July 20th, 1944
Dear Mom and Dad,
Received your letter of June 26th today requesting that I should send you my poem. Well, seeing that there isn’t very much news to send, I can write it out and enclose it this time. I also sent it in to Mr. Simpson and he liked it very much. I haven’t written any at all since I came over here. I don’t seem to be able to think straight ever since I came back. Right now, I have a terrific headache: I think caused by the noise in the DR. Trainer this afternoon. It was terrific!
We haven’t been flying very much lately, the weather has been atrocious in fact, it has been so bad that I guess it has materially slowed up our advance in Normandy. So, seeing that we have done so little flying in this past week, we have been held over another week. But there is also a rumour that we are going on seven days’ leave, so maybe things are not quite so bad as they might be. I’m going down to East Grinstead to see Sadie in spite of the flying bombs. I guess she is getting a pretty stiff workout these days: she doesn’t say anything about them in her letters and I almost wish she did because I do like to know how she is getting on. But she never says anything so I’ll have to ask her for information.
Roses seem to be good all over the world this year. I have never seen such roses as are blooming over here. Great, rich red blooms with a perfectly heavenly scent: it fills the air every evening that is is not raining, which isn’t very often! I can smell them right now, but I think it is going to rain later on. Down in Surrey where Sadie is staying, the woman’s house is covered with roses and the gardens are a mass of blooms! I guess Uncle Jim and Aunt Minnie are looking at yours right now as I write, for you say in your letter that they expect to reach there about mid-July and this is the 20th. Tomorrow is Sadie’s birthday too. I had gathered together a parcel to send to her but sent it to Canada before I knew she was coming over: so now, God only knows where it is. I expect she’ll be getting it in time for Christmas. I was lucky though, because Hilary looked up some old jewellry that I had collected over here in 1942 and left with her. So I sent it on to Sadie. There was a 5-leafed clover set between glass plates and encircled by a gold ring, a tiny charm of gold made in the form of a flat iron, a tiny ruby set on a pendant and a gold collar stud. They are lovely pieces made about 1790 and really exquisitely-fashioned. I hope she likes them.
Now about Burt and Kay. Really Mother, you shouldn’t worry yourself so much. People of her kind there are in plenty in this world and they always manage to get along somehow. As long as she doesn’t sponge on you she will be forced to work because people of her kind are fonder of their comforts than they are afraid of work, and they’ll work for their comfort if they are forced to. And she certainly will be forced to if you refuse to work for her. I don’t blame you a bit for refusing: I would too. Burt had enough warning from all of us, but I can’t help feeling sorry for him. It must be rather hard on him having all our prophesies come true because I expect he loved her. As for both of them knowing how not to have children, you don’t need to be surprised or disgusted at that because there are very few people (young people anyway) in the world today who don’t know how not to have children. It is common knowledge amongst us all and in spite of the fact that it is learned in rather dubious ways, it still seems to be pretty authentic. I have made a study of these things in books and talking to my friends who are married or are doctors, and I can judge from what I hear how much really authentic information there is circulating amongst young people. I knew what Burt knew when I was home because I asked him: he told me. I also talked to Kay because so far as I could see if they were bound to get married, it was best they shouldn’t have any children to complicate things. I could have spared myself all my trouble: they both knew nearly as much as I do anyway.
Stan’s address is #1 CIRU. CAOS. England. I haven’t heard from him yet. Well, I guess there isn’t much more I can say just now. We are flying tonight: better get ready.
Have you a copy of “To a Fighter Pilot” and another air poem I wrote? If you have, please send them to me.
TO FIGHTER PILOT
written during the Battle of Britain: 1940
You who are gone, escaped this little life
And - passing upward, left the fields of strife:
Were fashioned in a new nobility
With mind unshackled and soul set free
From bonds of sordidness. This hating world
Had changed for you - for in its teeth you hurled
Your battle cry: “This little that I am
I give!” Your alter: red blood ran....
And when God called for greater sacrifice
You did not stint but gave your all: your life.
And now your noble soul has found release,
The storm has passed for you: you are at peace.
God grant this war-torn world can justify your deed
By founding peace: as tribute to its gallant dead.