Sunday, January 5, 2014

World War II Letters Home January, 5, 1939 - Estelles Wickenkamp

                                                                                                        Brize Norton, Oxon
                                                                                                        January 5, 1929

Dear Esther:
I received both of your parcels the day I came back from my holidays, also I had a big stack of letters waiting for me.

The sweater is really swell, I sure like it, and for once I have had one with sleeves long enough.  You shouldn't have bought me such an expensive desk set.  It is something I needed and i am really proud of it.

I feel ashamed of myself for not sending you something nicer but I really didn't know what to get.  But next month I am going to get a pair of earrings (I think you wear them) and a R.A.F broach to match ( I mean vice-versa).  I got a photo album from Richard and Dot sent me a signet ring with my initials on it.  I haven
t been wearing  a ring since I have been there here. Mom is sending me a parcel but I haven't got it yet, I suppose it will be here tomorrow.

I also got a safety razor from the people where I was staying in Wales.  I don't need it though; I have a couple already and i want to get a Remington Electric Shaver.  Here in England all the current is from 230 to 250 volts, so they put a resistor on razors as they are made for 110 volts.

I had a wonderful time in Wales, I spent my whole fortnight there.  I have never been to so many parties no met so many people in all my life.  The Welsh people are very sociable.  I think (I mean, I know) there wasn't a day went by that we didn't drink.  As soon as i got out of bed, which was usually 11 o'clock to 1:30 p.m. I had to have a drink and of course it continued all day and half the night.  We usually went to a pub where all of us young folks gathered or else to some party; it sure was fun.  I wish you could be here to go pub-crawling with us.  People in this country they don't drink to get drunk or bleary-eyed like the Americans, etc. they just take it slowly and steadily; you don't see anyone getting rorry-eyed very often.  In fact, I have never been tight or whatever you wish to call it, since I have been over here, and I must admit I have on several occasions drunk about 20 glasses of beer.  I could hardly believe it.  It isn't that the stuff hasn't any kick, it's just the way you take it.

I didn't take many pictures while I was in Wales but will send you the few I have as soon as I get them developed.

Now that  I am in the Senior Term or A.T.S (Advanced Training Squadron) and have my wings (which are cloth and sewed on) I am a fully fledged pilot.  We do not get much dual instruction now, but we boys fly together as pilot and observer or bomb airmen or gunner.  I am flying with Douglas Morris, a 'bloke' from Calgary, Alberta.  This afternoon on our first trip of 1 hour he was pilot and I, observer and we went up and did some WS/D finding (wind-speed and direction).  Then we came down and went up again and I was pilot.  We did some recco work (reconnaissance), counting trains and cars at some R.R. station, and counting aircraft at another aerodrome, etc.  It is real interesting work.

We have heaters installed in our planes now so they are quite warm even at 5,00 feet.  All I wear is a pair of combinations over my uniform, and I am still wearing summer underwear.

It has been snowing a little every night but melts away in the day.  It was about 32 above today so it didn't thaw much.  The worst part of this weather is that the aerodrome is getting soft and sloppy.  Sometimes when we are landing or taking off we run through a patch of water and splashes all over the plane,  and when the brakes are put on, the wheels just slide over the wet grass.

I got Christmas cards from Doris Dalton, Virginia H. and Kenneth. They are almost bewildered to think that I am here.  Doris sent me a card while back announcing the arrival of here little baby boy.

Well, it is nearly supper time, 7:30, and we are wearing our mess kits tonight so I'll have to get my wellingtons and skin-tights on and get over to the mess.

In the exams we had just before Christmas I made an average of 73.4%.  It wasn't as good as I had hoped to make but some of the papers were really tough.  We don't have any exams to speak of this term but we get assessed on our qualities as an officer and as a pilot.  Also on the results we get at Armament Camp, such as bomb dropping and machine and camera gun work.  We will be going to Catfoss (near Grimby) for Armament on the 8th of February.  We will be there a month.

About 6 weeks ago I got a bad kick in a rugby game,  just above my ankle and there has been a swelling like a hard lump there ever since,  so I went to the M.O. (Medical Officer) and he said the bone had been splintered so he taped it up for me.  It hasn't bothered me except when I bumped it, but I guess it will be alright soon.

We have been issued with rifles and bayonets so now we have rifle drill.  We worked our way out of P.T this term which is a good thing - because I never did like doing P.T. before breakfast.

Well, I think I have almost overdone myself, I must say Cheerio!

Give the gang my best regards and tell them to go easy on my photo - which I hope you have received in good condition.

I have been gaining weight lately, either I'll have to reduce or else get my clothes, and uniforms altered.

I saw "Snow white" yesterday, so, "Off to bed I go".


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