December 2, 1940
Your letter and the fruitcake arrived in camp here yesterday. I must say the cake was beautifully packed, and reached me in fine shape. I like the way the inner wrapping was decorated, but must say it made me a little homesick, as I can just close my eyes and see you doing the job with the mob all standing around to help and probably hindering. I haven’t cut into the cake yet as it seems a shame to do so, but entertain no doubts as to the quality.
In your letter, you mention a gift of $5.00. While it certainly would be very acceptable, I hate to take it as I know times must be very hard at home. I have been trying hard to save for my next leave which, due to changes, will come early in January, but I’ll admit it’s quite a job. I get thoroughly fed up now and then, but so far have downed the urge to go out on a binge. Liulf is stationed only twelve miles from me and came over to see me last week. He looked very fit in spite of a touch of rheumatism which has been bothering him lately. However, he seemed very depressed due to the fact that he is receiving no trades pay and partly because of trouble he has had with his N.C.O.s.
As you probably know, the submarine menace is equal to 1916 and as a result we have lost considerable mail, including parcels. I mention this only so you’ll understand why I haven’t acknowledged receipt of parcels you have undoubtedly sent.
I mentioned before that I had that snag tooth removed and hoped to have a portrait taken in time for Xmas, but this seems impossible now as the gum is very slow in healing, which delays the installment of the new tooth. However, I will have a photo taken just as soon as I get the tooth.
Don’t be too surprised if the uniform is blue rather than khaki, as I have a transfer in now for the R.A.F. and I hope you won’t think me foolish in making this move. After you have seen some of the havoc caused by those Nazi beasts, you just have to do something or go around with short fingernails. In any case, don’t worry about me for I feel sure my luck will hold. Apart from this, I like the lone wolf idea rather than being an insignificant cog in a non-too-efficient machine.
I was on guard duty last night and nearly froze to death in spite of warm clothing and comparatively high temperature. We had a very quiet night as it was too foggy to do much flying. However, the sirens have just sounded again so we can expect to hear the drone of motors soon. We have very few bombs dropped here now, as Gerry seems to be concentrating on more highly industrialized areas. You have no idea of the suffering of the poor civilians in these areas until you see it yourself. Apart from the actual casualties, imagine what it is like to be suddenly bombed out of house and home, or, if you are one of the lucky ones, you just have to suffer from the inconvenience of having to without gas and water until the mains are mended, which often takes considerable time. For the most part, the people are very brave about the whole thing and say that if their name is on one, they will get it anyway, so why worry.
News these days from the Greek front is very heartening and I actually think Hitler’s power is on the decline at last. If you ever had any doubts as to the ultimate outcome, you can discard them right now, as the people no longer worry about the issue, as they have complete faith in Mr. Churchill, but just wonder how long the war will last. I may be all wrong, but I can see the end of this conflict by next Christmas, or very near that time.
Well, so much for me and so to more important topics. I am very distressed to hear of your poor old knees and only hope Doc. Law knows his stuff. I can tell, in spite of the cheerful way you write, that they are giving you considerable worry and pain. It’s going to be very awkward when Alan takes his military training but I imagine you will struggle through and I’m sure it will be quite an experience for the kid. I’m sure going to appreciate a warm house again when I get home, as you can have no idea how chilly the average English home can be. At present, I am writing in my room which isn’t heated, so I will soon have to close to thaw out my fingers.