Nov 8th, 1944
This will give you an idea of the kind of time I had on my leave.
I had to go up to London to catch the train for Torquay. That was a ride of an hour & a half.
When I got to London I had to change stations. The best way was to take the underground which I did.
I had about 20 minutes to catch the train which was plenty of time if I had known just where to go but I didn't so it took me half an hour and I missed the train. The next train was in three hours which gave me time to look around a little.
The flying bombs have sure played hell with London there are whole blocks knocked out. You don't have to travel around much to see what they have done just walk out of the station and look around and you will see something. Well I caught the train all right and was it packed I had to stand for 4 of the 6 hours on the train.
The way things worked out I arrived in Torquay about 1:30 AM so I went to the "Y" for the night.
In the morning I started to look for the house. It took me about 20 minutes. A post man showed it to me.
I was a bit of a surprise to them as they didn't know I was coming.
That morning we walked around the town and along the beach for a couple of hours. The town is very nice except for the fact that you are always going up or down a hill. There is a very lovely harbor but there is no big shipping there as it is too open for that. It would be a grand place for a sail boat in the summer. At the present time there are no pleasure boats allowed out.
The beaches had all been mined and barbed wire defences put up but when I was there most of them had been taken down. There were still a few places where you could not get to because of them.
In the afternoon Mrs. Davis (Mrs. Coppens' sister), her daughter (whose name I have forgotten) and I went out to a place called Maiden Coombe. It is about 4 miles away along the beach.
Just abut the time that we got there it started to rain so we went into a tea shop in hopes that it would stop before we were ready to go home. The way it worked out we had to walk about half a mile then caught a bus so we didn't bet so very wet. That night we went to a show.
The next morning I caught the train back to London where I was to meet a couple of the boys and go on to Manchester with them.
I arrived there about 2 P.M. & met Jeff, but we could not find Grant as we found out later he had gone on without us. We caught a train at mid-night which got us to Manchester about 5 A.M. When I got off the train I was nearly frozen as there was no heat on the train. So you can see that I was not in a very good mood to arrive in a strange city. Neither one of us had ever been there before so we didn't know where to find the "Y". As it so happened it was only 2 blocks away. We went down there and slept the rest of the night in a couple of chairs.
About 9 o'clock we had some breakfast, got cleaned up then started out to see the town.
The Pubs open at 10:30 and close again at 2. In the evening they are open from 6 until 10. We sure got a kick out of the pubs around there as they all had a piano. Every evening they would have a sing-song they were sure a lot of fun.
I found a roller rink the second day that I was there and from then until I left I spent every afternoon skating. There was only one trouble with the rink, the fact that it was small and had 12 posts in the floor. The skates were a little the worse for wear. One thing that surprised me was the fact that there were very few girls there. That didn't worry me any, I had a good time with out them.
We spent nearly every evening going from one Pub to another to find one with a good lively crowd. I might say that I didn't get drunk but I got feeling good several nights.
It is all over now and I am looking forward to the next.
I have had two boxes from you in the last two weeks. One was mailed about Sept 15 and the other Sept 21st. The one mailed on the 21st arrived on Nov 7th.
The letter with the pictures also arrived yesterday. They are all very good.
I have been waiting for a sunny day to finish the roll that I have in the camera so I can send you some.
I know what you mean about the badge getting dirty. I have to polish mine every day, as well as the brass on my web and the buttons on my great coat even though I am not wearing it.
Well I think that I may be getting a course on auto-mechanics the reason for that is there [is] no call for fitters in the L.A.A. now. If I get it I may be at Brighton for about 3 months. From what the boys say it is a good school there.
Will you send me Bill's address as I want to get in touch with him. I think I know where he might be and if so I can see him if we each get a weekend and meet half way.
I am glad that you took a bond for me as I intended to tell you to get one. I bought another $100.00 the same as last time. I have to take it easy but there isn't much to spend money on around here.
Last weekend I was down to Hastings with Gordy Cox and met his wife. She is very nice I think that she will get along alright. She is however due for some big surprises when she gets home the customs are so very different here.
The people over here do most of their living in one room. If they don't they have to light the fire place in all the other rooms. I don't think that they use much central heating over here.
Another thing there are very few washing machines. They either do it by hand or send it out to a laundry.
I haven't heard from Ken now for about six weeks. I am going to write and I will let you know the results.
How long has Skippy been around I don't think that you have mentioned him before.
I received a box from Barbara to-day with a box of nuts and a pair of sox. The nuts are sure grand.
Dad asked in his letter the other day what the boys over here thought of the reserve army. To start with the boys all think they should be sent over. It was a mistake in the first place to break the army the way they did. It will cause and has caused a lot of friction. There are fights in the camps in Canada nearly every day but you don't hear about them. I have seen quite a few. One of the boys I was with in Halifax went to the hospital with a broken leg from one. The general opinion is that they should see action. We do need the reinforcements for the Canadian Army. I myself see no reason why they should not do their part.
They should have done it the way the States did it, you went in the army and went where you were sent. The whole army is "Active" and that is the way it should be.
I don't know what is happening to my cigarettes but I have not had any since the middle of Sept.
The day before yesterday I had a letter from Mrs. Davis asking me down for Christmas if I can make it. I don't think that I will be able to though. She also said that she would like me to come down on my next leave. I am going to try and make it.
My next leave is due in January so I will see what I can do then if I am not on a course.
There is also a possibility that I may get a course in survey instead of the auto mech. I don't know what will happen. The survey is a very good job in civil life. There is a large demand for it in BC. I will let you know the out come. It may be a couple of weeks before anything happens.
Well Mom I will close for now.