Letter 39: September 14, 1941
14/9/41P/O H.H. Pious,
Fairly well settled on the squadron after seven days leave. We’ve quartered on an old estate and the officer’s mess and rooms, are in a huge house with corridors by the mile, really quite comfortable and heated (I hope) by a furnace.
I spent three days in Bedfast, two and a half travelling to and from it and a day and a half in London.
Old Mrs. Chapman was tickled to death to see me and was so determined that I would stay there that I finally had to go down and get my bag and settle down there for my stay in Belfast.
They really gave me a grand time in every way and saw to it that I was eating at least 60 percent of the time, and there are some remarkably good cooks here.
I was a week too late to attend the wedding of Belle Pather’s younger girl. The other was married something over a year ago.
Belfast has only been raided a very few times with two very big raids. It is quite a bad mess in many sections, houses, stores and churches flattened or left so that they are useless and have to be pulled down. Only one house on Yarrow street was hit and that was an incendiary or ‘sanitary’ bomb so Minna Chapman calls them. It was on the other end of the street from them.
Their chief worry at present is that the tea ration is to be reduced from 2 to 1 oz. per person per week, and they’re wondering how to make it stretch because they’re all great tea-drinkers.
The first day I was in London who should I bump into in the street but George Whalley. We had lunch together and I gave him all the news I could of all the boys. The last day I was there I was crossing Piccadilly Circus when I met Rolfe Paintin. He’s stationed at headquarters in London, a sergeant now. I had quite a long chat with him there in the street, before I had to catch my train for here.
To-day is one of those lovely wet, drizzly, raw Norfolk days, of which there are probably many more ahead of us before the winter is over.
The English railway system has somehow contrived to lose my flying kit, on its way here and the other bags, shipped at the same time, have arrived including my trunk but the flying stuff is still missing, just when I really need it too.
The food here so far is excellent most of the time. We had ‘skate’ the other night though and I can’t conscientiously recommend it as being the finest or even the eighth finest fish in the world, as far as taste goes. The doc said it tasted as though it had ‘skated’ all over the world before we got it.
I must quit now and go down to tea or I’ll miss it altogether and it’s a long wait to supper time.
Give my love to all the family.
Very much love;
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