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Date: February 19th 1942

February 19, 1942                                                                                                 

Received two very nice letters when I got back from leave on Tuesday. The first was from Mother and the second from Alan, both mailed around the fifth of January. I am sorry to hear that you have caught yourself another cold as I have one myself and know how miserable they can be. While I think of it, I will repeat for the fifth time, I received the Xmas cake, the telegram and the postal note, thank you very much. I was very glad to hear that my parcel arrived safely and pleased that you liked what it contained. It is very difficult to get anything these days, as anything outside the rationing is rare and expensive. Alan gave a very good résumé of last year’s work and conditions in general. Perhaps the surplus wheat will find an outlet in the synthetic rubber industry, which is rapidly springing up, now that our supply of natural rubber has been lost.

I went on leave with Art McLaughlin on the tenth and had a very good time, all considered. I didn’t have a travel warrant, so confined my activities to London and suburbs. We went dancing at the Locarno in Streatham, skating at Richmond, and dancing again at the Palais in Hammersmith. We also saw several good shows including Sgt. York.

Well, Winter is still with us and it’s very cold today, though the ground is almost completely free of snow. We celebrated our second year in England on the eighth of this month and it seems even longer since we dropped anchor in a Northern port. Things certainly look black in the East, don’t they? I don’t know who is to blame, but feel that unless the rot in the Government is stopped soon, there is no telling where our series of defeats will end. I am afraid I have lost a great deal of respect for the ruling class in this country in the last two years, in spite of my honest desire to only look for the best in them. They seem incapable of action until it’s much too late. The escape of the three German battleships through that channel last week did more to shake the peoples’ confidence than even the subsequent loss of Singapore. It made my blood boil to think of those poor chaps who were sent out in the obsolete “Swordfish” torpedo planes to attack what was probably the best protected convoy in naval history. It wasn’t surprising that of the six sent out, none returned. I don’t suppose the name Swordfish” conveys a great deal to you, but I have made a study of aircraft in my spare time and know all the types, their load capacity and their speed. This particular plane carries two small torpedoes and has a speed, when loaded, of about one hundred miles per hour. To cap the whole thing off, the torpedoes carried were too small to inflict serious damage on a battleship, even if by good luck and providence, they should manage to penetrate the protective screen of fighter craft and the concentrated “Ack” from the ships.

I started work in the Q.M. stores yesterday, which, by the way, is to be my new job. We had an Ack examination just before I went on leave and am glad to say I passed. There were about thirty who wrote and eleven passed. Must close now and get to work.