Baker, James

Letter
Date:
December 4, 1943
To:
Mom and Dad
From:
Jim
December 4th, 1943
Chatham, NB.

Dear Mom and Dad,

I expect by this time Mom, you have got my parcel of wool just as I have got you parcel of socks, for which many thanks. I wear them under my flying boots when I'm in a flip. They are huge things lined with fleece and are very warm with only one pair of socks, even though we have had some temperature as low as -17 C. in the past week. We have two flying suits too, one of silk lined with Kapok and one of water and windproof canvas. They are all fully zippered - our boots, gloves and suits, are very easy to get in and out of and keep us as warm as toast. The only part of me that gets cold is my hands, for it is impossible to work with any kind of glove but silk ones and they no longer issue us with any the way they did in England. So consequently, my hands get very cold in fact - sometimes they are so stiff, I cannot write and then get very poor marks for my log. We have a lot of ‘Mark V Ansons' on the station now, they are beautiful ships with fully enclosed cabin space and two navigators' tables, just beautiful because heretofore, the poor 2nd Navigator who actually does as much work as the first navigator, has had to sit on the mainspar of the wing with his log propped up on his knee. It wasn't conducive to good workmanship, but now the second navigator has a wonderful time. I have missed four night trips this week because I have a bad cold and the MO. is very strict about no flying with colds. We have lost one fellow already who had a cold which affected his ears, so we are all learning a lesson from him. We went up on another low level search for a lost ‘Harward' from one of the local RCAF. stations, but we didn't find it. I pity the poor fellow forced down in this God-forsaken country. It is really horrible, absolutely barren and desolate for miles and miles, not a house nor road, but muskeg, swamps, forest and rivers. You couldn't go more than 12 miles a day unless you were very lucky. The same day we were on the search, we found a train wreck. Six cars of wheat had jumped the rails and spilled all over the track... quite exciting.

I have just had some pictures developed that I took while on my fishing trip earlier this fall, I will show them to you when I get home on leave as I expect I will before I go Overseas again. Have quite a respectable album now and quite a stock of film on hand which I must use up. If I get enough film, I would like to take my camera along with me. I would have to have a big stock to make it worthwhile though, and I don't suppose I can get enough now. Have had a letter from Mary this past week, also Mrs. Sayers and Mrs. Beverly. All seems well over there now. I have also managed to save Stan about fifteen chocolate bars, must get them off to you so you can mail them to him.

We are having quite a time arranging for our flight banquet which is going to be held on January 11th in the local Exhibition Building. We are going to have a banquet followed by a party. At the banquet will be ourselves, our officers and as many of the staff as possible, with a dance and concert afterward. Should be quite good. Each of us is paying $12.00 in four installments.

I haven't the slightest idea what I am going to get everyone for Xmas. I must go downtown this afternoon and see what I can see. There is so little choice in a small place like this and I have so little money it seems. I can't figure out why I am always broke, no matter how much money I seem to have on hand at the first of the month, I never seem to have any at the end of the month. It is quite serious. I wonder how I'll get along later on when I have still more. I should be saving up for Xmas leave too. We are getting five days and I can't quite make up my mind whether to stay here and study or to go to Ottawa and stay with my friends there. I am getting so ‘browned off' with studying, for I never seem to get anywhere and yet - if I don't study, I won't know all the things I should know and it may cost me very dear later on. We are doing a lot of Astro work lately, it is getting to be quite fun now.

The small parcel by the way, was Mary's picture. I was very sorry to hear of Cyril's death, though I did not take to him at once. Still - when I got to know him better, we got along quite well. But Betty really took my fancy and I wish I had met her earlier. She was a ‘good kid' and has taken a ‘deuce of a beating' in this war, lost two fiancés in two years, then a brother and is now in the WAAF.'s which in my opinion is a hell of a life for any girl. I can see what it has done - and is doing, to Mary and I don't like it at all.

I fully agree with the rest part, but where do I get it? Where on earth do I get it? I never even have time to brush my teeth here! Must close now.

Love to all as always,

Jim













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