June 28, 1940
Received your letter on Tuesday last and was certainly glad to hear from home. I am glad you got your pictures safely and am glad you liked them, though I knew you would. Liulf came over with the last contingent of Engineers and I was glad to see him before we left again. As it was, he arrived on Friday night and we left on Wednesday morning. He was in good spirits and reported a very pleasant voyage. I talked to Sheik Bowick and some of the others of his chums and learned that Liulf acquitted himself with honors in the army boxing tournament held in Toronto. I think Liulf was very lucky to come over when he did, as I doubt if Canada will send any more troops under the present set up.
It seems now that France was just as decadent as Hitler claimed, or they never should have fallen. In all events, he will find a horse of a different colour if he tries any of his funny little stunts on this island. I am not allowed to give away our position but can say that it is about fifty miles from our last stop (the grey spires etc.). We are under canvas but are quite comfortable, being located in the centre of a thickly wooded area. Yesterday at 2 p.m. we received orders to pack and be ready to move in twenty minutes as we were leaving for the coast where a convoy awaited us.
You can very well imagine the bustle and confusion that resulted, but I must say we were ready in record time. When we were underway, I asked the Major where we were going and was told simply on a manoeuver to see just how mobile we were. The officers circulated a rumour of a major move to speed up operations. You should have heard the language when the boys found out the truth, particularly in the signal section. These poor mutts had to tear down all their communication wires only to replace them again on their return. The major was quite well satisfied with our performance and stated it was much better than he dared expect.
Our ability to move from point to point quickly is of great importance in the type of warfare expected. I certainly am surprised at Major Stewart, as I always gave him credit for more brains, but you never know what a woman will do now, do you? I would certainly like to get that little rat by the neck and teach him a few lessons in diplomacy to say the least. I am glad to hear that your shooting eye is still good and will certainly recommend you to the local authorities as a “parashot” as the Germans parachute love birds seem bent on nesting here.
It must be lovely for you to know that Dad has gone back to work again, but can imagine you can find plenty to do to keep occupied. I guess you are pretty busy with the house cleaning, feeding hungry school marms and holding strawberry social. From your reports, Alan must have made record time with his spring work and I just hope he gets a half decent break in the weather so that he gets a bumper crop to show at the end of his first season’s farming. There doesn’t seem to be any shortage of food over here though sugar is almost as precious as gold dust.
For your information, I did quite well on the rifle range, the last ten rounds were fired with the respirators on. The respirator itself didn’t bother me but I had neglected to apply the “anti-dim” to the eyepieces, so of course they steamed up. The result was that at the one hundred yards, the target was very vague so I just pointed the rifle in the general direction of the target and trusted to good luck – who, by the way, must have been very busy about that time. In any event I was one of the drivers designated to carry a rifle, if that means anything. I am not surprised that Art Biernes is now an officer, as it is a well-known fact that anyone can get a commission if they are willing to pay the price. However, Art may make a pretty good officer, as he was considered very good by Major Miller in the old cadet days.
It’s too bad you are not getting an air-field near you as you would certainly have enjoyed seeing the modern fighting planes in action. We see dozens of Spitfires flying around and they can certainly take it. Instead of climbing gradually, they can go straight up on their tail without any apparent effort whatever. I heard my first air-raid warning the other night and have come to the conclusion that it is something we can do very nicely without. The sirens are toned to different keys and when they all join in, they sound like a dog’s sonata on the devil’s chorus. We had two separate warnings one night, both precautionary type. If an unidentified plane flies over, the warning is given immediately, usually is nothing more than that. Well, I really must quit for now as I have work to do on the bus. Love to all.