While Barry is slowly recovering his strength in the big base camp at Chungkai, Phyllis has managed to move out of her parents house. Like so many other relatives, she struggled to write again and again with absolutely nothing coming back. It was, as someone said, like writing to a ghost – which sadly many of them were.
In November 1943 Phyllis wrote:
DEAR DARLING I HAVE NOT WRITTEN FOR SOME TIME, BECAUSE THERE SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN SO MUCH DOUBT ABOUT WHETHER YOU WILL EVER RECEIVE THE LETTERS AND THE MUST BE TYPED [IN CAPITALS] NOW. I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO BORROW THIS TYPEWRITER FOR A SHORT WHILE THIS MORNING. ROBIN AND I MOVED UP HERE AT THE END OF SEPTEMBER AND ARE NOW REALLY GETTING SETTLED IN. I HAVE A VERY NICE SITTING ROOM OF MY OWN. … ROBIN HAS BEEN RATHER SEEDY SINCE WE CAME HERE … BUT IS NOW PICKING UP AGAIN.
HE IS, NEEDLESS TO SAY, A CONTINUAL SOURCE OF DELIGHT TO ME. HE IS DEVELOPING IN SOME WAYS VERY LIKE YOU, AND IS REALLY AN INTELLIGENT COMPANION TO GO ROUND WITH NOW, THOUGH THE CLARITY OF HIS VOICE IS MATCHED BY THE DIRECTNESS OF HIS QUESTIONS AND OFTEN EXERCISES ALL MY TACT AND PATIENCE WHEN IN COMPANY, BECAUSE HE NEVER MISSES A POINT OR ALLOWS ME TO EVADE A DIRECT ANSWER. … HE IS ALWAYS TALKING ABOUT WHEN DADDY COMES HOME. … AND WHEN HE COMES HOME AND WE ALL HAVE A …HOME, AND A LITTLE BABY SISTER (PLEASE I WOULD LIKE A LITTLE BABY SISTER) LIFE WILL BE PERFECT.
HOW AM I? QUITE WELL, VERY BUSY, AND GLAD TO BE SO. TRYING TO POSSESS MY SOUL IN PATIENCE, NOT TO THINK WHAT LIFE MAY BE LIKE FOR YOU NOW, AND TO CONCENTRATE ON DOING ALL I CAN FOR YOU NOW BY WHAT I CAN DO FOR YOUR SON. ALSO TO SAVE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE TOWARDS OUR FUTURE, … TO ONE IDEA I HANG ON FIRMLY, NAMELY THAT YOU WILL NOT BE WASTING YOUR TIME MORE THAN CAN BE HELPED, AND WILL BE LEARNING ALL THAT YOU CAN FIND ANYBODY TO TEACH YOU. ALSO, IF I KNOW ANYTHING OF YOU, YOU WILL BE DOING A LOT OF HELPING OTHER PEOPLE, TOO. SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE SAID TO ME THAT IF ANYBODY COULD ‘TAKE IT’ YOU CERTAINLY COULD. AND THANK GOD I KNOW THEY ARE RIGHT, MY DARLING. NEVER FORGET THAT I LOVE YOU, WILL YOU? EVER YOUR OWN, Phyllis
Sadly, Phyllis has missed notices in the post office saying that correspondence to Far East POWs has been limited by the Japanese to 25 words. Her letter is returned by the censor.
Her next communications look like this.