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Date: May 3rd 1917

France 3 May 1917. 

My dear Father:- 

I have asked them to send this letter to you and a somewhat similar one to Molly, in case I am reported killed or missing. I say "missing" because in the Flying Corps that word in nearly every case means "Killed".  Death seems very far away as we sit here in the warm spring sunshine, with the sweet smoky air of France making every moment of "out-doors" a pleasure. But it is not far away. The ever changing faces around our Mess tell me that- the fact of the disappearance one by one of the cheery boys who for days or weeks have sat opposite me at the table; and the continuous heavy thundering of the guns which makes the very ground shake as I write, is in itself abundant proof that Death is very near at hand. If I am spared, it is by God’s mercy.  Of course we never allow ourselves to think of these things for long. Our "Nerve" is just as previous and as necessary for our safety as our eyesight. For that reason the days when we have lost some of our best pals are always concluded by the most uproarious nights in the Mess, when the piano and Victrola in the Mess, although going full swing, are drowned by the hullaballoo of the "roughhouse" that we raise. And if I drop out of sight some of these days that’s how my pals will spend the evening- and I am glad to think it. 

I know, Dear Pater, that you and my dear wife and all of my loved ones, are praying constantly for my safety. In case your prayers are answered as you wish, this letter will never reach you. On the other hand, if in God’s wisdom it is best that I should be taken, I want you to know that I am not afraid to go; and all will be well with me. There are two prayers that I say very earnestly just before I leave the ground before any flight. One is, that I may be kept safe from all harm; and that has been answered more often than you, or even I know; for I have been in some mighty hot corners which I have not told you about.

The other one, and it is by far the best it seems to me, is that I may be kept brave and determined to do my duty whatever the circumstances and whatever the odds. I have only one desire, Father, when my time comes, to die like a Christian and a Robertson. If you should learn that I have gone out in that way, try to be happy for my sake, for you will know that I am happy.

Before leaving England I made a new will, leaving everything to my wife- that is of course exclusive of that portion of my insurance of which Mother is named in the policy, or policies as beneficiary. I made Molly sole executrix. She has friends in England who can help her to arrange the details. Molly has some money of her own at this writing, about $200 I think. She also has her Aunts to turn to, and they are well to do and very fond of her. If you will do this last thing for me, and I know you will, "I shall rest happy" as they say in the story books. Be as good to my little Molly as you can, always. She does not know what it is to have a Father or Mother or brothers or sisters, and she has missed a lot. She has shown to me a sweet unselfish love far greater than I have ever deserved, and unfortunately (if this letter ever meets your eyes) I am not living long enough to repay her for all the happiness that she has brought into my life. May I then leave that liability to you and Mother and my brothers and sisters.

At the present time I owe Ruth about $130.00. If that amount has not been paid to her before I am killed will you please see to it for me.

That is all I think, Pater Dear. I have had a happy life full almost to the brim with blessings of every kind, and if God has seen fit to have me die in fighting for a good cause, it seems to me that my cup of blessings has just about reached the brim. I can only thank you, before I say good-bye, for instilling into me some measure at least of your own calm faith in the omniscence and the omnipotence of our Heavenly Father. "Who seeth every sparrow fall."

(signed) Eric

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