[Editor’s note: The letter's date was written by Stubbs as “1943” but the postmark and content date it as 1944. Transcription provided by collection donor.]
March 20, 1943
Well this letter should be all about my leave and I am afraid it can’t. You see I must have ate something that didn’t agree with me which gave me something like dysentery but with no temperature rise. It really started two days before my leave and I didn’t surrender for a week. Now I have been in hospital a week and have just about recovered. If I get out in two days, as I should, I should be just in time to catch the train back to the station with the rest of the crew. Some holiday—I suppose I could get more but then I’d have no crew when I got back probably as I should have been replaced.
Travelling is usually considered rather a trial but I came down in a first class sleeper which was very luxurious. Something like a compartment on a Canadian train but better. It was air conditioned, and with a bed far more comfortable than that to which I have been accustomed. Tea in bed in the morning was the final touch.
In London I stayed at the Cumberland Hotel, Marble Arch which must be as comfortable as any in town. It is very modern, just like any good C. N. R. hotel with private bathrooms for every room. But unlike all Canadian hotels it has many good bars scattered around.
At B. C. House I found out that my first lot of cigs had arrived some time ago and had been sent to the wrong squadron. They gave me 50 as a consolation prize and they should come in regularly now.
As soon as I arrived in town I had lunch at Mrs. Masseys Officers Club; primarily to see if there were any names on the register I might recognise. There weren’t so I then called on Bob Knox and he told me that Bob Willis and also Cally McLaren were in town and Rick Benmore had just left. Willis was at Knox’s place so I started out for his place. On the way I called in at my usual club and heard that Peter was in town finishing up a 9-day leave. I left a note for him and then went to see Bob. Later on I caught up with Peter and we made a night of it—first of all to another club until it closed and then to a dance until about three. This semi private club where we were dancing had no cover charge but was very expensive. £3-10 for a bottle of gin I think. I spent most of the next two days with Peter and then he returned to his unit. He wanted me to come down for a day the following week and see what it was like to ride in a tank but of course I couldn’t. The next day (Sat.) I went to the Air Force doc who gave me some medicine which didn’t help much and I moved in here on Monday. On Sunday I walked up to Madame Taussauds and then to Mrs. Massey near Trav. £. so I am learning a bit about London. At Mrs. Masseys I met a captain (a doctor) who was at university with me. In the afternoon we looked in at a tea dance at the Overseas Club and one at the Grosvenor, both for officers, and then walked up to my hotel where we had supper.
I’ve now got to write a few explanatory letters, such as to Uncle Geoff who must be wondering where I am.
With love from