Baker, James

Letter
Date:
July 6, 1940
To:
Mom
From:
Jim
Somewhere in England
July 6th 1940

Dear Mom,

I haven't had a letter from you or a parcel or papers for so long but I heard the other day that one of our boats was sunk and all the mail aboard was lost. So I guess you had better tell me what Alfie Jones did that was so heroic. I am in a state of terrible suspense for your letter did nothing but contain exciting things to come. I hope you will write soon and put me out of my state of suspension!

Well the new draft has arrived and who should I find among them but Rusty Woodward, Scotty (Shaw's hired man) and Tommy Graham - one of the boys I went to school with. As you can imagine, we had a grand reunion and a swell time talking over all the good times we used to have down in White Rock. I also met Bill Law who is another man from White Rock. That makes five of us from the same place, doesn't it?

I suppose you have heard all about Ross Norriss and his cowardice. He is now serving two years in Kinston for desertion. He did everything in his power to avoid the draft and finally deserted, but they soon caught up with him and he got what he deserved. I can't imagine what he was afraid of for certainly we have seen no action yet. The boys coming over have seen three subs, had a torpedo shot at them, were bombed twice and sank two subs....so it wasn't exactly a peaceful passage.

I haven't got my leave yet, but I am hoping for the first of September. I have got my new suit all pressed and fixed up so I will look real smart when I do go. I am going up to Inverness so watch out for some "rrrrrrrrr's" soon.

How is everyone at home? What's the latest gossip? How was the tourist trade this year? I should imagine it's pretty good with American money at a premium in Canada.

Every night for the past two weeks I have been in the habit of dropping into the Borden Club and listening to Ralph Stenton play the organ. He plays one of those new Hammond Electric Organs and can he play it! I have become very friendly with him and have started to write out some music for him. He heard that ‘Polka' of mine and was taken with it - as he expressed it. But I'm sure you'll never recognize it to hear him play it....sounds altogether different on the organ. I think he is going to let me play the organ next week. I hope so anyway.

Every Tuesday night he had an amateur hour. I wish I could enter but my voice is in such bad shape after all the colds I have had and my throat is blocked with phlegm that I am afraid to. I hope it clears up soon for I have heard those who have been winning and I know deep in my heart that I can sing better than they can.

Now that I have seen and heard one of these new organs, I have become determined to learn to pay one someday myself. They are remarkably cheap and I hope someday to be able to own one....so much nicer than a piano.

I'm afraid there is not much to write about just now. I missed a chance to get a good job the other day. They wanted someone to go up to London to run an elevator in the War Office but by the time the corporal got around to asking me, the job was filled: I couldn't go. However, offers of jobs like that are continually coming in and he had promised the next chance to me so perhaps - eh?

One of the boys committed suicide the other day: in books - "Killed Accidentally Whilst on Active Service" but we know he killed himself. He just got so terribly depressed and bored that he up with his rifle and ---------- in the heart. Another died of pneumonia. I was on the firing squad that shot the volley over his grave.

Well I guess that's all for now.

Love to all,

Jim

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