Baker, James

Letter
Date:
August 8, 1940
To:
Mom
From:
Jim
8th August, 1940
3rd Canadian Infantry Holding Unit
South Louisburg Brks.
Borden, Hants

Dearest Mom,

I have just got back from an appointment with the dentist. I have to go back again on Monday. I was terribly surprised when he told me how much work he had to do. I thought I only had two cavities but he found eleven. I had four silver fillings this morning and have some more to do on Monday and Tuesday. He is an awfully nice fellow, didn't hurt me a bit. The only thing I didn't like was the drill. It sent shivers up and down my spine.

I am rather glad you got the poems from the Free Press. Yes, they were very encouraging but their criticism was not half as good as the one Beth Henderson sent me. She really tore my poems to pieces and found hundreds of errors I never even suspected. I have been working on them for quite a few days: polishing them up as it were. I will send them all to you in the revised form as soon as I can. I'm afraid I haven't been keeping my diary up to date. The life around this camp is so monotonous. Never new ever seems to happen.

I have been transferred to a new unit called the Mobile Unit. We are supposed to mop up any parachutists which may land in our areas. We are on 30 minutes notice and are liable to be called out at any moment of the day or night. They are composed almost entirely of new men who haven't had much training. And now I am going to let you in on a little secret but you must not tell anyone else until it is confirmed because it would look very peculiar to say the least. I was informed this morning by the sergeant of my company that I was getting promoted very soon now. I'll be a Lance Corporal - maybe a full Corporal. I hope so because I want to get on in this Army. I can see no reason why I should stay a private all the time when men with half my brains but twice the "push" can get stripes. I have learned that the man who talks no matter whether he says anything or not, generally gets farther the loudest and longest - ahead in the Army than the man who knows a lot but does not say a great deal. So maybe you'll be addressing you future letters L./Cpl.

My gosh, why did you have to go and mention fishing and swimming to me! I get so homesick when I think of the salmon run coming in and me not there to greet it.... and I haven't been swimming now for ages. I guess I'll have to get a weekend pass soon and run down to Brighton to go swimming. I guess I'll be getting 7 days on or near Sept 1st. Boy - am I going to have a good time!

I got two bundles of letters and papers the other day from my penpals in Manitoba. That makes 26 so far. Anna sent me a parcel too. Socks, handkerchiefs, candy, writing paper and envelopes. The latter were especially welcome because it is nearly impossible to buy this smooth writing paper in this country. I don't know why it should be so.

I was out for a walk last night and as I was coming back I got talking to a girl and her mother whom I had become acquainted with when I was on guard. We were having a great time together - gossiping, when who should come along but Bob McLaren: drunk as a lord and twice as happy. He was beginning to get objectionable so I had to steer him home. Quite a time I had of it too. He didn't want to go for some reason or other.

No, I'm afraid I can't get in touch with Bob much as I would like to. But maybe I could write to him care of his ship at Portsmouth. Will you try to send it to me? ...the name of the ship: not the ship!

No, I have not heard a Canadian Broadcast now for months. By the way I hope you hear the Empire Broadcast next Wednesday 14th. It is coming from the camp here and quite a few of the boys are in it. I can't get in because my throat is full of phlegm and I cannot sing worth anything.

That certainly was a dirty trick they played on Mr. Hayward. I can't understand why they should do such a thing to him after all the years of service he has had with the school. I certainly hope everything comes alright. Say, is there son over here or is he still in Canada? And what about Peter Moore and Harold Thrift? I have asked every RCAF pilot I have met for news of them, but none seem to know.

Who the heck is Ruth Milson by the way? And M.G. - a nurse! Good god what next!

I am developing into a real film fan now. I go on the average 4 times a week. The shows change every three days and as there is not much else to do, they are pretty will patronized. I just saw "Contraband": enjoy it very much.

And now how is everything at home. Are you having a hard time trying to make ends meet? Have prices advanced very much? Because if they have you are at perfect liberty to use my money in any way you see fit. I wouldn't want my people to do without things just because they had some silly notion about a "trust" or something. And now I must close. By the way, I am again losing weight. Weigh now 205 lbs (lost 35) and feel much better. I'll have to send home some photos soon. By the way, try and get some taken of all of you and sent them out to me.

Love as ever,
Jim

NOTE:
There are several letters missing here but nothing of any consequence happened during this period. I stayed in the Reinforcement Unit for nearly two weeks and during that time I carried on with routine training. It was at this period that the Germans began their all out attack against the Channel ports and forward aerodromes as a prelude to the invasion.
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