July 10, 1942(Extracts)
We are still in the same camp doing the same things and reading the daily papers to learn about the War. I did think for a while we would see action this year, but events of late seem to make this unlikely, particularly that our shipping losses are heavier than ever. I fail to see how we can hope to invade the Continent when we lose ships faster than we can build them. The reverses in Libya haven’t helped any either, though I feel confident we will be able to hold the Suez. There is very little air activity over this country now, though we see the planes pass over nearly every day on their way to France. My heart is still in the air, but somehow, I have a feeling that before this war is over, I may yet realize this ambition. I am still in the office, though I can’t say it appeals to me as a job. It has its points, however, as I’m learning office procedures, improving my spelling and my memory and it is a very soft job. You see, in this job I don’t do any guards or fatigues which is almost enough to keep me here until such a time as we go into action.
The weather has been grand for the past month, dry and warm, but today it broke and at present a gentle rain is falling and I’m still enough of a farmer to appreciate the good it must be doing to the crops which were getting very dry.
I wrote about a week ago about a bit of poetry which I hope you will like, and in any case, let me know if you receive it. In Dad’s letter, he mentioned the raid on Exeter plus the fact that he was Christened there. The strange part of it is that I very narrowly missed being in the thick of it and, as it was, I arrived in Exeter the day after and took time to stroll around the city and see the damage myself. I wasn’t able to see the interior of the Cathedral, though I walked all around it and it seemed to be almost gutted. I cut a picture out of the Toronto Star which I will enclose, as I walked right down the street shown in the picture. I stayed overnight in Exeter on one other occasion with a very nice lady who knew George Westlake of Hastings Lake. On the last trip, I walked down the same street and found the whole thing flat from end to end. I have often wondered since if this poor woman was among the casualties, or whether she was lucky enough to be among those who took refuge in an air shelter in time.
I will be going on leave in about a month’s time and think I will pay Major Gen. Swinton a visit, as I have a standing invitation to pay and him and his wife a visit any time I can manage to make the trip. I think it would be very pleasant as he seems to be quite a humourist. I have met his sister, Maud Swinton down in Devon who was, at that time, living in London near Woolwich arsenal. I haven’t heard from Liulf for some time but I heard indirectly that he had received his third stripe.