"c/o Mrs. Stonham
2254 Dorchester St. W.
(Note: the letter was undated but post marked July 19/41)
My Dear Sweetheart:
I was 100% successful today in making connection with a steamer for Bristol, England. Everything worked like clockwork.
Gosh, Honey, I have a sinking feeling for the moment in not being with you right now. I have until midnight for my own time. I commence work at 7 a.m. and we sail about noon or the early hours the next morning. I like Capt. Anderson and mate Nasmith immensely. They are both real good Englishmen and they seem to take to me like brothers. They are right with me and are anxious to see me get through. I have signed on at 10 L. & 10s per month of course with all keep. Not bad hey what. I didn't expect that part of it at all. It will take us about two weeks I should judge to get to Bristol, as I remember it was about that time that we made the voyage in the 'Volunteer'.
I saw Jean MacDonald for a few minutes at the head office of the Royal. My I was surprised to see her entirely white hair. Jean was always so dark. I think she had a serious illness not long ago and it almost got her. Her spirits are excellent and she mentioned that she had seen Helen a year or so ago, and would be writing again at any time.
Mrs. Stonham is not at home, evidently, as I have been trying to get her by telephone. However I shall get her sooner or later. I shall keep on trying to get her until I succeed.
I have a few dollars still Dearie, plenty to see me through and now that I am to be paid while going over that will solve my difficulty when I arrive.
Please address all mail c/o Mrs. E. Banister. I believe it is 222 Northfield Rd., King's Norton, Birmingham. I wish I had Chris Martin's address, also Rev. Wilkins. Will you be so good as to drop their addresses in a letter to me and send it on to 222 Northfield Rd., King's Norton. Also write Mrs. Banister and let her know what I am doing.
My private yacht is the S.S. Darcoila, Capt. Anderson, 1st Mate Nasmith and as far as the capt. knows we are headed for Bristol. A convoy meets us after we leave the Canadian coast and we have a private escort of H.M.S. navy. Gee, Honey, it would be ever so much more interesting and happy if you could be right with me. I shall ever think you are beside me and no doubt talk to you in the moonlight as we sale the blue Atlantic.
[There is a war going on. German uboats are haunting the Atlantic and convoys of merchant vessels were escorted by navy vessels. Even so, it was a dangerous passage. Capt. Anderson would not have been told in advance of their route or destination so there could not possibly be any leak of information that could be picked up by the enemy. The Darcoila had an opening for a crew member, as one of theirs had fallen overboard while sailing up the St. Lawrence River.)]
I am writing Mother right away and you will hear from her in a few days.
I saw Col. (he needs to be General) Perry. He has got very fat and soft-looking. He tried to show the old spirit but he has not kept himself from liquor I would judge. However I enjoyed seeing him again. He says they are all frightfully busy and at last things are working out a bit smoother. He was quite certain that I would find something to do in England and wished me good luck.
I wrote to Mrs. Prefontaine and asked her to send all mail on to Mrs. Stonham. If I don't see Mrs. Stonham, but I'm certain I shall do so before I leave, I shall drop a note in the mail for her.
I am getting a pair of heavy socks before I leave and a cake of soap. In all other respects I shall be O.K. The other sailors always have the odd coat should I require one. But the weather is very balmy in the Gulf Stream and no heavy clothes are needed. All I wore the last time was a pair of dungarees and a light shirt. Don't worry Sweetheart. I'll be O.K.
It has all happened so smoothly Dearie I am really satisfied in my own mind that I am doing the right thing. Every step in this move has been assisted by the cooperation of all concerned. Capt. Gray, the Montreal harbour shipping master took a keen interest in me from the start and has been a great help.
I can scarcely believe this is to be the last note to you until I arrive in England. Two weeks and no word from you! Never mind Honey, we shall be brave and see it through. I shall write while aboard ship and send the letters on to you as soon as I arrive in Port Bristol. Please don't say how I am going to England or in fact little had better be said to anyone until I get there and land a job. If it gets all about, someone may try to make trouble about it and get Turner in wrong. Please don't mention his name in any case--not, at least until I am firmly established and even then little had better be said about it. We shall hold the secret for awhile at least.
Once there Dearie, I hope to apply myself to the limit and endeavor to climb up the ladder a bit. With a little luck I know I can do it. Your prayers and support are all the world to me. I am doing what I am doing for you and I trust your life and happiness will be secure and enduring.
It should not be very long before money comes to you. Mr. Fenwick at the bank will no doubt be content with less than $25 this month if you ask him. [Their monthly mortgage payment--imagine that!] However you may be able to clear off the bank altogether and to have the full benefit of the cheque later. I only hope that you do not get worried during the next month or so.
Heaps of love Sweetheart, have faith and trust--all will be well and what a time we are going to have a little later. [Little did he know!]
God protect you and keep you safe for me always.
Love to all, Ever Bill"