[Ronnie Tritton, War Office Publicity Officer.] Two Autograph Letters Signed ('T' and 'R.') [to his wife Andrina], written during the 'Phoney War', writing with evocative immediacy about Claridge's, the Savoy, and a host of friends and acquaintances.

Ronnie Tritton [Ronald Edward Tritton] (1907-1990), War Office Publicity Officer 1940-1945 [his wife, née Andrina Frances Schweder; Savoy Hotel, London; The Phoney War, Second World War]
Publication details: 
One: 12 September 1939. On letterhead of White's [gentleman's club in St James's Street, London]. Two: 'Wed.' [no date, but 1939]. On letterhead of the Savoy Hotel, London.
SKU: 23257

Tritton was educated at Winchester College, and in later life held the office of High Sheriff of Essex. He served as War Office Publicity Officer between 1940 and 1945 (the first civilian to hold the post). The present items exhibit the candour and evocative immediacy for which his wartime diaries were praised on their publication in 2012. Two long letters to 'Darling', both 2pp, 4to. Both in good condition, lightly aged, and folded twice. ONE (signed 'R.'): Thirty-eight lines of text. He is writing her a second letter of the day, prompted by boredom and the want of something else to do'. He finds White's 'full of uniforms of all kinds. [...] As is natural when I come in here so rarely I feel rather like a new boy at school . . . . . and very out of everything. London is like a tomb and I shall go rapidly nuts if you cant come back to keep me company. If you do, you'll probably be driven by sheer boredom to work at the W. V. S. or something.' He refers to 'Maurice' and 'Diana', and to 'Dickie', with whom he is dining at Claridge's: 'He's pretty low. He's doing night duty - on all night trying to keep the place darkly curtained. Claridge's has as many people in the house as the Savoy - about 90 - which for Claridge's is quite good.' He names among the 'unusually distinguished guests' at the Savoy the Duke of Westminster, Lionel Montagu, Lord Trenchard. There follows a piece of casual anti-semitisim: 'Your father's pal somebody Morgan is playing billiards at my elbow with a funny looking little Hebrew. Lord Tennyson, very much the Colonel, in rather new Khaki is at the other end of the writing table . . . . very fat and pompous. Duff Cooper drinks at the bar. I must say they do make good cocktails here . . . . . .' He gives news of the reopening of the Savoy Restaurant ('Its high time'). He ends in the realisation that he has 'very little taste for masculine company', an observation prompted by 'the groups of men here', and which 'doesn't promise very well for the next few years [...] It's time to go up to Claridge's. TWO (signed 'T'): Thirty-seven lines of text. On Savoy letterhead. (Tritton was on a retainer at the Savoy where he counted David Niven among his friends.) He found '[w]alking back from Claridge's at 11 o'clock at night [...] an eerie experience. London was muffled as in a fog, and black as death. It was a lovely starry night so the town took on a faintly luminous look. It was rather lovely and much what it must have looked like 200 years ago.' He refers to a lunch with 'John' at the Clarendon, Hammersmith Broadway. 'John looked well and seems perfectly happy and fatalistic about it all.' He is 'billeted in an old Railway carriage at Wormwood Scrubbs, guarding an important junction. All his pals - Frankie Lawton etc. are with him. (Evelyn Laye does their washing) Its a curious affair. All the privates are gents and the officers very common and rather offensive Bank Clerks. One of the privates - and apparently a great friend of Johns is Lord Elbury, an A.D.C. to the King! Even he can't get a commission. Its a funny war what with Peter cleaning out the latrines and all. How like the Govt. to have its trucks washed in petrol.' Reference to a forthcoming dinner with 'Ewan, returned yesterday from Copenhagen', and 'Lucy' (who has 'joined the army again'): 'so I should get some first hand information about Germany'. References to 'Harold Snagge' and 'Billy Gavin'. 'Lionel Dodds has got a lovely job - Press liason officer to some part of the Air Force. He is quite highly ranked and presumably gets good pay and is in a safe job. I think he's off to France tomorrow though he was very mysterious about it all.' He ends with 'love to you and Pauly' (their son Paul Sebastian Tritton, born 23 February 1939).