Tues. Nov 2/43
I have just returned from a week's leave and must apologize for not writing sooner. There is a ladies organization here that will find homes for us to stay in when given leave and we went through that. Four of us went to a village called Barryford - 30 miles from Manchester. As I have so much to say I might as well start from the beginning. We decided not to stay in London as it is too expensive. I have written to Milton and hope to see him in the near future. We had to stay in London overnight. We arrived there at 6 p.m. and stayed in the Wing's Club which is for Air Force Officers only. We saw Buck. Palace and then went down to Picadilly and wandered around in the fog. It was a great experience and we hope to go back there on our next leave. We left there the next morning and arrived in the evening. We were met at the station by a Mr. Mayhall. Bill and Sandy stayed with he and his wife while Walt and I stayed at a Mr. Hawksworth, who is a dentist. Well Mom words can't describe our leave. Mrs. Hawksworth was exactly another mother to us. They have two daughters - one 14 and the other 19 who is in the army. Both families were rolling in the dough and we had everything we wanted and much more. Mr. Mayhall (Rex) owns a cotton mill and of course we were all through that and saw how cotton is made into cloth. He has 800 persons working for him. It was very interesting. The next day we went to a castle which is 600 years old. It is now made into a museum. I can't describe the number of things we saw. It was of course very large and we saw exactly how the people lived in those days. We went to the dungeons - the guide explaining everything to us. There was architecture made by the Romans, old paintings (originals) and countless other things that I could not write about. The next day we went to a soccer game. Rex has very much influence so he could get the very best for us. We sat with the board of directors - nothing cheap about us. They all want to know about Canada. We were popular as Canadians were seldom seen around there.
We went to a police station and everything was shown to us. We saw criminal photographs, diff. ways of catching a criminal, fingerprinting, the stables, police cars and many other things. I forgot to mention that every place we go we are served tea. We were always riding around in taxis and police cars. We went to a police court and sat all morning watching how they dealt with petty crimes and the lawyers battling it out. I should be able to give Mr. Case a few ideas. The Hawksworths and Mayhalls are very good friends. Rex and hi wife had traveled all over the States before the war. He had taken moving pictures of it and showed them to us. They were very good. Mr. Hawksworth is in the Home Guard so he took us down to there H.Q. and introduced us to all his cronies.
On Sunday Mrs. Hawksworth took Wally and I for a walk through the hills. We saw were the last of the witches were burned. Her father is a knight and her mother a Lady. They had lived in S. Wales and he was the mayor of Abergevenny for 6 years. He had a great life and told us all his experiences. He was quite pleased to talk to us. He was 78 and quite deaf.
Now Mother I must tell you about Mrs. Hawksworth. She couldn't do enough for us. We were in Lancashire and they are the very best of people. She brought us breakfast in bed every morning. We couldn't' refuse as she would bring it in our room before we were up. She wanted to polish our shoes but we wouldn't let her do that. We had to give in when she wanted her daughter - Judy, to polish our buttons. She gave us the best to eat (we took our own ration cards there). She was simply marvelous and so was her husband. She wanted your address so she could tell you that we were O.K. All the working people there wear wooden shoes. I bought a pair as a souvenir that I will be sending to Maidra.
They had a fireplace in every room. Every evening we would sit in front of it and talk. We really made ourselves at home. She asked us a thousand times to come back and stay again and of course we will.
We were in London a couple hrs. coming back but didn't have a chance to see anything. We arrived here today at noon and found out that they had an air raid last night - we were mad because we missed it. A bomb landed about 200 yrds from our hotel. Quite a few people were killed.
I received the first letter today from Austin and was really pleased to get it. It was written Oct. 12th.
Please forward this to Dad.
All my love,