Topic: Transcript of a WWII letter by Neil Hume 1945

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Acknowledgement Roly Hume. Transcript of a WWII letter by Lance Corporal Neil Hume (1907-1991?) written October 31 1945.

31-10-45  

     Dear Keith,

                         Your letters of 16th and 20th October reached me today. Thanks for all the very useful.  Information it should certainly tie up the original position. The day after I returned from Crete I wrote to the Cairo Graves Unit which is where the Australian unit has its headquarters. On checking up I discovered that the letter had never reached them, which is not altogether surprising to one who had had something to do with the Tommie’s mail. However, perhaps it is just as well, as tonight I have written again including all your latest information which should give them something very definite to work on. I posted you [seamail] the cutting [NZEF Times] of Freyberg’s speech at the Memorial service in Crete. In it he mentioned that our dead lay out on the hills unburied for some weeks. The story I had from the Graves Unit representative at Suda Bay was that the Cretans were forbidden by the Germans to touch the bodies. What happened was that the Cretans slipped out by night and buried many. Unfortunately they usually took everything off the body [including tags] thus at a later date it was most difficult to say that a disc came off any certain body. Also it was very obvious to me that the hill soil of Crete was mostly clay and stones, and it seems likely that the easier burial places would be in the valleys. When I mentioned Maleme and the gun position to this representative he at once said that the Germans had moved many of the bodies from that area. He also added that after  four wet winters in a clay soil very little of the ------? now remains and of course, personal effects, nil.

 When I was in touch with the Cairo Graves Unit this morning I was told that they had received advice from Crete of about one hundred identifications [NZ] and that Jock’s was not amongst these. It appears to me that we have done about all we can in the matter. The only hope now is that one of the Cretans can remember the incident of Jock’s death and the final disposal of the body.    The representative assured me that quite a number of identifications had come about in that way. In fact they were practically wholly dependent on -------? records hunted out from any villager living close to any fighting area. However I will keep you posted of any further developments.

  Thanks for your offer of the money I have not bothered getting any of my quota for this financial year, and as yet your 50 pounds is untouched although nearly all of it is in my paybook now. I am considering another Syrian trip in late December if nothing eventuates about going home. The ninths are with us for a while yet. I am having a great time in this job and my sole interests are Rugby, Hockey, Tennis and Soccer etc. I put the minutes round the camp of the Executive meetings and each Friday do the Sports Bulletin which goes out with R/O’s. About every second morning I visit Cairo and

The Sports Officer in “G” branch gives mean entirely free hand, in fact he is not particularly interested in sport. So I am able to walk out when I like and just make my own arrangements which is pretty good for the Army. I will be at the Alamein service for 10/11 Nov. and will have two nights in Alex.  I travel round [as Hockey secretary] with the NZ Maadi hockey team and it is putting up a great record at present. Unfortunately about half the team is comprised of players from Transit Depot.

We are invited to play the National Sporting Club on their opening day 13th Nov. They were Egypt’s champions for last season. Also two matches are arranged for Alex. 17/18 Nov., games against the Police Academy, Cairo.   

 From 467013

Cpl. N.H. Hume

 2 NZEF

 MEF.

 

 

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