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Date: February 13th 1916
Dear Ones All

Norwich, 13 Feby/16.

Dear Ones All,

I have received quite a lot of letters since I last wrote you- from Molly, May, Ruth, Fred and Harry, also one from Mother from N.Y. and a couple from Father. Molly is all through with her State Board exam and I know what a tremendous relief it must be for her. Mother is doubtless by this time safe home again, and I know at least one man- “not mentionin’ no names nor alludin’”- who is just the least little bit glad. I am anxious to hear the latest news about Fred’s appointment and whether there is any chance of his getting by the medical test. May’s letter was so good, and as always it was all the more appreciated because I know how hard it is for her to get a single minute to write letters. May Dear it is good of you to think of sending me new batteries for my little lamp, but I can get them here for a shilling or so, and by the way you may be sure that I am never without that flashlight after dusk in this city which is as black as pitch, where there is not even a chink of light shining through the shop windows and where even the motor cars and "trams" are not lighted. We are all developing the most wonderful cats’ eyes, and are able to find our way about like blind men by tapping along with a cane.

I am orderly officer to-day, a mean job consisting chiefly of inspections of parades, rations, and quarters, and involving the necessity of sitting beside the telephone all to-day and sleeping beside it in the orderly room to-night, calling up the War Office morning and evening as to our preparations for air raids, and also reporting to the W.O. the arrival and departure and destination of all aeroplanes at our aerodrome. I am particularly disgusted at “being on duty to-day as I am flying "solo" now and can go up whenever I like whether the instructor is on hand or not, so that this means that I lose several hours flying- and its a beautiful day too.

Our little party of Canadians has begun to break up. Millman was the first to go. He has always been the best of the lot of us and got through here yesterday and was sent down to Hounslow for higher instruction. I like Millman best of all the boys and as we have been together more or less constantly ever since we had our first flights at the Curtiss School you will believe me when I say that I feel quite lonely without him. The rest of us will probably be moving out within the next week or two, weather permitting. I may be sent to any one of a dozen squadrons at Dover, Gosport, Croydon or dear knows where. So that there may be the least possible delay in sending my mail. I shall cable you the new address and in case there are more squadrons than one I shall try to give you the squadron number. For instance, I may cable you "New address, Seventh Squadron Netheravon" and you will address all letters No. 7 R.S. Royal Flying Corps, Netheravon, Wilts. The latter address is Neil van Nostrand’s. We spent last week end together in London and enjoyed it immensely.

As I sit here I can see the machines tearing about overhead. They make quite a lot of noise when there are several in the air together. The air is tremendously bumpy now that the sun has come out and the poor “Huns” up in the machines seem to be having rather a merry time of it as they toss around. I certainly do wish I could be in on all the sport too. Another thing that this orderly officer’s job is cutting me out of to-day is my riding lesson. We have been having riding every morning for the past week instead of squad drill. It is infinitely more interesting of course, and quite good fun except that it makes one so sore and stiff. On the whole, however, aeroplanes are much more to my taste, far more comfortable and considerably safer. In the Illustrated London News of Feb. 5 on page 180 is a picture of some Maurice Farman “short horns” which is the buss I am endeavoring to fly now-a-days. I find I can stagger about in the air after a fashion, but my landings, - to quote from the large and expressive vocabulary of my instructor- are "bloody awful” They get on my nerves even more than on his and after perpetrating a few of them and submitting to the “strafing” from the powers that be, which invariably follows, it is sometimes hard to sleep at nights. I have been assured, however, by no less a person that the C.O. himself that “strafings” are as much a part of a would-be pilot’s training as are the lectures and examinations, and that the only way to take them is with bowed head, as it were to make allowances for the constant strain on an instructor’s nerves, and to forget the insults and the ridicules and remember only that you have made a mistake and that you mustn’t make it again. It’s tough training but I reckon I need it about as badly as anyone could. Anyhow I am going to get those landings right yet.

I shall be rather sorry to leave Norwich. It is a most quaint and picturesque old spot and we might be very much worse off in the way of a billet than we are here. Big rugs and easy chairs, and a fire-place and a piano don’t sound so bad as a sitting room in officers’ quarters, do they?

Letters from Ruth and Margaret McGregor have just arrived. Ruth’s was one of the dearest I have ever received and Margaret’s was also a good one written in her own descriptive style. Fred’s birthday letter to Mother which Ruth sent on to me is just like his big lovable self, and I only wish I deserved half the nice things which he says about me.

I am sending you a snap-shot showing what a fatted calf I am becoming, and also the film in case you want any more struck off.

Yours with heaps and heaps of love and longing to see you all again.
As always.

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