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Date: March 4th 1917

PER ARDUA AD ASTRA ROYAL FLYING CORPS. BEVERLY, YORKSHIRE March 4th 1917 Dear Father, I had almost come to the conclusion that the submarines had sunk my letters, for I had not heard from home for quite two weeks, but this morning two letters Feb 5 & 12 from mother and Emily, arrived together. With all the so called "frightfulness" going on I guess they should sink a few of our mail boats. This is a bitterly cold day. There was snow this morning and a fierce east wind, and while it has stopped snowing it is still blowing like the dickens at 6 pm. I have just come in from a walk down to the village. One of the boys is living downtown with his wife and two little girls. They are lovely children aged 5 and 6, and we go down for tea several times a week and always on Sundays. I know quite a number of people here now. They seem quite nice and I have plenty of invitations out to tea and for evenings. With my work here and my gossiping about and writing a few letters, I don't seem to have much time for anything else. The week after I arrived I think everyone I ever knew in England wrote me. I had 28 letters in 7 days so many of them are still unanswered, as you may guess. Friday morning when I got up it was very foggy, so it did not look much like flying. I went and asked the C. O. if I might have leave for the day. He said yes so I went over to Manchester to see some friends. Then I went out to Whaley Bridge and visited Mrs Ed Hall and her father and cousin. They have a beautiful place, one of those huge country places and all so comfortable. Then they took me over to Mrs Reade's old home. It is now in a sad state of repair, but at one time it must have been splendid. It is one of those old shambling houses with about 18 rooms and lovely gardens and lawns and park about it. Altogether they had 90 acres. Of course it is sold now and no one living in it, but when the old gentleman was alive I expect it was quite the best place in that particular part. I had heard so much about it that I was anxious to see it, and am glad I was able to do so. I only had 24 hrs leave and it took 8 hours on the train so I took another 12 and just about got court martialled [sic]. In fact when I called the adjutant up from Whaley Bridge he said I was up for court martial but I fixed it up with the C. O. when I returned. I saw a lot of new places, and several quite important towns. All these northern towns are very busy now. Leeds, Manchester and Hull all seem to be quite industrial. Mother mentions in her last letter about the chamois jacket. It is the one thing I have not received so far. I am afraid we shall have to give that up for lost. However I shall get one next time I get down to town. I am getting a bunch of new clothes soon. An order has come out to take effect April 15 that we are to wear flying corps tunics! I still have 3 or 4 of my other ones in fairly good shape so have only a little over a month to wear them out. It is rather a nuisance as I don't care much for the cut of the tunics and they certainly don't make any allowance for replacing them. However it will be a change of dress anyway so that will be something to be thankful for. Last week we had a couple of very good flying days. I made good use of the time . One has to here. One morning I was up in the air at 6:30 and had flown over the North Sea and back before breakfast. It was the first time I had seen the briny since Hythe and it looked real good. I couldn't resist the temptation of flying out a mile or two and get a little of the salt air. If the weather would only clear up now I would be in France in a couple of weeks. But it doesn't look like it just now. It is a bit discouraging to sit around England, and sometimes only fly � hour a week. I will be glad to get across the Channel again I feel as though I have been idle much too long. How is business these days? I hope things are keeping up O.K. I think insurance is a good line if one can get enough of it. When I get back I am going to take at least a month's holidays and a good trip, that is if I have any money by that time, and then start over again. I imagine it will be rather slow for awhile but perhaps not as bad as it was the first time. Then again I may know more about flying, by the time war is over than I do about dentistry, so I don't think I shall make any plans at all. Please thank Mrs Giles for the "eats", if you have not already done so. If possible I shall write them a line, they are very kind indeed. Give my love to Aunt Lizzie when you see her. I should like to sit down to one of her good meals again, and I will too before a very great while. I am sitting in my hut and the fire is very warm and everything is bright and cheery. I am feeling absolutely fit and A 1 in every way and all I want now is to get to France for another little go. Lots of love for Mother, Emily and self. Loving son Wilbert P. S. Have not heard form Alf but he is quite alright I am sure. He has my address. W. H. G