No. 19 R.S.
Royal Flying Corps
Dear Ones All,
Mother’s dear letter to us, and other good letters from Ruth and Fred comprise the news budget from home this week. By the way, I think you had better stop addressing my letters "c/o Training Bde" The address on this letter head will get me from now on until I give you another address or else this one- the house where we are living- "Avondale" Wellington Road South, Hounslow, Middlesex.
I have been doing a lot of flying lately and have had some very amusing experiences. The day before yesterday it was blowing a perfect gale- one of those winds that you can lean up against, you know! One of the flight commanders decided that it would be rather good fun to try a cross country flight so he decided to go to Northolt where there is an aerodrome, and asked me to take another machine and go too. We each took a passenger for company’s sake and set out. It was quite the funniest flight I have ever had in my life. The bumps were worse than anything I have ever experienced, and we were doing nose dives, side slips, tail slides and every conceivable sort of contortion. I had no reason to complain of monotony during that trip for I was as busy as the proverbial one-armed paper hanger with the hives all the time. Then too the clouds were very low and at 1000 feet we had lost sight of the ground altogether, also we lost sight of the other machine. Mr. Flight Commander got to Northolt with his passenger, but we never saw the bloomin' place at all. My passenger was a qualified pilot with wings and no doubt with the map and the compass which he had we should have reached our destination without trouble but unfortunately the stunts that the old bus was doing made him sick at his stomach and he was not able to take very much interest in his surroundings. After we had been in the air about 15 minutes he turned his delicate green face to me and with the saddest air in the world indicated that he hadn’t the foggiest notion as to where we were. He certainly was the picture of woe and I couldn’t help laughing at him. By this time the wind had carried us pretty far westwards and the air was clearer, so we tootled around for just two hours before we saw anything that we could recognize. Then I thought I saw Windsor Castle. Turning south we came across Virginia Water and after that it was plain sailing. I steered for Brooklands, landed there and saw my old friend Jarvis who is now a flight commander there, and after a little rest barged away home to Hounslow. We had covered something over 160 miles of country and in bad weather too and I was mighty tired.
To-day I had a fine time doing my altitude test. That is climbing up to 8000 feet, then shutting off your engine and landing on the aerodrome without using it again. It was bitterly cold and I had quite a job trying to keep my hands and feet from being frozen, as even on the ground to-day was one of the coldest days we have had this winter. The clouds looked beautiful with the sun shining on them as I climbed above them, resembling great fields of snow piled in great heaps. I had an almost overwhelming desire to get out and wade about in then but on second thought decided not to. I was mighty glad, on account of the cold, when my altimeter showed 8000 and I could point my nose downwards. Had good sport coming down first 2000 in a right hand spiral, second 2000 in a left hand spiral, third 2000 in a straight volplane' back to the aerodrome and the last 2000 in slow circuits of the aerodrome until I had lost enough height to glide in. Everything was quite O.K. and I have one less test to look forward to now.
Molly never shows by word or sign that she worries about me. Bless her plucky little heart! She surely is the dearest little wife that any man could ever hope to call his own, and she is a greater comfort to me than you can possibly imagine. She is curled up in a little ball before the fireplace as I write, having a nap, but before she went to sleep she told me to give you all her love. And with that message I shall close. With all my own love to each one of you, dear people, I remain,
Yours as always,
P.S. I'm enclosing a couple of snapshots of some of the boys taken at the aerodrome. "E"
P.S. # 2. Father, please note leather gauntlets "E"