R.H. Gray S/Lt
Dear Mother and Dad,
The mail has been very bad, I am afraid. I have yet to get any mail from Canada except one from you Dad that was sent to Halifax. I hope it improves soon as I do enjoy getting mail. The air-mail is bad too. I expect they often cannot make it in this winter weather. However I shall get a whole bunch of letters one of these days. It may be better for you for the next while to send all letters by ship. It is at the moment faster.
I am enclosing a cheque which I cashed in English money. It will be a bit late I am afraid but you can get a Christmas present for the home with it. It is not much but you can get something with it. Along with it I send my very best wishes for the season and I do trust that you will have had a nice Christmas and New Year and that business has been good.
I have not heard from Jack lately so I don’t really know where he is. He should be writing me shortly so that I shall be able to get in touch with him. I expect to get a few days leave around Christmas time so I shall be seeing him again soon.
Some of the fellows are getting rather tired of it down here. It really is quite a distance from any place but I like it. We have very comfortable quarters and very good food. we get a lot of service from the Wrens, our shoes are polished in the morning and they bring us a cup of tea in the morning if we want it. If we ask them nicely they will wash our sox for us. We have one called Betty. She seems to like us so she does a lot of extra things that are nice. We give them ten shillings a month each. So, being unused to such service in the navy I really appreciate it.
The flying end of it is really nice, too. We are flying Hurricanes (Remember the battle of Britain). They fairly whistle along and are really nice to fly. I guess I cannot really tell you much about our course as we are not supposed to so I won’t say any more about it now.
I have bought a new suit from Austin Reed, London. It is really a beautiful thing. I wish you could see it. It is almost like chamois it is so soft and warm. I also got a greatcoat. The whole issue suit, coat, braid, wings etc. cost me some thirty pounds so they should be good. The suit I bought in Canada is getting a bit scruffy now but I am using it as a work suit so it really does not matter.
My trunk finally caught up with me and I was certainly glad to get it. I had brought two hams over with me for John Stewart. They are all mildewed on the outside but I expect they will be alright when they are scraped off. He is sending them to an uncle of his. Another nice thing about this place is that we no longer have to live out of our suit-cases or sea bags. We can put everything in proper drawers and really live properly. Each of us have a big bureau with three big drawers and two small ones. We also have a wardrobe each to hang suits, etc. And, I for one, really appreciate it. It is more like home than anyplace I have been so far. I don’t worry about being far from anyplace because there really is not much incentive to go out. I have bought a few books and if I feel like reading I either sit down in the mess or in my cabin and read. In the mess there is a billiard table and a ping-pong table. There are also all the latest magazines and newspapers. Stewart and I have also been playing a fair amount of badminton. It is really nice to play the game again after being away from it for so long. So you can see that we don’t feel like going out much. Expenses, here, are low. The food bill is only one shilling a day so that we are not really doing too badly as far as that goes. And since there is no place else to go to spend it we are saving money.
I am sorry Dad but the allotment will not start until the end of January. That is because they have to correspond with Ottawa etc. But I have made the allotment and you will start getting it then. We got our back-pay which amounted to 140 £. So with that settled and our baggage here we have nothing to worry about any more. It is rather a strange feeling.
Do tell me all about how this new Japanese affair is affecting you. I expect the people in Vancouver are really worried about things. I do hope that nothing occurs there. I don’t want them to have to go through what they went through over here. But it has given the Canadians and Americans a real jolt I expect and they should wake up now to the fact that the war is theirs too. It really is a big job now and I only hope that it won’t take too long to get over.
Dad, I have written both the Gyros and the Stevenson girl. I have not yet received the parcel from the Gyros but it may be here soon. When it comes I shall write them again and thank them.
How is Phyllis? Are you going up there in March?
Much love to you all and I hope to hear from you soon,
Your loving son,
[Editor’s note: While no year was included with the written date, the letter’s contents indicate it was 1941.]