Baker, James

Letter
Date:
October 14, 1942
To:
Mom
From:
Jim
Nov. 14th, 1942

Dear Mom,

I have just managed to get back to the dear old place and totter into the Beaver Club where I found your letter waiting for me and after having read it on the bus all the way back to the Lion Club, am answering it right away because if I don't, I am sure it will never get answered. I am on leave and continually moving around with little idle time.

I left on Thursday night - or rather morning, and arrived "home" at 4.30. I came straight here of course and the first person I ran into was Mrs. Beverly. Gosh it was good to see her! She is so cheery and makes me feel so very comfortable. I have never in my life met a woman who is so universally loved as she is. Everyone on the staff here simply adores her and would do anything in the world for her. And I also am one of her abject slaves! I have also seen Mrs. Sayers twice, had lunch with her today and spent last night at the flat. She has not been feeling any too well just recently and her doctor has ordered her to work only 3 days a week: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, so she will get more rest now than she has been getting. Jean Louis - her son, is working like a demon all day and half the night as well, as far as I can make out. He doesn't even dare take a day off now because if he does, the work simply piles up and he has to work like a Trojan to catch up again. But I guess he will get his due reward when this is all over. In fact everyone will I guess. It is going to be great to hear the church bells again in England after nearly 2 1/2 years of silence. Churchill has ordered that they should be rung to celebrate our victory in Egypt and I can imagine the joyous peals that are going to ring forth tomorrow. Let's hope that the bell ringers still know how after all these months!

I am going up to see Mary tomorrow ...poor kid! I gather she is having a pretty rough time of it just now, reading in between the lines and from what Mrs. B. has told me. For one thing, the Air Ministry has not put her into the job that they promised her when she left the Admiralty and for another, the quarters where she is are pretty awful. However she hasn't finished her training yet and is still moving around from course to course and these movements are always pretty bad I find. You see, you never have a chance to get permanently fixed anywhere and more or less settled into any routine, and so it becomes pretty hard to keep yourself up to scratch. In fact, you usually become pretty scruffy and in need of a thorough rest generally. But I am going up to see what I can do about cheering her up. I want to talk to her very much too because I have missed her very much in these past 5 months. London somehow doesn't seem to be the same place. I only hope she can get up to town while I am here on leave.

I have been given 31 days leave which I expect will be extended another 2 wks. at least because during the winter season all the camps fill up and become very congested. I guess this campaign in North Africa has got quite a lot to do with it too. I have a total of 33 pounds and a few odd pence to last me 31 days so am really in very comfortable circumstances. I may have to make it spin out a bit so as to have a bit left over for the end of my leave in case it is extended. I am going to pass on the latest rumour to you not because I necessarily believe it, but because I think you should know about it seeing that it concerns you too. One of our officers has been up here to the Canadian H.Q. trying to find out what was going to happen to us, where we were to be trained etc. and he came back and said that so far as he could find out, we were to be trained in this country and not to be sent to Canada at all. It is somewhat of a blow to us of course, but I guess the only thing to do is to wait and see what happens. There is no use getting all hit-up about something that is not likely to happen. Now for the explanation re. the parcels. As you now know I was expecting to be sent home in time for Xmas, but didn't want to warn you too soon in case I should disappoint you. It now seems I was just a little premature, so I am going to send you a cable today telling you to send me my Christmas parcels anyway c/o The Beaver Club.

Many thanks for the two articles from the Reader's Digest. The one on education interested me extremely as I never dreamt such a system existed. I shall show it to Mrs. Bemrose when I see her and I expect to in about a fortnight. I rang her up this morning as she is in town for a couple of hours. As you may remember, she is the lady who lived in Derby and whom I met just before I left the Army. She is very interested in this problem of education after the war and so am I. In fact, that is one reason why I want to see her so badly.

I am glad to hear that everyone is getting on so well everywhere. My gosh what a job Joan Jackman must have. Lucky girl! Wonder what I shall be doing after this debacle is all over. But mustn't worry about that. I must concentrate on the job in hand which is learning to fly at the present moment. Well I guess that is all for now. Will write again.

Love to all as ever,

Jim





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