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Date: May 12th 1917

No.4 Squadron R. F. C.
B. E. F. France


My Dear Mother,

This is one glorious day if ever there was one. I don't know just how hot it is but I know it is very warm for this time of the year. With as little on as is possible it is all one can do to keep cool. At ten o'clock this morning I was up for a flip. I just had my ordinary clothes on with my flying kit and it was 6000 feet before I felt cool enough to be comfortable. It is glorious to be able to get up into the sky and cool off when it gets too hot below. I was just testing an engine this a.m. so could roll around and do anything I liked in the air.

Yesterday I had a big job on. I started out about half past one to do a shoot with an 8 inch howitzer. My machine was very poor, that is the engine was bad so I had to nurse it along all the time. We did over 100 rounds and it took 3 1/2 hours and it was very hot. In that time I suppose I flew well over 200 miles and twisting and turning all the time. The engine was so bad and the controls were so heavy that my feet and arms ached the whole time. But the annoying part was that we couldn't get above 2500 feet and that is rather a dangerous height. I remember about half way thru the shoot my observer turned around, looking as white as a sheet and shouted something which I could not hear. Just then my machine dropped, like a pancake for about 50 feet and I heard a swish. When we got down he told me that a 12 inch shell had passed just under us. He had seen it coming and wanted me to climb, which I couldn't. The poor beggar must have had a scare. I didn't see it so it didn't disturb my equilibrium. A miss is as good as a mile in a case of that kind.

If I remember rightly it is just two years today since I left Winnipeg to come over here. Lots of things have happened in that time, but we are still all alive. I am thankful to say that I am in the pink of condition and enjoying my work as much as could be under the circumstances. There will be lots of hard work to be done out here this summer if the war is to be over this year. So if I can stick it out 'till fall without nerves I shall be quite happy.

Had a letter from Alf the other day. He is well and quite happy and pleased with things in general. I wrote him telling him where I was, so expect to hear from him shortly.

Poor Gordon Jones has had a close call. Machine dived into the Thames river, and he was under 11 minutes, strapped in his machine, before some bargemen got him out. He was threatened with septic pneumonia and other things but, I believe, is progressing favorably. His poor Mother was very much upset about it.

Lunch is ready and I have to do a shoot immediately afterwards so I will have to ring off. Much love for Father, Emily and heaps for your own dear self and do take a good rest this summer at Winnipeg.

Loving son