745537 Sgt. G.Hall,         
Sergeant’s Mess, R.A.F.,
No. 12 F.T.S.,            

2nd. Jan. 1940.

Dear Dad, 

         We are just digging ourselves in at Grantham in preparation for a spot of hard work during the next 20 weeks.   It appears that we do 10 weeks at I.T.S. and 10 at A.T.S, the whole comprising the F.T.S. course.   The Intermediate course has been lengthened to cover the larger syllabus for war purposes, so I shall not have “Wings” up until mid-March.   Our C.O. is Group Captain Robinson, but I think he is the brother of the V.C. – anyhow he saw us all individually yesterday, and seems to be a very pleasant old gentleman.   The station is much larger than I expected – there are about 800 aircraftmen, about 132 officers, and 50 sergeants, roughly 1000 in all.   There is a number of pilot-officers doing the same course as the sergeants, and they have to drill with us on the parade ground, but of course, they don’t have the same degree of smartness about them.

         We are quite comfortable in our quarters, for they are new buildings, not yet completed in some parts, and everything is up-to-date.   The Sergeants’ Mess is fairly good, but is a little overcrowded, since Grantham used not to cater for N.C.O pilots.   The food is extremely good, for we pay 7d per day extra for luxuries, which includes a choice of dishes at dinner.   I think some of the “Old Sweat” Sergeants rather resent our intrusion in the Mess, but generally speaking we get on very well with them.

          It certainly looks as if we shall get a lot of flying here, because we have a machine to each instructor and two pupils at a time to fly in it.   There are still plenty of machines left over which can be used solo whenever we like. 

          I had my first experience of twin-engined aircraft this afternoon when I flew an Avro “Anson” for 45 minutes.   I was actually up for 90 minutes but my friend flew it for the other 45 minutes while I sat behind in the navigator’s place.   Our instructor is a Sergeant Pilot, and seems a very nice chap.   The other fellow, strangely enough, comes from the Land Registry Map branch as well as Andy, so we are well represented at Grantham. 

          Ansons seem very strange after Harts - they are colossal things, having a loaded weight of over 8,000 lbs, and everything is big and heavy.   They are very comfortable as you might expect, and you can walk about in the cabin, which is nearly as big as the kitchenette.   We don’t wear our helmets, just forage caps, boots and Sidcots, as you can converse quite easily with the instructor without earphones.

          The engines are two Armstrong Siddeley Cheetahs, seven cylinder radials of 375 hp each.   With only one engine operating you can climb quite well, so that you can afford to have one engine fail without being unduly worried about it.   I hope to go solo in a day or two, as these things aren’t really as difficult as they first seem to be - of course, the retractable under-carriage and a special type of landing flap make it more complicated than a Hart, but I was doing good landings before I finished today. 

          Well, please give my love to mother and the boys, and to Dorothy.   Tell her I’m doubtful if I shall be home this side of the ten weeks, but I will do my best, work permitting.   I shall be writing to her again quite soon, when I get some fresh news.

          Best wishes for a happy New Year, 
                    Your loving son, Geoff.

No 7 Course, Intermediate Training School.