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Date: August 22nd 1941
Mother & Dad - (Wilhelmina & John Gray)
Hampton Gray

Hut 12 A,
31 S.F.T.S.
Kingston, Ont.
Aug. 22./41

Dear Mother and Dad,

I got your letter today Mother with Jack’s letter enclosed. You need never worry about it being worth the six cents. Anything from home is always worth a good deal more than six cents to me. So don’t worry for a minute. I can always take your letters. I am sorry to hear that Mrs. Rennet has been bothering you again. I wish she would move to Virginia or someplace and bother someone else. You two have plenty to worry about without her. Really, selfish people are never very attractive, are they.

Jacks letter is interesting but he is never able to mention just what he is doing. Of course, Mother he is homesick. We all were, too. We may, or I may, have been able to cover up better. After all I was away from home longer and it was not such a strange feeling. But I am beginning to realize that longing for things we cannot have becomes rather unimportant. This thing is too gigantic. It is no longer just a struggle between two countries wanting what the other has but rather a struggle on England’s part and Russia and China and the others to prevent the loss of precious freedom. It is getting bigger and bigger and everything else becomes pretty insignificant. What happens to us or any number of individuals doesn’t matter any more. If we should lose, it certainly would not matter and if we win (maybe only a slim one but still a chance if we are wise) that the world will emerge a little better. Maybe Europe could be educated to the fact that in this world there is a chance for peaceful development and that it might be possible to thrive and become a great race without war every twenty years to toughen us up. When I say great race I don’t mean a strong nationalistic race but I do mean a large group of people, giving and taking as most of us have to do in Civilian life, a country or a world with people like us enjoying things. Phyllis and Jack and I leaving home but to professions or marriage or work of any kind where we can support a family, come home once in a while to see you. That way, us all leaving home would not matter. It would be just as it should be. But then, we have larger responsibilities this way. We have work to do. Never forget, either of you, that although as far as you are concerned we are the only ones that matter in this war, we really are not. We are only very small people. Jack goes and buy cherries and I worry about my commission. Phyllis worries about the effect of the war on Ed. But nothing like that matters the slightest bit. Jack and Ed (meaning Phyllis) and I are all (I hope) doing our part so that perhaps the things I mentioned a minute ago can come to pass, if not for us, for the great mass of people who live like we do. I get homesick, too. You have no idea how much. I should be through college trying to find a way to get married but I am not and I can’t. And there are fifty others like me in this Hut 12A. They all have a home to go to like I have but we can’t do it. In one way the war is worst in that it is such a needless waste of time and energy. And yet there only one choice and I know, Dad and Mother, that your family is doing the right thing. And we must not let intolerance enter the thing. I realize your feelings, Dad, when you talk about the three doing the fighting on the war-front but you just sit back and wait, Dad. They will realize the urgency of the thing in time, everybody will. The army is getting closer and closer to them and when it gets there they may be sorry. But when the urgency does arise they will do all right. I feel like going on and on like this but it is a bit gloomy so I won’t.

We started Advanced Training School today and it is a different problem altogether. We are really rushed around. The Flight Commander gets exceedingly annoyed of a plane is left on the ground. They must be flying all the time. And this school, instead of just flying around just enjoying ourselves we must get up and do something definite, like Navigation, Formation flying, bombing, gunnery etc. Theoretically we can fly now so we must start applying it so we will someday be able to do something with it. But in spite of being rushed around and having (so it seems) a bunch of madmen in charge it is much more interesting and at last we feel that we are getting someplace.

I got a nice pair of sox and a couple of packages of [rajor?] blades from Mrs. Kelman today. Would you tell her please that I got them and I am writing immediately.

About these woollen goods. I don’t really need a long blue scarf. Jack D. had two in England and he gave me one that seems about twenty-five feet long so I don’t need one of those. But I could use a white one, not too long, just an ordinary scarf (pure white) and I told you about the sweater I think.

We just got about a day and a half off between leaves so I still couldn’t get to any of the relations. But a chap called John Stewart asked me up for the evening and next day to his summer home north of Ottawa. We spent six hours each way driving but it was nice while we were there. Just to get away from Kingston was pretty good and of course when we got there we had good beds and lovely food. Mr. Stewart is a very remarkable man. When he was about seventeen years old he had an injury to one of his eyes and it had to be taken out. By one of those tragedies which happen not very often, the doctor, took the wrong eye out so that Mr. Stewart has been blind ever since. However he is a brilliant man. He got his degree from McGill and is now quite a well to do practicing lawyer in Montreal, a K.C. Mrs. Stewart is very nice so I enjoyed it a lot and had a nice relaxed time. Well you may not enjoy this letter but I just felt like talking so maybe you won’t mind. It is soon bed time and I must be up at seven A.M. so I had better close.

Very much love,

P.S. Remember me to the Boomers and the Gordon Allan’s. I must write them soon. – I will get another copy of that picture if you would like to have it.

Original Scans

Original Scans

Page 1 of WWII letter of 1941-08-22 from Lt. Robert Hampton Gray, VC, DSC