Baker, James

Letter
Date:
January 16, 1943
To:
Mom
From:
Jim
Jan. 16th, 1943

Dear Mom,

I am in London again on leave as you have probably guessed from the paper. I expect it will be the last I shall spend here for some time and as it is the last, I was hoping it would be a very memorable last but somehow, it hasn't been very successful yet. I came in here last Wednesday night and found everything was chaotic! As a matter of fact, it started before I left the camp. This idea of being attached to the RAF. is not so hot because our pay account is never straight. I was only paid 3/ to come on leave with, and when I made inquiries, I found out that the Pay Accounts had made a mistake and deducted your $20.00 from my pay instead of letting RCAF. headquarters do it. So they had only been paying me at the rate of 2/6 a day instead of 7/3 as they should have done. So you can guess how mad that made me. I had to borrow some money to come on leave with. Then when I got here, I found out I had just missed Mary who had gone back to Bath the night before, Mrs. Sayers was sick in bed with flu, Bob England had just gone home off leave as well and to crown all my misery, I had a terrific cold. So this leave has not been a terrific success so far. London is such a dreary place when you are sad and lonely, and somehow that is how I am feeling right now. All my friends are gone. Sheila is married and the two girls who were with her are gone (you remember the three secretaries whom I told you about)? Bessie is in the ATS. and Aileen has gone home to her mother, Mary is away. I find that I don't know anyone any more and I used to know so many people here. Oh well! I'm going down to Brighton tomorrow to see Aunt and Uncle and when I come back, Mary should be up for the day, so perhaps things will pick up. I hope so anyway. There is something wrong with me though. There must be. I never used to be like this. I could always find fun in anything, but I don't seem to be able to anymore. I know I'm dreadfully tired both physically and mentally.

Nothing else seems changed very much. Mrs. Beverly is still her same charming self and also "Griffie" and Mrs. Puddleduck". (Griffie is Mrs. Griffiths - a helper here at the club and Mrs. Puddleduck is Margaret, the buxom cook whom I have made my sweetheart of duration). She feeds me every night and Boy...what feeds! Ecstacy! Superb! Marvelous!! Divine!!! It's a wonder I haven't got indigestion. Thank God I always had a strong stomach. But it pays to have a cook for a sweetheart as many a poor lonely London copper walking his beat has found out. Margaret tells me tales about them and also about the Prince of Wales because she used to cook for the Duchess of Norfolk and has often cooked supper for HRH. when he was known as "The Gay Prince". By the way, I'll tell you a story that is going around certain intimate circles here in London about HRH. King George and a certain Squadron Leader who had just won the DFC. for conspicious gallantry. It seems the Sqd. Ld. came up to London the day before he was due at the Palace and went out on a terrific toot. He got tremendously merry - so much so, that he woke up the next morning in Vine Str. ( HQ. of Scotland Yard). Of course, he began to protest most violently that he was due at the Palace that morning to be decorated but no one took any notice. At last Air Ministry - after a frantic searching, managed to locate him and sent an Air Vice-Marshall down to bail him out. All went well and our hero arrived at the Palace on time - albeit a little rubbery at the knees and pale-green about the gills, for it had been a terrific binge. The King, passing down the long line of men speaking a word to each as he pinned on the medal, arrived before our hero. The King pinned on the DFC. and then - leaning forward, said in a loud ‘whisper' "Tell me, did you find Vine Street comfortable?" Poor man, I wonder how he felt.

Well, there doesn't seem much more to say. I went to the theatre last night, saw Cicely Courtnedge and Jack Hulbert in "Full Swing". It is a musical comedy and very good. Frightfully amusing at times and at others, highly dramatic, enjoyed it immensely. There was a lovely moon last night too, so I walked home from Leicester Square thru Piccadilly Circus along Piccadilly Ave., thru Green Park in front of Buckingham Palace and so home to Victoria. It was glorious. Well, I guess that's all
Love as always,

Jim


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