Baker, James

Letter
Date:
December 22, 1943
To:
Mom and Dad
From:
Jim
December 22, 1943
Chatham, NB.

Dearest Mom and Dad,

I have not written for a long time it seems now but I have been very busy this past week. I have got in nearly 24 hrs. flying in seven trips which is an average of over 3 hrs. per trip. It has been terrifically cold lately too, and it's no cinch navigating when you are nearly frozen stiff! I did one trip last week -16 C. and about halfway down there, one of the pilot's side-windows blew away and a terrific draught roared through the aircraft. I immediately set course for home and managed to navigate all the way there, but my hands were numb when we got home! I had to fly the a/c part way too because the pilot was so cold, he simply could not keep still. He had to get away once in a while and go to the back of the aircraft and thaw out. We eventually got home but I never want another trip like that if I can help it! The other night, they sent us up in a 45 mph. gale on the ground and a temp. of -10 C. When we got up to 6000 ft., the wind was 68 mph. and the temp. was -19 C.! Thank God our trip was nearly all the time sideways to the wind so we had plenty of time to navigate. Also, our trips lately have been Astro navigation which is the essence - or rather the quintessence, of navigation. I have had some pretty good trips lately and am beginning to think that maybe I ‘will' be a Navigator some day.

Many thanks for your two parcels received today. They were very welcome I assure you, especially the wings. That is $3.00 I owe you which I will try to repay as soon as I come back from leave. I am going to Ottawa I think. The fare is only $15.00 and I have had an invitation to a wedding down there on Dec. 26th. One of the boys who graduated from here today is getting married on his leave.

I started writing this letter two days ago but I didn't have time to finish it. I am now in Ottawa, Christmas is over and today is Sunday. I am staying with some friends whom I met here last summer. They are really Sadie's friends for they lived next door to her for years in Winnipeg, only moved down here last year. Norman is a Sgt. in the customs Dept.. of the RCAF. and both he and Dorothy - his wife, are very nice people. They have two children - boys 11 and 6, both regular little devils! But they are ‘all boy' and it is a great treat to play with them.

Had a lovely turkey dinner yesterday, Dorothy is a cook of the ‘old school' and she really excelled herself... the turkey was delicious and all the trimmings were with it! I hope you had as nice a Christmas as I did. It was the first time I have had Christmas away from camp for five years and that is a long time looking, looking back upon it.

Well Mom, I have been thinking for some time now that I wasn't going to be able to get home on leave after this course was over and now after traveling on the train from Moncton, I am sure of it. We were 15 hrs. late from Chatham to Ottawa and that would mean nearly two days to Vancouver! I could just make it home for 12 hrs., so I guess there is not much sense in that is there? So I am not even going to try to get home, unless I am posted Overseas. In that case, I will probably get 24 or 25 days and will be able to make it. I shall probably have to buy my uniform on this leave too, so may not be able to go down to New York as I had planned. I have an invitation from Mary's uncle to visit him in Baltimore (or rather) Boston. I was supposed to go down there for Christmas but couldn't quite make it. So instead, I came here.

Well, there doesn't seem to be much more I can write about just now. So sorry I haven't written before, but I never realized until just now how long it was since I had last written.

Love to all,

Jim


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