Baker, James

Letter
Date:
March 7, 1943
To:
Mom
From:
Jim
March 7th, 1943

Dear Mom,

Well, I'm sorry to say I'm still here and there is no indication yet that I am going to be moved very soon. This is 13 weeks I have been here now and during that whole time I have done practically nothing but forget what I learned so arduously at ITW. It is over five months now since I was there, doesn't seem possible somehow that it could have been so long ago. I could like it here very much if I didn't know that this is not what I joined up to do. I am anxious to get on and finished so I can start the actual work that I am supposed to be doing. This living in civvy billets and being treated like a son is all very well for a time but after awhile, it gets ahold of you and you have a terrible time going back to Service life again! I know what it was like with Mrs. Barnard and Mrs. Burgess is just another Mrs. Barnard. She treats me so wonderfully that honestly - if I wasn't going home, I'd be sorry to leave.

I suppose you are wondering why I am so anxious to get on, are you? Well, here is what I am afraid of. We are definitely going to open a major Second Front this summer, and the Canadian boys are going to play a major part in it. But what I am afraid of is that it will be so successful, that the war will be over inside of nine months. Not that that would not be a cause for universal rejoicing - because it would, but imagine what I am going to say if one of my children asks me "What did you do in the Second World War Daddy?" and I shall have to say ""Nothing son, I just played around in England for 3 1/2 years!" That is the attitude taken by nearly every Canadian in this country, and it is maddening to read of the exploits of others - the Eighth Army for instance. Here we are guarding their homes, their wives, their children, their country and there they are doing all the fighting! Why couldn't we be out there and they be here at home? The mystery of the brasshats is again paramount.

I am writing this in the mess hall, must go now. I have just finished breaking my mug, my mug that I have treasured for 13 weeks - guarded like a gold mine and now, I go and break it. It'll cost me 7d to buy another one.

There doesn't seem to be very much to write about somehow. I am just waiting around as always, doing classes during the day and going out nearly every night to shows, etc. trying to find someway to forget that I am waiting. I went to a football match on Saturday - the first I have ever been to, and I quite enjoyed it. There were about 3000 people there to see ‘Manchester City' beat ‘Manchester United' by 1-0. One of our sergeant cadets was playing for the city so of course, all the cadets went down to cheer him. He played a very good game too. I was quite surprised at the orderliness of the crowd. If such a thing had been staged in America - as you know, there would have been a tremendous display of enthusiasm and supporters on one side that would have heckled the other side to the best of their ability. But here, everyone seemed to enter into the full spirit of the game and seemed equally ready to support a fellow on the other side if he made a good play. And if a fellow made a mistake - instead of booing him as Americans do, they cheered him and said "Bad luck, better luck next time!" sort of thing. And yet, I suppose they are just as enthusiastic inside as we are outside, but they are much better sportsmen than we are, that's all.

I have made two very good pals while I've been here. One is a Scotsman - Jock Forsyth, and the other is a Durham University student called Douglas Tuckey. We go around together all the time and I am afraid we have got the reputation of being rather wild and brainless because of the silly things we are always doing. But honestly, it is about the only way one can stick a place like this, make a joke of it and treat it as such!

I have met a very nice girl while I've been here, Veronica Lucy. I have been dancing with her several times, you'll probably hear more about her later. Must close for now.

Love to all,

Jim


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