Wednesday, October 30, 2013

World War II Letters Home October 30, 1938-Estelles Wickenkamp

                                                                                              No. Flying Training School
                                                                                              Royal Air Force
                                                                                             Brize Norton, Oxford
                                                                                             October 30, 1938

Dear Folks:

Thank you for the nice birthday cards, they are swell.  I didn't even send you any, all I did was write a letter.  I would like to send something but I didn't know what to send.

If everything turns out all right Doug Morris and I may get a long week-end this week and go into London and do a bit of shopping.  Since i have spent very little money all month I think I can squeeze in a trip to town (which means London to everyone here).

Tomorrow Richard is 24 - you will soon be a big boy:  I hope you ate a piece of birthday cake for me.

Friday we had out 'big dance'.  It was a huge success.  I think everyone had a wonderful time.  I don't know how many people were here - probably 200 including ourselves.  There were all sorts of Officers, Lords and Ladies etc.  The whole mess (which includes dining room and lounge ordinarily) was beautifully decorated and all the lights were covered by Chinese lanterns.

Our dining was converted into a ballroom and the lounge was divided into 3 parts, one end was the bar, the other was the buffer where all sorts of cold foods were served, ice cream, shrimps, salads, olives etc., trifle, cold meats, sandwiches, and i don't know what else.  In the center part there were small tables around which everyone sat during intermissions and smoked, drank and talked.  the hallway between the anterooms of lounge and the ball room were lined on both sides with plants.  They sure went to a lot of work fixing everything up.  The ladies all wore long evening gowns (frocks over here), some of them trailed on the floor for other people to tread on.  The dance broke up about 3:30 a.m.  We danced the famous "Lambeth Walk", Penny Glide, and other silly English dances.  They know that none of us would be any good in class so all our lectures for Saturday morning were cancelled so we could sleep in.

I saw a picture in one of the papers today of the first snowfall in Ontario, so I suppose you have had some snow too, and frost.  We haven't had any frost yet and the prospects for snow, I thin, are quite slim.  It seems funny that winter is coming and all the difference it makes is that there is more constant fog and drizzle.  Some days there isn't any flying at all on account of fog.  Probably by spring I will be used to it.

The Senior Term from here are going hear Woodstock to an Armament Camp for practice bombing and machine gunning for 5 weeks, so just Junior Term will be left.  There will be about 200 airmen recruits coming here soon.   About all they will be doing for the first couple months is drill.

The other day there wasn't a plan for me to fly so I went along with one of the boys and our instructor.  This boy was having an instrument flying test (under the hood) so after he flew around for about an hour and passed his test, the instructor took us up above the clouds and shot them up.  We dived down at about 250 m.p.h. then zoomed up over the tops of these heavy rolling clouds that looked like mountains.  We went through the top of one as son as we got in it, the plane sort of shook all over as the air is 'rough' in these clouds.  I didn't know we were going up above them or I would have taken my camera along, because below the clouds was foggy and dark and I couldn't get any pictures of the ground.  It sure is beautiful above the clouds, it's hard to explain,  it is just like coming into a sea of white mountains.  Actually one gets quite a thrill being up there just for the view.

I have just found out that we are allowed to stay in camp during our Christmas leave, so unless I can find some cheap place to spend the 2 weeks, I think I'll stay here in camp.  Time seems to fly here and it won't be long until spring, so I'll save up and go on a holiday when we get our 2 months leave next summer.

Most of the boys here go into Oxford or some other town every Saturday and spend 1 or 2 quid (pounds) just loafing around, etc. but I don't get any kick out of that so I am going to save those extra pennies and buy a cheap motorbike so I can putt-putt around the country and see some of the sites.  I can get a good bike and new tires on it for 5 pounds - the same bike in Canada would cost about $100.  One of the boys in the Senior Term has it and I can pay for it a pound a month - so I won't even notice that.  I wouldn't think of getting one but I figure it's the cheapest way of getting around and you don't have to be buying bus tickets every time you want to go anywhere..


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