Baker, James

Letter
Date:
August 27, 1943
To:
Mom and Dad
From:
Jim
August 27th, 1943
Chatham, NB.

Dear Mom and Dad,

Received a letter from you today which was forwarded from Mt. View. It contained a letter of Burt's which I will return to you as soon as I have finished it. I'm sorry I cannot send you Mary's letter with the picture in it, but I have already pasted it in my photograph album so I guess you will have to wait until I come home again on leave, if I ever do. I have got some more ‘gem' on this course since I came here and evidently, one of three things can happen. We can get through here some time in January and be posted to an OTU. to take our ‘Operational Training'. From there we go Overseas, so you can see that I am hoping that that is what they will do with me. Or we can be posted to another school where after a short course, we go on to Coastal Command reconnaissance planes either here or on the BC. coast. I should hate that because I can imagine nothing more boring than to have to stooge around over convoys looking for submarines that hardly ever appear, generally, subs manage to keep pretty well-hidden. There is one good thing though about this and that is - by the time we are trained, things should be getting pretty hot in Europe, so maybe there will be an opening for us over there. I can only hope anyway.

We had our first flip today, just to get the lay of the land. This is the bumpiest country I ever flew over. The air is as rough as the English Channel and I was nearly air sick! These ‘Ansons' we have are all the old type too, very slow, crowded and dirty so it doesn't improve matters any. I can see that the first few trips are going to be terrific headaches as far as our work is concerned. But I am afraid I could never explain it to you so that you could understand what I mean. You would have to know what I mean when I say bearings, fixes, pinpoints, Wind velocities, astro readings, sextant readings, etc., etc., etc. All the thousand and one things we have to take into account when we are navigating a plane. You may think it is pretty easy to fly a plane from one place to another and actually, when we can see the ground and locate our position from prominent landmarks, it is pretty easy. But when we have to navigate above the clouds and have only the stars and our radio bearings to tell us where we are, it becomes increasingly difficult. And there are so many possibilities for mistakes that I sometimes wonder that one percentage of lost a/c is not higher. (a/c is aircraft. I am so used to writing up a log by now that unconsciously, I write in abbreviation).

I never did get to see the McMillans again, as that was the last 48 hrs. I had from Mt. View. They have a very nice home there in Toronto and have had at one time, very lovely grounds around it. Now of course, they are rather neglected. Uncle Jim has a job as companion to a blind man so of course, hasn't much time to spend at the house. Aunt Minnie and Uncle Jim are too badly crippled to do anything. In fact, it is a wonder to me that they still manage to get about!

I am glad to hear that you are both working so well. And I do hope you make that trip over to England. I am sure you would love it Mom and of course you Dad, would be home again. Mrs. Sayers and Mrs. Beverly - I know, want to meet you both because they have often expressed the hope to me that someday they will meet you. Mrs. Beverly you would love. She is without doubt the most charming person I have ever known. And she would show you a side of London that is the most interesting as well as the most educational and entertaining. Knowing people in a place makes all the difference in the world I find. Having somewhere to go - and someone to meet you when you get there, is a wonderful feeling, at least it is for me. I am never as happy as when I am meeting new people and seeing new places. It is going to be quite a struggle to have to give all that up and settle down, as I suppose I must after this war is over. Never mind, maybe I will have had my fill by that time.

Well, I guess there is not much more I can say for now. I have sent for my watch, sent your parcel of letters home too. I hope you mail my watch soon Mom, I need it - now! Cheerio!

Love to all,

Jim



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