Letter 8

Letter 8: December 27, 1940


Dear Mother,

At last a letter. I’m sorry I haven’t written before but they certainly have made us hop ever since I arrived back here. Tests, extra work, flights during the day, flights at night. We sometimes get in about 6 hours a day in the air which means about 900 miles or more – a fair bit of ground covering, even with these slow ships.

I received the parcel and money order O.K. Thank you ever so much. I’ve eaten nearly steady now for about five days, and its beginning to tell on me.

We write our final exams in about three weeks now and if they’re as hard as the ones ‘B’ flight are having now you can expect to hear that I’m a gunner, at any moment. They are absolutely hellish, it is the only word that will describe them adequately, and even that is weak.

So far I’ve been working pretty near steadily all the time I wasn’t either flying or in classroom, and I’m leary as the devil about the exams. They’re going to be brutes and how we’ll come out is a decided problem.

In Reconnaissance we have reams of codes that must be memorized perfectly, besides being able to identify all British & German aircraft and warships on sight. Besides these there are 32 pages of closely types notes that must be learned – and that is only one subject of 12.

Dave Woodley is in I.T.S. here in Regina. I saw him for a few seconds, when I was waiting for the duty driver to bring me out from the hospital. I’m to meet him down town Monday night if I don’t have to fly.

John Dixon was washed out as a pilot and is now in Brandon being trained as a clerk accountant.

They certainly gave us the whole works on Christmas day. I thought I’d never be able to move again. We had;- fruit cocktail, soup, celery, olives, nuts, turkey, potatoes, brussel sprouts, cranberry sauce, ice-cream, mince pie, plum pudding, tea or coffee, candy, cigarettes and beer, the latter two supplied by the offices. All the serving was done by the officers – a tradition in the force. It was a grand meal and party and everybody had a swell time including the officers. The C.O. Squadron Leader Murray in chef’s cap & apron over his uniform, carved the turkey.

I received a parcel from the Knowlton I.O.D.E. with candy, cookies etc in it. A pair of socks from Den & George, a box from the McFaul’s and Phyl, a carton of cigs from Aunt Villa and Audrey, cigs from Ev & Liz, a lighter (a beauty too from Ev, as well as a lot of eats and other oddments very odd some of them, as you could easily guess. A writing case from Phyl a beauty in leather complete with initials paper etc. Their were many other things gloves, socks, a scarf from Liz, handkerchiefs, 2 fruit cakes, gum, candy, etc. etc.

I tried to get a phone call through to you on Christmas day but it was hopeless trying to get through, everything was plugged solid with calls and couldn’t get through under 18 hours, so I had to call it off.

Monday we flew all afternoon and two hours at night. To-day we were out 3 hrs and 10 minutes and to-morrow night we have a 2½ hr trip and may have to fly in the afternoon as well as Sunday.

Two more cases of measles left to-day for the hospital and John McCaul, my bunkmate, went yesterday, so it looks as though more will be on their way soon.

I saw Hal for about twenty minutes at the station here, when he passed through on his was to Calgary. He has been posted there as an instructor.

That Met exam was O.K. I got 93 and forgot part of one question for 6 marks, a part I knew cold at that. We had a Maths test and that wasn’t so hot I’d never seen 3 out of 5 questions before – it was the day I arrived from ‘measles’, I don’t know what I got but it wasn’t much. They gave us a test on Compasses to to-day but it wasn’t bad.

Must quit now and get over to bed before they turn out the lights. Marry, many thanks for the box and money order.

Heaps of love,


Tell Barb I appreciated her letter a heck of a lot & will write her this weekend.

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