Dec - 16th/17
Dear Mother, -
Again I haven't written for sometime. But in your last letter you had received the card that I was being sent down to the base and perhaps haven't been worrying for the past over 3 weeks have been in England.
There were five of us (observers) came home to take Pilot's course together. The night before we left there was a real dinner and speeches etc - a good time was had. We were sorry to leave the good old bunch but glad in a way to get back in England for a few months.
My experience in the flying corps hasn't been too severe and we were thankful everyday to be in the air and not on the ground. We were in the north you know and flew over Paschendale although it was on another squadron's portage[?]. We had a lot of work and several pushes. Let me tell you this - I did more flying than any other observer who had ever been in the squadron also more contact patrols (low flying over infantry in pushes). I did 200 hrs flying, the next to me was 155 and at least 2 more contact patrols than any observer. I am rather proud of this and suppose it is all right to tell one's mother.
We came across to England on the 18th of Nov. Had a board on the 20th and I was marked unfit & given three weeks leave. Had another board on the 10th Dec and told them would like a rest before flying (Pilot's Course) and leave to Canada. They gave me an invaliding board the next day which marked me unfit for general service for 1 month fit for home service for 1 month (Light duty), so have been sent here last thursday to do my light duty. Before leaving London put in an application to take Pilot's Course in Canada was told this might be granted but you can never tell. So anyway will be in England now for at least four months perhaps longer. Don't worry about this unfitness found by the board. I am really all right just a bit run down and nerves not as good as they need to be - which is only to be expected.
You were worrying about Willie - had a letter from him dated Nov. 28th - he expects leave shortly will try and get to town when he comes over. He passed our Aerodrome just after I had left.
You ask if Warrie L's engine was on - I'm not sure but heard that it was - he wouldn't likely have time to shut it off - it all happened in a few seconds. I don't quite see the point why his folks would sooner have it the other way. Ask Pa, I know if I was to be killed in a crash I would just as soon have the engine on as not - what is the difference - with the engine on it would likely bring the end quicker, I may be wrong. It was hard luck & too bad. Mother so many of the best of fellows went west in the squadron that we must be hardened but all the same miss them terribly - It is different in the Flying Corps then in the Infantry. In the Infantry you are all together taking the chance. In the flying corps they seem to go out and don't come back. It is extremely disheartening. This isn't a pleasant subject lets change it.
Had a good time on leave was with Harvey Sparling, Major Weir (collegiate), Dan Maclean and boys from squadron and numerous other fellows.
Dan, Major Weir, Lieut. Northey & Wife (Helen Mason) & self had dinner one night. Major Weir and I had dinner & lunch many times together. Dan & I spent his last day of leave together, tea, dinner theatre & supper after the show
Your last letter Nov. 12 & Arthur's - thank him it was a splendid attempt. Turner is married will write him. You sent his clock - thanks. Get Papers O.K.
No parcels yet from home - will write collegiate. Much love to each one - Jim.