February 2, 1939
ROYAL AIR FORCE STATION,
As Glorious is away in Egypt, all my mail goes there first, so I haven't received any mail from home for some time. Glorious is stopping here on the 21st to pick us up en route for the combined fleet manoeuvres at Gibraltar and the Atlantic.
Had a letter from Overall (Niagara Falls) today, and he says they are having a wonderful time now with Spitfires in 41 Squadron. (The fastest single-seat fighter in the States that will come within 159 m.p.h. of it).
Our squadron will be completely re-equipped in the next month or two.
Four officers and two seamen were killed the other night off Alexandria. All of 825 Squadron. Two Swordfish (three-seaters) collided after doing night formation. They had just broken up preparatory to doing night deck landing when they collided. Both machines burst into flames. The two pilots were Lieutenant Newcombe R.V. and Lieutenant Dobbs R.N. Unfortunately they were giving night deck landing experience to two new pilots, Lieutenant Lincoln R.N. and Flying Officer Bridgen. They were passengers in the back. So the squadron lost four experienced pilots out of twelve in one crash. The two seamen also carried lost their lives. Both Lincoln and Dobbs were married officers.
Since Glorious came out to the Mediterranean in January these are the only deaths beside Pilot Officer Heber Percy R.A.F. of 802 who spun into the sea of Gibraltar in February and was killed.
As you probably know, a lieutenant R.N. from General Service can be seconded to the Fleet Air Arm - so although they are senior to me in the Navy, they can, and in a lot of cases have, far less flying experience than myself. Lieutenant Lincoln, for instance, has just left F.T.S.
I believe Overall is arranging about sending my excess R.A.F. kit home to you.
I rather miss flying Spitfires in 41 but I guess the life here counteracts the advantages of good old 41.
Write often - I enjoy your letters. Hope the war in Spain finishes soon - I should like to visit the country.
Tell Ronny to keep quiet!