August 27, 1940
I received a nice long letter from Dad which was written on July 23rd at Viking. I can’t understand why a letter would take so long, but even tho’ they are out of date, they’re nonetheless welcome. From all accounts, you must be having one of our old wet summers. One thing about it is that the duck population should increase by leaps and bounds to provide a little shooting when I get back.
This blockade of Europe may be our best weapon, but it certainly won’t help wheat prices on the prairies, will it? I had hoped you would have benefited from the increased prices and get something out of this darn War apart from headaches, but the way things look now, you will have to eat the wheat yourselves to create a market. I had a letter from Alan the other day in which he reported a bumper crop, which is certainly very nice, especially as it is his first year of farming (alone). It seems to me that the hogs will provide the steadiest market as bacon will be more and more in demand as the war goes on, and I imagine it will last till 1942 at least.
Well, I saw the M.O. today and told him I felt fine, so he informed me that I will be leaving for the holding unit on Friday. I hoped to be able to get back to my unit, but I understand it is quite a job. I haven’t had my leave yet, so will probably get it from the holding unit. Auntie Lila wants me to visit her and, as I didn’t see her the last time, will probably have to sacrifice a day or two. Since my arrival in this country, I have made several warm friends, several of whom would like very much to have me for my leave. I will get a travel warrant and by carefully planning my route, I can see several of them, a great deal of country, and wind up at the Aunts too.
I certainly have enjoyed my stay in Devon and, in many ways, hate to leave, though I am a little tired of doing nothing (much). In the five weeks I have been here, I have had but five guards which is pretty soft. No, our regiment never got across the channel, which was just as well, though I would have liked to see France. However, the Canadian troops that did go, just got there in time to take part in the hasty exodus. Moreover, I expect to see France yet before the War is over, if we aren’t shipped off to the East.
I have been in the vicinity of bombs when they exploded but not what you would call really close – about half a mile. On each occasion screaming bombs and, on their last, their boys left a delayed action bomb which went off with a loud bang several hours later. No particular damage was done and none whatever to military objectives. The house in which the delayed “love apple” was left, was reduced to a heap of debris. Instead of just blowing the place down, as you would expect it just left a heap of dust and splinters with not a single board or sizeable piece of stone anywhere. The civilians certainly are taking these raids wonderfully. My young lady’s family are all engaged in volunteer work. The father works all day and stands guard with the L.V.P.s twice a week. His three daughters all take their turn at the switch board at the local air-raid centre, which keeps them up all night once a week and sometimes more frequently. Through all this, they all have jobs and are all cheerful. If old Fritz thinks he can intimidate the British working people, he just has another guess coming, for the more he raids them, the madder they get. There was the case of the old lady who was busy sweeping up the glass knocked from her windows from the concussion of the explosion and instead of being frightened, she was as mad as hops and, with each sweep of the broom, she’d mutter: “He’ll suffer for this, he’ll suffer for this.”
I just wish you could see one of these Spitfires in action, it really is a treat. At top speed, they simply flash through the sky and can climb straight up with ease. The Germans tried mass attacks and lost so many planes that they decided to abandon these tactics. At the height of these attacks, they lost over one hundred and forty-five machines. While I think the Fritzies have plenty of machines to replace them, I don’t think they have enough trained pilots to operate them Yesterday we had two air-raid warnings but no bombs were dropped. It really is funny to be in town during a warning and see how quickly the streets are cleared. These warnings are hard on the civilians, as they must drop everything and dash for cover. I was visiting the Brazier’s last night and the warning sounded at nine-ten. When I left at eleven, they were still waiting for the ‘all clear’ so that they could retire.
Well, so much for the War, which will take care of itself, and so to more pleasant topics. I hear from Liulf from time to time and, in his last letter, he reported a very pleasant leave spent in Glasgow. He also reports he is now receiving fifty cents a day in trades pay which finally came through. Well, I hope the news of my accident didn’t scare any of you and the only reason I mentioned it at all is because I knew that some of the boys were sure to mention it in their letters, and you know how some people exaggerate.
I received a carton of cigs from the I.O.D.E. and will write to thank them, but you might mention it to Mrs. Chapman that they arrived safely and that they were much appreciated, just in case my letter goes stray – and they seem to quite often.
Well, supper is waiting and I am completely out of news, so will close for now, hoping to hear from you soon.