June 25 1939

As the Ewings were preparing for the summer trip to New York, Cynthia got a letter from Bobby Sheedy, the younger of the brothers next door she’d grown up with, so different in tone from his letter of 3 years before, that it is hard to believe it is from the same person.  Now in the British forces, Bobby’s letter suggests that there was discussion amongst the family and friends in Newcastle (and probably New York and St Vincent too) about Carol and Cynthia staying in America because of the approaching war.  


Sign J.R S.

4th A.A. Brig. H.Q. Signals,

No. 5 Company,

3rd Holding Batt.,

R. Signals,



Dear Cyn,

As you know you hinted about leaving England when I was home on leave, but somehow I didn’t take it in. I hear from Mother that there is a possibility of your leaving in the near future.

You know what I think about that: it’s unnecessary for me to say it in words. However, the decision rests with you. I should hate to advise you to take any course of action which afterwards you might regret.

The main purpose of this letter is to find out if you’re going, and if so when.

If you have decided to go I must see you before you leave. Once you get out there, it’s unlikely that you will ever return. Somehow I didn’t think of it seriously when you told me in the car on my last night’s leave. I suppose I was too busy thinking of myself.

Please let me know the position as soon as poss,

Yours in haste



P. S. In the event of your not going I shall wait until my next leave.

P. P. S. I’m still at Staithes, the one-eyed fishing joint 15 miles S of Saltram. People hospitable, place dead and alive.

Only the second postscript, added on the top of the first page, sounds like Bobby! I don’t know what Cyn replied to Bobby, but I do know that her father had booked a return trip for the three women going, and that nowhere in the entire Travel Diary is there a hint that it is anything but a fun and exciting holiday to her.  Nor is there, however, much introspection or mention of feelings- much more a daily record of events, with evenings of ‘talk’ mentioned but not described.  I’m sure the relatives in New York tried to persuade them to stay where it was safe, and indeed, the younger cousin Peggy did, leaving her berth back on the Queen Mary empty.  Her home was in St Vincent, and I assume she returned to her father in the West Indies with the aunts who had come from there for the New York reunion. But Cynthia and Carol returned to England to do their bit, and Bobby would see Cyn again when he was on leave.

The Sheedy brothers in less serious times.

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