February 6, 1939
ROYAL AIR FORCE STATION,
HAL FAR, MALTA
I have heard that P/O Marshall lost an arm in an accident. I hope not. No confirmation. You said he was a flying officer but he isn't. Even as a P/O I was a year senior to him. He only got his confirmation as P/O about Christmas, 1938. He has only left F.T.S. a few months.
Hoare, who I met out here, commenced flying only three months ahead of me. His seniority as Sub Lt (A) is August, 1937, while mine is October, 1937. I'll certainly be glad when October rolls along. I can use the extra money.
Have you heard about Max at all? Financially he will be miles better off than me, as his mess bills won't be as high. Mine last month was £16.60. You could pay two months' groceries on it. If I got the same money in civil life I would be fairly well off, but here, no. One has to pay for luxurious surroundings and being waited on hand and foot, as well as compulsory contributions to mess cocktail parties, entertainment, etc.
We have had terrific winds here and high seas, but it is calm today. HMS Nelson, flagship of Home Fleet, is due here sometime on Wednesday. 802 are going to do a surprise dawn attack on her. We will leave Malta at night and intercept has at 150 miles or so off Malta.
I saw the Picture Dr., Wife and Nurse, Warner Baxter and Loretta Young, last night a Camp Cinema. Quite good, but probably two years old at least!
We are now fully up to strength in the squadron of twelve machines.
802 Those might Siskin fighters in Calgary were designed in 1921 and were not used in Britain after 1928. They are so slow you could hit them with a brick. In fact they are a disgrace.
As a radio comedian on the BBC said last night, "Britain's fighters (Spitfire and Hurricane) are so fast you don't hear them till ten minutes after they have landed.
Yes, we still have R.A.F. personnel in the squadron, but after April -no more R.A>F. officers will ever serve in the Fleet Air Arm. The admiralty will completely take over then, and all officers will be pukka navy. Shoot any questions than can be answered by mail!