Baker, James

Letter
Date:
November 14, 1943
To:
Mom and Dad
From:
Jim
November 14th, 1943
Chatham, NB.

Dear Mom and Dad,

It seems to be a long time since I have written to you but for some reason, I am finding it very difficult to write to anyone anymore. I used to love writing letters once but lately, I never seem to know what to say. Not that anything ever happens around here that I could write about anyway. There is lots that I could write about, but it is censorable and therefore I cannot tell you.

We have not been flying for weeks now, the weather has been atrocious, we have only seen the sun three times in three weeks and we have had one night exercise ‘NN3' washed out seven times. It is becoming a bug bear with us. We are supposed to fly it again tonight - or rather at 1 AM. tomorrow morning, but I doubt very much if we will. We had the first snowfall last night - four inches came down in 3 hrs. I have never seen such huge flakes as there were last night, nearly two inches in diameter and very wet! The girls got soaked to the skin going home from the dance. I was lucky for I had on my raincoat, and I certainly needed it. I guess they will be issuing us with our overshoes pretty soon, they do that instead of issuing rubbers. I should mention that I did one day flip yesterday - a square search exercise, up in Gaspe Peninsula. Our target was supposed to be three log cabins up in the hills, but I couldn't find them and neither could a lot of other people. Then we did what we call a ‘sea crawl'. It is a very difficult exercise because you are out of sight of land the whole time and have to depend entirely upon you DR. Navigation (Dead Reckoning is DR.) and is the essence of Navigation. I was only about 2 miles away from my target on the time which I expected to get there which means, I miscalculated by about 2 miles in 200. Something went wrong on my square search though because when I gave my pilot a course back to my target after completing the search, we started heading out over the gulf so I had to give him a visual alteration back to Port Daniel from where we were to start our Sea crawl. Personally, I think it was his fault because he didn't fly my courses as I gave them to him for the times I specified - which means that when we finished, we were not in the place I had estimated that we should have been. Then too, the wind probably changed so my coursers didn't make good my required tracks. The winds are very tricky around here. For instance, I found two winds only 1 hr. apart yesterday that differed by nearly 90 degrees and 16 mph., which would throw one out quite a bit, wouldn't it?

I heard quite recently from Mary, and one of my best friends over there - P/O Bob England, was shot down and is now a prisoner-of-war. I was very surprised because somehow, I thought he was certain to come through OK. because he's been through so much already. He's been shot down 3 times already over the channel but every time, the Air-Sea Rescue has got to him in time. This time however, his ‘Boston' crashed in France and now he's in Germany. Poor old Bob. I wish I knew his address so I could send him a parcel. I asked Mary to send it to me.

I wonder what a bolt of cloth to make an officer's uniform out of would cost? I want to surprise Mary when I get back because cloth over there costs coupons and Mary says she's spent all her coupons for the quarter already buying a brown evening dress.

I have had one or two letters from Phil lately. He is at Mt. View and seems to enjoy his work very much. I haven't heard from Stan for ages. I don't know where he is or what he is doing. I have heard from Nellie Stamper though. She is at Kinston and very busy. Anne Slessor is thinking of going into the Forces too I think and if she does, will probably be stationed at Rockcliffe, where I was.

Well, it has cleared up now and it looks as though we will be flying the route tonight. I am ‘First Navigator' and I don't like it very much. Must close now.

Love as ever to you both,

Jim



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