Baker, James

Letter
Date:
October 31, 1943
To:
Mom and Dad
From:
Jim
Oct. 31, 1943
Chatham, NB.

Dear Mom and Dad,

I have just had a lovely surprise. Two of the boys I used to know at Scarborough have just arrived here to take the course. They have brought me news of all the boys whom I have lost track of. Most of the pilots have graduated with commissions, some are on their way Overseas again, some have washed-out and been sent back to their ground duties. These two here were very unlucky. They spent nearly seven months at Manchester waiting to be posted. But once they got here, they went straight through and are now only 11 weeks behind me! One of my especial pals whom I slept in the same room with at ITS., is now a P/O. at Trenton and will be going Overseas soon. So goes life, I guess.

I have just finished writing my mid-term examinations and have to wait now for my passing marks to tell how good I did. The only exam that I thought I had failed was Instruments, but I passed it OK., so now my worries are all about Navigation. I went up on an exercise today and something went wrong. I checked all my work but couldn't find any mistakes, so I don't know what was wrong. Anyway, I ended up miles away from where I should have done. I wasn't lost, but I certainly didn't navigate very well.

Something has been going very wrong lately. I am irritable all the time and seem to be always tired. I think I am getting stale. On top of that, we are all having a terrific bout with one of our instructors. None of us like him particularly, and some of us hate him. He seems to go out of his way to make things difficult for us. We are the only course here that ever wrote a mid-term exam in any subject!

I just went to sleep and woke up ten minutes later. I'm so tired it takes a real effort to push this pen. I'm only writing because I feel I owe you a letter so please, excuse me if this is not a good letter. I really should be in bed.

I was reading a notice in the paper the other night that a very good friend of mine in Winnipeg - P/O. Bob Bishop, was killed when his plane crashed on take off. It was certainly the last thing I ever thought of in connection with him. He was always so full of life and fun. Emily and Blake knew him very well and were very fond of him. I guess I will be getting a letter from Blake pretty soon telling me about it. I hope so, because the notice I saw gave only the very barest details.

We had quite an exciting trip last week, searching for the ‘Liberator' which you have probably heard was lost while coming from "an east coast station". They ran into foul weather and were last heard of when they flew over here. Then they just disappeared. We - in common with every other station in Eastern Air Command, put every plane we had in the air, looking for it without success. The whole countryside around us was systematically searched by lines of planes flying 2 miles apart, but we never saw a thing. I am afraid that the poor fellows will all be dead by now because I never saw such desolate country as that in which we were searching. It was over Maine and absolute wilderness, without a sign of human habitation. It's a country full of lakes and rivers and game galore. We saw quite a few hunting lodges going out to the place and our pilot said that most of them belong to New York businessmen. Well, I guess I'll have to close now and write again later when I feel better. I'll probably know then whether I failed or not.

Love to all,

Jim





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