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Diary and Ephemera Transcripts

Article about: Hello everyone. A few weeks ago i put a thread up about a lot of ephemera i bought. They are all to the same soldier Iain Grant of the RASC and later the RIASC. I am currently transcribing t

  1. #1

    Default Diary and Ephemera Transcripts

    Hello everyone.

    A few weeks ago i put a thread up about a lot of ephemera i bought. They are all to the same soldier Iain Grant of the RASC and later the RIASC. I am currently transcribing the air mail letters whilst James works on the diaries so he will probably put some items up aswell as he gets them done. Its very interesting to see the differences in what he sends home to his parents but then seeing what he's wrote in his diary about the same events. He joined the TA in 1939 and then joined the RASC. Here are the first two letters dated 1941. Nothing overly exciting but starts this chaps journey oversees.

    - - Updated - -

    41.

    Dear Dad and Mother.

    As I am now aboard ship but have not sailed, yet I am taking this opportunity of dropping you a line to tell you I am safe and sound after the London Air Raid and on board a very comfortable liner which is quite (censor) and belongs to an (censor). Beyond this of course I cannot go. The cabin I am sharing with three other is small but comfortable, my companions are:- The Liverpool doctor, an Australian who took a commission in this country, and an ex regular ranker and very good fellows they seem to be too. Food aboard is excellent, rationing does not exist and cigarettes, chocolate and drinks are plentiful in fact were it for the length of the voyage and the time I shall be away, I would be looking forward to it all. Unfortunately the flask which the Lancasters gave me leaks, and I woke up on the train to find my rear quarter baptised in whisky, which is a shocking waste of good spirits. Afraid there is little further news I can tell you except that I am fit and hope to write again in say four to five weeks time, so till then, cheerio and look after yourselves,

    You affectionate son,

    Iain.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Diary and Ephemera Transcripts

    13.8.41

    Dear Mother & Dad,

    As we are now nearing a port in West Africa I am taking this chance of dropping you a line, you will understand that although news is quite plentiful, I cannot say all I would like. However, this I can say, we are being well looked after in every way and the climatic variations have been almost extreme. I am not the censor of my own letters and at least until the British Censor get hold of it I am no more or less honour bound not to divulge news which might be useful to Jerry and certainly would to you. It is simply annoying how soon it becomes dark, there s not twilight, you watch the sun sink below the horizon and ten minutes after its dark. At blackout time, which is rigorously enforced even to smoking on deck, a piper goes round the deck to warn everybody. We have have several operations since we started, an appendix and a broken wrist were two of them, both being successful. The medical facilities seem to be excellent. Owing to the limited deck space available the sports are limited to the evenings and consist of deck tennis and quoits so for exercise we have P.T at 6.45 each morning. Lectures fill in quite a large proportion of the day, we have Urdu classes for one and then of course we have on board quite a number of interesting people who have served out East or in India and they do their best to give us an insight into the country we are visiting, telling us of their culture, sports, service conditions and many other things about the country. My companions in my cabin who I mentioned previously as being; Dunsby an IMS man from Liverpool, John Penby a young lad from Australia and Bull a time serving soldier from the ranks are all good fellows, the last however is rather inclined to lay down the law on every occasion and in consequence is rather quarrelsome so at time he rather tries our temper, however the remainder of us have decided that as we have to live together we might aswell placate him as much as possible within reason, owing to lack of manners however he can be unbearably rude. There seem to be a lot to be said for the public school type. I shall not cable you from South Africa as both mail and cable are purposely delayed for obvious reasons, thus letters often arrive before cables in cases like mine. However I will let you know when I arrive although as yet none of have any idea where we are going. There seems to be the chance that I may see Billy. If possible I will send you a food parcel of some of the luxuries that cannot be obtained at home. I hope you are all fit at home and things are going well. Please remember me to my friends and the folks upstairs. Am looking forward to getting your letter about southport and how the canteen is going. Please send me a picture post and world readers digest also men only from time to time if you can. Well must close now as this letter has to be franked and ready before we sight land.

    Your affectionate son

    Iain.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Diary and Ephemera Transcripts

    Some pieces of the ephemera. I especially like the Elementary Urdu test book.
    On the reverse of the picture of him in full uniform reads:

    1939. Iain C.S Grant.
    Joined local TA unit 1938/1939
    His dentist was colonel of the unit. Colonel Munro 55th West Lancs Div T.A.
    Badge on arm was a red Lancaster rose
    In the early days uniforms is short supply so for some time after the war began, being outsized, i wore a first world war style uniform. - being


    I'm probably being over sentimental, but i find it sad that Iain obviously wrote this information down so someone, possibly a family member, could remember his history and information about him and now its just been sold on.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Diary and Ephemera Transcripts

    I love this stuff too! It evokes so many emotions. Thanks for posting!

    In a different vein I always remember a letter my wife has from her Mum writing about the time she was sent back to Britain by her father who owned a tea plantaion in ceylon during the war when the Japanese were closing in. She remembered having to don her life jacket on the ship she was sailing to Liverpool in as a U Boat was stalking them

    Nick
    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

  5. #5

    Default Re: Diary and Ephemera Transcripts

    Quote by Woolgar View Post
    I love this stuff too! It evokes so many emotions. Thanks for posting!

    In a different vein I always remember a letter my wife has from her Mum writing about the time she was sent back to Britain by her father who owned a tea plantaion in ceylon during the war when the Japanese were closing in. She remembered having to don her life jacket on the ship she was sailing to Liverpool in as a U Boat was stalking them

    Nick
    That's interesting! In one of these diaries it discusses when he was in India he had to go to a tea plantation and help get refugees from Burma out. There is so much content in these. If he'd been caught with some of the things he's saying and the detail given i imagine he'd have got in a lot of trouble.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Diary and Ephemera Transcripts

    F Trg Coy MTS
    RIASC
    Delhi Court
    8th Nov 1941

    Dear Mother & Dad.

    So far I have received only one letter from you both written on the 18th Aug, how about some mail. I have had quite a few letters from Britain from various other people, the last being from Joan Yates and Mary Lancaster, both being posted about 27th Aug. By the way I have taken out an insurance policy with the prudential, by it I get £1000 at the age of 50 years or in the event of me kicking the bucket, you do. Which brings me to another point, having little in the way or worldly goods, I have never made a will or mentioned how I should like my possessions disposed of. But in the event of my death, I would like you to keep all that you like and dispose of the remainder amongst my friends. As far as money is concerned, this, with the insurance should be a reasonable amount. So I should like the interest on the capital to be used so that poor lads up round nethy way, can get the chance of a better schooling, or possibly give them a sufficient amount to send them to the colonies to obtain jobs. This all may sound a bit daft at first but I feel very strongly about our colonies having such small populations; so if the better off wont go, I would like in my own way to give them a trading or trade so they can go out and do their part in our empire. It goes without saying that should you want the use of the capital during your lifetime, use it by all means. As yet I have not had much chance to save, the initial outlay in this country is fairly heavy and one in nowhere so well off as it seems on paper, however I hope in time to be able to save a little each month. Since last writing I have the opportunity of seeing some of India. I have been on a convoy to a place called Fatehpur Sikri and then onto Agra, these places are ruins of the Mogal Emperors and it gave me a fine chance to tryout my camera. The first attempt was not very successful they were all either badly exposed or out of focus, now however I am becoming skillfull. To get to Fatehpur Sikri which Is about 130 miles from here one has to travel over the dusty roads and the last part was cross-country. The dust is terrific it comes up in clouds and is worse than Manchester Fog, it gets in your hair, mouth, eyes and even into the back of vehicles so that the seats even have layers of the stuff on them. The roads too are not always metaled by a long way, so one has to go canny so as to not get into pot holes. Fatehpur Sikri was a fine spot, it was built by Akbar the great for his capital in the 16th century, it was completed in 6 years and only occupied for 16 years. The buildings are of sandstone and for the most part have beautifully carved walls and pillars, one can still see holes from which vandals have picked jewels out of the walls and traces of beautifully painted ceiling in gold, blue and other colours can still be seen. I went over the mosque, the holy man’s tomb in the white marble (he was Akbars prophet), the victory gate said to be the highest in India, as well as many other places of interest. By the way, I have heard from Jack, he is spending a months leave with Bill Priestly who wrote to thank me for sending Aunt Bea’s mail. Derek has left Jack and gone up to the frontier. Sidney may be abroad, Jack does not know but from information I have received I think his unit has left the country. Dick Grants mail presents some difficulty; I found his name in the Indian Army List as 2/lt but it did not give his address. A big ordnance depot I visited could not aid much either, still there is bound to be more records office somewhere and I will keep on trying.

    Love to all
    Your affectionate son
    Iain.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Diary and Ephemera Transcripts

    What i find very interesting about this last letter is him talking about giving money to a charity in the event of his death. Iain was scottish then moved to southport, and after doing a bit of research there is a Iain Grant trust fund in southport that gives money to youngsters who want to work abroad or to support them with funding for education. I am trying to get in touch with them to find out if this is the same Iain Grant whose diary this is.

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