"B" Flight 2 Squadron
1st R.A.F. Wing
Haven't had any mail yet but am still living in hopes. Another parcel arrived - full of raison pies - so there must be a bunch of letters tied up some-where. I suppose things have been happening so fast in France lately that they haven't had time to look things over. I heard from one of the fellow over on leave that our transports had been wiped out so that might account for the delay. Anyway if you write c/o of the London address I sent I'll be sure to get it anywhere. Many thanks for the parcel. It had quite a trip - over to France and back to London & then down here. It was over six weeks on the road and a few of the tops ones were a little mouldy but the rest were just as good as when you packed them. They certainly went great. You know the people in this country never did know how to make pastry and now its worse than ever for they are rationed & its almost impossible to get sugar. We never get sugar in tea or coffee and there isn't such a thing as choclates or sweets of any kind in the whole country. So you see a bunch of real raison pies looked as good as a Xmas dinner.
Speaking of Xmas - I'll have mine under different circumstances this year Last year we were in reserve at Hill 70 in a little town called Mazingarbe. The B'n put up quite a feed for us but it wasn't very pleasant - especially on that font. I've had three invitations so far for Xmas dinner. Spriggie - the kid that's with me here - has an uncle living in London. That is the add. I gave you - and his aunt is looking after my mail. Well Spriggie wants me to go up with him. The Martins in Glasgow asked me up there - and Hugh McPhail wants me to go with him to some relatives of his in Edinburgh - so considering everything I aught to get some turkey & cranberry sauce somewhere. As far as I know now I'll most likely go with Spriggie.
Things are going fine now. I've got unto the ropes of the place and know what to do & when to do it. The course looks pretty stiff but it isn't half bad. The order of events is - Reveille at 6/30 Breakfast at 7.30 and by then we have to have everything ready for parade & our huts ready for O.C.'s inspection. For breakfast we get porridge (without milk or sugar) - bacon & sausage and tea - bread & jam. After breakfast we fall in for P.T. (Physical Training) for forty-five minutes - 8.30 till 9.15. Then we have a lecture in Togography or signalling for 9.45 till 10.45. At 11.0 we have O.C.'s inspection and then Wing Parade at 11.30. The O.C. has his particular hobbies about inspection & I've managed to get by OK so far altho' he's pretty strict. The wing parage is the same as any B'n parade - not much to it but the R.S.M. and the adjutant. We are generally through at 12.30. Dinner - or luncheon they call it here - is at 1 o'clock. We get a pretty fair meal then only they don't give us tea or anything to drink. We always get fresh meat & potatoes & some other vegetable. Also some kind of pudding. Its generally a failure but looks good on the "menu". In the afternoon we have it pretty easy. Two afternoons a week are devoted to Sports - Tuesdays & Wednesdays and then we have Saturdays off. The other says we have lectures in Map Reading or something just as stale. At 4.30 we get tea which is all it is - tea - bread butter & maybe jam if you're lucky. Then at 7.o'clock we have diner or supper or whatever you like to call it. Its generally a square meal too. We get soup -meat - spuds - some other vegetable and a pudding of some kind. After that we can play checkers or something rough like that till 9.30 when there's supposed to be a roll - call. Lights out at 10.15.
So that's the daily run of affairs with occasionally a special parade at 5.30 P.M. for those who forgot to shave or left some of last nights dirt on their boots. All we wear in the way of equipment is belts bayonets and rifles. The belts & rifle slings are blancoed white & must be done every night. Taking it all around it isn't very much to do and as long as you stay awake on parade there isn't any trouble,. As far as exams go - I'm not worrying much for the most important is map reading and I've taken at least four courses in it in France & england. Signalling isn't very hard - we have to learn the Morse code and be able to read six words a minute. Well anyone can do that - and I knewa little Morse before I joined the Army. I can do ten words a minute now & we've only had it a week.
I expect we will be here for about 3 weeks or a month yet and then we go to the school of Aeronautics for two months. So I'll be there Xmas time. I don't know where I'll be but probably Oxford. By the looks of things now the war is going to be over before I ever get a look at an aeroplane.
I wrote you since I got the money didn't I?
It came a different way than I expected. I was going down to Hythe last Saturday to seeif it was there but before I went I got a wire from West Camp saying it was there so I trotted over & got it - 50 bucks too - I only asked for 30 because that would have done jake but believe me I was glad to get it. I had borrowed some of Spriggie & Mac & they were getting low & I was beginning to feel a like a fish about it but that has fixed me up fine. I can get along jake now. I think I can pull thru my leave Xmas time too without sending for more. It all depends on how much leave we get. If I do cabel and you haven't got it handy why don't bother about it - and any you do send send it to the Bank of Montreal - London & I can get it OK. I think that was the way the last come wasn't it? Many thanks for sending it - a fellow is absolutely lost around here if he hasn't got some money to get things with.
Bramshott Camp is quarnteened now & Peener & Burnie & Chief are all there. I had a letter from Peener today. He had just returned from a course at Aldershott.
I saw where Jaffary & McKittrick were wounded. It seems so queer that after the long stay they had over there that as soon as they land in France they get hit. I managed to stick it 16 months with only getting a scratch at Passendaele and I suppose the very first trip in the line they get hit. Saw Ferguson - the tall slim Sergeant in our old Coy was killed. He was in the same B'n as Mac & Jaff. Paddy Nolan has been woulded but not badly. I haven't heard anything about Lynn Feurt but he was gassed and wounded too. Practically all the Officers in the 1st CMR's have been killed or wounded since I left and the B'n has been wiped out twice or three times so I guess when all is said and done - I'm lucky.
I suppose Flora is home now & back to the grind again. Well it isn't going to be many moons now until yours truly will be there too. About all Peener & I write about to each other is what's going to happen when we get back.
The war news certainly looks good dosen't it? and beleive me the Canucks have done more fighting than any other troops in France. The four Canadian divisions have defeated 47 enemy divisions in the last two months. Some record isn't it - but at the same time there have been quite a bunch of fellows gone West.
Well this has been quite a note. Here's hoping a get a few dozen letters some of these days.
Love to Everybody Bill