August 7, 1945

My darling wife and daughter:

Arrived at my home yesterday evening and how much I would’ve liked you and Janice to be here right at this moment too. It is great to be at home again for a while at least; I have been granted a 30 day leave and must be at my next station, which is to be in the state of Texas, by 9 September; continue sending my letters to my home address until I am able to tell you my new address.

And now for the real important things; tell me all about my darling; oh, honey, you’re always so good to me; that last time (that Saturday) that I was coming along the road in the Toowong cemetery, and you came running down the hill to meet me, you looked so nice, of course you know I’m a little bashful, but I should have taken you in my arms and squeeze you so tight; you’re always such a darling to me. Hope that you are in the best of health, that means the both of you. Now tell me everything about our little daughter; has she been a good girl and doesn’t make a lot of trouble for her lovely mama? Can she sit up by herself already? Do you keep yourselves nice and warm in your beds at night; it must still be midwinter over there in Brisbane now. Am expecting those baby snaps in the next few letters from you; hope that your brother had good luck to get the film developed and some prints made. Hello to Bob and Maude, Mr. and Mrs. A. Butcher, the Drew family and your brothers and sisters. Gee, oh gosh, I hope that you can get transportation to the United States soon; I love my Flora and my little Janice so very much, and want them to be with me just as soon as possible.

Now tell me whether your allotment checks are getting to you regularly. The $1800 that I brought with me in post office money orders makes our bank account total to be $5200, that amounts to 1600 pounds in Australian money. Hope the income tax people don’t take too much of it. Now be sure that you get some nice things for yourself and Janice; hope that you have sufficient clothing coupons; if you expect to get transportation before Christmas spend as many and all of your clothing coupons before you leave so that you have some nice things to wear. Better buy a good fall and winter coat because it will be cold when you arrive in the United States; get a nice fur collared coat if you like that kind. I shall tell you about my trip in future letters did you receive my cablegram from San Francisco? It costs $.70 to send a half ounce letter airmail from United States to Brisbane Australia; you should receive these letters very rapidly. Send your letters Airmail too if you want to; I want them to get here just as quickly as possible. Send a cablegram to me. Your loving husband, Bertine.

Lots and lots of kisses for my darlings. I love you I love you.

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July 14, 1945

Letter marked: RETURNED TO USA LEFT NO FORWARDING ADDRESS

My Darling Husband and Janice’s Dear Daddy,

I received your third of July letter yesterday and your sixth of July one today. I’m so glad that you have at last started to get on your way home and hope to hear that there won’t be any more delays for you. Wish we were going along with you. As it is, I think we may be over very soon. In 53 days I have my appointment for the formal visa. I received my passport photos today so we’ll get the necessary signing done next week and get that finished. I hope by the end of coming week I have everything done.

No dear I haven’t been to the dentist yet, but hope to get a chance soon. I really do not have much time. By the time I help in the house, do the cooking and look after Bub the day has pretty well gone. I’ve only been into town twice since you left. I’m afraid movies are a thing of the past for me just now. Janice would never be still she’s on the go all day long and it is only after I get to bed at night that I find a few minutes to do things. My passport photo is frightfully scary looking as if someone had given me a fright but guess it doesn’t matter much what it looks like. I write some letters to APO 72 to your home as I do not know just where to send them. Just they will all turn up eventually.

I get plenty to eat and am really looking much better than I was. No I haven’t seen Mary Wood yet but will try to next week. I’m afraid with a baby you cannot do the things you would like to and must let them slide. I have a letter from Enid she sends her regards, she also is kept pretty busy with her youngsters these days. I am trying to get some of the snaps Bob took to send to you. I hope you get the one I sent.

Well sweetheart are you getting good food now and do you have good things to sleep on. My bed is very cold without you dearest.

Janice is getting on well. Everyone thinks she looks more like five or six months old than 3 months next week. She really is a lovely baby and has loving personality. She doesn’t cry much now but likes to be nursed a lot and I am afraid is more than a little spoiled. She is wonderful company for me and I wouldn’t be without her for the world. Her tooth is not through yet but her little mouth is a bit sore with it coming. She is very forward with her ways and knows and sees everything you do. She gets more like you every day. The only thing like me is her eyes. Her hair is getting thicker on top but she still has the bald spot at the back of her little tuft below it. We have had the westerly winds here today and it has been very cold but fine. I looked outside tonight and the stars are shining bright. Wish you were here with me. I hear Bub moving in her cot and guess she will be awake soon for her feed. She went to sleep at 4 o’clock and it is now 7:20 PM. So I got the tea in peace. The phone is ringing so I guess that will wake her up properly. Cheerio for now our darling. Take good care of yourself for us my darling. Good night bestest.

With all our love Flora and Janice.

July 8, 1945

Somewhere in the Philippines

My Darling Wife and Daughter:

This is Sunday afternoon and I have just completed part of my rotation processing. Will finish this letter then shave and have a shower bath and it will be near the end of the day. Received three letters today; I read the two letters from you over several times and they are just swell. The other letter was the answer to the letter concerning application for transportation for you and Janice to the United States; the application has been received and approved. I have forwarded the information to you in another letter; everything sounded alright. I underlined and checked important things to do; in case you should not get this mentioned letter, the important thing to do is register with the Matson Steamship Company who will inform you when transportation is available; the American consul can give you full information in case you do not receive the paper I sent to you. The important thing is that I will have the written evidence with me that the application for transportation of my dependents has been received and approved.

I am glad to hear that you’re having some of those enjoyments which you well-deserved in Mackay, Townsville, and Cooktown. Words cannot express my feelings that the Butchers are allowing you to stay with them until you leave for the United States. Don’t climb that awful hill any more often than is really necessary; I want my Flora and Janice to be well and feeling fine all the time. I love my darlings very much. Much love and many kisses for my Flora and Janice.

Your husband, Bertine

Be sure that you put the correct postage on the letters that you send to my home in United States.

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Courier Mail Article, June 30, 1945

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Prize-Winners–And All Lost To Australia

Babies and their mothers line up for the judges at the Australian Wives-American Husbands’ Association baby show held in Brisbane yesterday. Mothers and babies are awaiting transportation to the United States.

June 29, 1945

On the way to the Philippines?

My Dear Wife and Daughter:

Received your wire of 28th of June today. Glad to know that you’re all well and fine. It is quite warm today and there is little one can do but wait for a ride now. Will go over to headquarters soon to see if there is some mail for you and me. If there is I’ll forward it on in this letter. I’m planning on getting a haircut this afternoon too. Hope I’m on my way soon because I can’t do any laundry when I’m about to move north anytime now. Didn’t realize it could be this difficult to get transportation from this place. Met a few the fellows we knew at Cooktown. Gosh how one’s whiskers grow here; get a nice shave and shower bath every afternoon.

By the way have those films been developed that your brothers took of us at his place; I’m anxious to see them. How has Janice been behaving? Did she cry during the night and disturb the rest of the house.

Have you been to the hairdressers? Please get yourself some new dresses and clothes; get the best you can buy; I want you to have nice things all the time. All those photographs you have and the lot I have with me will be nice in years to come; don’t let the authorities confiscate them. Really, darling, I’m quite sure that you will be in the states long before the end of 1945. Lets both keep on hoping an awful lot.

Gosh, I miss my darlings. Hello to all the folks for me. Lots of love and kisses for my darling wife and daughter. Will write soon.

Your husband, Bertine

May 27, 1945

C/o A. Butcher
Richer Street
Toowong, Queensland

Dear Folk,

Well you received the good news of Janice Louise’s arrival alright. She certainly is a darling babe and everyone tells me how pretty she is. Bert says she is like your grandfather Whiting. Are you pretty? It is hard to say really who she is actually like at this early stage. I was in hospital 16 days, I had to wait over two days after getting there before she arrived. It was very tiresome and I was glad when she decided it was time to enter this funny old world. Of course she had to wait till the 18th of the month. Things always happen to me on the 18th. I was born on 18 May married on 18 November and Janice Louise came along on 18 April. Wonder if I’ll leave for America on the 18th of some month. I can hear her “ladyship” crying right now so guess I’ll have to leave this and go to her for a while. Well here I am back again, I hope she has settled down for the night. By the way her hair is brown and her eyes seemed to be dark too, but neither of us can say for sure yet. She has lovely fine skin and I try to keep it nice. There are such a lot of skin rashes here it is a hard job to keep complexions nice. Bert says she wiggles her nose like his dad does. Everyone says how advanced she is for her age she already smiles and goos and doesn’t seem a scrap afraid of strangers. She is tiny but well formed and makes quite a pretty picture in the bath. We would like to get her photo taken and shall try to. It is very hard to get anything done under about three months and by that time she will have altered so.

May 31
Well here I am at last getting this letter finished I hope. I never knew that such a small mite of humanity could stop one from doing jobs. We call her the “boss” and she certainly rules us. I took her along to the baby clinic to be weighed today she had gained 8 ounces and is now 9 pounds 11 1/2 ounces at six weeks. The nursing sister there thinks she is doing very well and she certainly looks bonny. Her little face is quite chubby.

The weather here now is quite moderate, though we have had one or two very cold days, and wet ones too.

This used to be a leave center for the boys, but it is been closed now for some months. My word! The trades people are feeling it too, the lads were good spenders – it is estimated that they spent 2,000,000 pounds in the two years the place was a leave center. That is a great deal of money here. The souvenir shops are closed down and going out of business; but they must have made their hay just the same. Flowers – vegetables are plentiful here now and we can get cauliflower occasionally green peas, celery, persimmons, a lot of other good things to eat. Today we had fish and I managed to get a foul for the week and it cost 41 shillings in our money, which would be about two thirds of a dollar of your, it is already prepared for cooking. Would that be dear in your country?

I think Bert needs a thorough rest for a while. A few weeks in the country just doing as he pleases would do him the world of good. He has been kept with his nose too close to the grindstone – that is not good for anyone. One more or less expects it wartime, and I’ll be glad when it is all over and life becomes more simple. It will be much harder moving about with the baby as it has hitherto been I had some pretty rough trips and had to overcome all sorts of difficulties such as sleeping in waiting rooms and spending long hours hunting up travel permits etc. It was fun for me but in the future I will not be able to do that, a babe cannot put up with what you can.

I wish we could send some of the tropical fruits over to you that we get here, but even if they would keep I don’t think the customs would let them through. I think that you would like some of our ferns, shrubs, and flowers to grow. My brothers are all keeping well, but I have not seen any of my family for sometime. My brother in the Navy has been transferred to another ship, and I think has gone to the islands somewhere. The one in the Air Force is at Townsville and the one in the army in Brisbane. My niece is study hard for her final in nursing at the Perth Hospital. My eldest sister has started a catering business and catered for the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester on their trip over there and have been chosen to cater for the big ball they will attend. She is an excellent cook and has a number of silver cups to her credit. She lost her only son a couple of years ago – this will keep her from fretting too much. I regret Bert has not been to the West Coast, for he really has missed some of the most glorious scenes one could ever see any I did not say this because I belong there, but it has flowers and other interests that are seen only there.

Tomorrow we collect our new ration books. I hope that will be the last we will have to collect. Lots of things we’ve not seen for five years are coming back into the shop. The other day we bought an enamel saucepan made in Ohio America, and today I bought some dates. I see cutlery is beginning to appear, but the quality is very poor and the price very high.

Many thanks for the parcel you’re sending Janice Louise and please thank both other people who have included a gift for her. I hope to see them someday and personally thank them for the good wishes and gifts.

Well it is getting late – I am becoming sleepy so will say cheerio for now.

Love and best wishes from Bert, Flora, and Janice.

Note: My first daughter (Janice’s first granddaughter) was born on the 18th. :)

Telegram April 21, 1945

10 months later….

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June 12, 1944

Forwarded to Guest House, Cooktown, Queensland

My Darling Flora Jean:

Received your telegram yesterday afternoon. I sent you another telegram Saturday; I have that signed affidavit & statement needed for our immigration visa that you asked for about six weeks ago. Now that you’re leaving I really don’t know just where I should mail it to so that you can get it to the American consul; since the Consul people advised that it will be best that we complete our immigration visa in Brisbane I would like to send it there if I only know where you would be stopping at. I have no records of the address of the Butcher’s and I don’t know if you would be staying there or not. I want you to leave our excess baggage and wooden box in Brisbane and bring the things you need most up here where I am. I firmly believe that you will leave from Brisbane when you leave for the United States. Hope that you enjoy your plane ride; it is a long tiresome ride by railroad, by air I believe about four hours from Melbourne to Brisbane with a stop at Sydney. This will give you a chance to see Australia from the air.

Received your letter of the 30th and 31st of May last Friday; Gee, I love the things you write about in your letters. I received the preserved fruits the day before and they were swell; my darling knows the things I like. Haven’t seen any chocolate since I left Brisbane.

I’m anxious to see our wedding photos since they have been framed and cellophaned. I’ve taken some of those vitamin tablets that you got for me. I have a lot of Gillette blades at the present time. I hope that cake you baked for me arrives tomorrow; haven’t had any mail now for a few days so should come soon now. I have my gasoline lantern lighted already as it looks like our electric supply may go off any minute now; that way I still have a good light if the electric lights to go off.

You stated Enid and Norm may get a plot of land and go in for poultry and fruit trees; see dear, just as I suggested we do, a chicken farm. I too, Flora darling, shall be glad when these goodbyes will be over and we can be together, you and I, and maybe there’ll be three of us or maybe four!!!! Oh my darling you are so wonderful, so beautiful, so swell. I’m a very lucky man. Gee, time goes by rapidly; nearly 7 months since we were married.

I hope that you can get the books that I asked for; and a walkabout too. I must get to bed early tonight as I must be up early tomorrow; I’m in my sleeping hut right now and I’m getting awfully sleepy so I shall say good night my loved one. Hope to hear from you very soon.

Your Bertine.

April 30, 1944

My darling wife:

Oh gee, oh gosh, are you making me a happy little man. Lots of letters and the telegram from you today; also received the role of newspapers and magazines. To date, your letters and telegrams are dated: 7, i, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and your last telegram was sent on 28 April. I am now assuming that you’re about to leave Brisbane for Melbourne so I shall use the address 94 Caroline St., South Yarra, Victoria from now henceforth. I’m quite sure in this way you shall receive your mail definitely.

I’m feeling extra fine and the weather here has been exceptionally good of late. I eat in Australian mess hall at present and the food is excellent plus. Have been down to the ocean beach twice since I’ve been here and the swim was fine; wish you could have been there too, you would have enjoyed it immensely because I know you just love the seaside. The nights here have been quite cool and I sleep well, only I miss you so very much. Now, darling, tell me about yourself, please. Don’t, you do one little bit of worrying about me because I am in the best of health and feeling excellent. Have had a few coconuts to eat, and I just love the juice from ripe limes in my hot tea. Sorry to say but my garden things haven’t been put in yet, I’m preparing the ground at the present time. Tomorrow I shall have been here just three weeks, and they have been three busy weeks however I have enjoyed them. Now, before I forget, thanks for getting those Gillette razor blades for me, they are just the right kind I am using. I hope that you hear about that written letter from my headquarters in the near future. I asked him about this letter for you. I think everything is going to turn out alright, as it always has. Gee, darling, I just love every little thing you write in your letters. I’m glad that Miss Woods was able to get a nice traveling case for you; she has done quite a lot for us. To be sure, it was great to hear about the immigration visa; everything is going to be all right now. Seems as though I get to write about every second day lately, now don’t scold me dear because I do try to write more often. Those kisses mean an awful lot to me; Gee I’m a lucky fellow to have such a sweet little wife its good night for now my darling Flora Jean..

Your husband, Bertine.

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