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Date: November 6th 1939


November 6, 1939

Dear Mother:

Please find enclosed a picture of Willy landing on or coming over the round-down preparatory to landing on Glorious. Note the four flaps down on the inside of the wings - also four guns - two in fuselage slits and one each underneath bottom wings. When you want manoeuvrability combined with high speed and rate of climb, come along with me in a Sea Gladiator. My new address is c/o Maidstone II, but don't bother to change the present address as by the time your letters start arriving it will change again and create greater confusion and loss of time.

I am sorry that I won't be home for Christmas again this year and sample some of your good cigars and incidentally give the new car a spin. I'd give a lot to be back in 41 Squadron, whose motto you know was "Seek and Destroy: - taken no doubt from the Air Fighting Manual in which it states: "The object of Fighter Command, or as we say in England, 'Fighting Area' is to seek out and destroy enemy aircraft."

I am glad to hear that the two Flying Officers in charge of the two Sunderland Flying Boats who landed in the sea and rescued the complete crew of 34 from a ship that had been sent to the bottom were decorated with Distinguished Flying Crosses. One boat took 20 and the other 14. They (Flying Boats) intercepted the ship's S.O.S. and arrived over the spot just as the ship went down. The officers in command certainly used initiative and a high degree of skill. The decision of the Royal Air Force to train vast numbers of pilots in Canada away from the threat of war is an exceedingly brilliant one. I believe pilots from all the Dominions and colonies will go there for training. United States has just repealed the embargo on the shipment of goods to England, which is also a great help. Our mail officer is a Canadian officer from Carstairs - a Pilot Officer R.A.F. - unfortunately his name slips me at the present moment. Trained as a pilot and has to do ground duties - rough luck. There are a log of stooge jobs in the services and one has a difficult time steering clear of them at times.

My new salary is £30 a month, but see very little of it after all expenses are paid. Is that life assurance policy good now that "Spring is here?"

How do I get attached to the Canadian forces? Unfortunately I suppose I am too valuable to the navy now. One learns to detect a certain class of ship - say a Tribal Destroyer - at some distance. Very few laymen can detect the differences between battle ships, battle cruisers, and cruisers, destroyers, depot ships, mine layers, etc. We even have all German and Italian types memorized.

Love Bill