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Date: July 30th 1917

4 Squadron R. F. C.
B. E. F. France


My Dear Em.

Didn't write yesterday as I was feeling a little seedy. Nothing really wrong but just a mixture of tiredness and a general fed up feeling.

Today is gloriously dud and I am not on until 12 noon anyway. So I have had a cup of coffee in bed, which is all I feel like today, and when I have finished my letter I shall have another little snooze. When I get my leave I think I shall look for a nice quiet little farmhouse where I can sleep and eat, principally sleep.

The meals here are quite good if one is feeling hungry. Of course we have to eat what they provide, bully beef and etc, and it is not too bad, but last couple of weeks I have been eating at odd hours, as it were. I am getting quite expert at skipping meals and our hours would make one think we lived a high and fast life. Lunch at 3 p.m. and dinner at 10 p.m. are quite common these days and one night last week I had dinner at 11 p.m. I will be glad to get back to the old schedule again.

I had a busy day of it on Saturday. I cannot remember my hours but I know I did 3 jobs. But I have a brand new machine now and it a dandy. I spent half a day making a few little alterations to it and it runs very sweetly now. I haven't tried any comic stunts with it yet as I have been too busy.

I was annoyed last night. I had changed into slacks and was all fussed up for dinner, when I had to rush up, at five minutes notice and photograph the Hun lines in our area. I got 18 plates exposed but dear knows how many turned out, as it was so dark and misty that I could scarcely see where I was going.

Was sorry to part with an old friend last week ? my old machine. I had become quite attached to it and I did not like to see it's remains packed off in a lorry. The old engine had been working overtime for quite awhile and I had an idea she might fail me some day. Friday night I was coming home about 9 p.m. and it was getting quite dark. I had a premonition that something would happen so got as near the aerodrome as I could before coming down. I couldn't see the aerodrome for clouds but I thought I was near it so shut off. It was well I got as far as I did for the last 6000 feet down was without any assistance from engine as she failed to come on again. When I got clear of clouds at 2000 feet I could see the aerodrome and tried to glide in, but I saw I couldn't so my one ambition was to place her on the ground and to avoid hop poles, of which this country is full. When I was 400 feet from the ground. I told my observer we were for a crash but he knew it and was sitting tight and holding on with both hands. In the dusk telephone poles loomed up, so I stalled over the wires and dropped the last 25 feet like a stone. Of course the machine was considerably jarred, and with a little assistance from my observer I climbed out O.K. Neither of us got even a scratch, in fact we were not even shaken up. At least we didn't feel shaken at the time. I stayed with the machine till 10:30 p.m. and was back again at 5 the next morning, so I felt alright.

Must close now as there is a lecture on right away. Am feeling absolutely O.K. again and ready for anything. Lots of love for Father, Mother and self and regards for Miss Smith.


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Original Scans