Baker, James

Letter
Date:
January 12, 1943
To:
Mom
From:
Jim
Jan. 12th, 1943

Dear Mom and all,

This is the last night before leave, a terrible time to pick to try and write a letter as you can imagine when I tell you that everyone is singing and shouting at the top of their voices! I have managed to pack all my kit and have nothing else to do before bedtime and I owe you a letter, so this seems the best time to get it off: as I know as I know I won't have much time while I am on leave. I'm going to London of course, no other place to go to really. I suppose I will go down to Brighton for 2 days also but that depends upon whether Mary gets posted to London or not... she is expecting to be posted there before I go on leave and if she does, that will be fine. I'll be able to see her for awhile while I'm on leave. But if she doesn't, I'm going down to Bath to see her as I did before.

I have at last made up my mind what I am going to do when I get back off this leave. I'm going to go up to my new CO. on request, and ask for a compassionate posting home. I don't think they can refuse to give me one either because I have been in this country over 3 years now and I have heard rumours to the effect that a person can be posted home on compassionate leave after only 2 years service over here. They must have Navigation Schools over there because they have to train the Canadians who join up there and so, they have schools over there: there is no use me training those extra months in this country is there? I didn't know really whether I wanted to come home or not because I knew that it would make it very hard having to leave home again after seeing so little of it, but I think I had better come home once more before I really start flying. I want to come home to see everyone and more especially my family. I shall miss seeing Stanley I guess unless I get stationed in Ontario for my training. In a way, I hope I do because then I shall be able to meet all my relatives in Ontario. Aunt Minnie sent me a lovely parcel for Xmas for which I have thanked her, but I should like to meet her and all my other aunts and uncles. They are not really my aunts are they? but I have got so used to calling them Ďaunts' that I guess I shall continue to do so. There was another reason why I didn't want to leave here, but I'll tell you about that when I can talk to you. I suppose you have guessed it already, but I want to talk to you about it. I shall be back here within the year anyway, so it doesn't make all that much difference, does it?

A lot of the boys with me are feeling pretty hopeless about ever actually flying on operation, but I cannot see the war ending so soon as all that. I think it will go on about another year and before it does end, we are going to have a terrific fight on our hands. We're going to lose a lot of men and a heavy price is going to be amongst the Air Crews. We all realize that and there is no use tying to dodge the fact. We are all going into this with our eyes open. God knows after 3 years of war, we ought to know what to expect. We must go forward and if we fall, it is God's Will. Each of us hopes that he won't be the one that is unlucky. And at least we shall know that what we gave was worth giving. It has been a grand life up to now and I would not have missed it for anything. I have been happy inside this last six months. Yes, even down here in Hereford amidst all the mud and dirt and foul weather and the sneers and petty jealousies of the poor unlucky beggars who secretly envy us our positions, I have been happy because I have felt, that at last I have got my heart into a job that is worthy of me. And that is more important than personal comfort or safety. They are a grand bunch of boys that I am with, wonderful companions and staunch pals. I have made more friends among them than I ever did in the Army, and I an very glad that I have been able to prove to myself that it was not me that was wrong before, but the environment in which I was living. The outward life hasn't changed very much, but the spirit of living is exalted beyond all recognition. It's nearly bedtime now so I must close this. Goodbye for now. I hope to see you soon. Letter which included map of London was censored, map sent back to me this morning.

Love to all,

Jim



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