Saturday, May 17, 2014

World War II Letters Home May 17, 1939 - Estelles Wickenkamp

                                                                                            School of Air Navigation
                                                                                            Royal Air Force
                                                                                            Manston, Kent
                                                                                            May 17, 1939

Dear Folks:

It seems like I always manage to be a little late in writing letters.  The trouble is that I usually forget what I wrote in my last letter, but I guess that doesn't matter.

this is quite a nice place to be here;  it is only 3 miles from Margate and Ramsgate - both are really summer resorts.  People come from all over to spend the week-end at the seaside.  Last week-end Doug and i went to Uxbridge by car to rest the Canadians that are going abroad - that is - to Egypt or somewhere in the Middle East.

On our way home we stopped at Windsor where where Windsor Castle and Eton College are.  Eton is where all the little boys wear top hats and large white collars.  It is very funny to see them walking about all dressed up.  We went through the St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle and saw the tomb inside the church where King George V is buried.  We also went all around the grounds.  Being Sunday they wouldn't let us go through the chambers, throne room, state bedrooms, etc.  Some week day I may do that though.  Windsor Castle is the largest or one of the largest castles in the world.  It is situated on top of a hill.

Did I tell you I went in swimming in the sea a couple weeks ago - that was the first time in my life.  It was quite cold and tasted awfully salty, ph-oo-ee!  After my hair dried it was white with salt.

That's funny about the age limit for joining up being put back to 26 because as far as I know it is still 28 over here.

The navigation is going pretty good. Yesterday we went for a 2 1/2 hour navigation trip.  I suppose we covered about 350 miles and only saw the sea or land about half the time;  we were in the clouds when we turned on 2 of our courses.  I was 1st navigator and Doug was 2nd navigator.  We took back bearings on objects we passed over to find out what track we were making good and to see how much we were drifting.  After we got over the North Sea we dropped smoke floats and took back bearings on them.  We found out a good wind speed and direction.  We steered 4 courses and I only ave 1 alteration of 4' in our course.  When we came back we were right dead over the aerodrome and only a few minutes under our E.T.A - which means (estimated time of arrival).

Empire Air Day, is on the 20th of this month.  That is the Air Force "At Home" day everyone is invited to inspect Air Force Stations.  There will be all sorts of flying, etc. going on.  I wish you were all here to see what it is like.  I have found out that I haven't had enough training so am just a little too slow to take part in the sports day, at least I don't think I will.

So jack Hootz has Dunc working for him, well, I wouldn't be afraid to bet they won't last long together; either Jack's temper of his business will give out, but I hope he makes good.

So you can't figure out how the wheel works on the steering column Richard, well, here's how it goes;  the rudder bar which every a/c has just controls the rudder which is hinged  to the fin;  the forward and backward movement of the stick controls the elevators which moves up and down, the sideways motion of the stick moves ailerons which are mounted on the trailing edge of the wings. In a place with a wheel the stick does not move sideways, the reason being that there isn't enough room so they put a wheel or part of a wheel on the stick so when you turn the wheel it works the ailerons - savvy? Try it the next time you go up.  Here's how to go into a spin - pull the stick slowly back (without engine) until the a/c stalls - just as it sort of prepared to not to go any more, put on full right or left rudder and pull the stick hard back - it will immediately go into a spin - don't get woozy OOOO.  To come out just centralize the rudder and east the sick ahead - not hard, is it.

One of our Junior Term at B. Norton 'wrote off' an Oxford awhile back while night flying.  All he got out of it was a broken wrist and a few cuts.  From the gun turret forward the a/c was just small pieces - they couldn't find the one wing - it was in such small pieces.  They just take so much and no more.  After they found him, he asked if the plane was broken (he's another crazy Canuck) and when they told him, he says "well, just put it on my mess bill, boys!" Such a clown he is, always some foolishness.

I suppose you have read the papers, I sent the King and Queen over to Canada for a holiday, so treat them nice.  Anyhow, they saw a few icebergs on the way.

I suppose you have the new horses sweating in the harness seeding.  Have you much plowing to do this spring?

I think one of these days I am going to get measured up for a suit.  I am still wearing the one i got in Regina.  I can get a pretty good one for 50 or 60 shillings.  I also have to get some shirts the only shirts I bought are 3 still fronts and 3 service shirts.

Well, I guess i am getting unwound for today.  They have raised the tax (licenses) on cars here to 25 shillings per h.p. How would you like to pay for the license that 40 h.p. Buick at that rate besides about 9 or 10 pounds for insurance which is compulsory? Probably, maybe, you wouldn't run it.

Take care of yourselves and tell me all about the farm.



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