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Date: May 2nd 1939

Time this one (Imperial Airways to London)
Fleet Air Arm Detachment

May 2, 1939

Dear Mother:

I am attempting to write this letter in my tent under difficulties (mostly mosquitos). The sun is really pouring down and weather here is lovely. I have been into Alexandria two or three times. The cinemas are very good and I was able to see David Niven in "The Dawn Patrol" at the Mohammed Aly Cinema.

We are flying in the minimum clothes, mainly khaki shirt and shorts (no underwear). Even this afternoon at 15,000 feet we were very warm.

We are at present forming part of a Fighter Wing here in Egypt. I am hoping that the international situation will remain fairly quiet so we can have a long stay here. The squadron landed on Glorious this afternoon (just so we can keep our hand in).

My co-partner in the tent is F/O Garlick, who is at present lying on his camp bed under his mosquito netting - tantalizing the mosquitoes by baring choice bits of flesh to their eyes. He has a naturally cruel streak and battalions of mosq's are infuriated.

This morning we took our fighters up for some individual flying, which consisted mainly of flying up and down Agami Beach, where wealthy Americans, etc. have their summer cottages. At no time were we higher than about 10 feet and many an admiring wave was given!

Blue Flight Marmont, Campbell, Horsfall and self had just landed and taxied in when our new replacement, S/Lt Sykes arrived. Incidentally, he saw our break-up over the aerodrome, which consisted of a loop in formation - up to the vertical again - where C.H. and self stall turn outwards and Marmy continues out in another loop, so he was sufficiently impressed.

Batcher, my Marine batman, is a wizard and has constructed a wooden table in the tent. Where he pinched the wood I don't know.

One thing I do know is that my appetite has returned and I am gathering a good sun tan.
Please give me all the details of your trip down East - you must have a lot to write about now - so no excuses!

I hope the new Plymouth isn't too old by the time I get home next time.

More about flying. This afternoon we were detailed to fly a fighter patrol over Glorious about fifty miles north of Alexandria while 825 T.R.S. Squadron attempted to launch a torpedo attack on the ship. Luckily we sighted them early in the attack and for thirty minutes had a wizard dog fight, which worked down to about fifty feet of the Med when we called it a day.

The Captain was a bit annoyed. He couldn't use his close range guns because of there being too may 802 keeping escort on the bombers!

Only a month more and Islay Jean will be hard at it. Still, she had a good change and will work harder for it.

Abdul and Achmed (Ak-med), our old Egyptian waiters from last September, are with us again.

Thank goodness "Ramadan" comes only in October. Last year the Egyptians kept us awake singing (long, drawn-out wail) and beating drums for a couple of weeks.
Of all the countries to visit, I think Egypt the best. The cities of Alexandria and Cairo can't be beaten for their never-ending interest. The beautiful buildings, gardens, cafes, carriages and the people! and the climate.
Will write again soon



I'll bet Ronny was glad to see you back - I'd love to see him again.