Wednesday, July 24, 2013

World War II Letters Home July 24, 1938-Estelles Wickenkamp

                                                                                              The De Havilland School
                                                                                                     Of Flying
                                                                                               Longfield House
                                                                                               Hatfield, Herts
                                                                                               July 24, 1938

Dear Folks:

I got you first letter yesterday;  I thought you were never going to write, but I was awfully glad to get some news.  I am glad to hear that the crops and garden look good.  I hope the price of wheat doesn't go too low.  We had a lot of drizzling rains here for the first few weeks but it has quit now, although it is generally foggy  or smoky in the mornings that we can't fly until about 11:00 o'clock.  the visibility is so poor that we can't make circuits and landings.  In the afternoon after it does clear up, it it does, it gets hot and bumpy.  I had a little adventure the other day; I was up for an hour soloing and got lost.  I didn't now where I was; I flew over a bunch of towns and didn't recognize any of them from the map so I had t make a forced landing outside a town as I couldn't find an aerodrome.  It was hot and bumpy just like riding a broncho as I was coming in to land alongside a wheat field, I hit an air pocket about 10 feet off the the ground and I side slipped right into the grain.  I held the tail down til it stopped; just as the plane was nearly stopped it swung around at right angles and went down on its nose.  I climbed out without a scratch and went about 3/4 of a mile to phone and told my instructor to come and get the plane.  They sent a truck out to get the plane as the the 2 wing tips were damaged and the prop.  cracked when the tail went up.  they hardly said boo about the plane, because the government has to pay the bill.

Lost of the boys get lost;  one day 4 of us had to land because we didn't know where we were.  After you find out where you are you just phone up your instructor and he comes and flies your plane home.  I have about 5 hours of solos now.  We have about 25 hours total of dual and 25 hours of solo when we leave this school.  That will be another 4 weeks.  So after you get this letter don't send my mail here - send it to "Canada House, London" and I'll have my mail forwarded from there.

Some time about the middle of December we get a fortnight's holidays.  Doug Morris (that's my pal - he's from Canada) and i are thinking of going to the Continent and looking around.  You can liver real cheap over there.  A meal cost you about .10 cents over in France.  but that is a little ways off yet so I don't know what we may do.

Last Sunday I went with one of the chaps here for a bicycle  ride  through the country around here.  This morning Doug and I borrowed a couple of bikes and rode about 40 miles through the country north of here.  It's nice riding around on the paved roads.  I'm going to take some pictures of the country around here so you will have an idea what it is like.

That is too bad about Mrs. Bagnall.  Where is Mr. Bagnall going to stay now?  I'll have to write him a few words.  Mr. Kaufman also passed away.  He's the man who ran the hotel there.  So Lena is really sick after all, and that is tough on Paul.  I'll try to drop him a line soon and send him a picture or 2.

I am gland Richard is getting along good at the garage.  What are those new tires like on the car?  I had completely forgotten about that bearing on the wheel.

My raincoat is just fine; it is just what I need.  In about a month and a half when we get our uniforms, we also get a great coat - it is a heavy overcoat. so I don't suppose I'll have to get another one.

Board is high all over here, and it isn't any to good.  they say it is better after we leave this place.  After our board is paid we get $7.50 a week; then at the end of the month we get about $30.00 in one sum.  When we leave here we get less pay, but our board is cheaper so we really get more money clear.

When I go into London I will have to go to the Canada House and find out where Doug Lindsay is. They have all that information there.

You must have misunderstood me about dressing up or dinner here - we don't wear our tux's until we get to Uxbridge.  We were them every evening there on dinner nights.  I'll be able to tell you more about all that after I get there.

Everyone wants a letter from me but they don't realize that if I wrote a letter every night, It would take me a month to send everyone a letter.  So they will be few.

Some day I'll draw a map of this place and tell you more about it.  Eggs are 40 cents a dozen here; they come from Denmark.  All the potatoes I have seen in the markets are little scabby things.

The De Havilland Sports Club have a dance here every 2 weeks on Saturday night and the following Sunday.  During the week the floor is covered with tarpaulin. We have been to several of the dances and are meeting more of the young folks. I don't know what else to write about so I'll close now.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a comment: