R. F. C. School of Instruction.
Brasenose College Oxford
Sept 28 1916
My Dear Mother,
You will probably be rather surprised to note my new address. Some time ago I said I had something pending and now it has come off. I arrived here last Monday 25th. Ever since I got out of hospital I have tried to get over to France with the Brigade again. Col. Armstrong gave me false hopes for about a month, then I saw I should have to look after myself, so I did. Ever since then I have been trying to get built up and well, and I believe I have succeeded. I have had several medical tests and am quite satisfied with myself now. When I first tried for the Royal Flying Corps I was turned down. In fact I was turned down twice on account of my eyes, but the third time was lucky and made the grade.
That was about two months ago, and since then I have been pulling all I knew how to make the grade. You know the R. F. C is a little bit of class, even if I do say it. At that I am not in it by any means. I have a long hard course ahead of me, but I love the work and shall pass all the exams. At present we are working top speed, from 6:30 am till late at night, but the work is so interesting that I don't mind it in least.
We have so many things to learn and have to know them well. ?Motors? of course is our strong point, as well as aeroplane construction. Then we have to know wireless, telegraph, machine gun, astronomy, bomb dropping, and about a dozen other things. All are new to me which makes it all the harder. But as I said it is most interesting.
We are quartered right in Oxford University. I am living at Brasenose College. Most of the University is taken over by Flying Corps. It is a very wonderful place in ordinary times but much more so now. Workshops, lecture halls & everywhere taken over by soldiers. I do not start my flying for another month. It will take that long to pass my written exams, that is if I am lucky. So you don't need to worry about me. For a long time I was undecided as to whether I had better tell you or not, but I decided finally that you ought to know. And I am sure you will agree with me that it is alright. I do not want to let my professional ability to hinder me in any way from taking all the chances the other fellows have to take. As long as I was in France I was quite happy and felt I was doing my bit, but in England I have been very discontented. I have not been doing what I should or could. I mean that I might just as well have been doing my part in Canada. However I feel quite happy now and I am sure you will feel same way. And I know you will not worry as you have always said that we are all in the Lord's hand, and that is the way I feel. I do not dread the air any more than the earth, as I know I will be alright Wherever I am. So I haven't forgotten all you taught me, have I Mother?
I was very sorry to leave Folkestone. I was so comfortable there. Mr and Mrs Reade were so kind. Mrs Reade did everything for me that you could wish, and Mr Reade was just like a brother. If you could write them a line & thank them I would feel sure it would be appreciated.
I am tired and very sleepy now, and must be up at 6 am so will close for now. Will write at every opportunity & let you know how I am progressing. So please don't worry as I am quite alright.
Lots of love for Father, Emily and self, and regards to Miss Smith.