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Southgate’s Diary, Part 18 – 25th February – 3rd March 1942

25th February 1942

The YMCA, Torquay: My dearest love, I left London yesterday for a holiday in Exeter. I visited a half-cousin who is in the army in Honiton and then returned to Exeter, went to the cinema in the evening and slept in the YMCA. This morning I caught the bus to Crediton to see a friend of my mother and had lunch with her and then took the train to Torquay. Empty town this afternoon. Had tea, cinema and a beer, no, 2 beers and then sandwiches and a very good coffee at the YMCA, where I now write. Will have to finish now as they are closing at 10pm. Off to bed.

26th February 1942

Thursday: Very cold this morning. Got up early and went on an excursion by bus. Beautiful countryside. The county of Devon is splendid. Back at the YMCA had a hot chocolate and a piece of cake, which warmed me up. Later I’ll take the 11:55 train to London. Feeling a bit better this morning, after a reasonably good night. But problems tend to be in the evenings. Luckily the usual routine will resume shortly. The papers this morning have better news on the Russian front. Hopefully we’ll be able to do something active to help them. I am becoming mad by a separation that appears crueler than that endured by a prisoner. He at least has the luxury of writing and receiving news.

A long letter from you would do me the world of good. Around me are RAF Cadets, they have just completed their exercise and are trying to warm up. Torquay is full of them and in summer, it must be nice for them. Dear love, I leave you and will write tomorrow.

Postcard of Babacombe and Torquay, with printed poem: “For You”.

3rd March 1942

Tuesday, 16:45: I am writing a few lines from the office, little lady, taking advantage of the fact there isn’t much to do. The weather is wonderful and mild. For the first time today, I went to London without taking my coat. What a pleasure to not be cold and to see the sun again. A sun we hadn’t seen for a long time. 18:00, a pause in this short note to collect my thoughts – feeling rather vague at the moment on account of me being homesick. Wing Commander Wells is chatting on the phone and I cannot concentrate

Maurice Southgate’s words
Translated by Parade Antiques

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