Somewhere in England
Feb 27, 1940
Received your letter dated Feb 5th in which you describe the way in which people are talking about my "traitorous" actions in leaving the porthole open and I must say that I am surprised at this attitude. After all if it had been such a heinous crime, don't you think that the officers of the ship, knowing the supposed peril in which we had placed the ship and all the men aboard, would have meted out a punishment to suit the crime? The very fact that I only got seven day CB shows how slight was the crime committed. People who talk about shooting me merely show their ignorance and stupidity. They fail to realize how the convoy - steaming along through the night, must keep constantly in touch with each other and with the flagship by means of a light flashing signals. For this purpose a light of absolutely dazzling brilliancy is used. I'm sure that if any enemy could see a light, they would see that one, especially when you remember that our light was only a ninety watt bulb and it was not quite dark outside. It was only four-thirty in the afternoon. This is just another case of making a mountain out of a molehill. Nevertheless, it worries me somewhat that some people regard me as a traitor. I could have found a far more efficient way of sinking my ship than by leaving a porthole open. There was one chance in a thousand that that particular light would be spotted by an enemy submarine.
The weather over here lately has been simply glorious. I've read dozens of long flattering accounts of an English spring and I must say I didn't see how anything could possibly be so beautiful. But I believe them now. You can form no idea of the glorious feeling of zest and exhilaration which fills you when spring first comes here. The air seems to have such a lively exciting tang to it - very difficult to describe but a pure delight to experience. The birds seem to sing sweeter, the breeze blows softer, the grass and leaves seem greener, the sun shine brighter, the sky is bluer, even the lambs are cuter than any other place I have ever been. I hate to seem a deserter from the ideal of British Columbia, but I can't help myself. Maybe it is because I am homesick and this reminds me so much of home. I don't know I'm sure exactly why it should be, but the fact remains that spring in England is an experience worth traveling from the ends of the earth to enjoy. No wonder Browning wrote his lovely "O to be in England now that April's there" with such a passion of longing in his mind and heart. And you remember that this is only February. What will it be like in April?
I'm afraid our barrack life does not make very interesting letter material and there is absolutely nothing doing around Aldershot that would provide inspiration. Soldiers, soldiers, soldiers; every here you turn you see khaki uniforms. Even some women are dressed in khaki, either at the dictates of fashion or because they are in the ATS - an organization that is an auxiliary to the Army. For the first time in history an army composed entirely of women is to go to France and engage in work right up to the Front Line. They are to be orderlies, truck drivers, stretch-bearers and any other job which crops for which the men cannot be spared. They have the same system of officering as we do too. But one thing worries them which we give no thought to at all. They are beginning to complain at the restrictions place upon them about their hair and dress. They must wear their uniforms at all times except when on leave over two days and they must wear their hair cut unfashionably short. They complain that they are beginning to lose the attention of men "who do not wish to be seen out with a girl who is not glamourously turned out in the latest fashion". Eternal woman! Always must be the centre of admiring male glances, even in a war!
Well I guess that is all. Give a hearty kiss to everyone including yourself.
Goodbye and love,