June 8, 1942
You must have begun to wonder what has happened to me for my memo diary shows it is a long time since I last wrote. This lapse in writing is partly due to a 96-hour pass terminating at 6:30 this morning during which time I travelled to Vancouver and back. But more about that later.
Last time I wrote I was just finishing duty watch. The following week we did a great deal of drill and towards the end mostly with rifles—old Ross guns that haven’t been cleaned since the last war. During this week the weather was bad—cold and much rain. On Thursday it snowed so hard all morning we were kept in our huts and in the afternoon drilled indoors. During a lull in the snowing we were moved to a new hut—number 11, our closest to the mess house for there was only #12 and the hospital buildings between us.
Tuesday night was the first night I was allowed out after duty watch so despite heavy rain I pushed off to see Cliff and Kay. It was a very interesting evening so that at 10:00 I suddenly realised I had ½ hour to get home. I just made it but didn’t have to take a street car.
Nothing much happened over the weekend of May 31st. Two of us went for a walk around the university grounds and were I used to ski. Except for the addition of a few air force buildings there is very little change.
On Monday June 1 we had our longest day of drill. This was to prepare for a drill test the next day which was supposed to decide whether or not we moved to the disposal wing. (I have never heard of any failures). Then on Tuesday afternoon four flights of us were put thru our paces by the C. O. We carried rifles all the time which was very tiring but apparently we didn’t show this and must have looked better than ever before.
With the C. O. was an officer from Ottawa, head of all the manning depots I think and after he had gone the CO said we had done very well and he gave us a 96-hour leave. (Previous classes got 72 hours but so many come form Vanc. and had stayed AWL an extra day. I suppose the authorities decided to bow to the inevitable.)
Our leave was to start on Thursday 6:30 am. We had hoped it would be a day later so that we would not have to spend a Sunday on the train but it could not be helped.
Wednesday was a very slack day. We had a photograph taken of the flight, moved to another hut (#1 this time—the far end of the line) and paraded for our passes.
At 4:30 we left for Calgary—43 of us on a special bus. Travelling via CPR got us into Vancouver Thursday night instead of Friday morning.
Of about 96 men getting leave nearly 40 went to Vancouver. We had arranged for a special day coach which was attached in Calgary. It was the dirtiest coach I have ever seen—couldn’t have been touched for months. We complained loudly but no one seemed to have the authority to make matters aright. About half our number moved out that night and found other places and by noon the next day but three remained—why I don’t know for there was lots of room up ahead.
I stayed at the boarding house in Vanc. It was a grand holiday and all too short. On Friday I looked in at the office and had lunch with the boys. No one had left since I but quite soon about nine are leaving for various services or govt. jobs. On the way home I got a berth on the train. This sitting up at night is no good and knowing that the next night would be spent on the bus it was a good investment. Nevertheless I am still trying to catch up on my sleep.
Now we are waiting to be posted to another station and during this time are supposed to do a lot of fatigue work. So far I have escaped with about an hours work cleaning a hut but this state of affairs won’t last long. They have started the wireless classes again which I hope to attend regularly. Everybody says it is most important to know your wireless before you get to I. T. S. for you haven’t much time there.
The elementary flying school here is practically close dup as the airport is taken over by Americans and lately a large number of planes have been passing through such as Flying fortresses, Consolidated Liberators, P. 38 and 40’s. I would like to get out to the airport and see these planes on the ground some day.
What extraordinary flood conditions you are having. With such little snow in the winter I would have thought no amount of rain could do much damage. I am afraid I didn’t see Peter’s picture in the Toronto star but I will try and get a copy in town.
A chap who used to be in our office and in my year just finished I. T. S. at Saskatoon with an average of 92.1 and second in his class.
Many happy returns for your birthday.
With love from
[Note: Transcription provided by collection donor.]