Wee Efforts

May 31, 1955

Dear Dad & Russ,

I’m afraid that this wee effort is going to be about the shortest wee effort yet. The dip bag closes in about 2 seconds flat and I just wanted to get a little note off to you folks to let you know that I’m safely back in Phnom Penh.

Next week’s dip bag, however, I promise you’ll be in for a real treat. All this week I shall be writing a small “book” on my Hong Kong adventure. I returned to Phnom Penh yesterday morning and just honestly haven’t had a minute to myself since then what with work to get caught up and end-of-the-month accounts etc., to look after.

I’ll just say this much about Hong Kong. It was absolutely the most wonderful week I’ve ever spent in my whole life!!! Right at this moment I’ve never felt better in all my life. I gained 8 pounds in my one week in Hong Kong and got a terrific sun-tan. Oh, just wait till you hear about all the wonderful things I did last week. I’m going to make carbon copies of my “book” and send it to various people.

Tomorrow is the first of June. Just three months more to go and I’ll be back home again to tell you all about my travels. I’m sure I shan’t shut up for about three months after arrival in Canada, I’ve so much to tell you!! As the time draws nearer to my home-coming, I’m getting more and more excited. I just hope that the days fly by very quickly ’cause in spite of all this charging around exotic countries, I realise more than ever – “There’s no place like home!”

Well, I really must fly for now. I kept a daily dairy [sic] of everything that happened in Hong Kong so it will really be quite a comprehensive report to say the least.

Must dash now,

lots and lots of love,


June 6, 1955

Dear Dad & Russ,

You know this is just ridiculous!! I just CANNOT believe that it’s Monday night already and that another week has flitted by once more!!!

Last Tuesday’s “wee effort” sure didn’t tell you much about my sojourn in the fair city of Hong Kong and I’m just terribly afraid that this wee effort is going to have to be the same. I fully intended to write you a “book” during last week, but when I tell my last week’s itinerary, I’m sure you’ll understand “how come no book”!!

Here’s my itinerary:

Monday: arrived back from Hong Kong, worked like all-get-out during the day, then film at the U.S. Ambassador’s in the evening.

Tuesday: all sorts of little odd jobs (to say nothing of the big odd jobs) to be caught up that accumulated during my week’s absence. Worked all day and also after supper.

Wednesday: cocktail party in office at noon to say farewell to our steno who left Thursday for Hanoi. Cocktail party in evening to say farewell to Polish member who left Friday for Poland.

Thursday: our steno’s replacement didn’t arrive from Hanoi as expected, so I had to take over stenographic duties for the day. Spent most of the day writing invitations for a party Mr. Duder gave tonight. Another cocktail party in the evening for Polish member!

Friday: I was still being the “Social Secretary”. Our new steno from Hanoi arrived at noon along with Mr. John Holmes, Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs from Ottawa, who is visiting Indochina. Worked all afternoon on my ACCOUNTS (ugh!) then off to a cocktail party at the Royal Hotel to meet Mr. Holmes.

Saturday: busy all day on ACCOUNTS. Glenn Bright, who used to be Sigs. Sgt. here arrived for the weekend from Vientiane along with Gilles Perrier, my Ext. Aff. “equal” in Vientiane. Busy Saturday night entertaining our guests from the wilds of Laos.

Sunday: came over to the office about noon and worked all day on ACCOUNTS (I thought I’d never get them done!) Sunday night we all went to a movie at the U.S. Embassy.

Monday (today): Mr. Holmes came into the office and I had to do some work for him. We also had a very informal meeting on our office patio at 11 o’clock this morning. We all sort of sat about on the stone floor (Mr. Holmes’s idea – he’s really a wonderful man – makes you feel so at ease) and chatted with him for 3/4 of an hour. Then tonight I was invited to a cocktail party at 7 o’clock given by Mr. Duder for Mr. Holmes. The Diplomatic Corps was also invited, by the way. Very nice indeed. At 8:30 I went dashing back to the hotel, changed, came charging up to the office and proceeded to type the letter which I am now typing. And in exactly ten minutes I must go charging over to the U.S. Ambassador’s home for another film.

The Canadian Commission, John Holmes in civvies on the right.

The Canadian Commission, John Holmes in civvies on the right.


Well HONESTLY!! My social life sure blossomed with a BANG this last week, I’m sure you must admit. And it hasn’t stopped at that. No sir. On Thursday night I am invited to cocktails at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Littlejohn-Cook (British Charge d’Affaires), and next Monday night (June 13) Mr. Duder is giving a farewell party for himself! He’s leaving for Canada on the 18th of this month and we sure are going to miss him very, very much indeed.

And Dad, come hell or high water, THIS COMING WEEK, I shall get my “book” on Hong Kong written and sent off via via next week’s dip bag. I promise, I promise, I promise.

Good grief, I’m going to be late for the movie! I really must dash for now, but I’ve just decided to come into work at 6 or 7 o’clock tomorrow morning and add more to this letter.

I feel so good these days since my trip to Hong Kong. I just bubble all over the place and everybody wants to know what happened. All the fellows agree that I haven’t looked better since coming to Indochina and I certainly must say that I agree with them completely.

Really must dash. See you in the morning.

June 7, 1955

Well, here I am again for just a fleeting moment!

The movie last night was really excellent. It was “Young at Heart” with Doris Day and Frank Sinatra. Lots of colour and good music.

Movie Poster

However, it was not over until after midnight and it was 12:30 before I got to bed. Needless to say, I didn’t quite feel up to getting out of bed at 6 this morning. I sure hope you don’t mind these wee “fill-in” letters but I think it’s better to hear from a person once a week rather than a great long letter once a month or so. I have been receiving just all sorts of wonderful letters from you folks but right at the moment I haven’t got time to acknowledge even one of them, I’m so busy! However, I shall do my best to get an airmail letter off to you later in the week and of course, next week’s dip bag shall contain shall contain my letter telling you all about Hong Kong.

Well, folks, the dip bag is closing now so I really must pop this in get it on its way to Ottawa. You’ll be hearing from me later on in the week.

Lots of love,


NOTE: David wasn’t kidding about writing a “book” about his week in Hong Kong. It’s FIFTEEN pages of legal-size airmail paper, typed single-spaced from top to bottom and with narrow margins. It’ll be posted as David originally wrote it, as a daily “dairy”.


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