My father, Fred Bagley, joined the RAC in 1939 and, after serving with the Lothian and Border Yeomanry as a Loader/operator in Sherman flails in NWE, returned home in 1945 and went into the reserves. In 1950, just before his 6 years reserve service were due to end, he was called back for the Korean Emergency - he was not amused ! He found himself in the 8th Royal Irish Hussars as a scout car driver. Despite everything he found time to write to my mother nearly every day and I'm gradually transcribing them. I thought these small extracts from Xmas 1950 might be of interest - nothing of major military import but hopefully you'll enjoy. Cheers Tolbooth Short Rations Sunday 10th Dec After almost a month in Korea the troops were becoming acclimatised to the bitterly cold weather. Rations were basic and in short supply and the troops looked to supplement them. In comparison to the well supplied American forces, the British were forced to rely on stock piling, barter and the soldier's traditional 'scrounging'. Hello Ruby, How are you and the kiddies ? Keeping well I hope. I'm still OK but a bit dirty. I've been driving all morning and got covered with dust. I've just put the water on for a wash and shave. The weather is nice, cold but dry. We're getting used to it now and don't feel it quite so much. I'm getting enough food too. We scrounged some from the Yanks yesterday. On the scout car we have 24 tins of salmon, 20 tins of milk, 14lb of tea, 50lb of sugar, 7lb of bully, 10 tins each of pineapple, peaches, fruit salad, pears and cherries, 4 big boxes of ginger snaps and several boxes of currant biscuits. We also have a lot of icing, castor and brown sugar and flour. I might try making a Xmas cake. It is difficult to imagine how much room was left on the small Dingo scout car for any regulation equipment. With the Korean population barter for food was the chief form of commerce. The other night I had to wash my overalls and after boiling them for half an hour I went to rinse them out with cold water. A Korean woman with a baby on her back was at the pump. She took them off me and rubbed them over and over again for nearly an hour. You should see them now. Not an oil mark on them, and all it cost me was a tin of bully. With plenty of food on the scout car, cigarettes and tobacco were the next priority. I saw Gordon (Hockey) yesterday for the first time since we landed. He's as noisy as ever. I tried to get some cigs off him but he'd got none. A Yank asked one of the tank crews if they wanted a package of cigarettes. They thought they were getting a 200 carton, instead they got 10,000! They're keeping them to themselves as well. I've been looking for the Padre. He's got some but at the moment he's out somewhere. I hope I can get some tonight as I'm on guard. It's about time we saw something of a NAAFI. There's plenty of cigs on sale in the town but they will only accept Dollars and Wons (the Korean money). As we are paid in Sterling we are unlucky. I've got pipe bacca but you know how I like my cigs. Boxing day ‘50 Hello Darling, Had a nice Xmas ? I hope you have. I got drunk proper on Xmas Eve and suffered for it yesterday. I was on guard last night too. … I didn’t have my stocking filled Xmas Eve (except with my foot, I got into bed with them on) but we had tea in bed at Reveille served to us by the Sgts. I didn’t get up for breakfast and only just managed to rise for dinner. We had pork, turkey, apple sauce, tinned veg and dehydrated spuds. Of course the old pudding was there and any amount of beer. We also got fifty fags as a gift. For tea we had different kinds of fruit, jelly, cake and mincepies. There was a sing-song in the evening but I was out in a slit trench on guard. Still it wasn’t a bad guard and it didn’t get cold till three. I came off stag at eight, had a lie down till ten and went for a kick about with the ball. … We’ve got the Recce Troop “orchestra” going full blast again tonight. They’re getting quite good on combs and mess-tins. It’s opera tonight because Benny is here. He’s a Cpl in the troop and if he went on the films would make a fortune. He’s got a terrific moustache and his facial expressions are a proper laugh. A kid out of our room has spent Xmas in the guard room. He let off his rifle in this room on Xmas Eve. The bullet went through the floor into the Officers Mess and just missed the Mess Sergeant. The kid said he didn’t know it was loaded. He’s got seven days Field Punishment. He’ll look in future to see if it is loaded. Another bit of excitement over Xmas was the Sgts Quarters catching fire. The roof caught alight and we were all dragged out to help put it out. As the place is joined to the cookhouse we all dashed to save the Xmas dinner. We dashed all over the place looking for cans of water and my car commander, Taffy Watkins, cursed like anything because he couldn’t find a can of petrol in mistake for water. We managed to put it out, though after making sure that plenty of water went over the RSMs kit.