So Jones has made it to England on just over $9.00. He's endlessly resourceful. Now he's getting even closer to his goal.
"Thurs. Sept. 5th/40
Just leaving Chippenham for London
Please excuse this Woolworth pen; it is practically worn out.
Well here I am just pulling away from the station. I have enjoyed my stay with Mim and the Gliddens so much. It has done me the world of good and feel that I have a few real friends in this green world. They practically opened the house to me as a home and insist that I make my headquarters there. They have even gone so far as to suggest that I should be dependent on them but you know how much I am likely to avail myself of that offer. I shall walk or fall in my own strength which my love for you has given me. You are responsible for my being here and you are the only dependent I want. This old train is very wobbly. I got to know Mr. Glidden very well. He does resemble Frank in facial expression and Mrs. Glidden and her son Arnold are very delightful indeed. All in all we thoroughly enjoyed our days together.
I do wish you could have joined me in some of the walks I had. In any direction one beholds quaint, old scenery so refreshing and delightful that I'm certain together we would have been spellbound. It just required you to be here Sweetheart and all would have been perfect.
A heavy air raid nearby disturbed Mrs. Glidden somewhat during the night but she is very brave and does well to conceal her nervousness. Personally I don't hear anything once I'm asleep, which rather amused the family this morning.
Mr. Glidden drove me to the station and saw me off.
W......(wobbly train)....whatever ......... we notice that most men in uniform carry pistols or rifles wherever they are.
I just heard the conductor say our next stop is London. Evidently we are not going to stop at the local stations but go straight through. We have over an hour and a half run yet.
While visiting one of the old churches yesterday, I copied some very old inscriptions from the walls. This pen is acting up so I shall have to write them out later and send them on to you.
All my love Dearie and I'm more 'nurtz' than ever. I ever think of you and dream of you coming over here to be with me.
A big hug and what did I hear you saying '-----'
At last. Bill Jones is in London, ready to do battle with the RAF. By hook or by crook, he will join them. Ready. Set. Go.
Written on letterhead from Cranston's Waverley Hotel, Southampton Row, London, W.C.I.
"Friday, Sept. 6th/40
Here I am at last. Several thousand miles from you that is the worst of it.
I made some enquiries yesterday re the party I am to see am now awaiting a call (telephone) from his secretary. She informed me that he left the city yesterday afternoon for an unknown destination, but that she expects to see him back at his office sometime today. I am worried lest he has taken it into his mind to take an extra long weekend. I would be very sorry indeed if he has done so as it will throw me out of my calculations. But I shall hope for the best.
The weather is perfect here Sweetheart. My what a time we could be having if you were only here. That I am very lonesome is no word for it. I gets an awful sick feeling at the ...(sorry, illegible) ... for (?) below my tummy every now and again. 'T'aint no fun no how.
We had the longest air raid from Jerry last night ever experienced. He caused the warning to extend to seven and a half hours duration. A record so far. The extent of damage was I believe very small. It was almost unbelievable to see the entire capacity of Lyons' big restaurant, the dining rooms of many of the largest hotels, and the entire premises of most restaurants entirely opened up to the public, free of charge of course, as air raid shelters. Most of these buildings are concrete and reinforced steel. No serving is allowed and all tables are cleared of their linen and utensils. The people lie down on the floor to sleep or sit in chairs leaning over the tables half asleep. Honestly to sit and look over the scene causes in one the queerest reaction. To think of such places in peace time bristling with business activity and admission based on the extent of one's pocketbook, now to be so changed as to become a charitable shelter, without charge. It causes one to wonder at the sudden disregard of material value in the face of a threat to one's very existence. It is just as if the lower floors and basement of the Royal York and King Edward [grand hotels in Toronto] were cleared of all business transactions, and anybody and everybody who happened to be near there when the air raid alarm sounds, were to flock into them and sprawl over the chairs, remove their coats and boots and stretch out on the carpeted floors. It is just that picture Honey that we see here. It is so absolutely strange it is mighty hard to believe--and here in old historical, conservative London. Dearie, it is typical of the spirit that pervades this entire country. Wonderful is no word to describe it.
And, Dearie, from what I have been able to observe, while there is free mixing of sexes in comparative blackness all about one is night, the moral aspect is truly just as wonderful as is the predominating spirit. This war I believe is going to have a tremendous influence on the character of people.
Everything is being regulated extremely well here. Rationing while on a reduced scale, still provides ample food value and people have no thought or notion of complaining. For instance one gets 1 cube of sugar for a cup of tea. Three 1/2" diameter balls of butter for a meal. Eggs are .08 cents each and very hard to get. Everything is evenly distributed and no favoritism, this is a fact I believe.
The weather here is typical of Toronto weather at this time of year.
I shall post the cards I have been able to get for you, also a few newspapers which shall be out of date insofar as headlines are concerned, but if you read the locals and editorials it will give you a good idea of life here.
It doesn't look as if I shall be able to visit anyone this weekend. I pay 9 s. for bed, bath, attendance and breakfast here and I don't want to stay too long.
Well, Sweetheart, I shall try my best to keep you well informed because I must see everything in terms of you. And I want you so.
Gee, to be only near you.
I hear from Miss Slade that Dr. Borden has been called up for medical board work in the west.
Heaps of luck and may your mind keep free from worry. I love you only and shall die for you if need be. Keep bright for my sake and hopeful.
Note: these letters are all Copyrighted to Karen Rempel Arthur
These letters give only the bare bones of what William Jones was doing. For more detail, The Tenacious Spy: The Story of William Morris Jones by Karen Rempel Arthur, may be purchased on Amazon or Kindle.
So, on his way to London, Jones stops in Chippenham, southwest England, to visit Miss Gladie Slade, an acquaintance from World War I, where he had already proved himself a worthy hero.
"76 Marshfield Rd.
67 Chippenham, Wiltshire, Eng.
Wed. Sept. 4/40
Here I am at Gladie's. We have just had dinner and I am alone in the living room with you. Gladie has gone to look after her sister, her brother-in-law, Rev. Glidden, has gone about his duties and the son, Arnold (25 or so) has taken his book to some other part of the house. The sun is pouring in the open door which overlooks the small garden plot at the rear of the house.
Mim met me at the station yesterday with her brother-in-law, Rev. Glidden who drove us to his home, the above address. It is a typical English home, comfortably arranged, not very large but convenient. Two rooms and kitchen downstairs--their bedroom and bath upstairs, M ....indecipherable... and fireplaces downstairs. The furniture is easy and plain as it belongs to the parish as this house does. Rev. Glidden has been the preacher here for five years.
I find Gladie the same as ever. Her sister is an invalid and spends her days in bed. Mim is her only attendant. A maid looks after the housekeeping and prepares the meals. Arnold, the son is also an invalid. He has an infected throat which restricts his voice and which Mim says is incurable. After a bite to eat yesterday we sat around the invalid sister and talked our heads off. Then we went over to the main part of Chippenham, visited an antique shop, saw some wonderful antiques, examined the very ancient buildings, then visited the very old church, read some of the funny memorials on the walls which date back to 1670, then admired the handmade slate roofs and later thatched roves of the quaint shops which line the narrow winding street. To see a Woolworth red front store in such a setting is somewhat heart-breaking, but I suppose even England can be no exception. We returned home in time for tea. Mr. Glidden, Arnold and I talked until suppertime. Two or three other clergymen came in wearing military chaplain's uniforms, and we enjoyed the conversation for an hour or so. Mim then joined us for an hour or so until 9 p.m. when she excused herself and retired. Rev. Glidden and I talked until midnight and I greatly enjoyed our conversation. He was able to give me an excellent insight to the conditions and political issues as they prevail here. I accommodated myself on this chesterfield in the room that I am in at present. It is almost 4 feet long from arm to arm, and I hugged you all night to keep me from rolling off. I slept well and actually was quite comfortable. I arose at 8 a.m., had a shave and breakfast with Rev. Glidden and Arnold. Mim's time is practically wholly taken up by attending to her sister. After breakfast we gathered about Mrs. Glidden's bed and tuned in the radio to a morning service program which they listen to every morning. It was short and very bright and pleasing. After this, Rev. Glidden took Arnold and I out in his Morris coach and showed us the countryside. Sweetheart I feel so selfish seeing all this alone that it makes me very sad and lonesome. Why can't you be here too, and you are the one I want to see it most, gosh it's tough. We visited a very historical spot called Biddington (Please look up Chippenham, Biddington, Talbot (the inventor of photography), Lacock where the famous Lacock Abby once flourished and which now is a memorial to W.H. Fox Talbot the inventor of photographic act. Honey look these places up in the encyclopedia. They are all so full of historic interest and are so beautiful and sacred. The old tall pines, elm and oaks scattered throughout the grounds are huge at the base and are grand to behold. My thoughts went back to old man Wildman, who you recall, was from Wiltshire. He no doubt tried to duplicate a bit of his native land when he...indecipherable... The hardwoods at Wyvale. I am charmed with the beauty of this country. Its quaintness, orderly life, so rich in its reflection of the past, but I suppose also so difficult to change to present day standards. Directly we returned from our dinner, Rev. Glidden, Arnold and I had lunch and after lunch we adjourned severally to our different...indecipherable..... And here we are, just you and I.
I shall remain here tonight and go on to London in the morning. It is not more than a two hour run to London and I shall be there before lunch.
Please don't forget to send me two or three photos of yourself Sweetheart. I don't know how it is that I came away without one. I missed having one right after I left Toronto and intended asking for one long before this.
This would be a marvelous afternoon for a stroll Honey. We would go on the hillside and I'm sure we would not return for a week. Mim thinks it would be possible for you to come over and I am going to do everything possible to try and manage it. Just as soon as I am settled we shall see what can be done about it. By the way, Lacock Abby was founded in 1233 for Augustinian Canonesses.
Well Sweetheart I am truly lonesome and I just burn up for you. It will not be long before I receive more letters from you thank goodness.
A big heart full of love and kisses galore. What did I year you say nurts?
I will leave you to look up those places of interest as Bill instructed Helen to do.
All right. It seems that our Jones is nearing his destination and goal. Well, let's see what happens next. Nothing is ever easy.
"Bristol & Chippenham
Tues. Sept. 3rd/40
Just leaving Bristol Stn.
Again I find myself on trains en route to Chippenham to see Miss Slade. [Miss Gladie Slade from Chippenham in southwest England, is an acquaintance made during WWI] I just got her on the telephone to let her know I shall arrive at 11 a.m.
How are you this beautiful morning? Gosh Hon, I am lonesome for you. It is cruel to have to move around like this without you being here to enjoy it with me.
I arrived at Cardiff too late to continue on to Chippenham as train connections were too bad. I made many purchase of clothing. Here they are:
1 suit - blue gray with light blue or red pin strips - 3 pounds 18 s.
2 shirts - 1 pound 3 s.
1 pr. Socks - 2s. 11 d.
1 suit pajamas - 11 s.
1 pr. Braces - 3 s.
1 tie - 2 s.
3 hdkfs - 1 s 8 d.
1 valise - 3 s.
1 hat - 11 s.
2 collars - 1 s. 8 d.
I had a sponge bath at a hand basin gentleman's lavatory, which was presided by the attendant reserving the entire establishment to me by closing the door. Here I changed from sailor to dear knows what--you can name it. I then got a bit to eat and looked for a room which I found at a nearby rooming house for 3 s. 6 d. This morning I reached the station at 8 a.m. and have been traveling since 8:40.
A gentleman just got off the train who married an American girl and who returned to England last November, having spent quite a while in Toronto. (This branch line train is very wobbly--please excuse the scrawl.)
Well Sweetheart, there are raids over some part or other of these Islands almost every day. But our defense force are str..illegible.. and are doing wonderful work.
Heaps of love Dearie and will write when I reach Chippenham. A big warm kiss and hug and then more.
Gee Hon. I have no picture of you. Please supply me with one I like. You know, the original. Just crawl in an envelope.
The name of the flower Mim says is Statice. Many people plant then, dry them for winter. Use ...illegible...' Japanese lanterns' are used.
[Your guess is as good as mine what Statice has to do with Japanese lanterns, but it was a bumpy train ride. Let me know if you figure it out svp.]
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 . . .