Oct 25th, 1943
Dear Mom and Dad,
I have been studying very hard this past week because tomorrow we are starting our mid-terms. I can hardly believe that they have come so quickly and that our course here is nearly ½ over, but the biggest part of that ½ is coming up this week and I can tell you, I am pretty scared. You see, you can washout during mid-terms by only failing on one or two subjects, as well as later on. My Morse Code is what has me scared - for no matter how hard I study it, I never seem to get to know it any better. I have been taking Morse at night too, but it doesn't seem to help very much. We have so many diversified subjects and we have to have a pretty thorough knowledge of all of them. I'll give you a list and you'll be able to see why they are difficult.
1. Maps and charts, how they are drawn up, the different properties of each map, what purposes they are best suited for, interpretation of signs, etc.
2. Instruments, sextant, astro compass, pilot's compasses, 3 drift recorders, 1 bomb sight, altimetre, Air speed Indicator, astrograph, rate of climb indicator, Distant Reading gyroscopic compass, chronometer and watches.
3. Radio and Direction finding Loop. This is a very complicated and difficult though compensatingly interesting subject.
4. Basic principles of Navigation, how each of the above instruments can be used to help the navigator determine and check his position.
5. Signals and signal's procedure, one of the most complicated procedures imaginable. It is like learning a new language because whole messages are condensed into groups of letters and these have to be known and clearly understood. Six different methods of signalling have to be known too.
Reconnaissance, This is a general term used to cover a multitude of subjects, ship recognition, organization of all 3 services, Navy, Army, Air Force
Air Craft Recognition, my old bughear.
So you can see this is no cinch. There is one thing when a man gets through here, he knows a thing or two about many things! So I guess you can see now why I must study so hard and why I have so little time for writing.
Well, I have got all my Xmas parcels for Overseas at last. There is one thing about buying for people in England, you don't have to worry what to buy...there is hardly a thing that is not welcome over there, but the most welcome of all - especially to a woman's heart, are "the little dainty toiletries she needs to increase her attractiveness" as Dorothy Dix says. So I've sent off about four toilet sets, soap, powder, perfume, rouge and lipstick. Mary's parcel I sent off yesterday. I have some bad news for you too incidentally. Eaton's wrote me last week and said they were sorry, they were sold out of Ronson lighters and did not expect another quota this year, so they refunded the money to me - $8.70. So I bought Mary a toilet set, a lovely matched set of powder perfume, rouge, lipstick and eau de cologne, 3 pairs of silk stockings which I was very lucky to get at $1.35 a pair (real silk, old-stock, sheer, fully-fashioned) soap, etc. It cost about $10.00 altogether and ‘broke me' completely but was worth it, because I know how much she misses those things from the way she thanked me for my last parcel. If you are going to or have sent them a parcel, I hope you put in a fruit cake because I know how they welcomed my cakes whenever I took them up there. I think if you do send a parcel, it would be best to send it to Mary at her WAAF. address. It is much more likely to get through customs.
Her address is, 2133570 Law Beverly Mary, Hill House, Stanmore Hill, Stanmore, Middlesex, England RAF. (WAAF.)
By the way, many thanks for the films and razor blades which Eaton's sent. I have not used my camera this past two months, but I will probably use it as soon as snow falls.
The station has been in a complete flap this past week over the ‘Liberator' that was lost four days ago. We have had every one of our planes out on the search whenever we could get them off the ground - which wasn't very often because the weather has been atrocious. The country in which it is presumed to have landed is the wildest, most forbidding place imaginable and I am afraid there isn't much hope that any of them are alive now. I can't imagine what has happened to it unless the pilot flew into a hill trying to get ‘under the ceiling'.
By the way, could you send me some thin woolen socks and some hand-knit ones? I am nearly out again. I don't know why, and I hate darning them. I have about six pairs to do now and absolutely no ambition to do them. By the way, have you got Mary's picture yet?
How is everyone at home? And how are Stan and Burt? I haven't heard from Stan since I was at Mt. View nearly 3 months ago. Have you done any fishing lately Dad? Any salmon this year? My hunting trip fell through because I couldn't get enough time off. My pen is about to run dry by the feel of it, so I had better take the hint and close this epistle. Write again as soon as you can. By the way, did you get your week in Victoria? I hope so. Must close.
Love to all,