Baker, James

Letter
Date:
March 10, 1940
To:
Mom
From:
Jim
Somewhere in England
March 10th, 1940

Dear Mom,

There is not very much doing right now but there is an undercurrent of excitement and movement in the air of the camp which presages big doings, so I don't think it will be long before we see some action. It seems pretty definite now that we are not going to go to France. But where we will end up is a mystery to all of us. "I hope we don't go there" I'd far rather go down to Turkey or Romania or Egypt. I'm afraid we won't go to Egypt though because the Australians are there already and I don't think they will put the Canucks and the Aussies together again after the things they did to each other last time. Just the same you had better prepare yourself for a big surprise for we never know where or when we might go.

Regarding the politics of the coming election I can say right now that I do not agree with the platforms of any of the parties. Personally, I think that they ought to have a Coalition Government and as a matter of fact; I think you will have one pretty soon. They can't go on the way they have been doing, continually bickering and finding fault with each other and never doing anything. But regarding how I will vote, I cannot say as yet. We get very little news from home here. The only news we do get is sporting news and that is of no use.

I went over to Aldershot with three of the boys last Saturday and we had a swell time. We saw a football (Aldershot beat Reading 3-2) and then we went to see my first vaudeville show. It was not so very good, the usual run of second rate comedians with their somewhat "blue" jokes, a very good accordion player, a "blues" singer reputed to be just over from America. And then came the most wonderful choir of boys I have ever heard. It was simply superb and I sat enthralled. Little thrills of ecstasy kept running up and down my spine. I'll write you what I wrote down in my diary:

"Steffani and his Silver Songsters" - just back from a European tour, simply brought down the house. They are a choir of twenty voices made up entirely of boys between the ages of nine and thirteen and all possessed of extremely remarkable voices. Every voice has been carefully chosen so that each blends with its neighbor and when they all sound a chord, the vibrations harmonize as nearly perfectly as it is possible to get human voices to harmonize. One of them has the highest boy's soprano voice in the world and it was a wonderful experience to hear that glorious voice singing "Ave Maria" (the one Dad plays) in an appropriate stage setting. They also sang "The Cuckoo Song" - with all the sound effects produced by one of the boys who is a marvelous whistler, "In a Monastery Garden" - again with sound effects, " The Ride of the Valkyries" - no words, just noises which gave a very realistic impression of the horses and maidens racing earthward to pick up the warrior dead, "The Blue Danube with Variations" and a medley of modern pieces."

We have had ideal Easter weather and the trains have been crowded with holiday makers going out into the country to enjoy the holidays. In fact all records have been broken. And the peculiar thing is that no troops were not allowed to travel on the trains or buses from Good Friday to Easter Monday. That shows just how true are Lord Haw Haw's statements that "the British public are poor, starving, unhappy wretches ground beneath the iron heels of the aristocrats; depressed, sullen, glum and discontented."

Goodbye for now, say "Hello" to everyone for me

Love as Always,

JIM

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