From: London, Eng.
Eagle Hut Aldwych YMCA
Thurs. 18 July 1918
Dear Mother -
You will be very glad to hear that everything has been going the last few days as I would have had it gone. I wrote you on Sat. and told you I was warned for medical exam on Mon. On Sun. we had a church parade to the Wesleyan Church in Hampstead. In the afternoon, I was down in London and had a Turkish bath and in evening went to bed early.
On Mon. morning we were marched right after breakfast to the house where the exam was to take place. About 170 in all were examined that day. You have to wait in one room until your turn comes and then go to another & strip to the waist, putting on tunic again. From there, I had to pass thru four rooms in turn. There are several rooms you see with two or three doctors in each for one part of the test and several for next part & so on. That is how they can do so many.
In the first room, I was fortunate in getting a good doctor who was not abrupt & inconsiderate as some are. In fact, they were trying to get more thru than usual that day, so I didn't have to do as many things or have such a severe test as it would otherwise have been. He read over a list of diseases & things & asked if I had had them or if they were in family. I was able to say no. He asked me if I smoked or drank & what games I played. Then I had to hold my breath. I knew that was coming and was a little afraid of it. It was necessary to hold it for 60 secs. I had been practicing & had had it for longer but that morning could only hold it for about 35. I noticed that if I felt nervous, I could not hold it so long. There were two doctors at a table and two of us sat across from them. They told us to take two or three deep breaths and then hold it together while they timed us. This gave us a pretty good chance especially when two were at it together. I made up my mind I wouldn't let go till the other fellow did and he told me afterwards he was waiting for me to let go. Result was he held for 106 secs and I for 110. The doctor then asked me what I let go for! He then immediately began testing my heart & lungs and I almost wished I hadn't held so long but then I wasn't sure the min. was up. He had a long name for some little trouble with my heart or lungs but it couldn't have amounted to much.
In the next room, ten of us were lined up to get our hearing tested. We had to shut our eyes and hold an ear while he whispered something. This time it was "Lift you left leg" which I got alright. Next we held the other ear and he whispered "about turn". Then, he examined our ears. My left was normal and my right, he marked "ic". I don't know what that is. That was all we did there, tho others had to balance an object on a board with their eyes shut etc. which I was glad I didn't get.
In the third, my eye sight was tested, but it wasn't as stiff a test as the one I had at Fresincourt in France when I was making out my papers. They measured my height & looked me over, pronouncing me sound physically.
In the 4th room, called the assessing room, the final judgement was made. Here they would try you over again if you were not satisfactory in the other rooms. I had to hold out my arms & fingers for him to see if they trembled and I had to close my eyes & balance myself on one foot.
After this I dressed and went below to await results. It was noon, so I had to go back after dinner & waited there for about 2 hrs. I finally got my certificate showing that I had passed as fit for pilot or observer. A fellow can't fly unless he has this certificate. Now, I was wanting to train as a pilot but you do not usually have any choice and they make you whichever they need most. I was told they were taking observers that day, but this proved not to be the case & I had it stamped - pilot. Some passed the board as fit only to be observers and a very few as unfit.
Next morning, one of the fellows who came from another battery in the 2nd Bde. told me he saw Casey at breakfast, and at noon I saw him. Odd the way things happen. On Mon. I had been wishing so that he had been there to pass with me & I was thinking him still in France.
He had followed me from about three days later and unfortunately did not find the message I left. If he had found it, we could have met at Killarney - as it was, he did not know where I had gone so went to some friend's in Devonshire. He enquired at the hotel I left the note at and it was actually sticking in a tray for that purpose right before him, but the person he asked knew nothing about it & failed to get it.
Tues. night, I took him over to it & showed him the 3 notes I had left. He had his medical exam on Tues., the day after I had mine. They gave him no warning of it at all, but he got thru as I had done & had his certificate marked the same as mine. There is a draft going to the training camp on Sat. & I think we are both on it. Pilots, you see, go to one place and observers another. It will likely be Hastings, in Sussex at south of England (where Harley Ferguson once was, I believe).
I got the kit I require on Tues. & Casey his yesterday. Today, I was vaccinated and bout 400 names were called out as on this draft. I am on it and Casey's name was called. I think he will be one of them. You see, there are more than 400 here and his name was near the end. I have written this in an awful hurry as I had a lot to say and did not want to take much time to say it in. Hope you can make it out and that all are well at home. I know that you will be glad to get this and learn how things have turned out. Oh, I heard that the battery was in action again in about the same place as before we went on rest.