Baker, James

Letter
Date:
July 31, 1943
To:
Mom and Dad
From:
Jim
July 31, 1943
Mountain View, Ont.

Dear Mom and Dad,

Received your letter typed from the office today and didn't know if I was getting a ‘Bill of Assessment' or what, but I was - as always, glad to hear that everything was going so well at home and that you are working again Dad. Burt certainly seems to be going ahead great guns! I hope he doesn't do anything so foolish as joining up because I honestly believe he would be wasting his opportunities. This war is - after all, a technical war and technical men are needed in civilian capacities even more urgently than they are needed in the Services. After all, China's struggle has shown that modern wars are not won by sheer weight of manpower alone. Machines are essential and to produce those machines, we need men in the factories. Burt is one of those men we need in the factories and therefore, he would actually be doing Stanley and I a disservice by leaving his job in a war plant to join up and at the same time, he would be losing a grand opportunity for himself. So I hope he does not join up out of a spirit of mere bravado. I know it is much harder to stay in a civilian job when the war fever is on but after all, it is nothing but war fever.

Well, I guess by this time you know that the PP.'s are in Sicily. So are the Seaforth's for that matter. I had a letter from Marian Angus today in which her first words were "I told you so" - and she did too, weeks ago she said I got out of the Army too late or too soon. If I had stayed where I was, I would have got the action I craved. But it wasn't only action I craved, it was a complete change of environment and now that I've got it, I am satisfied. She also enclosed an article she has written recently on the BC. Coast Rangers. It was very interesting, but I would like to know how she obtained her information. She must have been commissioned to write it. She has also been told by the Selective Service Board to stay where she is as she is more useful there, which is exactly what I told her weeks ago.

I have had two letters from Mary recently and one from Mrs. Beverly. Mrs. B. is in a terrible fix. She does 72 to 80 hours a week work at the club which means about 11 to 12 hours a day. Consequently, she is very tired at night and ready to go to bed. But the Minister of Home Security has ordered her to fire watch 8 hours a week, which is a physical impossibility at her age! And they have refused to excuse her so she was on the horns of a dilemma. She couldn't possibly do both jobs, but if she gave up her useful post at the club, all she would have to compensate for it would be a miserable 8 hours a week as a fire watcher. Isn't it wonderful the lengths that red tape and petty bureaucracy will go to maintain their "official prestige or authority?"

Mary's letter was wonderfully interesting, all about her walking tour through Wales. She had a wonderful time and as always with Mary, made friends all along the way. One place she came to - a tiny little fishing village on the west coast, had no inn or hotel where she could stay for the night. But she just went up to the coastguard-hut to ask for permission to leave her clothes while she went for a swim. And while she was swimming, she met a very nice girl who invited her up to her house for a couple of days. Mary went and says she never saw such food as those people gave her, unlimited butter, eggs, milk, bacon, fish and so may other things only obtainable on a farm. It must have been quite an experience for her, I only wish I could have been with her. It would have been such fun and we always do enjoy doing unusual things like that together. I suppose convention would have had their say though, and we would have been met with raised eyebrows and knowing looks. People have such dirty minds sometimes! My friend Sgt. Bob England has now been made a Pilot/Officer and Gunnery Leader of his squadron which I am very happy to hear about.

I am coming along very well in my bombing now, but I am finding it increasingly difficult to get along without a watch so I can mark down the time of fall of my bombs. I hate to do it, but it begins to look as though I am going to have to call on the old bank roll for some more money. I guess I might as well get a good watch while I am at it, an Omega with a luminous dial and full sweep second hand. Can you arrange to buy it and pay for it in monthly installments so that it won't dig too big a hole in the bank account?

I must have a watch and I might as well have a good one while I am at it. I am fed up with cheap ones that never seem to run properly. The Omega is the official RCAF. watch, so it must be good. I finish this course here on August 21 and so far as I can see, will probably be posted to AOS. at St. John or Chatham, NB. No more hope of being posted out west.

Thanks for the parcel to Mrs. Sayers. I am sure she will appreciate it. I haven't heard from her lately. I hope you see Gladys. She said she was going out there on holiday and I asked her to look you up. Well, I guess that's all the news for this time. Must go on a night bombing trip at 11 PM. ...will describe it later.

Love to all,

Jim




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