Baker, James

Letter
Date:
June 12, 1944
To:
Mom and Dad
From:
Jim
June 12th, 1944

Dear Mom and Dad,

It seems a long time since I had a letter from you but maybe it is because I have not written to you for quite a long time. But I find it rather difficult to write at present because nothing seems to be happening that I can write about, although lots of things take place that I Can't write about. I am still going to ground school - this is my last week and I have exams at the end of it, but I am not very frightened of them - in fact, I am more sure of passing this time then I have ever been before. It seems rather funny - but since I came here, I have not learned very much respect for some of the fellows who got commissions on the courses. I am in a class of 15 officers and nine sergeants and I know that the marks the sergeants make surpass those that the officers make by as much as 10%. And they are all instructors who have been doing this type of thing for 2 or 3 years! It is simply ‘unbelievable' some of the dumb things they do. And yet, because we are only sergeants and they are POs., they are not disciplined the way we would be. I will admit, there are some of them that are extremely nice - also very intelligent, but there are some that are neither. And to top it all off, I have just learned that F/O Board - who was my instructor at Chatham, has arrived on the camp a little while ago. I only hope I don't meet him over here because I am certain to tell the little "-------" what I think of him. I am certain now that he played a malicious trick on me and I am more determined than ever to get a commission now. I know deep inside myself that I am a far better navigator than he will ever be because he is yellow: I know he is. There are types of men that I would greatly enjoy stepping on and ‘stepping on hard' and you seem to meet an unending supply of them in the Service. Why on earth a man should deliberately set out to destroy another man's confidence in his own ability, I will never know - and yet, there are men who seem to take great joy in accomplishing just that. They chalk up their score just as proudly as any fighter pilot chalks up his score of enemy destroyed. I only hope that Mr. Board manages to navigate better over here than he did in Canada.

I find know that I was rather foolish to wish to get Overseas again so quickly. I should have taken my OTU. at Penn.U. while I had the chance and I would have been through that and nearly on Ops. by now. As it is, I am still months away from what I want and what is more, I will not probably get the machines that I want either. I want very, very much to go to the ‘Tactual Air Force' - TAF. on daylight-close support work with the Army because I know that that is what I am best suited for, but I am very much afraid I am going to get night work: and you know what that means! But I have been talking to some of my friends who are through the first stage of their flying over here and they have been taking a lot of ‘sting out of the punch' for they say that navigating over this country at night is dead easy because of all the aids one has to navigation. But of course, navigating over a friendly country where everyone is out to help you as much as superhumanly possible is very - very different from navigating over a country where everyone and everything is out to hinder you as much as possible and kill you: again if possible. But they have a wonderful system of Flying Control over in this country whose sole object is the safety of each and every a/c in the air over the United Kingdom. They are in complete control of every flight and at all times they must know where you are, what you are doing, and what you intend to do next. It is the most stupendous organization imaginable and when you stop to think how many planes they have in the air at once, you must begin to realize how they must work! Just think on the 24 hours immediately preceding and after our invasion: 7,800 sorties were flown by our supporting air forces alone. Add to this our daily routine flights, anti sub-patrols, met reports, ferrying flights, training flights and mechanical flight checks and you get a staggering total of about 25,000 flights or plane flights: every one of which must be checked by flying control. And remember that every one of those 7,800 sorties were handled by only one part of the country because they were all directed against one specific target: you can see tremendous possibilities for errors and confusion. But so efficient is this organization that as far as I know, not one plane was lost through carelessness or neglect on their part. It is a wonderful feeling to know you have an organization such as that behind you: ready and willing to back you up whenever you need help if only you will do your part. But there is the snag.... you must do your part! In other words I - as navigator, must know what to do, when to do it, in what manner and at what time. That is what all my future training from here on in will be about: trying to fit me into a war picture of flying under the conditions as they exist over here where the whole country is one vast aerodrome I think the invasion has come none too soon. We need more room for landing grounds for the fleets rolling into our fortress!

I have had very little Canadian mail lately and hardly any English. I got a telegram from Mary on Friday saying she was very worried because I hadn't written for over a week. I guess it must be held up somewhere because I have certainly written. Sadie is fine. I think there is a pretty good chance she will come over here and if she does, I am afraid you are going to gain a daughter far quicker than you expect. Must close now.

All my love to all,

Jim

PS. How are Burt and Kay? Write all the news.



Original Scans