops are shut, and we come home, and Ma produces a bottle of champagne and a signet ring left me by Lady F.B., which A. likes and wears in lieu of the proper thing. We go to Tregenna on Saturday but I’m not in a dancing mood, and she eventually leaves on Sunday, laden down with gold chains and presents, like a savage. I do some heavy reorganisation of my kit, and today go to Redruth to get photographed. Tomorrow I go up to town and hope to stay at the Wings Club. A and I climb up to the top of the hill behind Tregenna and have a kiss or two at the base of some granite monument there.

I well remember her standing by the mantlepiece in “Cat View” saying that if I don’t want her she will go back to the Unit and try and forget etc.

I purposely get into some compartment on the St Ives train today, where there is no blonde! A letter from A’s father, saying he has fixed up with me to see A.V.M. Sir Alan Lees at the Air Ministry with regard to my application to transfer to the RAF, my previous one having apparently been lost and not turned down as I had thought. I don’t know – India is going to be grim now, both politically and professionally, for me. I arrange to continue Ma’s £100 p.a. on condition that she leaves me her £3 a week, and can only hope it won’t be too difficult. Or that she… I can’t write it!!!

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February 10th 1946


I take Angela down to St Ives, where Ma has arranged for her a small flat near the Quarterdeck. Ma seems to get on with her extremely well with her as day succeeds day. I get a bad attack of stage funk on the train, and retire to bed the first night in a state of extreme gloom, which is however dispelled in the morning when I go and collect A. for breakfast. I still do not feel somehow as I imagined that I should feel, but I seem to have been caught out in a somewhat similar fashion before.

The Air Ministry gave me another week’s leave, and another warrant to St Ives, after which I shall presumably report to 1 P.H.U. Innsworth (JDW: 1 Personnel Holding Unit, formed at Innsworth March 1945),. Let there be no more gloom.

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