Baker, James

Letter
Date:
August 29, 1941
To:
Mom
From:
Jim
August 29th, 1941

Dear Mom,

I got the first letter from you I received in nearly 4 weeks. It was dated July 1sr. I have not had any Canadian mail for a long time. There is a lot of mine being held up somewhere. Either at the regiment or at the Holding Unit. This that I did get has been to nearly every place in England except where I was! But I got some, so I live in the hopes of getting the rest sometime even though I suppose it will be held up again for a few days because I have been moved from Taplow to a new hospital near Birmingham, away up in the Midlands. We are halfway between Birmingham and Coventry so I am really going to have a good time exploring... I want to see the ruins of Coventry and will probably write a letter about it to keep among my souvenirs. And I hear that Birmingham is quite an exciting city too, more like London was before the war. It has been severely blitzed scores of times but nothing like so bad as Coventry or London.

We are allowed to go out on pass every day from 1.30 to 9 at night so I expect to have lots of time for exploring. This is a brand new hospital and we are the first patients so of course, we get a lot of privileges. But I don't suppose we will have them for long for someone is bound to step over the mark - they always do, and that inevitably leads to curtailment of privileges. That's what happened at Taplow.

We are not going to get paid til next Wednesday and today is Saturday so of course there was quite a howl went up as most of the boys are broke! But I don't mind. I have 2 pounds and nearly 10 in my pay book so as soon as I get discharged; I am going to try to get 14 days leave. Won't that be lovely?

I don't suppose I will be in here much longer. My arm - although still discharging, is nearly healed up again. But the soreness still persists in the elbow bones and I - myself, don't like it. The bone itself is greatly enlarged and extremely tender. But the Doc says not to worry, that will go away after awhile. I have had 14 X rays and they can find no evidence of osteomylitis so I am happy again. The major here seems to be a good Doctor, so I wouldn't worry too much.

I have had several letters from Gladys Hoye and Burnett Laws and Philip Cox so I am kept well in touch with all the news of the district. Gladys is getting on very well and seems to be very happy in her new work. I also got a letter from Marion at Ottawa and she is happy too. She is working as a stenographer in the Civil Department or something. Also had a long letter from Jessie Young and she said she would write to you soon. I have been to Eton and Windsor. I think I wrote and told you my friends Mr. and Mrs. Hart and their daughter Hilary were down to the Hospital to see me and they took me out in their car. It was a lovely trip! No, Harrow is still there carrying on as usual, except that there are not so many boys now, parents can't afford it these days. Eton is also depleted.

Where on earth did you get the idea Mr. and Mrs. Hart had taken me to Cornwall? I said they were going to. But unfortunately they are down there now and here I am still languishing in hospital. I have not yet been down to Cornwall but I certainly hope to go before I am much older. Mr. Hart is an artist who is very fond of painting landscapes and he is particularly good with seascapes. The cliffs and beaches of Cornwall are his favourite subjects so he has hundreds of paintings of them scattered all over his house. Besides that he knows all the prominent artists of today and has pictures that they have given to him also scattered throughout his home. It is like walking through an art gallery to go through with him. And besides that he changes them about once a week so every time I go over to his house, I discover something new. I am very familiar with them all, I used to go over once or twice a week - sometimes two or three times a day. But now they are miles away from me and I miss the homelike atmosphere. They are exceptionally friendly and I like them a lot.

The doctor - a Lt./Colonel, has just made his inspection and I am going to go to a convalescent camp very soon. I do hope it's down at Brixham because that is near where the Harts are on holiday. Kim - my nurse friend whom I have mentioned before is also on holiday down there so if I do go to camp, I will have lots of friends down there. They say it is extremely nice. Brixham is near Torquay in Cornwall just across the bay. The only thing I regret is that I have lost my bathing suit so I won't be able to go swimming. They say it is lovely down there too. I do hope that that is where I go

It's a funny thing about the Jackman's. A few months ago when I first told you about all the fanmail I got from Manitoba when I first started to send my poetry in, one of the girls who wrote was Margaret Barnes. Well she moved out to Victoria a few months ago and one of the first girls she met was Jessie Jackman. Isn't that strange? And when Margaret Baines told Jessie that she was writing to me, of course Jessie told her all about me. Very peculiar wasn't it? Also another one of my friends who wrote me a fan letter at the same time - a Kae Worthy, works in the same government dept. as Jessie Young so I told Jessie to look her up. Jessie did so and tells me that Kae is a lovely girl and one whom it would be very nice to know. Now isn't that strange? Almost seems like the hand of Fate working behind the scenes in its own mysterious fashion.

Mrs. Sayers has written to me several times. She is very busy working in "The Outpost" which is a London branch of the great American "Committee to Defend America By Aiding Britain". Tex Bradford is now in the Middle East and I am going to write to him soon.

Well I guess that is all for now. Love to everyone, especially you. And many returns of the day Dad on your (what is it) 46th Birthday?

Love as ever -

Jim

Original Scans