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Dispatch: 23 January 2017
Au Revoir My Darling: An Intimate War /Haughton, Heat/Hardb/1741109051/S036-E
The war news was bad. The Germans were racing through France and everything looked black à Baby Bronwyn was three days old when the Channel ports fell and Ken came into the ward and said heÆd enlisted. æI just had to do it dear,Æ he said. æI know youÆll understand.Æ
For six long years Eileen and Ken MacFarlane wrote to each other at least once ù sometimes seven ù times a week. In their letters they described their daily lives, but under their amusing descriptions lay a poignant, deep love and a longing to be reunited. A selection of these funny and frequently moving letters is reproduced here.
Eileen in her richly descriptive letters brings alive the Australian home front of the early 1940s. Soon after Ken left to join the 2/7th Australian General Hospital, Eileen, despite having a babe in arms and a toddler at foot and various elderly family members to care for, decided to set up a poultry farm.
Eileen's letters to Ken are rich with descriptions of building the chicken sheds with the help of local people, of recalcitrant chooks, family tantrums and of the deeds of her two delightful precocious daughters.