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Date: May 6th 1917

No.4 Squadron R. F. C.

France 6/5/17

Dear Father.

We have had a very hot week of it. I have no idea just how hot it was, but we spent our spare time trying to keep cool. Last night it rained, in fact poured, as I was out in it and got drenched to the skin. Today, it is quite cold again and a 35 mile wind with it. So that is enough variety for any one.

It is two weeks today since I arrived. In some ways it seems quite that but in most ways the time has passed very quickly. The first few days here, I had it very easy. The flight commander is a very decent chap and I just went up for joy rides. Now however I am glad to say I am able to take my share of the work. This week has been a very busy one indeed. Besides all the little jobs, I have done two big shoots with artillery, one with an 8 inch howitzer, and the other with a 9.2 inch howitzer. Both were interesting and at times exciting. It gives one a queer feeling to be shot at from below with 3 inch guns, and to be attacked at the same time from above by enemy machines. However one tries to dodge the former and drive the latter off with our own machine guns. This we did successfully. It gives one great confidence in the machine when in a scrap. In fact the actual flying of the machine is quite automatic, or done unconsciously, as one's time is fully taken up with other things. Since coming over here I have done several things in the air that I wouldn't dream of doing in England, where of course it is unnecessary. I think I have flown every machine in the flight now so that no matter which one they give me it will be O.K. At first I was flying different machines each day. Of course they are more or less the same but each machine or type has some little difference.

Two mornings this week I had to get up early to go away to other aerodromes to fetch back machines. One time I got lost in a thick mist and had to land near a village to find out where I was. Then I couldn't start my machine, so had to phone for mechanics and wait for two hours for them to arrive by motor. In the meantime I had my breakfast with the town mayor, who was quite a nice chap and who knew that flying on an empty stomach wasn't a picnic. Next time I made the trip O.K. and without any trouble at all. Altogether I like my work immensely and hope I shall have lots of time out here without any time off.

Had a small sized crash yesterday but it was all my own fault. I was landing the small way on the aerodrome and instead of landing at 60 or 65 I landed at 80 mph and there being no wind to break my speed, I ran across the aerodrome over the road and hit a water tank, only breaking my propeller. No one hurt so it was quite alright.

My chum Rushworth, who came out with me has had five forced landings and crashes in 3 days, and last time he completely demolished his machine and escaped by inches, so I guess he has had his spell of bad luck for a few days anyway. He is quite upset about it and says his nerves are not as good as they were.

This rain is doing the crops good. I can notice a big difference in the wheat already. The fields look quite green and prospects are good. Every inch available seems to be under cultivation.

I am meeting lots of my friends from England over here. Two more turned up at the aerodrome the other night in time for dinner. They just blew in and I did not know they were within miles. As it happens they are posted just over the way from here. It is about an hour's walk but only takes 5 minutes to go over in a machine.

The gong for lunch is on so I must run. I have a shooting job on for 1.30 p.m. so won't have time to write any more just now. Lots of love for Mother, Emily and self and kind regards to Miss Smith.

Loving son

P. S. Had a letter from Alf two days ago. He is O.K. This is my birthday. I accept your congrats.
W. H. G.