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Date: August 21st 1940
To
Mother and Father
From
John Balfour Gray
Letter

Aug. 21, 1940

My dear Mother & Dad.

Well today we got the official news and so my training starts soon as a Wireless Operator and a Gunner. That choice of Gunner means that I still may be chosen as a Fighter Pilot but that is not really very probable. I don’t know why I was picked as an A.G. but they examine every person and put him in the position he is best suited for. I am glad they didn’t make me Observer although I should have like to have been a pilot, of course. There is a lot of talk goes around about the disadvantages of being a A.G. but actually he is just as well off as the rest of the “Air Crew”. In this war the Pilot is nothing more than a glorified chauffeur and the Observer actually orders the course while it is the duty of the Gunner to defend the ‘plane and to do all the wireless work. We get an excellent wireless training which lasts four months and I have hopes of taking it in Calgary but am not thinking too much about it as Montreal is the most likely place. We won’t know for another month where we are to go. The station has been divided up now into the Gunner, Pilot, Observer Squadrons and so our “bedrooms” have been changed – I am sorry about this as we had a wonderful lot of fellows in our flight before and I should have told you about some of the ones who bunked near me and were quite good friends. Below me was John Granda who is a particular friend and we are still bunking together as Gunners. Across from me was one Anthony Gubb from South Africa – a Rhodes Scholar, Oxford Student, World traveler and one of the finest men I ever met. He is one of the kind who will be picked for Commissions without doubt. On the other side was a Hugh Gwyn–Williams – A 6’4” Englishman from New York who is also a Gunner and still near me. He is a great chap who is a lot of fun. Below him is a chap called Grant from Winnipeg who is a very nice quiet fellow – he also has been made a Gunner so we are still nearly all together.

I received rather bad news today when talking to Grant Lindale – he is getting his discharge because of a very slight heart ailment – you can see they are extremely strict about these things. I was very sorry for him.

Received the papers today and as usual read them with great pleasure. By the way who put “Hi Ya, J.B. ‘Best’” on the wrapper. I trust you received my last letter as it was important. Am making arrangements with Ray. Kroster. How is everybody at home. Give love to Mrs. Boomer and all. Tell Nelson I intend writing soon. I hear things are going a little better. Please advise about Phyllis – got your suggestion Mother. Must hurry away – sorry for the briefness. Love to all and will write soon.

Your loving son,
John.

P.S. Give my regards to all those who ask for me. First thank Anne & Beth for the lovely socks. Love John

Original Scans

Original Scans

Gray, John Balfour Canadian Air Force WWII Gray, John Balfour Canadian Air Force WWII Gray, John Balfour Canadian Air Force WWII Gray, John Balfour Canadian Air Force WWII Gray, John Balfour Canadian Air Force WWII