Saturday, September 28, 2013

World War II Letters Home September 25, 1938-Estelles Wickenkamp

                                                                                                    No. 2 Flying Training School
                                                                                                    Royal Air Force
                                                                                                    Brize Norton, Oxford  
                                                                                                    September 28, 1938

Dear Folks:

Today is damp and everything feels cold and clammy, so I don't feel much like writing a letter, but if I don't do t now I might leave it go for the rest of the week.  This problem of writing seems to be getting worse and worse - I hardly know what to say.  You must be getting terribly tired of reading about aeroplanes all the time.

We are having a big dance party here some time next month for the officers.  There will be about 300 people here altogether.  It is a full dress affair - that is we wear our mess kits.  A buffet supper will be served and drinks and dancing will continue until 2 or 3 a.m.  he estimated cost of this dance is 100.  I don't know where all the money will be spent, but they say it will.

The new mess and living quarters will not be finished until about April so I see where we don't get a chance to live in it.

I have about 14 hours flying in Oxfords - about half of it is solo.  After we get 12 hours solo in we will start taking night flying.  We are only allowed to make one circuit, with about half an hours' flying and one landing in this term.  Next term (after New Years) we will get more of it.  When night flying is going on they have all sorts of landing lights and a powerful chance beam which shines over the field, and also there is a big red light that is used for visual signaling Morse code.  They send out B.N (-...-) for Brize Norton.  I can receive 8 words this term in I.T.S.

We have to buy another service jacket sometime within the next 4 or 5 months, so that will be another 7 out  of our pockets.  We have 2 pairs of trousers already.   with 2 uniforms we will have 1 good one for special occasions, parades, etc.  Our uniforms are made of real strong material and they sure were.  I guess they have to made like iron the way some of the boys treat theirs.  After dinner (nights) the Senior Term loosen the straps under their boots (because you can bend very well if you don't) then they start fighting around and somersaulting on the chesterfield - which are leather upholstered,  Then they grab the table cloths off one of the tables in the lounge and scrap each other up.  Honestly, the way they tear around, it is a wonder they have any clothes left, but they seem to take the gaff pretty well.  I would rather take care of mine and have something left at the end of 4 years.

I haven't seen Emery Fennell yet - according to the Air Force list he is at Manston taking his navigation course.  This navigation and bomb sighting is real interesting; we have all sorts of instruments by  which you calculate your speed, drift, height and everything.  On one of these instruments if you know any 4 of the following  6 things: airspeed, course to steer, actual track, wind speed, wind direction, or ground speed, you can find the other 2.  Then with the bomb sighting device, you can find, while you are in the air, the wind speed and direction.  It is really marvelous the way these instruments work.  Most of these tings cost from 6 to 20. Talking about instruments - you ought to see the instrument panels in Oxfords - it's just a mass of dials, switches, controls, etc.but after you get used to them it is easy just to glance at them and know what you want to.

Friday I was scooting around the sky alone so I wen to see some of the neighbouring towns.  I went on a square about 20 miles each way in about half an hour.  It is lots of fun diving into a cloud, you can't see anything so you fly by instruments until you come out the other side.  I haven't taken any pictures from the air since I have been here but will one of these days.  It is against the law to take pictures from the air,  but as long as you don't advertise it no one knows what you do when you are alone.  I am getting a cloud filter for my camera so that the clouds will show up better.

It takes so long for the mail to go back and forth, by the time you write back about something I have told you it is a month old.  I am sending you a few more pictures - I thing you'll have to get an album to put them in because in 4 years you'll have quite a few of them, sort of a history in pictures.  I am getting some enlargements of the one of myself by the Oxford with an E. on it.  This isn't actually my solo plane; It had an F on it, but it looks the same.  I don't remember whether I sent you a picture of myself - if I did you can send it to Uncle R. or some - I send Esther most of the same pictures I send to you.

What has happened to Richard?  I haven't even had a note from him in a couple of months.  I am going to supper now will mail this.  Don't forget to tel me all the news, and don't work too hard.

                                                                                              With Love To All,


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