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Date: February 20th 1916
Dear Ones All


Dear Ones All,

The weekly communique will be dreary reading this time I am afraid, for I am just the bluest person in the world.

The reason for it all is that they have stopped my flying and are going to make an “equipment officer” out of me. All this occurred the day before yesterday and came as a bolt from the blue—absolutely unexpectedly. Friday was a gusty day and the bumps were very bad. I had been flying for about an hour just practising landings, one after another, when a down bump caught me on my way down my wheel struck a ridge and the machine plunged heavily forward on its nose. It was a bad crash and the old buss was little better than kindling wood but fortunately I escaped with only a scratch or two. A short time afterwards I was told to report to the C.O. and then he had a little heart to heart talk with me in which he said that my flying was not what it should be and that he could not recommend me to continue my training as a pilot any further. They are going to make an equipment officer out of me, I understand, which is the name they give to an official who looks after the stores, spare parts for the machines, spare engines etc. etc. a sort of squadron quarter-master too- one of those jobs which is so safe that I might as well be "doing my bit" by sitting by the fire at home knitting socks!

I hope you won’t think that I am tooting my own horn when I say that in my opinion and in the opinion of all the other chaps here, it was not because my flying was so rotten but because they thought they could use me better in a clerical post of some kind. Until I had my crash I had never “broken wire nor strained wood” ( as they say in the R.F.C.) and there was not another Hun here who had flown solo who could say that. Soon after I came here they dis- covered that I had had some experience in clerical work and it was quite evident that I was regarded as a sort of prize package, and from that time I got less and less flying. The C.O. consoled me by saying that there was a tremendous demand for Equipment Officers and that he thought I could make good at the job. It is an important job too, and the pay is the same as that of a Flight Commander and considerably more than that of a pilot, but - oh, I don’t want a “safe job” and it hurts a good deal to think I have not made good at this one thing which I have been striving for so hard for so many months. I wonder if I am so hopeless. Perhaps the C.O. is right. I find it absurdly easy to fly,- the getting off, the climbing and the banking on the turns are all so natural to me now as riding a bicycle,- but sometimes I have thought that my eyes were at fault, for I do find it so difficult to gauge the distance of the ground as it comes rushing up to me on the descent. But just to think of my being left behind when all the other fellows are going right ahead, never to have a pair of wings on my tunic, never to even hold a control stick in my hands again! Those are the things that make me blue just now. And yet I am enough of a Presbyterian to know that it is all for the best after all; and you Mother Dear and you Molly Bawn, and May and Ruth too will feel relieved because I have now got a "safe job" so perhaps I am selfish to think of my own distaste for it.

I am so sorry to hear of all the trouble that May and Will are having. It certainly is tough luck. And poor Fred and Eva too, my heart goes out to them in their great sorrow. I think this means a good deal to all of us, as it is the first break in our family. I am writing to them to-day.

So far as I know now I go from here to Farnborough within the next few days but will probably cable you before this reaches you. Best love to all.

Yours as always

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