Happy Birthday, Tim – letter from Jalapahar, 29th August 1947

My father, Roger Lines, was posted to India for his National Service. I don’t know how much, if at all, he managed to return home during this time, but he did write several letters, some of which I have. This one is to his youngest brother, Tim to wish him a Happy Birthday.

29th August

14778046 SIGMN. LINES



Dear Tim,

This will probably be a bit early, but better early than late, and it will be the last opportunity for writing till I get back from the trek on the evening of the 6th September. Anyhow before I forget what this letter is about – Happy Birthday ! I suppose you will be going into long trousers soon and then I shan’t recognise you. Have you started growing yet ? or have you decided that chess and the county cricket championship are more important activities. After laboriously working it out on my fingers I see you will have attained the great age of fifteen, only another year and you’ll be able to get married ! if you want to.

As for a birthday present I seem to have got so much out of touch with you that I don’t know what your tastes are, so I shall just have to see if I can pick up something suitable to what I was like at 15. If I can remember that far back.

 I suppose that now you are the only one left at home you are having to do all the chicken feeding, washing up, carrying coal (when there is any) which normally would have been done by one of us, Hard cheese !

I hear that you are all traipsing off to Poole this year, I hope you have a good time and are not too seasick in Jeremy’s sailing dinghy. I suppose you also have a go at making dams and river systems in the traditional Lines spirit, as has been done in the past, and doubtless will be done in the future.

Have you got any plans for the future ? The best thing is to stay on at school as long as you can do as you won’t be able to get such a good start anywhere else; however I am sermonising which is useless on one’s birthday.

So in spite of the ration cuts, eat drink and be merry for tomorrow who knows ? You will also have the doubtful pleasure of seeing my face some time before Xmas so till then I will just say All the Best

from Roger

p.s. I include some snaps.



  1. And how right he was about river systems and dams being made in the future – we were certainly doing that in Devon in the 70s!

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