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Date: May 21st 1942
Esther Collins (sister) and Family

Hello Collinses,

Am in the best of health and in the best of places to keep my health. I suppose you got my letter telling about my uneventful ocean trip - it was nice and comfortable with not even the slightest mishap. Travelling by boat or by airplane have their points, but it always seems to be a relief to get both feet, with corns and all, back on earth.

I told you all about my ocean voyage so I'll have to tell you about my land voyage after disembarkation. We landed at a Northern English port and after another night tied up at the dock. Early one morning and I do mean early - we were paraded off the ship baggage and all. Then with those 2 x 4 peewee railroads they have here - Marie and Patty would have lots of fun playing with those toy trains. The engine has a Popeye whistle but despite their small size these trains can really travel.

On the way to our destination we passed through some very pretty countryside - everything was the greenest green imaginable- farms neatly laid out - and no old board fences along the highway - but neatly clipped hedges for miles and miles. We passed through the towns of Bath and others which had been victims of recent bombing raids - and were still smoldering. It just seemed as though some children had built a toy village and then deliberately steeped on and crushed several of the blocks. But this didn't seem to have much effect on the people. - they figure there is still some of England that hasn't been touched so that they take what's left of their possessions and move somewhere else. But everything is conducted in such an orderly manner that it all becomes routine, as though it were part of the everyday life.

Oh yes I'm billeted at a beautiful summer seaside resort with hundreds of magnificent hotels, garden after garden, and millions of pretty flowers. Every little house or large mansion must have its garden. I believe they even have a little garden in front of their outdoor shithouses. This town is quite similar to St. Petersburg, Florida in appearance but the accent of the people and the weather is much different, also the food. In Florida it used to be the exception rather than the rule when the sun didn't shine. Here sunshine is as rare as a dish of rigatoni with meatballs and oodles of sugar. Bit we eat regularly and plentifully especially of potatoes.

If I had to choose for myself any particular spot in England to be stationed I couldn't have made a better choice than this. Occasionally we do see airplanes diving at the towns - but they're our own planes merely practicing. And the town hasn't been bombed for over a year. And though we do hear the alert siren occasionally it just sounds like the 5 o'clock whistle and no one pays much attention to it. I expect to be here about 6 months, according to rumours, so that you can quote me as saying I'm having a 6 months holiday with pay. Hundreds of people come here for their vacations and it's quit a lively spot. They have dances all over the place - tea-dance from 4-7 p.m. and then black out at 11 p.m. And it can really get black - too bad for the drunks. The liquor and beer is not so good. It's pretty weak as well as expensive but that doesn't stop the bars from doing a rushing business. In fact, it's not that things are scarce here, they're just harder to get - fresh fruits or even tinned fruits are a luxury and first don't exist. No coca-colas and the pop here is lousy - so I drink tea and don't like it

I've been out to tea and a party at some of the people's homes here-and it is the meal of the day. Tea and cakes and sandwiches and talk - it certainly fills you up. I was out to a home about 10 miles out of town yesterday to play golf - but it was raining too hard so the people took us next door to their home to visit Highcliffe Castle. It's a real honest to goodness castle with stained windows, priceless tapestries and woodwork and statues and long winding stairways and all. We met the dame who owned it and lived there - Lady Stuart-Wortley or some such name and she showed us through. Paintings and tapestries which were formerly Napoleons - bed made for Marie Antoinette, a library with thousands of books, drapes made of chicken skins - just lie a museum. And although the madam looked like about 45 or so she's supposed to be over 70. And she was still beautiful and unwrinkled. So will have to pick out a nice day and go back for our interrupted golf game.

I wrote Frank and he's still at Ayrshire - but is being moved next week. I'll be going on a week's holiday next Thursday and expect to get up to Scotland so that I'll be seeing Frank. I think Willie Amato is close by where I am so that I'll look him up after I get back from my leave. Frank told me that he stayed with the Collinses in London while on leave and they will be expecting to see me so that I may see them if I spend any time in London.

The only thing I miss here is sports - the only activity we get is walking and swimming besides dancing. And all the streets seem to go only one way up hill and I'm so damned tired.

Did you get my postcard about the $20 assignment to you! I guess that'll start June 1 - both to mom and to you. See that Ethel gets it at 14 Connor Ave. Maybe I'll marry the girl who knows?

I can't think of anything more to say - but do drop in for a spot of tea some day. You'll be most welcome.

My best to you and Bill and love to Marie (my sweet Marie) and Patty. Hoping you are in the best of health and write soon.

Your brother and uncle


Address R102787 Sergt. Scandiffio T.

R.C.A.F. Overseas, England