Monday, July 14, 2014

World War Letters Home July, 1939 - Estelles Wickenkamp

                                                                                                      Royal Air Force
                                                                                                      Officer's Mess
                                                                                                      Stradishall, Newmarket
                                                                                                      July, 1939
Dear Dad and Richard:

I got a letter from Mama at Crete.  It was a surprise to me.  I hope it isn't going to be too hard on her staying with Grandma.  If Grandma happens to go I think Mom should stay down for about a month so she can take things easy for once and be able to visit some of here old friends.  It would do here a lot of good.  It means you will have to get someone to do the house work but that wouldn't hurt you for a month or 2.

I am in 75 squadron and have just moved from Honington to Stradishall - the whole squadron moved - aeroplanes, men, equipment, everything.  I am Officer in charge of the photographic section and equipment and I also have 2 air men's barrack blocks on my charge, that includes all furniture, beds, etc., and I have been busy for the last 2 days checking inventories - what a job!

We have been kicked out on leave while the squadron officers etc. get settled down. I've only had a fortnight leave yet and we are supposed to get 2 months each year so I don't think a week and a half will hurt me.  Doug and I are going in the car to a place near Norwich where an elderly couple live.   They ha a nice cabin cruiser on the river and Doug and I are going to sleep in it.  The cruiser has a small (really small) kitchen, toilet and wash basin, storage room, a room with 2 single beds, table and radio.  It has a marine 4 cylinder motor and does about 10 m.p.h.  I'll send you a picture of it.

I have in quite a few hours as 2nd pilot in Harrows while we were taking them away and bringing back Wellingtons.  As soon as I get back from leave I will be taking dual on Wellingtons.  They are a very fine machine;  they cruise at 215 m.p.h  Cruising them at 180 m.p.h they have a range of 3,200 miles.

We will be doing long range exercises after a while, going over to Egypt, etc. and back.  Probably we may start flying to Canada and back sometime.  I'd do anything to be able to fly to Canada in a Wellington.

I'll be sending some more aeroplane magazines from time to time - We have a new brick mess here but about half a dozen of us are living in a new wooden hut.  We have new furniture and bedding in our rooms so they are quite alright.  The big drawback is this part of the country is drinking water.  The water here has to be bottled before we can drink it.  It is so hard and full of iron the glasses  and water jugs yellow.

This place is about 60 miles NE of London and about 25 miles E of Cambridge (the college town).  Otherwise the villages are about the size of Tadmore and Hassan, but they are plenty numerous if that means anything.  The crops that are, look quite good here.

What do things look like around Stenen?  Don't you have any friends?  You never say boo about anyone - how about getting down to it and writing be a decent letter for once?  I want you to write about everything and if you don't send me a 6 page letter when your answer this - well I'm going to quit writing too - that should be a good bargain.

The siren has just finished wailing - so that means it's diner time, so here goes.

Take care of yourselves.



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