C/O 1st Corps Field Survey Coy.
Royal Canadian Engineers
C.A.S.F. Base Post Office
England - 18 August 1940
This has been a busy day too. I came back from a 2-day visit in London, went up on business, Friday and stayed till to-day. Met Lorne there yesterday p.m. - more of which later - This p.m. took him up to see the O.C. of the company to which he expects to be attached - so have not been able to get down to writing till now - in a few minutes have a parade to take - but then should be able to get down to business.
Lorne is with Col. Carrie's regiment - and a lucky man he is - because the Col. is one swell fellow - and it was certainly just the sort of thing he would do to drop you a line - I may be seeing him later on in the next few weeks - so hope to get a chance to thank him verbally.
There were no letters this past week - but we have all the more hopes for the coming one. I am impatient to hear how you are getting on with your arrangements re house - sale of car etc. Note the above address - just put Canada on it - not England - you can still speed the letters by putting air mail stamp on - Any that have been sent to the Ch. Postal Censor London will come through alright.
No more news of my transfer - but I am still in hopes - and know quite well that at hing like that will take plenty of time - they certainly move at a snails pace - however it should all turn out o.k. in time because I understand the transfer is to e made affective from the 16th July, when I joined this unit, so there will be some back pay to collect.
It was certainly great to see Lorne - I think I will drop Mrs. S. a note - Lorne ahs been here in England about 10 days - and we might be able to wrangle a leave together - sometime - god knows when. He was very sorry to have missed you & Mary when he was in Victoria earlier this summer. Lorne makes a fine officer - and I think if he gets any breaks at all, he will go far. Most important he will do a good job whenever they put him, and under Col. Carrie he has the finest chances - I met some of the Col's other officers - and they look like a hand picked lot - all fine looking chaps.
Was in London 2 nights and had dinner & spent the evening with Col. Lloyd - who is always very cordial - the second night Lorne had arrived so we went to a play - saw Robert Donat - on the legitimate stage - in Shaw's play "The Devil's Deciple" - which was thoroughly enjoyed - I thought how much you would have enjoyed it too - It was better than "Geneva" - and fully as satirical.
Lorne had not been in London before - and we couldn't do very much, because the time was so short - but we walked around Trafalgar Square - down White - hall to the House of Parliament - looked into West-Abbey for a moment, and then walked back through St. James Park past Buckingham Palace - back to Trafalgar - It was a lovely day - if a bit hot and sultry.
As you will know from the papers & radio - the outskirts of London had had their first taste of bombing - actually the damage was not great but it was very reassuring to note how calm and cool the London populace is, now that danger has been brought to their door step so to speak - I was there during two air raid alarms the previous day - of course nothing happened, but the people seemed to take it as a matter of course - During the last few days I have felt more convinced than ever that Hitler will never gain a foothold on this island - and he will never subdue these splendid people. Of course the times are tense and anxious - but we must expect that -
It was a strange feeling that came over me when we stepped into the austere and glorious peace of Westminster Abbey - the most Catholic of all churches - in the sense of the word - where the hero's of this great people are sanctified and held in sacred memory - men - women - warriors and poets - Jews and gentiles - Kings and commons - "pagan" (so called ) and Christians - and the tomb of the unknown warrior - had to move reverently in this Presence of the Great - at this time - when the very heart of the Empire that they had built is being threatened by forces of evil as never before - It seemed as though their spirits rose up from these old stone beds - with graven inscriptions - and stood out in a vast multitude of heroes - crying out - England must stand- and you must take our place - you who love freedom - independence - tolerance - honour - the sea - and the distant mountains beyond - homes and loved ones - scattered in all parts of the world - It was a challenge - Someday, my dear I hope to bring you to this temple - lead you into its sanctuary so that you may feel and experience what I did. In the meantime I pray that we whose job it is to carry on what they have built and won will be able to meet the challenge after their example.
The Air Force are magnificent - and what a jolt they are giving the arrogant Luftwaffe - Soon I think we shall see signs of the enemy losing his punch and what an uncomfortable thing for the Nazis to contemplate when they have failed to break us, their own strength spent - and the ominous presence of the Russian air power intact waiting to sweep over them from the East. - Now that the danger has intensified I feel more confident than ever that we shall win out.
The plan of the house seems very sensible - and practical - and I think the location - on Marlborough St. o.k. - with the extra price for lot - because it is a very desirable district - Really I think if you can swing your project successfully that it will turn out to be a splendid investment, as well as the main purpose a home for you & Mary - and me when I get back. Better than putting your savings in a bank or bonds. Now is the time to do things like you are, because the value of money is likely to be most uncertain in the future - and a home is a home no matter what happens to currency - or credit - also a home such as you will have will be the type which must always be tenable - because it is in the size & value group which will always have the greatest number of voters - and that is a safe principle for future security.
This is rather terrible paper, but it is hard to get a very good choice of small shops in the villages -
Tell Dick Orchard that the box of cigs arrived to-day - and are a good send - I had almost forgotten what a decent cigarette tasted like - Thank them all! You're cigs never come, and a great many of the boys apparently are not getting cigarettes sent to them from Canada. I think a complaint should be taken up by the Legion to find out why so many parcels of cigarettes are not reaching the men - there seems to be no rhyme or reason either from this end, because certain individual men seem to get all the parcels sent to them - but many others receive letters from home advising that cigarettes are or have been sent - but they never arrive my pipe tobacco came through o.k. and is a continual satisfaction.
Well dear - I better get this posted - all my love - and kisses for you & "Little Baby". God bless her.
As Ever -
P.S. the address on page 1 is the best for parcels, and o.k. for letters, although letters sent to Chief Postal Censor, London might reach me a day or two sooner - although its debatable.