Baker, James

Letter
Date:
September 27, 1942
To:
Mom
From:
Jim
September 27th, 1942

Dear Mom,

Well it is Sunday morning again and time for the weekly news bulletin. But I am afraid I have nothing as exciting as a ‘tug-o-war' to broadcast this week. We have been carrying out the old familiar routine with not alterations: classes, classes and more classes. The exams are only 2 wks. ahead now, and I don't know whether you realize it or not just how important they are to me, for unless I pass these first exams, I am very liable to be sent back to the Army straight away with no chance for a re-try. That was one of the conditions under which we transferred, if we should fail our exams, we had no chance for remustering into Ground Crew or other occupations but must go straight back into the Army. Well, I know I could never go back to the old life I was living in the Army. If I did go back I would have to go to something different. But I am not really expecting to go back at all because I am confident I will pass OK. I'm going to send you a telegram as soon as I pass so I expect you will receive that before you read this letter. I have also heard that we are not to get leave for at least another six weeks, so by the time I get to London again I shall probably know how to fly a plane. Boy I can hardly wait until I get a chance to do my first solo. What a day! I expect I shall be as nervous as a kitten. But somehow I feel I am going to be a good pilot. I have a feeling inside me, I can't quite explain it but it seems to say "You've nothing to worry about, you're alright."

I had my picture taken in complete flying clothing the other day. My gosh, it's terrible hard work climbing into all that stuff and is it ever warm once you are inside! But I guess we'll need it before we're through because the temp. at 10,000 ft. is something like 0 degrees and I expect if I go on bombers, that is where I will do quite a lot of flying. I also had some portrait pictures taken so I'll send those along as soon as I get them so you will know what to expect when you see me in blue instead of in khaki as last time.

Mary and Mrs. Beverly are all fine, at least by their last letter they were. Mary is still trying to get out of the Admiralty but they are hanging on to her like leeches and try as she may, she can't seem to get away from them. It must be an awful feeling to be stuck in a place you don't like with absolutely no hope of getting out. But many people over here have to do things they don't like. I think there are remarkably few grumbles too, considering the enormous sacrifices some people have made and are making. Of course, there are some people who have made none at all, but they are few and far between. There is a hotel just a few doors away from us, the only one of any pretentiousness left open where people come to stay for their holidays. I have been watching it and the kind of people who come to stay there - ever since I came here, and everyone of them (or nearly everyone) is a war worker of some kind on holiday. There is a Red Cross nurse on sick leave - convalescing from appendicitis. There is a civilian seemingly with nothing to do except drink whiskey all day long in the bar, but he is a Dutch lieutenant on 14 days leave... is a Commando and was on several very daring raids. There is a gentleman farmer, his wife and daughter on a month's holiday, the first in three years. Joan told me (Joan's the daughter). The mother is a NAAF manageress, Joan is a Land Girl on her father's farm and the father farms 500 acres in Herefordshire. There are two very beautiful girls on the second floor who wave to us nearly every morning when we come on parade. They are both munitions-workers from Sheffield on 2 wks. holiday. And so the story goes on and on. The people you least suspect are really doing the most! Well, at last I can hold up my head and say "I - too, am working!"

I had a letter from Nellie Stamper the other day. She is in Winnipeg on a Wireless Operator's course in the WAAC's and expects to be there until January. Both she and Annie Slessor write to me quite regularly. Everything seems to be fine with them... just as it is with me. Well I must close now

Love to you all,

Jim



Original Scans