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Date: July 14th 1939

RAF Station Aboukir

July 14, 1939

Dear Dad:

Well, I shall be leaving here on Monday, I believe.

Today I ferried a Gladiator down to Abu Sueir, where it is going on reserve.

P.O Cullen flew me back in an Anson monoplane general reconnaissance machine - twin-engined.

During the trip he had me take over so he could read today's paper at a desk, so I got some valuable experience.

Yesterday morning F/O Schwab took me up as second pilot in a Vickers Valentia twin-engined bomber transport - carries 24 fully-equipped troops. I got one hour flying in on it. Very slow, cruises at 85 m.p.h. and lands at 30.

Then he took me up in a Blenheim again, when he did rolls and loops to my complete enjoyment at 300 m.p.h., which is stepping for a twin-engined bomber.

I might say that it takes a strong man to turn the wheel on a Valentia and bank one of the wings!

Yesterday afternoon Schwab took me to the Aboukir Boating Club, where I raced with him and P/O Browning in a fast sailing boat.

They had a big race on and about twenty boats took part. After a preliminary run I got the hang of what ropes to pull and slack off on the jib sail when we came about etc. and thereafter became an integral member of the crew.

I might say we timed our opening run beautifully and crossed the starting line only five seconds late. (This takes real judgment!) It was absolutely wizard - the boat heeled right over and spray shooting across in a steady sheet - we were soaked for the whole race, but out here that's nothing.

We crossed the finishing line and heard the pistol shot. Incidentally, the first time Schwab's boat ever won a race. Drinks certainly flowed at the club! The whole race was run in Aboukir Bay over the wrecks of Napoleon's fleet.

I will be sorry to leave this station. It is without doubt the finest in the R.A.F. Living expenses are very high though, and R.A.F. officers draw £10 colonial pay extra every month. The Fleet Air Arm has quite a few drawbacks, but one certainly gets around! (Disregard the exclamation marks if I put in too many.)

I like to receive letters from you very much and get a great kick from them so keep up the good work.

I have a wizard sun tan and am very good at swimming these days. In fact I wouldn't mind taking you on with one hand and one leg tied.

P/O Cullen, who flew me back from Abu Sueir today, is an Australian. If they took the pilots from the colonies and dominions out of the R.A.F. they would have to pack up completely.

I have had no pictures of the family for ages - I am sure Ronny has completely changed. How about a collection?