Royal Flying Corps,
23 Oct 1916
I haven't had a letter yet this week but I guess it is on it's way alright. However I did have a parcel of eats and socks which I think I acknowledged last week, and which I sent on to Alf. Also I had a card from Alf, while in town, saying that he will be in France in a few weeks. He is going to reinforce the 1st Division so will probably see a little action, although it will be rather quiet in a month or so. By the time he gets over there we will probably be out of the Somme.
I am afraid that it will be sometime before I am ready to leave England. Our exams are next week and after that we have a week's leave. Then we are posted to an aerodrome for a month or more. And before we get our wings we have to spend 20 hours in the air, which at this time of the year is almost impossible. Weather conditions have to be very good indeed for any sort of successful flying.
And I don't mind telling you that I may have an extra week here. We have so many different things to take up, and one is supposed to have a pretty good general knowledge of them before entering, that I am rather up against it. Take wireless for instance. Well it was very little I knew about such things before I got in but I had to say I did or they wouldn't take me. So that it is rather stiff in quite a number of ways. Also bombs and etc. Most of the fellows have taken courses in bombs, machine guns etc preparatory to coming in, while I had not. However I will get as many of them as I can in the short month allowed for it.
Now that I have been here for some time and know the bunch better, it is much more interesting. They are certainly a great bunch of fellows. Not like Canadians in many ways. Some are Sirs, I mean bold Knighthoods or Baronetcys [sic] and most are quite wealthy. Many own cars, some, not many, Rolls Royces, and various makes of real good cars. In fact most of them are quite independent in that way. I have met many 1st rate fellows, and also some who are not so nice. Quite a number of the boys are soldiers by profession, some own their own aeroplanes and make flying a hobby in civil life. Altogether they are a most interesting outfit. Yesterday, my usual day for writing, was most miserable. I came over to the library right after breakfast to write but the place was as cold as Greenland. So I set about to find the orderly. After about half an hours search I found the miserable man but he would not do anything without a written order from the College. This gentleman I learned, after another searching spell, had gone to town for the weekend. So result was we could have no fire. Of course there was nothing for me to do but to walk, walk, walk to keep warm. In the evening I went downtown and had dinner with one of the boys (a Canadian from Montreal) and his mother. She was a dear and took me right in and gave me the best meal I have had in Oxford. It is the 2nd meal I have had out of the mess since I arrived. After dinner we had a fine chat and believe me I envied that chap having his mother over here. I wish I could have mine here for a little while. She had just come over to be near the kid but he is only 19 so I guess she thought he would be homesick. She is going to stay in England until the war is over or as long as he is on the job.
Had a huge box of home?made candy from Firenza and Roberta Gilroy the other day. I must write them. I am absolutely ashamed of myself as I have not written them since April last. I take it that Roberta is staying at home this year. I should think she would as the boys are both away.
Firenze says that Gib is over in France and that his nerves are about all in. He is in the Flying Corps and I can quite believe he would be a bit nervous after some months flying. It is quite an exciting game I can assure you, and I believe I am going to have the time of my young life.
My cold is all better and I am feeling tip-top. Never better in fact. My eye does not give me any more trouble, and I am absolutely fit again. I had a couple of snaps taken not so long ago, and if they are any good, when I get them, I shall send them on. You will think I don't do anything but have my face shot, but cheer up, we have to do something to pass the time.
I had a letter from my lawyer in Winnipeg some time ago and he tells me that he has stored my furniture, or what is left of it, and has given up my office. I am neutral in the matter and he did what he thought best. Father will be glad to know that I am not now paying rent. Please note the scarcity of notepaper, the last sheet in the house.
Best love to Father, Mother and self, and kind regards to Miss Smith. Also to G. F., Belle and Fred when you are writing. Will write to them as soon as I get a chance.