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Date: August 13th 1916

The Royal Aero Club,

Dear Pater,

Here I am back again safe and sound, and feeling very much less foggy and stupid as a result of my little trip.

Jarvis and I went by train to Farnboro on Friday morning. It was not until 3.30 p.m. however, that the machine was ready for us and we were able to get away. We had a fine trip as far as Folkestone whiling away the time by writing notes to each other. The mist was very thick over the channel but we climbed up to 5000 feet and made a dash for it. It got thicker and thicker though and it wasn’t many minutes before we got quite lost. It was rather nasty for awhile as we couldn’t see the sun and it was quite impossible to see the instrument board, which was the only guide left to us as to whether the old buss was upside down or right side up. We must have got up on one wing and side-slipped, for we suddenly saw the water only a few hundred feet below us. May be we didn’t climb some! Finally we saw the sun and then the White cliffs at Dover and we headed for those. We landed at a Canadian camp near Folkestone, and they were awfully nice to us- gave us some supper, helped us to picket the machine for the night and put a guard around it for the night. Jarvis and I in the meantime went in to Folkestone for the night. Oh, by the way, the chap who looked after us was "Reg" Geary- one time mayor of Toronto. He is the Staff Captain in this regiment, and I can’t quite make it out, as it is a New Brunswick regiment.

Next morning ( yesterday) it was much clearer and we decided to try it again. Our trip across was quite uneventful except that our engine failed once and Jarvis had to bustle around for a little before he found that the mechanical petrol-pump had gone on strike, but it soon picked up when he started using the hand pump.

We headed for Boulogne when we started but evidently did not allow enough for the south wind which was blowing and when we signed the French coast we found ourselves over Calais. Our destination was, of course, much farther inland and it was nearly two hours later when we landed at the aerodrome and handed over our machine.

We went into a town nearby for lunch, and saw ever so many interesting and, to me, unfamiliar sights. We passed a big batch of German prisoners, all looking very much used up, and many of them quite sick. ( I should think they would too after all the Huns on the Western Front have cone through lately) But we had an even closer acquaintance than that with them, for one of them was too badly wounded to walk and we had to take him in to town in our tender, with a couple of guards of course. He didn’t smell very nice, but not so very much worse than his guards nevertheless.

There was no machine for me to come back in so I had to come back by train to Boulogne and across to Folkestone by boat. Unfortunately there were no boats until this morning and I had to stay over-night in a little French hotel- with a very grand name- in Boulogne. I rather enjoyed the novelty of it, trying to make people understand what I meant, for all my French would scarcely fill an egg-cup. This morning I came across with a lot of officers on leave and we were all decked out in life belts and escorted by a torpedo boat destroyer all the way across- just so that we wouldn’t forget that there was a real war on.

I have had three days leave, and am feeling as fit as a fiddle and ready for any amount of work to-morrow.

Must close for now, Dear Pater. Will write again this week. With heaps of love to everybody.

As always,

Original Scans

Original Scans