Grandad’s WWII Diary – Letter home

Although I am fortunate enough to have my Grandfather’s war diaries and photos, to the best of my knowledge the only surviving letter is this one.

The date on the envelope is hard to read, but its 1941.  At this stage, he’d not long arrived in Egypt and went on leave to Cairo based on his diary entry for early July 1941.

IMG_1003The letter is addressed to his girlfriend –

Miss M. Wootton
45 Withells Road
Upper Riccarton
New Zealand

After the war, he returned and married Marg (Lucy Margaret Wootton) – she was my grandmother.

Withells Road at the time was very rural.  Interesting that he’s put Upper Riccarton as now the road is very definitely in the suburb of Avonhead.

IMG_1004 The itself letter reads –

16803 Pt S Sillars
A Coy 23rd Rifle Batt.
2.N.Z.E.F  M.E.F

Wednesday July 2.

My Dearest Marg,  
I am not putting much in with stockings as I am afraid that they with be very near the weight.  Hope you are keeping well sweetheart and please do not worry.  Posted you a letter on Monday will write again during weekend.  Putting one stocking in each letter as I do hope you receive both envelopes.  Cannot understand why you have not received my letters as I have written at least once a week. Lots of love for always
Stuart XXXXX



In case anyone cares, I also have the stockings, a number of pairs in fact, which don’t appear to have been worn.  I know they were prized possessions so likely “too good” to wear…

Anyway, out of interest, a few days ago, we decided to go for a walk past 45 Withells Rd.  Its only about 15-20 minutes walk from home.

The original house that my grandmother lived in is no doubt long gone and the section at 45 Withells Road now contains multiple dwellings.

Likely the big tree at the end of this driveway, on a back section, was there in my Grandmother’s day.

Its huge and I think it might be an Oak.  The driveway curves around the tree.  I checked the notable tree register and it is not listed but its impressive anyway, as are a number of trees in the area which likely date back to the 1800s and early 1900s.

IMG_0972In the second photo, which is also considered part of 45 Withells Road, you can see the same tree from the first photo, it’s the one in the centre of the photo at the rear of this house.  There appeared to be at least two houses on this section.

These homes likely date from the 1960s when Avonhead was starting to develop as a proper suburb in its own right.



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