Royal Flying Corps,
17 Oct 1916.
It is raining and miserable out and I am quite wet too. However if I write to you now I will just have time to post it before I go on parade again.
This is really a very busy place. They seem to have something to do all the time, and furthermore they keep one at it. When we finish one lecture we have to fairly run to the next college to get there in time and it is the same at the workshops. When we go out to the rigging sheds, where we construct aeroplanes, they have cars waiting to take us over. It is only about twenty minutes walk, but there is not time for that. We have to learn in a month what should take at least six, and as it is stuff one's life depends on a little later on in the game, it is up to us to take in as much as possible. There is a rumour about today that they are adding another month to the course, so if they do I shall be glad in one way, although I want to get a machine of my own as soon as I can. After we finish here, if we do pass, we are sent to an aerodrome and fly there for nearly a month. I would like to get that over before the weather gets too miserable. It is bad enough now, as we had quite a hail storm on Sunday, but it will be worse later on in the year.
It is rather early yet to talk about Xmas, but my chances are pretty good for spending it in the air. I wish it wasn't so far home, and I would fly over, as they let us go where ever we want to. A chap I know here, whose home is in Cork, has invited me over to spend Xmas with him, but that will depend on the weather and how I get along.
The box of eats and socks arrived yesterday. Mrs Reade sent it on to me, so I opened it. I did not intend to take anything out but the socks, one pair, but the salted almonds and Em's home-made candy were too much and I took a little bit of each but promptly put the rest all back, and I am sending it along to Alf today. He needs it more than I do but it did taste mighty good. And please tell Mother that the socks will come in handy. They tell me it is horribly cold up in the air and they will not let us fly under 5000 ft, so I am keeping her nice soft ones for when I take the up shoot. And also if Mother and Em have time and can get the wool I would like a couple of pairs of Jaeger wool socks. I know it is hard to get the wool, so if you can't get it without too much trouble don't bother. I can buy some here but they are not just as good as the home-made. Before long I am going to get a whole new equipment of warm things such as underwear and leather stuff. So don't worry about my being cold for I am one to look after No 1.
Had a card from Alf a couple of days ago. He was having a weekend in town with Vaughn Pearson, I think he said. I did not go up town last weekend. I was tired so spent the time around here. Had a good sleep, then went up the river in a punt, and had lunch in a hotel about six miles above town. I don't like eating at hotels particularly but it is a change to get away from the mess and the same old stuff, and they are supposed to give us good things to eat too. They charge us $2.00 a day for our grub, but we certainly do not get the worth of it. Of course everything is very high so we all grumble but it is no use. Still we do like to get away for a meal out.
We have some of the most awful articles at the college now. Chinese, Japs, Siamese and all kinds of foreigners. Thank goodness there are few Englishmen as they are for the most part sports enough to be in the army.
I am feeling tip top again. Had a cold last week but it is nearly OK again. And I am in fine spirits and enjoying my work immensely. I was afraid at one time that the war would be over before I got into the flying game, but I believe I am in lots of time. Must run along now as it is time to fall in. I have a squad to look after, 11 men so have to be in time.
Lots of love for Mother Em and self and kind regards