Lieut. GS Andrews, RCE
H.Q. Canadian Corps,
Canadian Army Overseas.
England, 18 May, 1941.
Am glad to be able to report that your letter of the 6 April arrived after all, a couple of days ago. It told about your return home from California, so the continuity of your news is again complete. A fine letter from Frank Swannell arrived too, and in it he gave reports on both you and Mary, which were most satisfactory. I gather that cordial relations are now established between Frank and M.K., which I am very pleased about, because evidently Frank gets some fun out of having a "granddaughter", as he calls her, and no one could better fill the week, but did not send the carbon yet, so will add a note in reply to his letter.
I hate this infernal typewriter correspondence, as you see this machine is tempermental to a violent degree, and makes continuity of thought an impossibility. However it is a good precaution until we have definitely won the battle of the Atlantic, and pushed Hitler's punch back into his own throat.
The work still continues at its normal pitch for me, thank goodness, and never lacks interest. Trying to get a new idea, or new equipment or methods put across in the army is like making a long distance call, through half a dozen different telephone exchanges, each one of which is liable to cut you off, just as the message is getting important, and at best each exchange adds on its own brand and amount of static, so that its amazing if one gets any results at all. To appreciate this way of putting it, you should have experience in English telephones, Oh Boy!
Had a couple of trips to London last week. During one, was able to sit in to a lecture by General McNaughton to the Royal Society, on Research in Canada. It was rather dull, but the G.O.C. was carrying on under difficulties. I had not heard him speak before. R.B. Bennet presided, and introduced the G.O.C. There were a lot of brass hats there, of course, two others and myself being the lowest forms of life, lieuts. I was introduced to the General's son, Capt. McNaughton, who I am glad to say, seems like a fine young chap. So often, one is disappointed in the son of a man you admire a great deal, the McNaughtons are an agreeable exception.
The second trip, on Friday, included a visit to a most interesting firm who make experimental scientific equipment, and in the afternoon, a visit to Scotland Yard, to see their photographic dept. and other nights as well. This visit was arranged from below, by the good offices of my American clerk, and cinched from above by a letter from my Uncle Alfred, the lawyer in Winnipeg to his friend, the assistant commissioner of Scotland Yard. The people were most hospitable, and showed us many interesting things, Mr. Howe, the assistant Comm'r was very friendly and wants me to have lunch with him next time I'm in town. I had tea with his sister some time ago, who is also an old friend of Uncle Alf's, and who had written me several times to come to their home, out off which, incidentally, they have been bombed several times.
London has quite a few nasty scars alright, but it is a very great city, and on Friday, a beautiful early summer day, the people and traffic were buzzing around, apparently as tho nothing had happened, in fact presented a gala atmosphere. When tempted to stop and look at a particularly bad crater or gap in a block of buildings, you feel conspicuous, as though guilty of a breech of etiquette. It just isn't done.
Got in touch with Lorne yesterday by telephone, and arranged to go over by motor bike this morning to see him. Dick Farrow was there, and we had an exchange of notes. Arthur S. was out for the day, and Lorne had not had time to find out where George Anderson was. I'm having such a bad time with the ribbon of this blanket machine, that there must be a noticeable lack of coherence, in this letter. Lorne, Dick, and I are planning to have a dinner out together in the near future. Lorne is looking fit, and had a wonderful leave cycling in the North last week. Our leaves come so suddenly, and unexpectedly, that it is almost impossible to arrange one together.
This is another machine which I don't know how to operate. Its very complicated, but we'll see what happens. I left your letter of 6 April at the billet, so cannot comment very fully on it, but will add a note when I go home tonight. Am glad to note that you are thinking of devoting your time and energy to getting settled in the house this summer, and not thinking about getting a job till Fall. I would like to increase your assigned pay to $125 per month, making a total of $177 including your dep's all'ce. However, as I am still not sure what they are going to do with me and have reason to believe that my present posting is only for the time being, pending arrangements to get me finally placed, and the new job may quite likely carry less pay than the one I have now, even if it is considered to be an advancement, - such is the way of the army.
Well, its getting late, and I'll close. Best love to you both,
As ever -
PS The carbon of No62 will follow with the next letter.