Baker, James

Letter
Date:
August 1, 1944
To:
Mom and Dad
From:
Jim

August 1, 1944

Dear Mom and Dad,

Well, today I start OTU. I have just arrived here, I guess you can see where ‘here' is and I am writing this in the local club house before I report to my new station. The train I came up on from London was packed to the doors with people trying to get away for a few days (so they could get some sleep) and with evacuees. I guess there are not many children left in London now for they have been taking them out for weeks. The bombs are not quite so numerous now as they used to be - our defenses are seeing to that I guess but still, one or two get through as you can probably gather from the communiqués. I have just come back from a week's leave which I spent with Sadie at East Grinstead. It was a heavenly week, so quiet and peaceful except that the sky was forever filled with the ‘monsters'. They are a devilish-looking contrivance seen in the daylight but they look positively ‘hellish' at night with that great white hot flame shooting from their tails! They look exactly like a meteor streaking across the sky, except that no meteor ever made a noise like the ‘hounds of hell' unmuzzled. It's a terrific racket! The very earth shakes from the noise of the engine because there is no muffler on it as there is in most other engines. They come over in twos and threes, one after the other and at no set times. I guess just whenever they have a bomb to fire! They are an evil-looking thing to see in the sky, there seems to be something almost sneering about their very attitude as they sneak along through the sky as though they said "Ha ha! you can't catch me!", but a good many of them are caught.

While I was down in East Grinstead, I had a surprise party for Sadie. It was her birthday just last Saturday, so I thought I would try to get something to mark the occasion. After much difficulty, I managed it OK. I got a cake and some icing sugar on my ration cards, some candles and rosebud holders, a bottle of very good ‘Claret' and a lovely corsage of roses. We had dinner at a little hotel where the manageress is a good friend of mine. Everyone in the town must have known it was Sadie's birthday because I had to get help from so many people... but everyone was most kind and helpful. So I managed it alright. We had a lovely evening, one of the most enjoyable I have ever spent. Sadie was very beautiful in a light brown dress with her red roses across her shoulder. Every one in the room was looking at her when we came in and I was very proud indeed! The waitresses got a great kick out of it when the cake was brought in with all the candles blazing and everyone held their breath as she blew them out and clapped their hands when she succeeded in doing so with only one breath! The next day we took our bikes and had a picnic away out in the forest. It was a heavenly day and we were all alone, just the two of us. We had a marvelous lunch too and coming back in the evening, we stopped in at a tiny pub and joined the people in a sing-song. It was really glorious and we both hated to leave. But I had to come back here so it had to end.

Sadie is a receptionist at the Queen Victoria Cottage Hospital East Grinstead and I guess she will be there for the rest of the war. I hope so anyway because it is a marvelous place for her to be and Mrs. Holland - her landlady, simply can't do enough for her. She and I got along like a house afire. Her husband was a JP. up till the time he died. So if you want to write Sadie, her number is W314 230 AW. McGrath SC. at the hospital.

Coming back through London, I stopped off to see Mr. Simpson again. He has just made me a wonderful offer - only tentative at present, but it sounds very tempting. I will put it to you and see what you think.

He wants to gather together about 10 young men whom he likes and band them together in a Corporative Society and go out to South Africa to start a Communal Farm. His idea was about 2000 acres of mixed farming land, preferably with some good dairy herds, a fruit orchard, a few sheep, pigs and about 500 acres of wheat. He would put up the money - about $50,000.00, and we would oversee the work because of course, it is all native labour in South Africa. The climate he says is wonderful; he has been there before and knows the country quite well. Ultimately, he hopes to be able to start a stud farm as well. This is all an idea as yet but he has put the proposition before us for discussion and approval. There are about five of us so far and he is gradually acquiring the rest as we go on. And he has paid me the tremendous compliment of asking me to join it also. I have talked to Sadie about it and there - I am afraid, is where the great obstacle will be because she does not want to go to South Africa, which I guess is natural enough. But it is only an idea as yet and she hasn't met Mr. Simpson either or talked to him so maybe, it is still too early to say she is against it. But what do you think of it as an idea? We ten young men would be full partners and can pull out at any time we want, but cannot pull out 1/10 of the holding, only a percentage based upon what we have contributed in ideas and work. The only money we have to put up is the cost of furnishing our own homes which would be one of several in the ‘kraal' or central farm. Is it a good idea? It rather appeals to me because it is farming the way it should be done on a grand scale and co operative effort. Must run along now. Write soon: RCAF. Overseas.

Love to all,

Jim

PS. Haven't seen Stan yet, can't seem to get his address.



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