404th Squadron RCAF
Here I am again, of course, "here" is far removed from the place I last wrote you. I am now on a Canadian squadron in Scotland. The Canadians are gradually replacing the English blokes in the ground crew so here we are. It's "bloody" cold up here and it's not "a braw bright moonlit nicht". Am near that cold North Sea and I mean cold. I guess as long as I'm on this squadron I'll be using my long underwear all summer and 2 suits in winter. Not only that, but most of the work on aircraft is done outside.
We rode on the train all nite and half the day. It was very tiresome because the trains are always crowded here. We had to walk a bit in London and from the station in Aberdeen to a bus and caused a lot of commotion on the bus with all our packs. My big bag still weighs about 60 or 70 lbs. And they gave us a lot more equipment at Hastings such as gas capes, rubber boots, gym shirts & shorts, etc., so my pack is really a job to carry. They were very kind tho' and met us at the gate of the station with a truck and after dropping us off we only had a mile to walk to our huts. They call our place Upper Mexico City because it's so far from the work.
I guess I'm in for some action now. They tell me there's lots of work and I'll see some excitement I hope. A few fellows are knocked off now and again in action during reconnaissance so it will be a little different from Halifax and Hastings. From now on you can address me at 404 Squadron R.C.A.F. overseas. Couling went to the Midlands so is not very far from Wales. I wanted to get near Edinburgh but failed to make it. However, we move every so often so I may be anywhere in the next month or so. I sure hope I don't go to the Orkneys for Christmas however.
It will likely take me a few weeks to pick up the Bristol engines, but I don't think they are very hard. I am going to get some engine publications tomorrow and get crackin' at it. I have to get that 3rd hook before the end of the year if possible.
I haven't a lot to say right now but will add some more tomorrow or the next day. By the way, right outside the door is a farm where we can buy all the milk we want & bread & butter for cheap. I'll have to have a talk with the farmer tomorrow & if he finds out I'm a farmer he may give me milk free. It is much cheaper over here to get tea, coffee & cake, etc. I had a big plate of chips & fish cakes for 10 pence last nite & coffee & jam & buns and a choc. bar for 6 pence tonite. This is a YMCA's or naafi (navy army airforce institute), of course, but it is very reasonable considering. Well, I'll go to bed tonite, early C.O.'s inspection tomorrow morning.
Well there's another day in and I know nothing more. I did little or no work this morning or afternoon. I slept out in the sun all afternoon—yes, the sun did shine here last Wednesday so I am now preparing for winter. The food is fairly good here—naturally, its put up by the W.A.A.F.'s. It's a nuisance this tea business every afternoon, but it must go on or the war effort would cease.
I am supposed to have 14 days and possibly 29 before Sept. 1st so may get a chance to see some more country. I want to go to Edinburgh & Nottingham if possible. It may be hard to get it all at once as there are so many new fellows (who all have some leave coming & may run short). Was figuring on seeing Elmer [his brother] soon but I guess that's out according to your letter.
Am ready to go to a corporal's dance on the station tonite. I intended going up town to see our city but will wait till I get more acquainted on the station. Probably meet a nice looking W.A.A.F. to show me the sights later on. The fellows here keep up constant conversation. They have been here so long they just don't give a darn. They rove around here until all hours of the nite. Six of our boys went to the happy hunting grounds today, so I'm beginning to realize there's a war on.
I guess Pa is beginning to rig up the old mower ready for the 28th of June. By the time you get this he'll likely be yelling at old Toad [their horse] to keep going, only 3 or 4 more rounds. Sure would like to be facing that old hay loader for a few days just to see if I could still "take it".
Have been listening to Germany on the radio. They have some darn good dance bands there. I didn't hear any American songs, but their rhythm was good. Saw a show on the station last nite which was fairly good.
Say, if you feel like knitting you can take enough money out of my allowance to knit me a turtle neck. I sure could use one here right advantageously. I found me a comb finally so there's nothing I need in particular so don't go bothering about sending me anything. I sold the cigarettes I had, except what I gave away, but could sell another thousand quite easily, so you can take $2.50 out of my allowance and I'll make $7.50 on it.
Got a new C.O. this morning and happened to be talking to him for a minute. Also met the priest from Aberdeen and he almost talked me into going to his church, but I think I thwarted him—which reminds me—is Mary Gilmartin [a neighbour and Catholic] married yet—I heard she was going to be.
I am out of news for now so will write next week again. Am still in best of health and spirits, hope everyone "over home" is the same—So you got the idea of that first letter eh?
(as they say over here)