TEL. HEMSWELL 256 & 257

Thursday 21st November, 1940

Dear Dad,

          Glad to hear from mother and yourself and learn the family news.   I expect by this time Alan has collected his first XV colours, and is swaggering about in his long scarf with pom-poms and porker.   I hope the college evacuation scheme is satisfactory, and enables you to repair to Cookham soon - you'll have to get a bicycle for travelling to and from the station, unless you prefer to leg it - it's a fair distance on a winter's night!

          I am glad to hear that Davies has got a job in the RAF.   It is about the most interesting department in the service, except for the flying crews, and I think he would enjoy the work very much.   Anyway, it's a much cosier job than flying these nights with the temperature at minus 24° C, as it was the other night over Hamburg, and snow and ice covering the aircraft so that it was impossible to see out.   He will start as a pilot officer, but will probably get fairly rapid promotion to a flying officer.   It would be a good thing if he came to Hemswell, but he will have to do some training before he is posted to an operational squadron. 

          However, I shall have finished my 200 hours by that time, and may not be at Hemswell - so far I have completed 75 hours, which is well on the way.   I have also become second-in-command of the flight, being the only officer pilot left in, except for the squadron leader (Ted).   I seem to have got on the right side of the Wing-Commander, as I was the only one who didn't turn back on a trip the other night in very bad icing conditions - I studied the met. report very carefully, and was able to escape the worst of the ice, although we did get well into it on one occasion, when it built up on the leading-edge to a depth of about four inches.   Anyway we got a good pat on the back from the big cheeses. 

          Did I tell you that I was presented to the Turkish military attaché the other night?   I had just returned from Hamburg once again and went to the operations room for interrogation, and there he was - I don't know his name - and I was introduced as one of their “experienced captains”.   Jolly good show, what!   He seemed quite impressed with our account of the damage we have done, and I think I can safely say that, after our meeting, Turkey will come in on our side!

          Last night I went to Scunthorpe to have a look round - not a bad place at all.   We went to the theatre and saw some variety show - a bit ropey.   One chap - a prophet-magician affair - declared that between December 23rd and December 30th, America, Russia and Turkey will have declared war on Germany and Italy (loud applause and cheers).   He went on to tell us that the war will end on April the 22nd 1941!   Hope he's right.

          I had a letter from Fred the other day, and he seemed to be fairly well off in Bournemouth.   He is hoping to get a house to share with one of the other chaps in the office, and has gone so far as to invite Dorothy and me down for leave, if I get any!

          Well, I am passing the time here before taking the air tonight for a nice visit to Germany - should be a good show, I think.

          However it is now past supper time, and I must have some food before cracking off.

          Cheerio, then, and best of luck.
          From your affectionate son,