August 6, 1939
It is hard for me to do much letter writing lately with all the moving, etc., going on. Also there is a lot of air maneuvers going on day and night.
At present I am on Ground Observer's duties here. Certain factories and large electricity transformers have been selected as targets for mock air-raids and I have to leave this station - sometimes at 5:00 a.m. with a transport lorry which has a camera gun mounted in the roof, and go into Rotherham (just out of Sheffield) to protect these targets. I have to comment on the tactical ways that the approaches and get-aways of the aircraft is carried on - while the air gunner shoots them down with his camera gun.
We get our orders from Mildenhall so I have to phone long-distance to the operations Officer there to get my orders and tell him the results of all the attacks. When he considers that a target is blown up then I move to another target, as I will be doing this afternoon. I left he station yesterday at 5:00 a..m. and didn't get back until 9:00 p.m. We take our lunch with us and besides for being over 5 hours I get 4 shillings extra allowances and over 10 hours I get 8 shillings so I don't mind staying away.
We are to be up here for about 8 days so I should do alright. Besides, it is around 200 miles from Stradishall so I collect travelling allowances too. But moving from station to station makes the mess bill larger as we invariably pay mess subscriptions to each mess, even if we are only there 1 week.
Everything seems to be rush and confusion - we only had 12 hours notice that we were to pack our kit and come here. We didn't know what we were to do nor how we were to get here until about an hour before we left.
Besides being in charge of Barrack block and the photography section I am Assistant Navigation Officer of our squadron which keeps me quite busy - you know how it is - the Navigation Officer keeps out of sight and leaves me to do the business. it is all good experience and I never turn a job down because it is good training and the more important you ca make people believe you are, well, it means that the Air Ministry at least knows you exist and probably the first to get the benefit of anything that comes along, (that is if it is possible to say that there is such a thing).
I took some negatives into Cambridge the day before we came up here, to get some pictures made to send to you but now I guess they will have to wait until I get back. My mail is getting all mixed up and so is everything else so it will most likely take the rest of the month for me to get back to a normal, easy life again.
Oh yes, you asked me about those bottle caps, yes, I still want them if you care to collect a few.
I hope everything is going fine and that Grandma feels better. Tell here 'hello' for me and that I wanted to enclose a note to her but I haven't much time as I am so busy.
I suppose you get all the European news so there is not much need for me to write about it. I must close now and will write again in a few days.
Love, Your Son,