Friday, October 18, 2013

World War II Letters Home October 16,1938-Estelles Wickenkamp

                                                                                               No. 2 Flying Training School
                                                                                               Royal Air Force
                                                                                               Brize Norton, Oxford
                                                                                              Sunday, October 16, 1938

Dear Esther:

I have before me letters from you dated September 14th, 23rd and 28th - they seem to be coming quite regularly.  Your last letter is quite amusing in several respects.  I don't see why you haven't received all of my letters as they were all addressed the same,  and I have written to you nearly once a week for the last 3 months or so.  And besides that I enclosed a bunch of pictures in almost every other letter.  Let me know what pictures you have that I have sent and any you didn't get.  I will try to get some more  made.  It keeps me guessing to remember what pictures I send and who gets them.

Yes, we take up wireless, I can receive up to 10 and 12 words a minute now.  a word consists of 5 letters.  We use Trig. for calculating triangles of force, velocity, etc. and other engineering maths.

The next time I get into a place where I can get R.A.F pins I will, and send it to  you.

We haven't got our refund on our tickets yet.  I sure hope they hurry up because I know you will be wanting you money soon.

Have I seen the famed Oxford College yet?  Ha! Ha!. Now my dear girl which one do you mean.  I can't just place it - you see there are only about 2 dozen famous colleges in Oxford.  I'll try to get a list of the names for your future reference.

The next time that dummy gets after you -just give her an aeroplane spin that will keep her woozy for a bit.

Thanks for the addresses.  I have been waiting a long time for someone to send me some.

You asked me in one of you letters how long it takes to complete our flying course - well, it's night on foah yeahs.  By that time I hope to be a Flight Lieutenant and have my Navigators 2nd class, and Ground Engineers' Certificates.

I have a chance to get a good motor-bike from one of the boys in the senior term who is going to another camp.  He wants 4 quid (pounds) for it and I can pay him sometime after New Years.  I wouldn't think of buying it but it gets so damn monotonous staying around here without being able to get away, except on a bus or peddling a push-bike. I haven't had any week-end leave yet because I have no place to go.

By the way, you haven't told me whether Mom sends my letters up to you to read.  If she does I won't have to repeat myself and probably I could write about something different to you.

We set our clocks ahead an hour last week no it's dark at about 5 o'clock now.

I wish you could see some of the pubs over here.  Some of them are fixed up quite nice inside.  There is one near here with a lot of old sea men's lanterns hung up, and old heavy plank tables and benches.  It looks quite antique.  Of course you know that every one goes into a pub here and you get everything from mineral water (soft drinks to you) to Benedictine.  Instead of saying "Let's stop in here and have a cup of coffee?" meaning a beer.  beer costs threepence ha penny a glass.  Mineral waters about tuppence (which very few people drink).  I don't spend much time in the pubs - probably once in a week or 2.  We can get all the beer we want here in our mess (dining room and lounge room).  We can't spend any money here in the station (R.A.F.) - everything we get in the mess is just put on your account.

All of our pay is put into our bank.  We pay mess accounts by cheque, and if we want any cash we have to cash a cheque.  There is never much left after we pay our mess bills.

After Christmas we will get our wings, then I am going to get a real photograph taken and send it to you.

I have been writing letters all day and am getting "browned-off" - expression for fed up, as I haven't been out walking or anything today.  It gets terribly irksome and dull here sometimes.  If it wasn't for flying I'd throw this life up in 2 minutes.

Of course, when I realize how much it would cost to get a course like this at a civil aviation school, I know I never would have learned to fly even, so I guess it really is not so bad.  It isn't that I mind working hours; it's times when you don't have anything to do that gets you down.  It must be the people or the atmosphere of aloofness of dumb-headedness that irritates us Canadians.  The C.O. (Commanding Officer) of this station is a typical two-faced English hypocrite and he sure gets under my skin.  He doesn't seem sincere as far as I make out.

I am not going to send any of you folks any birthday presents, sorry, you will have to wait until Christmas; there won't be so much duty then.  I really haven't the slightest idea what to send anyone for Christmas.  Like a good little sister maybe you could give me some hints or ideas.  I want to send something real nice to dear Mom;  she always writes every week and I know she is always wondering how I am getting along, etc.  I hope she doesn't worry about me; everyone seems to think Air Force is a dose of poison because there is always someone getting killed and they make sure it goes into the paper.  There are hundreds more getting killed every day in cars, etc.  but no one thinks anything of it.  No matter where you are or what you are doing you never know when you'll get it in the neck, so why worry!

I went on a cross country solo on Friday for about 350 or more miles.  It took me a little over 2 hours.  I sure saw a lot of territory. I went to Portsmouth, then to Bristol and back.  I sure love navigation. It is a lot different in these high speed machines than our "Moths", going 3 miles a minute.  It doesn't take long to get off your course if you aren't careful or if you can't read a map correctly.  The main thing when you get lost is to keep cool and try at least to figure out where you might be, then if you can't find out - well - land.

I think I am running out of petrol so better I should sign off.

                                                                                     As Ever, With Love,
                                                                                     Your Brother, Estelles

P.S How about maybe some snaps?


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