The story continues . . . .
"#87 I think this is right. My other pad is at the house"
Sun, May 11th/41
It was good to receive your letters Friday. You were very bright and they (the letters) made me quite cheery. I was so busy that I had to read them at lunch hour. I became so interested in them that I forgot the presence of my dinner on the table, (also the new young lady guest at the house), she has taken the seat at my table. Before I realized it, it was parade time and I had to rush away without eating half my dinner and not taking even time to be polite to my 'table friend'. At any rate I enjoyed your letters and that was better than a dozen dinners.
Life continues to be most hectic. Phillps who left for his new post tonight, has handed me the sports of the Squadron to look after. This with the Hygiene lectures which I have to give to the incoming officers, plus this welfare and instruction of my own Flight, plus my own studying, makes my life one mad rush from morn till night. So busy am I that I haven't written anyone but you for a week or ten days. My friends will think that I'm a queer sort.
I received a very nice letter from Fred Milbury last week. He obtained my address from you. He should receive a letter from me very soon now as I wrote him fully three weeks ago. I also got a letter from Gen. Turner who was stopping at the Royal York Hotel, Toronto, at the time of writing. He congratulated me and was very glad to learn that I finally got in the Air Force. He said that he will tell all my old friends, former 13th men.
Dearie, you should have received my D.C.M. gratuity on the last of April or the first or second of May. I do hope they won't hold you up too long for it. I wish you were here and then I could look after you. You seem to be so worried all the time over the furnace, plumbing, pension or something or other. Gee, I wish I could lift you out of it all and drop you here where there are no worries and life is a mere song. This morning I wondered how heavenly it would be if you were here. The glassy water of the English Channel beckoning; boats of every description, laying at anchor at the beach, like the array one sees at the Toronto Yacht Club about July each year. We would have hired a boat and enjoyed a beautiful sunny day on the water. Instead, since you were not there, I went to service at 9 a.m., after that took about twenty-five of the boys to the spa baths for swimming and polo. There was a mixed crowd there before we had been swimming very long. We got home about 11 o'clock. I had two hours real good rest this afternoon and here I am now on duty until tomorrow morning. I shall be able to sleep after twelve p.m.
I was glad top hear of Frank, Elspeth and Peg. You will enjoy having the girls in Toronto, though, of curse, they will be busy most of the time.
I received a letter from mother. She seems to be feeling a bit better than she had felt formerly, though she claimed still to feel the rheumatism. I was glad to hear that Doug was going to send you a cheque of $250.00 as a loan to me. I shall bank that amount here or invest it in War Savings Certificates until after the war. I do hope that you will be able to manage until regular allowances come through to you.
Betty said that you wished to have the negatives of the snaps she sent you. Gosh, Dearie, I thought they were so terribly bad that I destroyed the negatives. You know how I dislike my photograph and those snaps haunted me so, I just couldn't stomach them. I''m very sorry that Betty sent them on to you and still more sorry now that I'm not able to produce the negatives when you want them so much.
The sirens are kicking up an awful din at the moment. Jerry must be on his way over England. It is a very beautiful moonlit night. He, no doubt, will try to do all the mischief he can during the next month or so.
I have completed six of my exams: armaments, gas, signals, mathematics, hygiene, law. I have aircraft recognition and navigation still to write. These will come about the end of this month unless I succeed in getting them off earlier.
Take good care of yourself Dearie. I'm looking for the announcement any day now of the arrival of an ambulance unit driven by a young Canadian lady who has volunteered herself and the ambulance for overseas service. Keep up hope Dearie you will get here soon I'm sure. Heaps of love and heaps of kisses and hugs and happy dreams.
P.S. I acknowledged the arrival of the gloves long ago, Dearie, perhaps Jerry has claimed the letter. The gloves are wonderful. I have them packed away with the red ones. Bill"
Always the money problem. See what happens next.
"Envelope opened by Examiner 3557
I simply must write you a note this a.m. I have an examination in math in about 15 min. This makes my fifth exam so far and leaves me with three still.
I signed the prescribed form for allotting 1/7 of my salary to you. To this is added something like 4 pounds per month by the government. I think it will bring your total allowance from this side to almost 10 pounds per month. For some reason or other the government has seen fit not to pay full allowance (separation) to people living outside of the gold area. It means that they, under the present arrangement, contribute only 1 pound per week to one's dependents. In other words, instead of the 6 s. per day, which a man's wife, living within the gold standard area, received in normal course. You are receiving only about 30% of that amount.
An amusing thing happened the other day over my Hygiene exam. Lord Rattendan, who examined the paper erred in adding up his own marks, which were set out in the margin of the paper. An additional 10 points brought my mark up to 86% which relieved me somewhat. Even Lords can err in adding.
Here goes to math. Heaps of love and a big kiss and hug.
"Opened by Examiner 5313
Wed. May 7th/41
The close of another busy day. I say the close. I'm on duty tonight and, in all probability, I shall be up until long after midnight. I don't mind as I shall have my nose buried deeply in one of the few law books we are to cover in this course. I have to write a law exam at 9 a.m. tomorrow. I'm not really prepared as I have had so many other duties to attend to on the side. But still I suppose I'm as ready to take it now as I shall be later on. I wrote the math paper this morning. If the examiner is very generous I shall make the grade. I know I made several silly errors in my work--though the principle I sued in every case is correct. Not having had math for so long, I felt a bit clumsy working out ratios, simple equations, graphs, vulgar fractions etc. though really it is all very easy. I did want to make a good showing in math as so much depends on it. I am quite certain of getting through but that is not good enough. As soon as law is completed tomorrow I shall have only two other exams. Recognition of aircraft and navigation. I am giving myself but two weeks to master them before I sit for the exam. If I'm lucky I shall get through. I seem to be the only officer here who is getting the exams off and I don't understand why most of the others are just content to stick here training the others. But then that is their business, not mine.
Phillips has just been promoted to adjutant and is moving away from here the first of next week. A chap by the name of de Lorn is taking his place. He is a very decent chap and has lived a few years in Toronto. He was with the Toronto Scottish under Dr. McLaren for over two years. He will be a real asset here. Like myself he couldn't get into the Canadian Force. But that is easily understood as he was in London, Eng. when he enlisted.
I think old Mrs. Downing (at the Belmont Hotel where I'm staying) has finally got a full house. Several people have come in recently. I see two R.A.F. airmen, and two or three tradesmen. Tonight a secretary to Mrs. Downing's agent arrived. She has close cropped hair--not very attractive, and not likely to stay at 66 Belgrave Rd. I'm afraid the place is not pretentious enough for her.
By the way Sweetheart, the young officer W.A.A.F. who I stopped the other day, has taken definite interest in you and has written to London office to see what chance there is of getting you posted. She received a reply to her letter but so far has not succeeded in getting anywhere. London office says you would be more valuable in the Medical field than in the W.A.A.F The only post in the W.A.A.F that calls for one with medical knowledge is that of nurse in the dental clinic, which we both thought would not be good for you. Assistant Section Officer Waterman, my young lady officer friend, seems to think there should be a place in the F.A.N.Y.S. for you. The 'Fannies' as they are popularly known as. Miss Waterman seems to think that they are the cream of the women's organization and that you would fit in there well. It seems that the 'Fannies' do anything from dispatch riding to chauffeuring, clerical and supervisory work of almost all kinds. I shall make more inquiries about them.
I do hope that by the time you receive this letter that you are in receipt of the first installment of allowances. I'm sick to heart to feel that you are so in need when there is really no excuse for it now, except the barrier of restrictions. However it won't be very long now before you are in regular receipt of allowances.
I have become quite attached to my Flight [The group of 50 men he is in charge of training] They are an excellent lot of fellows and are working like Trojans. I'm surprised that so many young chaps can refrain from the indulgences of wine, women and song that are forever tempting them in a place like this, and stick close to work. They are so keen to become pilots and observers nothing else seems to interest them. It speaks well indeed for the high standard of morals among them, though i find the young people of this country to be quite moral indeed. And certainly things are wide open. One can get whatever one wants at any time.
Well Sweetheart, I must get busy and plug away at law.
Heaps of love and kisses and happy dreams and don't wake me in the morning--we'll sleep in
I'm back. Was off on vacation last week and a great vacation it was! So what's Jones up to now?
Just as I finished your letter yesterday Phillips telephoned that a letter had just arrived from you. He very kindly sent it over to where I was by orderly. See, it did cheer me up. Gosh Hon. If you could only manage to get over here. Now that I know that you are game enough to come you are going to come and that is all there is to it. Tomorrow I'm going to see a person whom I meet every morning on my way to Squadron Hdqtrs. She wears the uniform of a Womans Auxiliary Air Force officer. Her rank would correspond to mine. [He's a Lieutenant] She always smiles at me when I pass and I'm going to take the bull by the horns tomorrow and stop her and see how one must go about getting a commission in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. You would simply love the work Dearie. I have kept thinking just where you would fit in and looking around to see what service would suit you best. I'm sure your qualifications [University] and qualities would serve the Air Force best. In fact I know it. The better part of you for me and me for you. Never mind I'm not on the trail now--fired by your letter. I'll let you know immediately just how to go about it and what the requirements are. You'd make a marvelous officer Dearie--I can see you now. Boy, oh boy! Say nothing until we have worked it all out. I'm glad to say that by the end of this month I'll have about 50 pounds to our credit in Lloyds and once you find a way across it will be at your disposal at once. By the way look into the possibility of coming over by clipper or on one of the big bombers. It would be a marvelous trip Sweetheart and, I believe, fully as safe or safer than any other way. They are taking the utmost care to land the big planes safely here and the risk is nil. Do please look into the possibilities. Set your wind to serve in the W.A.A.F. and don't take no. You'll get here. I'll pull like h--l from this side.
I went to church this morning at the little old church called the Old Parish Church. The service was simple and very pleasant. The church was packed. I think I told you yesterday that Phillips and I planned to go to Plymouth today. For some reason or other Phillips couldn't get away so the trip is off. I met Mrs. Phillips wheeling her son Andrew, just as I came away from church.
The weather is colder today. The sky is gray and, all in all, quite a different day to yesterday.
Our Flight is planning a night to the theatre this week. Likely Friday. "Rio Reta" is on.
I was interested to learn of the Imperial Bank fire. The picture of the cat and kittens was very striking. I sent it on to Betty and family.
Gee, Honey hurry up and come over. You have done more to revive my hope than ever and I know it will work out alright. Don't let the question of the house bother you. Pack the things in boxes and look up a good tenant or let Merkin (sp?) look after it until we return. We can always get it again so don't let it worry you.
I am filling in as orderly officer while he is having lunch. I come on for my regular course of duty at 7:15 tonight.
Heaps of love Sweetheart and be brave and never fear. You are wonderful and full of pluck. I know you'll get here.
Happy dreams and take good care of yourself. A big kiss and hug.
P.S. I shall write Mickey Lennox. Please send me a copy of our marriage certificate to give in to the R.A.F. Just type a copy. The paymaster has to have it before he can pay separation allowance.
Gee not a line have I written to you since last Sunday. This has been a very heavy week for me and my head is swimming tonight. Still I don't like the thought of not sending you at least three letters per week.
I have cleaned off two exams this week, gas and hygiene. On top of doing this I had to give three extra lectures to a group of young officers, not so young--some were old enough to be my father or almost so. They were new officers. Then my flight had an examination which gave me fifty papers to examine and mark. I'm trying not to sacrifice my own course that is why I'm so terribly pushed for time and almost breath. However I did managed to get in one evening of recreation. I joined my flight in a theatre night. We saw Emily (sp?) Williams, quite a prominent actor and play writer on this side of the ocean. Title was "The Light of Heart." It was very well acted and well worth seeing. The boys seemed to enjoy it also.
Well after all this time Dearie, I've heard from Chris and Nan Martin. They are not in the Dover area. That accounts for my not being able to contact them. They are living in Falmouth, Cornwall, about a hundred and thirty miles west of here. They replied to a letter which I sent, having obtained their address from Mr. Wilkin. They are both well and are most anxious to see me. They have invited me to come over at once. That, of course is out of the question. I can't get off even for twelve hours. It would take at least two days to go over there. Transportation is not so good these days.
I had a bit of luck the day before yesterday. I stopped the W.A.A.F. officer to whom I referred in my last letter, and asked what chance I would have in getting you over here if you came expecting to join up with them. She very kindly offered to write to her commanding officer and she expects to hear in a few days. She didn't seem to think that you would get a commission right off. She joined as a private (I'm told that W.A.A.F.'s don't have privates, well whatever they have she joined up as one.) Now she has a commission and seems to be quite proud of herself. Though she says she can't enjoy herself as she did when in the ranks. Her name is Miss Waterman, blond blue eyes and pretty as the D-1 in her air force blue uniform. She is doing all she can to get a favorable answer from her commander.
I got 94% in gas but only 76% in Hygiene. I should have taken more time to write. Nobody short of Lord Ratendan (Duke of Wellington's son) invigilated me to see that I didn't cheat. He is quite a nice sort. I have to take that part of his job all next week.
I received a very nice letter from Mrs. Stonham, as an Easter message. Clarice and Dulcie have each knitted me another pair of socks. I believe I have a dozen pairs, Dearie, and few if any holes in them.
Curses, I could swear, I went in to see the paymaster yesterday to get a check off to you and it seems a new regulation is now in effect which requires a Canadian to remit a percentage of his own salary to his dependents. In other words it will be almost a month by the look of things before you receive any money. I could weep. Here I have almost three hundred dollars in Lloyd's Bank in London and I can't send you a cent of it. There is some form or other which is coming along to me, and which I have to fill out and return, before payments commence to you. I won't receive the usual separation allowance as you are living outside of what they call the Sterling area which means I shall receive about 9 pounds less per month than officers of equal ranks living here in Britain whose wives are here also. I don't mind that part so long as you don't have to wait any longer for regular payments. I shall still send you 10 pounds per month. I think I can do it out of my regular pay. I have been able to get expenses down to a minimum by cutting out all indulgences. I have no friends here in Torquay to worry about and that helps a lot. It also helps me to get my work off. (This week I have two more exams--math and law.)
That will leave me only three more. Then I hope to get moved to some flying school if I'm lucky.
Well, Sweetheart, I am all excited at the prospect of you coming over. Don't forget to look into the possibility of coming over on one of the big bombers. I'm told the fare is $200.00. I have that in the bank here already.
Heaps of love Dearie. Happy thoughts and dreams. I long for you and think always of you. A big hug and kiss.
We're wondering. Will Bill Jones ever fly?
What a magnificent spring evening this is. I could weep that you are not here. All forms of life are heralding the warmer and longer days. Grass is green as at any time in May at home. Flowers, like what we have in Canada in July ......??...... leaving......... still atmosphere, dimming sunset and chirping merriment of the birds--young lads all about the place, playing at tennis, tumbling, signaling, laughing, joking, horizontal bars, and just across this court, one sees the ever strolling couples and coyish girls.
In the other direction I look out over Tor Bay and see Pargaton (sp?) in the distance. A calm clear stretch of water that might easily be Lake Ontario. No it isn't Lake Ontario, I don't see you in the bow of the canoe.
Work is about as intense now as it will be at any time. Darn here comes Mr. and Mrs. Phillips to drag me off to a show.
Heaps of love and a big hug and kiss. I shall write again tomorrow. Come on with me and happy dreams.
Jones enclosed a small photograph of an officer and wrote "Phil"s apology" on the back. I'm not sure if it's Jones or note. Undoubtedly the two of them understood its meaning.
What a beautiful sunny, warm afternoon it is. This spot looks like a perfect dreamland. Peace and quietude reign supreme. The temperature is not exactly what we would call warm, still, in the sun it is very pleasant.
I have been ever so busy since last Mon. My new Flight [He is now a training officer to a group of new men.] requires my entire attention and everything else has fallen by the wayside--even my own training--the later fact grieves me to think of. I hope as time goes on and the boys become used to things my time will not be as fully occupied. Yet today it seems that I have still more duties to be responsible for. Those involved in supervising clay pigeon shooting (practicing marksmanship). I have been busy as you know. But I'm scared to death that I shall become completely swamped in work that will prevent me from training to fly. I have a wonderful group of boys this time. They're as keen as mustard. Taking them on from scratch gives me an opportunity to start them off right and so far we have just got our organization underway. It is all most interesting and to see the response of the boys from day to day is really fascinating. In other words I love the work--but I love fighting Jerry better and it makes me uneasy when I don't get on in that direction. The latter, love, has its roots in my fundamental love for you. I feel that I am not doing my utmost for you and your love for me unless I'm actually giving Jerry a tough time......???.... but time. It has been your influence more than anything that has brought me this far and I must go on.
I received a very nice letter today from Betty Dunham. She also, is very busy with duties in connection with war work. Her husband is so busy she has to drive him about quite a lot as train service is too slow sometimes. Her husband does a lot of flying with different types of planes and equipment, experimental work. He, of course, is a scientist not a pilot, and goes as an observer to test out new instruments, etc.
I received a wonderful parcel from "Samaritan Club" Century (sp?) United Church. It contained 1 pr. Socks, tooth paste, shaving soap, blades, sweets, cake. It was wonderful of them to even think of me. It was one of their Easter parcels.
I was delighted to hear from John Taylor last week. He has made good. I always knew he would. I don't know whether he has told you or not. He is getting married very soon. He met the young lady at the Soo [Sault St. Marie, Ontario] when he worked there years ago. I'm very pleased for John's sake. He will go far I know.
I must look up John's mother sometime. He gave me her address. She lives at Woking. John had not informed his mother up to this time of writing me. In fact I am or was the second person whom he had informed up to this time of writing. He said it would just be a quiet wedding as his fiance has so many friends and he dislikes large formal affairs.
Last evening, with a few cadets, attending a boxing tournament at Paigatons (sp?)--just a 1 1/2 d. bus ride from here. The boys are organizing all kinds of sports and different social activities. I have no less than 3 BSc's, 4 M.A.'s and 9 school teachers in my Flight. They are a real good lot and I expect great things from them.
Philip and I are planning a trip to Plymouth tomorrow. Won't you come along too? It is almost certain to be a bright, sunny day. As far as I know there will just be the two of us. Perhaps the women will decide to come--i.e. Mrs. Phillips and Mrs. Allan. In that case there will be five of us as Mr. Allen will come too.
You would have a wonderful time with Mrs. Downing, our proprietress at the Belmont Hotel. She is Cornish and short, stout, dirty and rough. A real Dickens character. She put an advertisement in the local press the other day for guests. She had enough applicants to fill three such houses. It was a scream to hear her comments on those who appeared. However, she has managed to fill her house up and what she will do now is a matter of speculation. She is very independent and doesn't seem to care whether people stay or not. A most original being with a very interesting sense of humour.
Well Sweetheart, you won't have to wait long now for financial assistance. In fact a week from today and you will likely hear something from the bank. It is comforting to know that you will have received money before this letter reaches you. Keep your courage high Dearie, I shall make every endeavor to get caught up with you.
I would love to see the old home now. Just think about a year ago that I was busy shingling and painting. It is hard to believe. What a lot has happened since then.
I haven't heard from Betty or Olive since last week. I suppose Betty will be returning to Ipswitch soon. She will be there all summer I believe without another break. When I saw her at Chippenham she didn't seem to be too pleased with her new school and thought that she might effect a change before long.
A thousand thanks for your wonderful letters Honey and how I'm enjoying our sweater. I wear it chiefly with my mufti on Sundays. A great big hug and kiss and happy dreams.
Almost 11 o'clock, knocking off time. Have been plugging away all day and evening. My head is almost a whirl. However I'm making some progress even if it is slow. I want to get signals and another subject off this week.
Well how is my girl tonight? Did you go home for Easter? I have a feeling that you did. I worked all the time right through. The wire I got from Olive & Betty proved to be a false alarm. I haven't heard anything further of them. Perhaps they just thought my spirits might be low so they sent a cheer up message--just like Olive. Betty, I think will be home, Chippenham, until the 28th this month.
How did you find everybody at home? Did you eat my share of the chicken? (or was it a rabbit?) I think you would quickly see the difference in food quantities were you here. We see the end of our weekly supply of such things as meat, sugar, butter giving out about two days before we can get any more. Nobody grumbles as we all get quite enough to eat. Chocolate is almost a thing of the past in this part of the country. I think some of the confectioners do get a limited supply from week to week but they give it out only to their regular customers and the troops don't have a look in. But we'll survive even without chocolate. I haven't taken up beer or tobacco yet and the one indulgence I claimed was a bit of sweets now and again. However, I think I shall manage quite well to get along without it.
I heard from the Royal Bank today. It will be possible for me to send you 10 pounds each month. Just recently (within the past few weeks) a new regulation has come into effect. One from overseas may arrange with the Paymaster to send a certain portion of his pay and allowances to his dependents if they are not living in England. I don't just know yet which method would be best. I almost think it would be better to have it go through the bank, then if you came over here there won't be any hitch about it. As the army hold back a month's pay and allowances it will be the end of this month before I shall be able to send the first cheque. This is the middle of the month and we won't have very long to wait. I wish you didn't have to wait another day.
I think it best to let the balance of my pay (i.e. what is left over after 10 pounds and expenses to me) accumulate at the Royal Bank here, rather than send it to Canada. We can at least save the rate of exchange and when you come over you can use it here. What do you think? We would be able to save from 10 pounds to 15 pounds per month. Until I get fully equipped there won't be much chance to save very much but that will only take another month or so. I have cut living down to an absolute minimum. I pay 35 s. for room and board, laundry 3 s. mess and such obligations 4 s., incidentals 15 s. These are weekly expenses. Clothing runs to almost 4 pounds per month per year.
I do hope the postman will be kind tomorrow. I'm almost certain that he will be as there has been no Canadian mail since Wed., or Thursday of last week. I notice you are still using "Mr.", Pilot/Officer, (P.O. for short). It doesn't matter much only I notice that Mrs. Bannister has been changing it.
Heaps of love Sweetheart, now come to bed and say you love me. A big hug and kiss and a heart full of love.
Helen is having a very tough time making ends meet and Bill is doing his best to find a way to get her some money. Let's see if this works.
"76 Marshfield Dr.
Gee it seems ages ago that I had even a chat with you. Now for a good lone one.
I started last week in a very busy manner. It seemed that every hour of the day and every hour of the evening pressed me on with some duty or other. I had a flight under orders to move and that seemed to be so many details to complete. Then on top of it all I received my signals test which I carried off all right. I think my mark was 97% [Well, I guess he did carry it off all right!!!] I had to rush through it as I had to catch a train the same afternoon for Stratford-on-Avon. It was on duty that I went there. The adjutant was good enough to let me leave here Thursday night in order that I might stay that night and the following day at Chippenham. A spot of luck hey what!! I arrived at Chip at one fifteen Friday morning. Black as a pocket and not a sign of life around. I rapped at the door. Finally Mim poked her head out of an upper window and called out to see who was the late visitor. She soon came down, in her nightie mind you, and let me in. The other sleepy heads (Olive & Betty) didn't stir. Mim fed me a piece of cake and I hunkered down on the chesterfield as all the beds in the house were occupied. I slept soundly until 8 o'clock. The I was rudely awakened by the roughnecks Olive & Betty. I simply had to get up then--there was no peace. After breakfast we went over to the shops for a few groceries and then returned for lunch. The afternoon proved to be a bit wet--however we had a bit of a walk and amused ourselves talking and drinking tea, the favorite pastime in this country. Arnold didn't get up all day and I couldn't see him. Mrs. Glidden seemed to be a bit better than usual though, of course, still in bed. Mim, Betty & Olive are just the same as ever. Betty has had a very sore throat but is slowly getting rid of it. She has a few days still before she has to report at Ipswitch. I had sent a telegram just as soon as I knew I was going but it didn't arrive until after breakfast the following morning. I was able to remain at Chippenham until 10:07 Friday night. I had to go to Bristol then to B'ham and then to Stratford to be there (the latter place) at 8 a.m. Saturday. I hadn't time to see anyone at B'ham as I never left the station. I returned here (Torquay) about six p.m. Saturday. It was a very pleasant break and it did me much good as it was a complete change from the routine here.
This afternoon the adjutant, Mr. Allan and his wife, Mrs. Phillips and I took a stroll out over the cliffs along Walls Hill where the rifle range is. If you received the picture post cards I sent you the other week you will see one or two of Babbacomebe (sp?) Beach and the Glen Hotel also one of Oddicombe Beach. It was these places that we visited today. We relaxed completely and left our uniforms at home wearing our 'bags' and I sported your sweater under my Harris tweed sack coat. It was a glorious spring afternoon and the air was quite pleasant. After walking over the rifle range and along the edge of the cliffs we made our way down over the bank to the Glen Hotel where we had tea. It was wonderful Dearie to look out over the clear blue water. Oh if you were only here how much happier and more delightful it would be. We returned home in time for supper as I had to come on duty at 7:15.
I haven't received a letter from you for many days, Sweetheart. I hope Jerry has not sent them to Davey's locker. I do hope to receive two or three this week.
I can say definitely now that you will receive a cheque for 10 pounds during the first week in May. I'm sorry to have kept you waiting so long Sweetheart but couldn't be helped. You should receive it quite regularly from now on during the first week of each month. Anything more you want please let me know and I shall arrange that you get it. I don't want you to go without anything you need any longer and I mean it, so please give me this long hoped for pleasure to see you have a few things you have long needed.
I have about a full kit now and with the exception of wear and tear there will be little expense for me from day to day. I hope to build up a strong bank account for later when you come over.
My tests are coming along slowly. I have covered quite a bit of work. There is much yet to do and for the next while there will be less time to work at my own work. I have a new flight [This is a contingent of new recruits for him to train.] to work along starting tomorrow and that means almost complete attention to them for at least this next month or so. I'm bound to complete my own work just as soon as possible. This I shall do and before many weeks have passed I shall succeed.
Well, Sweetheart, I wonder what you are doing tonight. Come on over and look after me. Take this Clipper from N.Y. to Lisbon. I believe they will bring you if you apply.
Olive, Betty & Mim all send their love. I received a letter from Olive Davis. She is still safe and sound. She is thinking of her holidays which she expects about June. I wish she would come to Torquay. You write her and tell her to do so. By that time I hope to be up in the air and will likely be away from here so what's the use?
Heaps of love and happy dreams. A big kiss and hug.
In this letter Jones enclosed a pressed flower and said: "Aren't they beautiful. As common here as tulips are at home. "Anemone" they are called."
It wasn't exactly Jones' goal to be a training officer, but at least he was in the RAF and getting closer to his dream of flying.
Here we go again . . .
"No. 5, Initial Training Wing
Royal Air Force
I received a very cheerful letter from you today Dearie. Doug had called in on you and you were looking forward to Elspeth coming also another visit from Doug and Anita.
It is my turn for duty again tonight. Hence the "buckshee" paper. Everything is quiet, most of the troops are asleep and I'm sitting here in a comfortable wicker chair before a very cheerful open fire. I want [you] here right now. You no doubt, are just settling down for a quiet evening after a busy day. I see you running about doing the chores, washing, cleaning, cooking and then wishing that you were here. My how those hours must be long for you. They are mighty long for me. I know they must be longer for you. You are a mighty brave and wonderful girl Honey.
I thought the snaps of myself were terrible Dearie. In fact I destroyed the negatives of all that I appeared in much to Betty's horror. She sent the prints on to you--I certainly wouldn't have [the] courage to do so. I do think the pictures of Olive, Betty and Arnold are very good. I always did take a queer looking picture that is why I don't cherish the idea of having my picture taken. I have become even more sensitive about it in recent years. In fact is really causes me pain. Queer isn't it? I'se born funny Honey.
Olive & Betty are home at Chippenham. They have invited me to go to Chip for Easter. I'm not moving from here until .......... send you a cheque and until my work is much more advanced. I'm not doing too badly. I have armaments off; signals test will be Friday; Law, navigation and several other subjects are at various stages along the way. Perhaps by another two months I shall have completed my work here. I then hope to be posted to a flying school, if I'm lucky.
You seem to [be] receiving my letters with a bit more regularity recently Sweetheart. I'm very glad that you are. Also I'm very pleased that you didn't obligate yourself an further to Doug. I know how much you need to help. It was more than generous of you. I certainly shall not keep you waiting very much longer. I shall hear from the Royal Bank most any day.
The weather is steadily improving. One sees beautiful daffodils, primroses, aubelia and dozens of other early flowers in whatever direction he looks. The green grass and the general beauty of this part of Devon is a treat [to] behold.
During the early part of this evening, Mrs. Phillips, Mrs. Allan (the adjutant's wife) and Mrs. Glover (the Squadron Leader's wife- were here in the mess. They and their husbands and a few of the other officers chatted away for several hours. It helped to pass the long hours. I am going upstairs to bed as soon as I finish this letter. Come along and keep me company.
Tomorrow evening we have a swimming gala on at the Spa Baths. I'm in the officers' relay race. We had a try out this afternoon. I wasn't quite the slowest but very nearly. I'm never a speed artist it seems--wish I were. But I didn't fall out.
I gather that Doug is not in uniform after all. [I think this refers to Doug his brother.]. What is he doing Dearie?
I hear from Helen quite often. I'm so glad to know that Cecil is doing so well. [I think this refers to Cecil his brother.]
Do you know Elspeth's husband's address.
Heaps of love Dearie and a great big hug and kiss to keep you warm.
Here's the next one.
"Sat. Apr 12th/41
This has been somewhat of a hectic week. [Must have been. He's forgetting to number the letters.] I have been on duty of one kind or another every other night throughout the week. I take time out this beautiful sunny, warm afternoon to chat with you. It would not require very much imagination to know what we would be up to if you were here. I'm sure the beautiful cliffs would find two very affable and extremely amorous people among its visitors. Then we would have a game of tennis, tea at the Queens Hotel, a show at the Palace Pier and then a dance at one of the many halls or hotels, then to bed. [War doesn't seem to have touched Torquay very seriously.] What a weekend we would have. Church tomorrow morning, more tennis, a glorious walk along the sea line. This is the spirit of spring and the beauty of this part of England is just unequaled. From my window I hear the song sparrows as we would sit in the car and listen to them at 45LSD. The entire countryside is a picture of freshness and wondrous beauty.
Our duties have been unusually heavy all week long. There is no prospect of a let up, which I don't mind a bit. It is great to be busy and I hop I shall be able to keep up with my own training in accordance with my schedule.
Owing to Good Friday and Easter Monday which are national holidays here, I don't expect any more mail until about Tuesday. It has been quite a long wait indeed this time for a letter from you. The last one that I received was No. 78. This morning I received a wire from them with the following message.
"Chin up" B(Betty) O (Olive) what it means I don't know. It's too good to hope that they might come this way in the near future. They are along with their mother, as Mim I understand is having a rest at Newbury, while the girls are home. However one never knows what Olive will be up to. I wouldn't be surprised to see them come in tomorrow. I have asked Phillips to stand by for a game of tennis at Squadron Headquarters should they come along.
Our Squadron kept the cup for water sports when we competed the other night with Nos. 1, 3 & 4 Squadrons. I swam in the officers relay race and as usual, came in last. It was good fun though. Interest in swimming in water sports. I wish I could swim well. Some of the chaps are excellent. Two or three fellows are from the Bahamas. It is a national pastime with them to swim and dive. There is also the odd fellow from U.S.A., Australia and New Zealand, Africa. All in all they are a splendid lot. And all as keen as mustard to get a chance at Jerry.
I received a letter from Helen's friend Miss Margaret McKirdey. She is a school teacher, at present somewhere in the London area. She has relatives in the Blackheath district, we shall soon know everyone in Blackheath at the rate we're going.
The sun has just disappeared behind a cloud and how suddenly cool it has become. Summer is not here quite yet. Still it is a delightful day.
Heaps of love this Easter day. And do justice to that chicken, send mine to me all made up in love. I love you more than ever if that is possible. A great big hug and kiss.
More from Torquay. How happy will Jones be in the resort of Torquay for any length of time doing what he's doing?
"Opened by Examiner 3260"
[We see all letters are really being very carefully scrutinized and we will see in subsequent letters that very little that Jones writes is ever blacked out. He's very careful.]
Just an April fool. My wouldn't I have your prank if I were home today. I expected to see you jump out at me today. Such a fine, sunny spring like day it has been too.
I received a letter from Helen's friend Miss MacCready, a school teacher. I think Helen met her at Netherwood school at Rothman (sp?). She has invited me to visit her sometime. She has a sister at Blackheath which is somewhat of a coincidence. I shall look her up some time I think. Miss MacCready is in Leicester. Bill had visited her once last summer but she has not heard from him since.
I am expecting a letter or letters from you tomorrow. I have noticed that your letters generally come along about Tuesday or Wednesday of each week. And once in a while I receive the odd letter on Saturday.
There is just one other guest, a man with a broken leg, besides myself at the Belmont Hotel now. I don't know what the old lady will do I'm sure. She seems to be quite satisfied. I never met a more independent person. She just doesn't care whether she gets any guests. You would certainly laugh at the way she runs things. I wonder how she ever managed to run the house when she used to have it full to capacity. She very often recalls the time when she had many people to look after. She would certainly have to run the house on much different lines than she does now if she wished to keep her guests. Personally I get on alright. I'm only in at night and for meals. I somewhat enjoy the old soul. She has a Cornish sense of humor which I enjoy very much.
I haven't heard from Olive & Betty yet. I don't know if they are planning to come to Torquay for a day or not. Then mentioned it in one of their letters. It is very hard for Olive to get gas and perhaps they cannot manage the trip. I would enjoy having them here for a day or so as we could indulge in Tennis. We have the privilege of playing on two courts quite nearby. I may hear from one of them tomorrow. I haven't any idea how long Betty will have at Easter.
I have never heard a word from Ron or Pat Shaw. No doubt Shaw is very busy. You mentioned that Ron is busy also taking courses.
My work is coming along slowly. I wish I could make more progress. I seem to use all the spare time I have but the ground (sp?) is quite extensive and it requires time to digest the information. I shall master it in time. I have to be ready for signals by the end of the week.
I heard from my old foreman at Cooper, Dinisen and Walkden's on Verney Road. He gave me the news of doings at the plant. I always liked him as he was such a straight forward chap. Hardly any of the boys are working there now. He tells me the roof is not leaking at any rate.
How is the breakwater holding, Dearie? Is there any sign of weakening? By the time this old war is over, I'm afraid it will require rebuilding completely. [Remember, they live waterfront on Lake Ontario.] Don't worry if you see any sign of wearing away. It can't do much damage.
We had a very heavy wind last night. It seems to have cleared the air. Today has been ever so much warmer than any weather we have had so far this year. You will just be in time to pick the beautiful flowers I see coming along. Hurry up, Dearie.
Heaps of love and happiness and happy dreams. A big kiss and hug.
I wonder sometimes if it bothered Helen that he was always nagging her to come over when there was little chance that she could find a way to come or receive permission during war time.
"Opened by Examiner 3229"
Sun. Apr 6/41
It was good to get your letters yesterday. I have received all up to and including No. 74. I haven't lost a letter since somewhere in the 50's. Pretty good hey what? From all accounts you are not having the same good luck.
Poor Mrs. Flafferty is having a hard time of it. I do hope she recovers. To think of losing so many organs and rigs makes one wonder what chance she will have after all the operating is over.
By this time I expect Doug has visited you. I wrote him about a week ago to let him know that I have 10 pounds in my account here for him and asked him to draft me for that amount. This I thought would be the best way for him to transfer it. I haven't been able yet to find out just how much money, if any at all, I am permitted to send out of England. [Uh oh. Is he going to have a problem sending money to Helen?] I hope to hear from the Royal Bank sometime this week about the matter.
I believe I owe you one or two letters this week Sweetheart. Somehow or other I seemed to neglect you last week. I am trying to concentrate on my work so much, as I want to get all my tests off in quick time, that I'm afraid I have neglected letter writing. I have had quite a lot of special duties to fill in as well. All in all I am very busy. When I tell you that frequently I don't get breakfast until after 10 a.m. and sometimes not at all and occasionally even go without my dinner and work every day outside until 6:15 p.m. you will understand how busy we are. In a way I', glad that you are not here just at present as I'm sure I should have to neglect you as you would see very little of me. Once I get my tests off it won't be so bad as I shall be down at the flying job then.
All day I have plugged away at algebra, logarithms, etc. my head is almost dizzy. It has been a most unusually cold day. In fact colder than we have had it for at least a month.
Last night I was on duty at the Town Hall dance. I had two or three dances with one of the officer's wives but, not knowing anyone else there, I spent a rather tame evening. I had to stay there to see that order was maintained and that the dance broke up on time. I wish you were here at such times. It would make all the difference in the work.
Betty and Olive will not be able to come to Torquay as they have to look after their mother, Mim, being away at present. I think Betty has until the end of the month off from teaching.
You have probably learned that Germany has declared war on Greece. It, no doubt, will pen the campaign for this year. I do hope we don't meet any serious disaster. As long as we can hold him at bay for another year I think we shall be able to turn the tide then. This year will no doubt prove to be a very severe test for us.
Your dining room must look great Honey. I did so much enjoy your sketch. I was right there with you. You don't know how much I love you, your letters and everything you do. And you have so little to work with. Never Mind Dearie, you will soon have easier times.
The gloves fit quite well--a bit large but that is a good fault (if fault is the word). The color is excellent and they are as warm as toast. I won't wear them out this year I promise.
Heaps and heaps of love Honey. I'm awful lonesome for you and long for you all the time."
Oops, he forgot to sign it.
Another nice letter from you this a.m. #67. It was delayed somewhere along the way as I have had Nos. 70 & 71 for two or three days. The gloves arrived Dearie and I'm mighty pleased with them. I must be honest though and say that this weather is very mild and spring like. In fact the grass is very green, flowers are well advanced and, all in all, there is little possibility of any more cold weather this spring. However, Sweetheart I more than appreciate them. Let us hope that I shall get my 'wings' soon, then I shall most certainly wear them an altitude more susceptible to cold.
Bill got away this morning. He seemed to have enjoyed his visit here. It was very quiet for him. He was .....??.....was so because he prefers to be quiet and free to relax. We took in three or four shows, pictures. Apart from that we just walked about enjoying the scenery. I thought we would be able to get a dance in, but Bill didn't seem to be too keen about it so we didn't bother. He takes his work very seriously and is making very good progress. In fact he is becoming quite ambitious to get on and I firmly believe he will make a good showing as time goes on.
I received very little mail this week. It must be everybody's week off. I can't understand why my letters to you should be held up for such long intervals. I write regularly three and four times a week. It must bey very trying for you to have to wait so long between letters. If I don't get a letter from yo with ....?...... I'm just about bugs! So far I have been very fortunate. Your letters seem to come with a considerable degree of regularity.
I don't know whether you could make head or tail of my last letter. I undertook to explain that we hold a commission agreement signed by the Irving Lumber Co. in connection with the Atlas Traders Ltd. deal which we negotiated. I am anxious to pay off L.V. Wright & Co. (King-Victoria Ltd.) what we owe him and I thought we might as well get that commission in if Atlas Traders Ltd. has purchased the premises in accordance with the option contained in their lease. If they (Atlas Traders Ltd.) have not yet exercised this option to purchase, I think it would be a good thing to give L.V. Wright (on Bay St.) the commission agreement or let him collect the commission .....?...... the deal is closed. In the meantime perhaps he would be good enough to give you a receipt for rent paid in full subject of course to the successful closing of the deal. I always hate to bother you with business matters, Dearie, and perhaps you won't care to look into this matter or to bother with it. Don't let it worry you in any event. You can refer to the assessment role at the city hall and see if the record there shows Atlas Traders Ltd. as "owners" or just tenants. Sometimes the records at City Hall are not quite up to date.
I hope you have received some post cards of Torquay which I have sent under separate cover. I want you to come over awful much and would like to tempt you good and hard.
Heaps of love Sweetheart and many thanks for the kisses and hugs which I devour. Now turn over and I won't snore but I won't let you sleep either.
Heaps of love and kisses
Note: this letter was slightly damaged. Some words were missing and I've guessed, hopefully correctly, at a few others.
Sat. Mar. 29th/41
Saturday once again. How quickly the weeks pass. When I think of being here already over a month it doesn't seem possible.
This afternoon I went out shopping. I think I spent 13 shillings. Such items as table covering (for my desk), coat hangers, ink stand, blotters, book ends and .....?...... Prices are very high for almost everything. One has to be ever ready to think of a substitute for anything he wants. Choice of variety is not possible now and one is content with whatever suits or is possible to 'fill the bill'. However there is certainly no shortage as one can always make out with what is available and not have to endure hardship.
I wonder what you are doing tonight. Like making something for somebody. You certainly could put out your shingle for almost any kind of business Dearie, if I would let you. You must obtain my consent first. The need is greatest over here and I know of a very wonderful job here that you can do and if you were here I'm sure you would do it mighty well. Would you care to try it? You must get here first before I tell you what the job is.
Phillips got back yesterday. He and his wife spent a very enjoyable few days in Wales. It rained almost every day they complained of the cold. We had quite a bit of rain here so they didn't miss anything. It was dreadfully cold here today. Almost like a March day in Toronto. The climate here in Torquay is very much milder, on the whole, than it is a bit farther north in England. Notwithstanding that, we get the odd cold day here that fairly freezes one. It is not an intense cold but on shivers almost all day long.
I hear a warning. Jerry has not been over these parts, at night for quite a while. He would come now that I'm duty officer. There is nothing to do in any case unless he takes the notion of dropping a few tokens about. He is not likely to do this in these parts.
I have almost mastered signals. I can rattle the Morse code at almost six or seven words a minute. It is interesting to see how one gets onto it. It seems to be hopeless at first. Soon one gets the sound of the dot and dash firmly fixed in his mind and very gradually he will notice that letters become nothing more than combinations of dots and dashes. Unfortunately for me I took Greek and when I see a freehand printed "y" or "v" I'm blessed if I don't take them for the Greek characters of 'gamma' and 'no'. ..........hey what? I thought I forgotten all my Greek long ago. I hope to take my test next week.
I heard from Betty today. She is planning to go home about the 4th of April for Easter. I don't know whether she will return to Ipswich again or not. Her term ends I think sometime in April. Maybe at Easter for all I know. Olive is with Douglas somewhere in Sussex. She is driving their car and it might be that Olive and Betty will blow in here on their way to Chippenham. I wouldn't put it pasy them. It will depend on how much time Betty has to spare.
Bill is likely with his unit by this time. He had to report back today. He went on to London yesterday and spent last night there. I enjoyed having him here very much. He is developing and maturing pretty much as we thought he would. He is very conscientious about his duties which will go far to advance him.
Well Sweetheart, why don't you surprise me and spring up from under this table. I wouldn't do anything but love you all night. Heaps and heaps of love and a big hug and kiss--now go to sleep and happy dreams.
So many officers were working at Torquay, simply marking time. Not our Jones. He was busy taking courses and learning everything he could. It would all stand him in good stead.
Here we go again.
"5 Initial Training Wing
Sunday evening, Bill is here and all is merry and bright. Where are you?
Bill came in last night about midnight. I was on duty all night and didn't see him until this morning. He is looking very well, a bit heavier than usual and, ........illegible........., he is a sergeant. He has seven days leave and will have to return Saturday next.
This morning we decided to see a bit of this beautiful place, Torquay. We walked by a quaint winding road, foot paths, jumbled steps until finally we reached the summit of one of the seven heights of land on which Torquay is built. This brought us onto the rifle range which overlooks Tar Bay (please refer to map). The coast line is very abrupt. In fact it is a steep faced cliff all along the Devonshire coast, broken here and there only, by the odd river such as the Teija (sp?), Dar, Ex, etc. It was a sunny, clear morning and we enjoyed the world in general and our company in particular.
Really our wishes for your presence (and Marion's) were frequently expressed. Your ears must have been scratching. We were strolling leisurely along the crest of this cliff, I with a cigar, talking about the beautiful scenes when a gentleman, gray of hair, approached and asked from what part of Canada we were. It was nobody short of H.G. Bell of Montreal and for many years on the staff of the Dominion Bridge Co. of Toronto and the brother of Mr. Bell the Harbour Master of Hamilton. Naturally enough we were happy in our acquaintance. He left Canada in 1923 and returned to his home in England. He knows, very well, many Montreal people whom I know. Soon his wife appeared and joined us in conversation. They are stopping at one of the Torquay hotels until next Saturday. They then return to their home in London. They have asked us over to see them during the week. Bill is planning to go over on Wednesday. I won't have an opportunity as my days are fully occupied.
Bill is planning a trip to Plymouth tomorrow (an hour and a half away by bus). I'm certain he will enjoy his leave here very well. He has just gone out for a stroll now before he turns in.
I saw Mr. & Mrs. Phillips and small son off to Wales yesterday. As I couldn't get them any chocolates (such are not available) I got them a dozen small fancy tarts to take along to eat on the journey. They will be away until Thursday.
I have received notification from the bank that some money will be paid into my account soon by the government. This I receive by way of a statement each month. As this is the first such notice that I have received my account will be operating very soon. I shall arrange a payment to you by way of the Royal Bank just as soon as possible.
I am sorry I forgot to enclose Mrs. Dunham's letter Sweetheart. I don't know now what I did with it, likely burned it as I have answered it long since. I burn all my letters, except yours, just as soon as I answer them.
It looks as if we are going to have a cook here at last. An elderly gentleman appeared on the scene yesterday and seems to be working himself in that capacity. There has been no maid here since two or three weeks ago and the place is becoming quite dusty. I heard the old lady say that she received a reply to her advertisement and expects a girl tomorrow.
I am still raving about my sweater Dearie. I wish you were inside of it right now. I'd join you at once. Bill promises to write you very soon. He said your letter was a month coming. Bill sends his love. Heaps of love and kisses until your lips burn.
P.S. Please don't forget to obtain a receipt from Wright -- "Paid in Full" if you collect the commission B."
[I suspect this P.S. has something to do with his real estate business. I never did learn what became of it, whether he simply shut it down or whether someone else took it over.]
Two lovely letters from you this morning. #69 & 70. Yes, Dearie, I shall be glad when you have not to bother with furnace, sales, etc. Another reason why I wish you were here. I could keep you quite busy enough without the necessity of leaving to do those chores. I do so long for you to be here and I spend much time thinking how we can manage to get you over here with the risk of misfortune. Can't you think of some way Honey? Surely we're not going to be beaten at this stage of the journey. How is your first aid by this time? Can't you volunteer as a V.A.D.? It has been done and is being done. One thing I do notice is that few, if any of your letters are missing recently. I seem to get them all. Perhaps the ships coming this way are heavier convoyed. I would give anything to have you here.
I have not been very busy this morning with routine work. I have endeavored to work at some law which I have to get off as soon as I can. I hear I got 84 in arms last week which is encouraging. There are many subjects which I am trying to work off as quickly as possible. Hence I'm very much occupied.
Bill is having a wonderful time sleeping these days. It is usually noon before he gets up. He says he is fully enjoying it. I think it must be rather tame for him. I scarcely see him until after 6:30 p.m. We have taken in a picture each night. Last night we saw 'Price and Prejudice' which we liked very well. The night before we saw a vaudeville which was somewhat amusing. Bill has to leave Friday morning. I don't know whether he will be able to get to Plymouth or not. I think he is going over to see Mr. Bell, this gentleman whom we met last Sunday, before he leaves Torquay.
The day is wet and windy, cold and bleak. Come on over and we shall not care what the weather is like.
Mr. and Mrs. Phillips are still away. They will be back tomorrow from Wales. I haven't heard from Olive Gaven for quite awhile and don't know where Doug is these days. I think he is somewhere in Surrey and likely Olive is with him.
You won't have to wait much longer for some funds, Dearie. I am trying to make arrangements with the Royal Bank to pay you fifty dollars at once. Just what permanent arrangement I shall be able to make I don't know yet. I would like to make it possible to send you fifty dollars each month. At least I hope to send 10 pounds. I shall hurry the matter along as quickly as possible.
There is a matter I wish you to attend to Dearie. In one of my files in the basement under "Commissions, Agreements etc." I think you will find a commission contract (slip) signed by the Irving Lumber Co. You likely remember the deal was negotiated with Atlas Trading Co. Ltd. or Atlas Traders Ltd. (Mr. Morden was President). Their lease contained an option to purchase which had to be exercised within a certain time limit. Will you please contact Mr. Morden and ask him if he has yet or is considering soon to purchase this property. Let him know where I am and what I'm doing. I'm sure he will cooperate with you. If he has purchased this property all you have to do is to bill Irving Lumber Co. Ltd., the former owners, for the amount of the commission, 3 1/2% of the sale price (less rebate of unearned portion of commission on rental which we have already been paid. I think you will find a copy of this lease tied up with a number of others in the basement. If you don't wish to bother with it please give the commission agreement to L.V. Wright and ask him to collect, and pay you the balance after deducting the rent I owed him. In any case if you collect the commission I wish you to pay Wright (King-Victoria Ltd.) what we owe him.
I would love to have the ring over here to wear but don't run risk of loss. Heaps of love and kisses.
I'm a writer. I'm also a weaver and a spinner and a knitter. And sometimes I draw pictures. And I like to go bike riding or paddle around in my kayak. I like all kinds of things . . .