Baker, James

Letter
Date:
April 17, 1940
To:
Mom
From:
Jim
Somewhere in England
April 17th, 1940

Dear Mom,

Received two letters dated the 12th and 30th of March. The one contained some of my poems for which I thank you very much. I will await the arrival of the others as patiently as I can. I am so glad to hear Dad is home again and enjoying himself fishing. I sure wish I was home and fishing with him. But then I must remember that I have been seeing a lot of the world that you folks back there haven't, so I must not wish for the impossible. I have been up to London once and I am going up there again tomorrow. This Mr. Green that I was telling you about has asked me up again so I am going. I almost didn't get up there this week because my officer - Major Murphy told me that I would have to report back to my Company on Wednesday. Then he told me to stay in the mess till next Monday so I can have Thursday off the same as usual.

I have already sent you another article on my first trip to London and I will try to write another one this week end. I am going to write them all in pencil from now on because it is too darned hard writing then twice over.

I have at last got in touch with the Soldier's Educational Scheme. I sent the postcard off last night. I asked for a directed reading course in Literature and Writing. I also asked to be conducted on a tour through a chemical Industrial plant. That will be some time soon I'm pretty sure for there are rumours of a big leave coming up pretty soon.

I'm so pleased to hear that you have at last begun to fix up the house. I won't know it when I get back! And if at any time you find yourself in need, please do not hesitate to use the money which you have at home for me. It will give you a feeling of security to know that you have that little nest egg to fall back upon in case of an emergency. So please do not hesitate to use as much as you want.

Well we have had another accident in the ranks. Last Saturday morning one of our sergeant majors was killed in a motor accident. The motorcycle on which he was riding crashed into a truck that was parked alongside the road. His neck was broken and of course he died instantaneously. His funeral was held this morning. He was only 28 and leaves a wife and 2 small children. It is very sad and so very unnecessary. If he had been killed in action it would have been very different: but to go like that...it seems very terrible indeed.

You needn't worry about the cost of the cablegram. It was only 2/6 (62 cents); so you see that isn't much. It only costs me 4/9 ($1.18) to go up to London and the last time I was in London, I only spent 10 shillings ($2.50). So you see things are amazingly cheap over here. Right now I have 1/9/61/2 on me. That is approximately $7 so you see I am far better off than I have ever been before in my life. How often have I been able to boast that I have had a five dollar bill of my own in my purse? Not very often is it?

Wasn't that funny you finding my pen like that? I can't remember exactly which one it was. Will you please tell me? Do you remember those silk handkerchiefs that Dad sent you in the last war?...the ones that were hand embroidered so prettily. Well I am sending you one with this letter. I hope you will like it. And please don't worry about the cost. It was only 1/6 and I enjoyed spending it. I also bought Sadie a lovely eggshell blue scarf and a hanky to match - all hand embroidered, for her birthday. It is in June but I thought I had better send it off early because parcels take almost a month and a half to reach us so I thought probably they'd take the same time to reach you over there.

I got four letters yesterday. One from Blake (Clarence) two from you and one from Marian Bell. So you see I have a lot of letter writing to do. And I am expecting some more today. Thirty tons of mail came over for the 1st Division this time. That's certainly a lot of mail. I'm expecting at least one from Sadie maybe more. I haven't heard how she is and I'm becoming a little worried. Beth Henderson should write me too. I hope she does so, I'm anxious to hear how she likes my poetry.

Well I guess that's all. Will close with love as always

Jim

Original Scans