May 21, 1939
Have been working practically day and night here in Egypt. Heat is terrific - over 160o for days and it finally got me - had bad stomach trouble and had to go to Hospital Ship Maine for ten days.
Had an annual medical test after and passed first class, so okay.
Last week I was sent to Aboukir (R.A.F. Depot Middle East) to superintend erection of our new fighters, which have just arrived from England. I flew mine back to Dekheila on Friday. They are the Gladiator high performance day and night fighter specially adapted for fleet air arm work. Beautifully equipped with sliding roofs and four Browning (American) machine guns firing forward. They are the fastest biplane fighter in the world, equipped with Mercury VIIIA 840 H.P. engines. Being a biplane, they are terrifically manoeuvrable and are rather tricky to handle.
Sykes, one of our most experienced pilots who has just arrived out from England, crashed into the sea on Saturday and was killed.
Aboukir is a very beautiful station and I enjoyed my stay immensely. Palm trees, drives and gardens all set out very tastefully. It was just off Aboukir that Napoleon's Fleet was beaten by Nelson in the Battle of Aboukir Bay.
I need not add that the swimming here is perfect and that I am collecting a really good tan.
Glorious has been ordered back to Malta for awhile, so my mail from you is in chaos - last letter was received from Indiana from Mother.
This letter will go Imperial Airways to London and thence to you. I hope to send you pictures of my new aeroplane shortly (Sea) Gladiator N5530.
I have certainly flown quite a few service types in the last few years. Miles Hawk, Hawker, Hart, Hawker Audax, Aero Tutor, Hawker Fury I, Hawker Demon, Miles Magister, Hawker Fury II, Hawker Nimrod, Hawker Osprey, Gloucester (Sea) Gladiator. Last three types fleet air arm.
I miss Canada and real, natural Canadians a great deal. Still, I'm having a wonderful experience and probably enjoying the best time any young man could. It certainly is a wonderful experience travelling about as I do out here, and I only hope I may do a period of service in China and the east Indies.
I read with great interest the progress of Their Majesties across Canada and hope you may see them.
There is some chance that I may be posted back to England this fall to form part of a nucleous of new squadrons, but this is doubtful at the present time.
I lost a stone since arriving here, what with heat and hospital. I now weigh only 184 lbs. During the day one's whole body drips perspiration (SWEAT!). Especially when the wind comes straight from the south off the desert. It's just like a furnace.
Give my love to the rest of the family.