Saturday, August 17, 2013

World War II Letters Home August 17, 1938-Estelles Wickenkamp

                                                                                                     The De Havilland School
                                                                                                         of Flying
                                                                                                    Longfield House
                                                                                                   Hatfield, Herts
                                                                                                   August 17, 1938

Dear Folks:

My letter writing has been more or less irregular lately.  We have been having classroom and flying tests and it means a certain amount of studying.

I don't know just where to start - news is about the same all the same.  About all I can tell you is flying.  I have my 50 hours of flying in now and tomorrow is the last day of flying here.  Also we have our Morse code test and Armament and Gunnery exam tomorrow.  They are both oral.  then the day after (Friday) we have our written exams.  In the morning we  have:  Administration, Air Navigation and Engines; then in the afternoon we have Theory of Flight, Rigging and Airman ship.  These of course are our final exams. In our tests so far I have done quite well; I have an average of 80%.  I also had my 45 hour flying test and I did exceptionally well - my instructor was very pleased.  I should rank among the best.  That must have been one of my lucky days because I didn't make any boners like the rest of the guys did.  I have put in 5 hours of instrument flying - that is when you pull the hood over the cockpit and do all your flying just by instruments.  I have even taken off under the hood.

Today being the last day of dual instruction for a lot of us, our instructors decided to show us some of the country and London.  We flew all over; I saw Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace and all those places.  Then we landed at Brookland Aerodrome and here when we came down there were about 6 of our planes there already.  We went into the club there and had coffee.  Then as we were putting on our flying suits my instructor asked me if I would like to sit in the front cockpit, so I took his seat.  It sure is a lot different sitting in front.  then after we got up in the air 5 of us flew back in formation like this.

It sure was great, all the instructors were in the back seats.  I wished I had my camera - it would have made a swell picture.

I have my complete dinner suite and shirt with everything that goes with it now.  I also bought another shirt and a couple of new ties, a new hat and a cap - we have to wear a cap when we drill at Uxbridge - until our uniforms are ready.  We get them about a week after we get there.  Oh yes, I also bought a pair of worsted light grey trousers and a couple of P.T. shirts.  My trousers cost 1 guinea which is 21 or 1 - 1s or $4.25.  I hope you understand.

We are not having a dinner night here so we had a party for our instructors last night.  If you ask me I thing it was a drinking contest.  I managed to drink 2 glasses of the flat stuff.

As soon as I can, after we get to Uxbridge, I am going to get my teeth fixed up.  I'll have 1 pulled.  They only charge 2/6 to pull a tooth.


Just a few words to end off this letter.  We had our armament and Morse Code exam today and I passed both of them.  But tomorrow is the big day when we really have to do some thinking. I went up for 3 solo flights today just to put in time.  I went above the clouds up to 8,000 feet and it sure was cold.  I also took a few pictures from the air.  If they turn out alright I'll be able to send you some.

We leave here Saturday morning so I supposed I can start packing early tomorrow night. I'll write to you again as soon as I get to Uxbridge.  I suppose I'll have a couple letters waiting for me at Canada House.

We haven't had any rain for the last week.  The weather has been quite nice although very windy, which makes it hard to land.

I must mail this now and do some studying.  How about sending me the Free Press Prairie Farmer once in a while? It only costs 3 cents to send it to me.  I'd like to read some of the news.

I suppose you are harvesting now.  Take care of your selves.



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