30 Cdn Survey Liaison Sec, RCE
Canadian Army England. 7 Aug 44
Your letter of the 30th arrived today, ahead of schedule, so will get this off tonight. Mostly your letters come Tuesdays, and I write the same night. Mondays, Weds and Fris we work right through till 8 oclock in the evening, it means a long day, as we start before 8 in the morning. The alternate nights we quite at 5 oclock, as supper time, so it gives the boys a good long evening to freshen up in between the long days. After quitting tonight I had over Â½ hour's good work out on the horizontal bar, with only my swim trunks on, now I've just heard the 9-oclock news, and expect the duty crew will bring in a cup of tea any moment. After finishing you letter, will get another hours work in, shave, and get into bed. I find the night work pays, as there are few interruptions, and there is so much I have to do and think out myself. Whenever I can, take a short siesta after lunch, go right to sleep, and even dream, for 20 minutes. Find this is very helpful. If we have a really sunny day, the boys take an extra half hour at lunch time to get a sunbath, and make it up in the evening. I encourage this, as it is good for them. Leave has been off for some time now, and my chaps have been working under high pressure since January, and it pays to see that they get a bit of recreation along with doing a good stroke of work. Have had better weather lately, and it looks as tho August may be a good month. Feel a bit guilty when I think of the possibility of getting a bit of leave, when so many of our fellows are sweating blood in the front line. Just the same think a leave would improve my efficiency. Havent taken any since my two weeks with you, which is almost a year now.
Took Bill over to see the Bevans at their cottage on the river last night. Had been curious to know how they had withstood the doodle bombs. On the way we passed through a heavy electric storm and downpour, but it cleared up and was a lovely evening. The Bevans are OK and the river was beautiful. Bill was much impressed with both the B's and the river. Their flat in town had the doors and windows blown in twice, the second time just after getting the mess cleared up from the first. However there was no worse damage, and they are quite cheerful. Everybody is hoping, a bit wistfully, that there will no need for blackout this winter. That implies a lot, but it is not beyond the bounds of possibility.
Since writing my last, have had some very interesting experience was invited to go along on an experimental mission in a consultant capacity with my American friends. Drove to a nearby air port where we were picked up and flown to a more distant one not so far from where my ancestors lived over a century ago. It was an American station, and I enjoyed every minute. We worked till 2 am getting the special equipment in shape for installing in the aircraft. Next morning we got up early, packed everything into a plane and flew to another airfield, where we transferred into a beautiful Flying Fort. The US boys do things in a big way, here we had this giant craft to do a job which I probably could have done in our old Fairchild. It was nice tho, as we had a long way to go to our assignment. I crawled all over the big ship, from the tail gunner's turret to the bomb aimer's sunroom in the nose. The weather over the place was not too good, but we did all we could to get the required, landed at another airfield for tea, then the long flight back. Had an interesting detour for about an hour owing to the pilot adding 100 degrees to the navigators course, due to not hearing him very well. However we got home alright, just at dusk. The weather improved as we got on our way, and their was a beautiful sunset. I was fascinated by the English landscape illuminated by the long warm rays of the setting sun, all the colors seem to intensify, the details of topography are emphasized by long shadows, into a delicate portrait in relief. There wasn't room at the airfield for us to stop over night, so we got them to drive the young American Lieut and me back to my place. We were thoroly tired, each had a hot bath, and a good drink of whiskey to settle our nerves, and both slept like tops. Am hoping to go into town tomorrow to see the results. Was very impressed with the brightness, carefree manners, enthusiasm, and efficiency of the American lads, Surely wish I could get my section teamed up with them.
Don't worry about the tobacco, am on my last plug today, managed to string it out for a while with some the American lads contributed. Its been good for me to have gone a little short, as I was getting a little spoiled, possibly, taking my supply of Dixie for granted, and I did tell you to omit it for a while. There is no tobacco I know of tho that I enjoy as much as Dixie plug.
Have a few snaps I must get off to you by ordinary mail. Odds & ends. I liked Mary's little postscript on you letter, bless her heart. If she has as long a head as her Ma on financial matters she will do OK. Well dear, lots of love to you both. Tell Doug MacD that Bill forgot to give him my regards in a letter he wrote to him today.