Fleet Air Arm Detachment
June 10, 1939
Have received a lot of mail from home lately - probably because Glorious is in harbour. A new order has come out that the type of squadron is to be left out of addresses on envelopes so as to confuse the enemy - what a hope! - but from now on just refer to 802 Squadron instead of 802 Fleet Fighter Squadron.
I am sorry to hear about Graham's death - quite a blow to the Murrays having two sons killed.
Max certainly seems to have done well at Trenton. It's pretty good to have a real permanent job these days - especially in Canada.
England can't get enough pilots for her commercial air companies -dozens and dozens of flying jobs are going begging, and one never sees an out-of-work air pilot advertising for a job.
I certainly wish that the CAG scheme had been working in Canada when I was going to school. The charges for flying in civil schools is next for nothing here in England. Still, I think the government is wasting a lot of money subsidizing women to fly.
How did Jean manage to catch chicken pox! It is very prevalent in Egypt. I hope you didn't transfer the germs in your letter!
Life is very pleasant here. We have been living in tents for some time now and I am a real camper. We are exceedingly fortunate in being situated by the sea, so we swim every afternoon. The water is unbelievably pleasant and warm, and the sand of course perfect. My subflight has formation aerobatics really weighed up these days, and we put in many hours practising.
Once formation rolls and loops are mastered, other formation flying is comparatively easy. And one can maintain beautiful position during dives and steep turns.
We gave a party in Alexandria last night to Lieut. Nott, Royal Marines, who has been promoted to Captain. He is our "A" Flight Commander and is 28. Also, a farewell to F/Os Smith, Bell and Garlick who are going home - all but Garlick, who is going to the Citadel Military Hospital in Cairo to have an appendix operation tomorrow.
Even the slightest cuts take ages to heal up out here. It think it's because of the heat and the thinning out of one's blood - I am sure it would take me a long time to acclimatize back to Canadian standards.
Bill Dilto got a Centra Flying School Course straight from F.T.S. under a scheme which lasted for a couple of months, but has since been cancelled as unsatisfactory.
The idea was to keep the experienced personnel in squadrons and to train likely-looking F.T.S. pupils as instructors straight off.
There is no doubt that they can fly technically as well as anyone with thousands of hours, but they haven't the experience of all conditions, which they are likely to meet.
For instance, one can do a slow roll as good if not better at F.T. School than one can years later.
Swhab, a Canadian I met out here in 80 Squadron last year, is now doing test flights of Blenheims and Gladiators at Aboukir as they arrive out of crates.
I must say that Canadians invariably do very well indeed in the Royal Air Force. In fact if tomorrow all the Dominion and colonial pilots left the Royal Air Force, over a third of their flying personnel would disappear.