February 23, 1941
Just a few lines from my new camp to give you the low down. We left our billets yesterday at five a.m. and hit the road by seven. We arrived at our destination at two p.m. none the worse for wear and a very uneventful trip. Our present camp is a large and famous British Army artillery range situated on the plains. We are divided into troops with each troop having its own barrack room. It certainly is quite a change as we are sleeping on the floor on straw mattresses in place of the nice beds and sheets. However, we are quite comfortable and, in the army, you learn to sleep almost anywhere. Today we tested all the instruments on the guns, which by the way, acting in the capacity of “Limber Gunner” have a hand in. After this we had two-hours’ gun drill and, according to the Sgt., I have all the makings of an A-1 gunner. I’ll tell you how I came into the job of “Limber Gunner.” On Thursday, the regular man went on leave, so the Sgt. announced I would have to “pinch hit” for the duration of our present shoot. I don’t want to blow my trumpet, but after being shown once, I was able to tear down and reassemble the rather complicated firing mechanism, which pleased the Sgt. very much, not to mention “yours truly.”
I have practically given up trying to get into the R.A.F., but must say I feel much better now that I am on the guns as I really am learning something at last. The camp here covers a huge area and at present is beautifully muddy, as it has been raining and snowing alternatively all afternoon.
What do you think of the general situation over here now? Those damned Gerries seem to have everything their own way at present, but I think our turn will come. I think the real danger lies in their attempts to sink our shipping. Things have been very quiet for the past two months and we often have as many as five alarms in five days in a row. You can certainly depend on it, that if old Fritz tries to land on this island he will receive a warm reception, and how.
You have no idea to what extent the military authorities have gone to insure our safety. Well, so much for this side of pond as I’m sure the newspapers can handle the news much better than I. Tell the kids, Audrey and Shirley, that I think they must really have something to offer the public if old Worton was forced to admit it. You can also tell her nibs, Miss Lorna Swinton, that I would like a report on her doings, and soon.
I often wonder if Alan is doing wisely in being a farmer, as I believe he has qualities which will carry him a long way if he uses them to the full and does the farm offer enough opportunities? Speaking of farming, I often think now of all the things which I took for granted. For instance, the eggs, which we held in contempt, would be a very welcome sight right now, as a hen’s egg is almost as scarce as her teeth. We get plenty to eat, but due to rationing, it is usually pretty monotonous. However, we are not losing any weight, so we shouldn’t kick, but boy, will I ever do justice to a “Swinton Special” when I come home.