Correspondence from 70 years ago

Seventy years ago in 1942, the world was at war. In Britain, the blitz had eased off from its worst, but for ordinary citizens, life was tough. Food and clothing rationing was in full swing. Petrol was hard to get. Trains were full of servicemen rushing home across the country for 24 hours’ leave.

And it was the year that my parents were married. They took a week’s honeymoon in the Lake District. I believe they found more good food out among the farms, and undoubtedly had a good and relatively peaceful time.

Only one thing went wrong. The train fare from London up to the north would have cost my father a week’s salary. And, somehow, he lost the return tickets. I found the following correspondence among his meticulously-filed papers. The letters speak of a more formal time, but also of a more generous time. And all seems to have ended up well.

Commercial Superintendent
London Midland and Scottish Railway
Euston, London NW

13th April 1942

Dear Sir

On Thursday the 2nd April last, I purchased two monthly return tickets from Watford Junction to Cockermouth through Messrs Pickfords Limited, Clarendon Road, Watford. The tickets were issued on blank cards, numbered 3717/8 the cost being £6 7s 4d.

I travelled up to Cockermouth by the Night Train from Euston on Sunday night 5th April, but either handed in the whole of the ticket at Cockermouth station, or alternatively mislaid the return tickets and was unable to find then when returning last Saturday, the 11th instant.

On the instructions of the clerk at Cockermouth, I purchased for the return journey single tickets to London, numbers 9317/8 travelling on the train leaving Cockermouth Junction at 7.10 and arriving at Watford at 4.6pm, the charge for these tickets being £4 15s 4d.

I should be glad if you would make the necessary enquiries with regard to these tickets, as I understand that the amount of £4 15s 4d will be refundable if the non-use of the tickets is proves to your satisfaction.

If there is any further information that I can supply I should be happy to do so.

Yours faithfully

P J L Case

===========================================================

London Midland and Scottish Railway Company
District Passenger Manager’s Office
66 Drummond Street, NW1

13th May 1942

Dear Sir

Adverting to your letter of 13th ultimo, I have to inform you that I have been unable to find that the return halves of your tickets were surrendered at Cockermouth, neither is it possible to definitely establish whether they have been utilised or not. In the circumstances the Company does not admit any liability for the refundment of the extra fares paid. I do not however wish to take advantage of your unfortunate loss, and as a special case enclose a remittance for £4 14s 4d in respect of the additional fares paid and shall be obliged if you will acknowledge receipt on the attached form.

Yours faithfully

===================================================================

My father regularly took on large companies in this way, and it seems he often won. He was, after all, an accountant (or strictly, at that time, an audit clerk). There is, however, no trace of any further letter chasing the discrepancy of one shilling.

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  1. […] Ancestry « Correspondence from 70 years ago […]

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