April 11, 1940
I was sitting beside the radio listening to the news of what seems to be a major naval engagement off the coast of Norway and got the urge to write. Germany’s history has always been one of brutal conquest and Hitler seems anxious to exceed his predecessors in every respect. It makes my blood boil and I only wish I were in a position to help. However, I guess there is no shortage of manpower or equipment, so perhaps this time we will be able to give real help before it’s too late. I was afraid for a while that Norway might capitulate, leaving England in an awkward position, but this danger seems to have passed. I don’t think that Hitler expected the British navy to take such a firm stand, which gave us a certain element of surprise. From all accounts, the German navy losses have been very heavy and as the battle is still raging, perhaps this will be the turning point in the war.
The British seem confident that they can prevent the further landing of troops, which will give the Norwegians a chance to clean up those already there. One thing this latest German move will do, is remove the last vestige of doubt as to his intentions, so perhaps the smaller remaining countries will co-operate with the allies more fully. It will be interesting to see how Sweden behaves now that her sister nation is threatened. Will she help or go into a funk as usual. Perhaps some of the Swedes and Norwegians around home will be more anxious to fight “England’s War” now.
Well, so much for the war and so to more pleasant subjects. We played baseball on Wednesday afternoon and had a good game, defeating the 11th Field Battery 5-4 after a ding-dong battle. I have been picked as a member of the Battery team, being the only member of Tofield gang to gain a position. There is some talk of a fourteen-day leave with an ample subsistence allowance, so here’s hoping. If this ever materializes, I will certainly do London before returning to camp. The weather is pretty chilly at times, particularly at 6:45 in the morning, when we rally forth for P.T. In spite of the coolness, Spring must be here. We are subject to rapid changes in temperature here, one day being like June and the next like November, so don’t be too envious, but be glad you are living in a dry climate.
We see lots of planes flying around and yesterday two Spitfires went through a few antics for our benefit. I wouldn’t like to be a “Fritzy” pilot with one of those on my tail. One thing I forgot to mention in my previous letters was the search lights that surround the camp. Every night these batteries swing into action one after the other and present quite a spectacle as they send long pencils of light high into the sky. They seem to be able to focus the lights, changing from a fine pencil to a broad beam. The other night a British plane flew over and was immediately detected and lit up, indicating the accuracy of the search lights. I imagine if the necessity arose, these powerful search lights could light up the area like day, making it tough for enemy planes.
I just remembered that today is Alan’s birthday, so please convey my congratulations and slap his back for me. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if this war blew up before this time next year, so perhaps I can help eat his cake next year. I think I mentioned we have been having more than our share of lectures lately and, so far, this week has been much the same. You have no idea how much organization it requires to operate and keep a battery in the field. To begin with there are sixty-three vehicles in the battery and we have to learn the position and function of every single vehicle and the personnel. The one practical thing is the maintenance which we drivers have to learn.
In your last letter, you asked if I needed flash-light batteries, the answer is no, as I seldom find it necessary to use my flash-light and the original batteries are still good. When it is time to replace them, I can do so very reasonably, as there is no apparent shortage of batteries now.
I suppose the kids are all busy with their school work and you can take it from me, it’s a good idea to get a good education, as it is a necessity if you hope to make a living in these times. Often, I wish I had completed my schooling as I would like very much to get into the air force, as these boys seem to be having all the fun. Tell the kids I am sorry I can’t write to them all separately, but that I haven’t forgotten them. I hope they will write from time to time, as I am always glad to have their version.
Well, tomorrow is O.C.’s inspection plus “Kit” so will have to close and prepare for it. Love to all.