7 June 1916.
Dear Ones All,
This is some paper, isn’t it! It is all I can find, however so you must excuse it. I am all curled up in bed too all ready to turn out the light and go to sleep when I have finished this, so on the whole there is every prospect of its being rather an awful looking letter.
The news that Harry is possibly coming over here seems almost too good to be true. It is an enormous sacrifice for him to make, and how this step may alter his future is a thought which I am sure he had deliberately banished from his mind in making his decision. However, it is a step which makes us all mighty proud of him, and you may be very sure that the youngest of the family at least is just too pleased for words at the prospect of having him over here. I had a note to-day from him saying that he was leaving immediately for Canada to make arrangements, and am now eagerly awaiting word as to whether or not he was successful.
The big naval battle and the death of Kitchener during the past week have made the last few days full of interest. The whole country was plunged in gloom over the naval engagement for a couple of days until the whole truth came out and it was found that what was at first thought to be a defeat was in reality a great victory, and a staggering blow to the hopes of the German fleet. "Poor old Kitch" is the expression one hears everywhere to-day. But really his loss is not nearly so great from a military point of view as one would have expected. Ten or twelve months ago it would have been serious indeed, but now the nation has found itself as it were, and the spirit and influence of the great K. of K. are working throughout the whole army. His work of organization has been completed, and the general feeling seems to be that any one of the several of his subordinates is capable of finishing up the job. Sir William Robertson looks like the most probably successor. Certainly he is one of the men who possess the ability and personality to step into Kitchener’s shoes.
I almost flew over to France the other day. Had it all arranged to go over as a passenger with a pilot who was taking across a new machine, was on the aerodrome at Farnboro with my leather coat, cap and goggles on, and the engine was just being tuned up,- when a phone call came from Brigade H.Q. telling me I was to get some information concerning some machines there at F’boro, and the pilot couldn’t wait for me so I was left behind. I was peeved, to say the least, but I’ll probably get a chance again some time soon. If only I could get away from the office oftener I would be able to have lots of joy-rides for I know so many of the Squadron C. O.’s now, and there are ever so many aerodromes within a short distance from London.
The Toronto papers keep coming now and then, Father, and are always a great treat. I see poor old McAulay had quite a bad crash in the big Curtiss boat near Newport News. Molly sent me some clippings about it. Funny stunt for a propellor to come off in the air, isn’t it! Never heard of such a thing happening before. Curtiss machines have a terrible reputation over here on account of their inferior workmanship- many pilots won’t fly them at all. It was an eye-opener to us Canadian boys when we came here to discover that Curtiss machines were never spoken of without some joke being added about "their wings falling off in the air" or their "melting in the sun" Of course, much of it is exaggeration, but certainly they are not to be compared with any of the English, French or German machines that I have seen.
By the way one of our B.F.C. pilots the other day was taking a machine across to France, lost his way and came down by mistake in a German aerodrome. I can imagine how pleased the German officers were when he handed them over this perfectly good £3,000 machine- it was absolutely new and one of the first of a new and improved type. You should have seen how pleased General Salmond was over it too! I think perhaps it is just as well for that cub pilot that the Huns have him in safe keeping.
I am glad to hear that the feet are better, Father, but sorry to hear that they are not quite well yet. I do hope that all your pain and inconveniences are at an end by this time. Oh, how I do wish I could see each one of you again. Please tell me all about Harry as soon as possble. With heaps of love.
Yours as always,