June 20, 1943
I hope this first week of our course has not given us a sample of the typical summer climate here. If so, Summerside has the worst climate of any place I have ever seen. There is nearly always a strong and decidely cool wind blowing and when it subsides the rains come. Our classroom was once part of a warehouse and is consequently poorly lighted and at present unheated. Sometimes you can see your breath but always it is really cold and a lot of us have got colds as a result. The only time I was properly warm last week was when flying. This sort of weather makes thoughts of the Bahamas pretty good but ones mind is too dulled with cold to bother to study for it, I should think.
I had a few drinks in the mess one night with two of the staff pilots here who are from Kelowna. One is Murray Tree who I knew before and the other, Foote, son of the man who used to be at the Aquatic. These two, along with Povah from Kelowna also, where posted to GRS at Charlottetown over a year ago and got rather a raw deal. Their whole course was taken off course and given six weeks instruction as staff pilots and then posted here when the school was opened. Red Pettigrew is here somewhere but I have not seen him yet.
Murray Tree arranged with our course instructor so that I would have my first flight with him. This first exercise was just to learn how to take drifts over land and sea so we just wandered aimlessly about at heights of 1500 down to the deck. I had a spell in the pilot’s seat for awhile which was nice. We have Ansons here so I have flown them before except that these are English and have to have the wheels wound up by hand—the second navigator’s job.
Yesterday we started out on our first navigation exercise. Soon we ran into a front with hard rain and poor visibility and were ordered back by radio. However the trip was long enough for me to realize how I would hate to be a navigator and how we, the first and second navigators, must organize our work before taking off. You are kept most frightfully busy, about every two minutes something must be done and recorded in the log. Our pilot got temporarily lost coming back. I thought there was no excuse for this unless he was new to the station for we went over a town which must have been within 7 miles of home. The W. A. G. eventually indicated the way. We navigators had given up long before neither feeling very well as the air was very rough.
Except for attending lectures we are allowed to wear civilian dress on or off the station which is a sensible idea.
In the mess we can get only two ounces of liquor per man per day but all the beer or stout you want until the day’s quota is sold. I don’t think Charlottetown is rationed like that but I guess here you could buy on a non-drinkers card.
We are paid in cash here so I suppose I will have to open a postal bank account for there is no chance of getting to an ordinary bank and I would not like to carry on me the accumulation of $90 odd every two weeks.
The hours are quite reasonable. Half-hours drill every two weeks, otherwise we start at 8:15 and are usually through at 4:15 with an hour for lunch and two 15-minute breaks. Of course we are supposed to study a tremendous amount outside of this.
With love from
[Note: Transcription provided by collection donor.]