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John McKay

Books by this Author
- My Dear Alice

- My Dear Alice

War Letters 1937-1950
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Berta (Atherton) Williams to Edith Atherton Envelope sealed with tape printed: “OPENED BY EXAMINER 9652”

Addressed to: Mrs. J. P. Atherton Room 30 St. Regis Hotel Amherst Nova Scotia Canada

13 Carpenter’s Lane West Kirby May 9th [1943]1

My very dear Edith, We were so sorry to hear from your Alice’s letter to Helen that you have had such a poor winter, and are still ailing. You are too far away dear for me to send you anything but my sympathy which is very real & deep.You did not say very much about yourself in the last letter I had from you which was written on Jan 24th, so I did not realise how poorly you have been. We have had a wonderfully mild winter here which has helped us over our coal shortage but all our Canadian letters tell us of the hard times you have suffered in the way of inclement weather. I hope you received my reply to your letter, since then we have heard of the arrival of Robert & Ruby’s son, & that he is called Robert Curwen. This pleased Auntie Janie 2 very much as you can imagine. She is really wonderful bless her, she was 913 last month, & she can see better & hear better, & walk better than I can. 1943 March 2: Germans begin withdrawal from Tunisia; Mar 28: 8th Army breaks through Mareth Line in Tunisia. Mar. 16-20: ‘Climax’ of the four- year Battle of the Atlantic - 27 Allied merchant ships lost; albeit U-boat threats remained until Dönitz suspends their activities in the Atlantic on May 22nd.

Apr. 19: Waffen SS attack Jewish resistance in Warsaw Ghetto; resistance finally ends on May 16. May 13: Last Axis troops in North Africa surrender. May 16-17: British air raids on industrialized Ruhr Valley. June 11: Himmler orders the liquidation of all Jewish ghettos in Poland.

She and Dora as you know are still in Penmaenmawr 4 where they evacuated themselves after 7 Wellington Rd was blitzed. They will return to No. 7 as soon as all the bombing is over, & they are already making arrangements to have it made habitable. The law does not allow anyone to spend more than £100 on repairs so they can only have the ground floor done, so they are making that into a Flat - & will have just 1 sitting room & 1 bedroom, kitchen, back kitchen & cloakroom for daily use until the war is over, & they are able to deal with the upper part of the house, but that may be difficult as there will be such a tremendous demand for materials & labour then to repair the great destruction caused by bombs all over the country. I am so thankful that we got comfortably settled into this Flat at a time when there were no restrictions, & we were able to make all the alterations that we required. It is small ,3 bedrooms, a sitting room, a kitchen, & bathroom & W.C.5 separate, but it is very pleasant with plenty ofsunshine & a lovely view & we have friends below us & all round us. Sep. is retiring at the end of this year, so our income will then be considerably reduced, but we shall have enough to live simply without any financial anxiety in spite of such very heavy rates& taxes which take considerably more than half our income - the income tax alone takes 50 per cent, & on top of that there are all the other rates & taxes, but what does it matter if the world is freed from brutal tyranny?

My dear Alice The news of the capture by the allies of Tunis & Briyerta & thecomplete rout of the Germans* has reached us, and we are full of rejoicing & thankfulness.

What a victory!

Sep. & Helen & I are going to Ambleside for a fortnight at the end of this month, & how we shall enjoy it with this good news to gladden our hearts! I was most interested in your news of the children, & of your domestic arrangements. I am quite sure dear that wherever you are you will make it home, although it may only be one room. I suppose you will go to the cottage in the summer, & hope you will have good weather.

Give my love to Alice, Beth, Joyce & Robert, & Charlie when you write to him. I have no time to correspond with all of them, so please let them have any news that you think may interest them. We are all very busy in different ways but we all keep well, & are very happy in our family life - children & grandchildren all very united & doing well. Blessings on you & yours dear & much love from us all, especially from Berta. 1943 July

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