Royal Air Force
Catfoss, Nr. Hull
March 18, 1939
I guess I won't need to tell you that I am at Armament Camp - the bright letterhead advertises itself. The whole Senior Term is up here. Some came by car, some came by rail and the rest including myself flew our "kites" up here. Each pupil brought an airman mechanic or rigger as passenger in the plane. We cam up in formations of 3 planes at a time - altogether 22 aircraft left B.N. in a period of about 2 hours. The clouds were quite low and visibility was poor - you know, fog and smoke- we also went through a bit of rain. It was about 160 miles from B.N. to here. We cruised at 150 m.p.h in the Oxfords but the Hawker Harts and Audox cruised at about 110 to 120 m.p.h. I got up there Tuesday noon and here it is Saturday and none of us Oxford pilots have been up yet to do any bombing at targets on the ocean. You see, we have to do our bombing from 5,000 and 6,000 feet but on account of low clouds and fog we have just been sitting around patiently waiting.
We are well out in the sticks here (there aren't any forest or big trees though). Hull which is a seaport on the Humber River is about 18 miles away. It is just a dirty old English city with lots of factories and smoke filled with Yorkshire people that talk with a peculiar accent. The place is more or less filled with filthy pubs and horrible dirty looking pros.
Do you go to many 'flicks' at N.B.? I have seen a few at Oxford. I saw Spencer Tracy in "Boys Town" - it was real good - also "Spawn of the North".
Oh yes, I have something to tell you about a formal evening I spent. The way it started was like this. Joe Fraser - an English pal of mine who is a real good sport had some friends to tea at the camp - 2 ladies and a daughter (a very nice one too). Well we had tea in the guest room and they invited us over to their estate for dinner that evening. They waited while we got dressed (this is the highlight) in tails. I had to borrow a set of monkey tails but that didn't matter. Boy, I wish you could have seen me in tails - fit for a queen. We went to their place - an old stone house with a courtyard, etc. and sat around talking etc. for a while and met the other daughter. During this time the dames got into their evening gowns (mind you) and we had dinner a la mode - about 5 or 6 courses including sherry. As there was horse racing at Cheltenham, about 20 miles away, there was a grand 'ball' dance on. So we took their car and the girls and went to this dance (dawnce). it cost us 1-2s for 4 tickets - which was very reasonable indeed! (after thought). Anyhow, this has been an elaborate affair - a large floor with balconies all around it and a lounge, tea rooms and bar off to the sides. We alternated dancing and quick-ones (drinks) so I had a real swell evening. I can't go into details too much. Everyone was in evening dress - the ladies with the long frocks - I made a mistake before - I called a dress a gown - over here it is frock. There were over 800 people there. Joe and I and the girls were the centre of attraction at times with our clowning, big apple, etc. but everyone was happy so it didn't matter.
After the dance was over the girls took us back to camp and gave back our pound (1) - they insisted the party was on them. I would say that the whole affair was "a bit alright", don't you think so?
Well. it is tea time now so I'll have to leave this for a few minutes.
(this letter is continued on March 19)