Baker, James

Letter
Date:
July 12, 1942
To:
Mom
From:
Jim
July 12th, 1942

Dear Mom,

Well here it is Sunday again so I guess I had better sit down and write another letter or two. As you can see from the paper I am using, I am in London again but it is more permanent this time than it was before. You see I have been moved - or should I say I am moved. Last Friday we finally managed to affect our transfer to the RCAF and your son is now a cadet in blue, theoretically at least. For though I haven't got my new uniform yet, I have a new number and rank. I am now an AC2 and rejoice in the stupendous number of R225139. My address is not yet permanent so I can see no sense in telling you what it is. Sufficient to say I am in London for at least 3 wks. and 3 1/2 d bus ride from Victoria and the Lion Club.

Now I will tell you all about the financial details as explained to me. When we first come in here we are attached to the RAF. and therefore we are paid only RAF. rates of pay - at least we are only allowed to draw an amount equivalent to that which is paid to an RAF. Cadet, in other words 17/6 a week. The rest of our money - about 3 shillings, is kept and paid to us at the end of our stay here in London. In other words, we get about 10 shillings more at the end of 3 weeks than the English Air Cadet. After we have passed our Maths and Morse Code tests here, we are posted to an initial training wing where we become a Leading Air Craftsman with a pay of 4/6 a day. This is just double what I got in the Army. And the good part of it is that you still get your $20.00 a month and on top of that when I become a Sgt. - which should happen at the end of four months ITW, you will get $35.00 a month and I will get 12/6 a day with all my flying pay and allowances. So that is much better from that point of view though as you know, that doesn't matter very much to me because I can manage somehow no matter how much or how little money I have. In fact, I am beginning to wonder how I am going to spend the extra money when I get it, for I have come to the conclusion that there is no use trying to save it because we cannot possibly take it out of the country with us when we leave. So we have to spend it.

O what a day last Friday was! We took from 8 AM. to 10 PM. to get completely through because there were 28 of us and there was a terrible lot of red tape to go through. There at the station was a very lengthy ceremony, much more ceremonious than the one we had in the Army. The officer who gave it to us was very nice and he was very careful to impress upon us that we were not enlisting as ‘Pilots' but rather as Cadets-in-training for Air Crews and therefore when we end up, we are as likely to find ourselves Observers or Navigators as Pilots. It all depended upon what the Air Force considered us most suitable for. We all said "yes" we understood exactly what we were letting ourselves in for but I for one, most fervently hoped that I - at least, should become a Pilot, for there is something most attractive about 2 wings and the eagle.

We are billeted right now in London's most luxurious blocks of flats which have been taken over by the RCAF. They are really wonderful places, the food is superb, the fellows are grand, I am busy as a bee and therefore extremely happy. Tomorrow I am to be posted to my flight and squadron, issued with a kit and uniform and moved into new billets.

Today I am just resting and writing letters. By the way, I received your last parcel just the day before I was discharged from the Army which was very lucky and have just opened it this morning. Everything was in grand condition except the package of dried milk which had burst and scattered all over everything. However, nothing was damaged except that so it is now fine. By the way I don't think you need send any more laundry soap as I can now send my laundry to the RAF. laundries and get it done for next to nothing. But face soap is still welcome because we sometimes have a hard job getting our ration. It has never flavored anything you have sent yet so I guess it will be alright to send it as you have been doing. However do you manage to send me sugar? I am sure someone must be starving at home. Please don't send any more if that is the case because much as I like to get it, I should hate one of you to go without.

By the way I was with Mrs. Sayers and Jean Louis yesterday, the first time I have seen Jean in months. We had a grand day together. He is looking fine, feeling fine and working very hard.

I suppose you will want to know all about what we are doing etc. won't you? Well we are doing marching and drill, PT., mathematica and Morse Code, Air Craft Recognition and Aldis Lamp signalling. At least we will be doing all that when we get going, but we haven't started yet. However I expect we will start Tues. or Wed. of this week.

By the time you read this I shall probably be in Devon or North England and well on the way towards a pair of wings. Personally I rather hope to become a Pilot Officer but shall be very satisfied if I become a Sgt. Pilot. The latter's pay is much better but as I say, I don't worry about that much.

Now I must close. I don't expect I shall get mail for a long time. I'll send a cable as soon as I know definitely what my address will be.

Love to all,

Jim

PS.
Mrs. Sayers, Mrs. Beverly and Mary send their love



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