22 MARCH 1946, Page 15


SIR,—A complete record which I have kept of parcels I have received from America between 1940 and 1945 may interest your readers. During 1940 not one parcel out of ten was tampered with. In 1941, out of ten parcels, two had lost tins of butter. During 1942 and 1943, perhaps because rationing had become more severe or perhaps because of the general fall in morality occasioned by the war, five out of eleven parcels- arrived with some of the contents abstracted—for the first time such

things as socks were missing—and two parcels failed to arrive at all (submarines !). In 1944, the year of victories, my statistics, show a return to the 1941 level, but alas in 1945—was this due to the disillusion of peace ?—I received only four intact parcels out of twelve sent me. The missing articles were butter, tinned milk and elastic.

An interesting point is that these annual variations coincide almost exactly with another record kept by an old friend, Mrs. Henry Mont- gomery, who has given me permission to quote her here. In her case, too, the bad years were 1942, 1943 and 1945. Mrs. Montgomery, whose work is better known in the United States than here, received many parcels from admirers overseas, but the relative figures remained the same. But after all, how can we complain ? Those who have had friends abroad to help them with parcels are a lucky minority, and perhaps we share a little in the guilt of the pilferer by offering him the temptation.—