January 4, 1939
H.M.S. ST. ANGELO,
Thanks for letter of December 19 just received. Glad to hear about new car and proposed trip to the east.
You certainly had a good year in Alberta. I envy you your trip to Ontario and through the States - you should have the time of your life -nothing like it. Aunt Adelene and Uncle Ross will be delighted to see you. Everyone in Ripley wanted you to come east. From what Ross said I gather the new roads have all been put in since you were east last.
After dive bombing this morning F/Os Smith, Garlick and self did formation aerobatics. Practiced the loop in formation. Got them absolutely taped now and give us a great kick.
In tight "V" we dive and then up, up and over on our backs - still in pukka "V" formation then down and out straight and level again.
We do the loop together - Garlick on the left - self on right. We have our wings tucked inside Smith's throughout the whole loop. Before I went to England I didn't know such things could be done. I saw it at Hendon 1936 but never thought I would be capable of it.
To do formation aerobatics takes very skilful station keeping and can only be attempted after many hours formation practice. Both full rolls and half rolls are also done by aircraft in formation.
At Hendon 1937 - 25 Fighter Squadron did a looping attack on convoy. Nine machines continuously looping in line astern at target thus.
No ink so shall continue in pencil. We are still doing a lot of night flying. How would you like to touch down on an aerodrome at 70 m.p.h. with only a petrol flare to land by? A single seater fighter is a beautiful machine. You certainly feel wrapped up in your job. The rudder is adjustable so cockpit is comfortable even for a long-legged person like myself. Seat also adjusts up and down so my head is blown off! Instrument lights can be turned up or shaded down to any degree or completely off as dials are luminous.
By the way, it's very comfortable to fly behind a Rolls Royce when you are over the sea. The engine is a 12 cylinder - V type. That is two banks of six cylinders each in V. The aero engine is not quite as quite as auto type -in fact the roar is particular noted for its presence.
"Al" Williams, the U.S. Navy ace pilot crooned in delight when he heard the Rolls running over here at our aero show last summer. The States can't touch us when it comes to high speed liquid cooled engines. ("Schneider Cup and auto racing at Salt Lake).
Our fast torpedo motor boats are also equipped with Rolls aero engines.
If I will still in R.A.F. I could have met you in Canada for a holiday - but such is not to be. As it is, I'll be lucky if I ever get 61 days leave in two or three years' time. Then I might be called back after a week to go somewhere else.
I am certainly glad that I was able to go home last Christmas. It looks like the last time for quite awhile.
I am glad you bought that $50 suit. Uncle Ross is a flashy dresser and you will be able to put him in the shade.
The King and Queen are coming to Calgary and Edmonton, so be sure and see them in May.
The boys here in Malta believe that grasshopper story that Neelands sent but I have my doubts. Still, it looks quite true.
You can tell Gordon Neelands that it probably grew to that size on Holland Twine - I hear they won't touch anything else!!
P.S. Everyone asks about Aberhart. Give me all the latest dope. WHM