Baker, James

Letter
Date:
August 21, 1942
To:
Mom
From:
Jim
August 21st, 1942

Dear Mother,

Received two letters from you today and was very glad to hear that all is well at home. Now mother, I wish to goodness you would get rid of the idea that I have transferred to any Imperial Forces. As you can see my address distinctly says RCAF. and the C' stands for Canadian. On top of that you can see that my new number starts with an R' and no Imperial number ever does or ever will start with any letter. And besides that you can see "attn. RAF." which means attached to the Royal Air Force for rations training and discipline. But I am still being paid at Canadian rates of pay because I am still in a Canadian Service Arm. I wear Canada badges above my eagles and that can only be done if you are in a Canadian Force. Now is there anything more I can say to convince you. There is one thing I must warn you about however. It may be that you will miss one month or even two months cheques because the papers may take that long to be straightened out in Ottawa. But once my name has come through Records Office as having transferred, you will receive the cheque regularly again together with all back payment that is due you. I hope this does not work any undue hardship on you. If it doesn't come through as fast as it should, you should inquire of the appropriate office in Ottawa. But you shouldn't have very much difficulty at all.

Now I suppose I had better get everything else cleared away as well, I am in the RCAF. but attached to the RAF. for training. I am under training as a Pilot/Observer which means I am given the basic training of both Pilot and Observer and then the job which I am most suited for is given me, or the job which they have the greatest need at the moment. In the latter case, if they wanted Observers and I had good marks in Navigation, they would make me an Observer even though I didn't want to be one. That is a chance we have to take but personally, I don't mind very much. So I am under training as Pilot/Observer. Right now I am in the Initial Training Wing where I get most of my ground studies. Here I am paid at the rate an English AC2 gets namely 2/6 a day. But the rest of my Canadian rate of pay - after what you get as my allotment to you has been deducted, is entered into my account as deferred pay and paid to me when the war is over. This will be happening as long as I am attached to the RAF. which will probably be until I am fully trained as a pilot and posted back to a Canadian Squadron. So actually I am getting less pay to spend as an AC2 than I did as a private but I am having money saved for me which I didn't have before.

Now besides this I have all my promotions to be considered. After I have passed out of my ITW. after 10 weeks or so and have been posted to an Elementary Flying School, I become an LAC. automatically and my personal pay increases to 7/6 a day, 5/6 is paid to me - the English rate, and 2/6 is deferred. But besides this I get 75 cents a day extra as "flying pay" for every day I go up in a plane. This is personal pay, none of which you see. Your allotment is still $20.00 a month. But after I have passed my EFTS. and Advanced Flying Training School, I automatically become either a Sgt. Pilot or Pilot Officer if I have been recommended for a commission. Then your allotment is increased to $35.00 a month and my pay is 17/6 a day. So you can see that the step was not without attractions. I have tried to explain all this as clearly as I can because it is a very complicated thing. But please understand I am still paid Canadian rates of pay and still retain my service and all my grants, pensions, gratuities, etc. They make absolutely no difference at all.

Well just as I get out of the Army, they start doing something really exciting. From all that we have been able to read in the paper, that must have been quite a raid the boys pulled off on Dieppe. We certainly knew or heard nothing about it until after it had come off...never had any idea that anything was brewing. I have had several letters from the unit and there was no mention of action in any of them nor mention of preparations beyond the usual routine ones we have been carrying out ever since Aug. 1940. So I certainly have to hand it to the boys, it was a well-kept secret.

It was just what the boys needed to pep them up too because they have been feeling their position very acutely lately. They have felt so wasted, impotent and generally "browned off". But now we can hold up our heads again and though I will admit that we had higher hopes at the beginning of the action (for we at first believed an invasion was being attempted) we now feel that we have at least begun to justify our existence over here.

Well, I began this letter to you 3 days ago but have not yet had an opportunity to finish it until now. I have just received two letters from you, one of which has my new address on it so I guess you got my cable OK. I am very sorry I could not speak over the radio but I think I explained all that with my workload.

I think I had better send you a cable soon "Send no more parcels" By what I mean send no more parcels after September 15th. I cannot say any more that that. Just send no more parcels. Now I must close.

Love to you all,

Jim


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