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Date: December 29th 1941
Mother & Dad - (Wilhelmina & John Gray)
Hampton Gray


c/o Canada House,
Dec. 29. [dating error in annotation of: “/42”]

Dear Mother and Dad,

I just got a letter from you this morning dated Nov. 26. and in it you say that you had not heard from me. That is rather strange because I wired home when I landed and we got here sometime around the 10th. But you make no mention of getting the wire so I assume you didn’t. That is unfortunate as it must have caused some worry. By now however you will have heard. I sent another cable just before Christmas telling you about parcels received. I hope you got that one.

It has turned quite cold here. The last few days have been really quite beautiful and except for the lack of snow would seem just like home. Christmas day was really an exceptional day and it made us feel grand. It was a mild clear sunny day and we were all out for walks in the morning. (There were no duties that day) At 1 P.M. we had Christmas dinner consisting of Soup, Turkey or Goose, Mashpotatoes, Brussels sprouts, mince pies and christmas pudding. The mess was all nicely decorated and we all enjoyed it a lot. Everybody seemed to have a good time and the atmosphere was nice. So really we did not mind being away from home nearly as much as we might have.

At the moment I am sitting in an office in the Guard House acting as stand-by officer of the Day. There is an officer of the Day senior to us but we do all the work. This morning I had to be up at six A.M. to make the rounds of the mens hutts and see that they are all turned out. At 10:50 A.M. I had to go down and supervise the issue of the rum ration to the men. The smell nearly overpowered me but the men seem to enjoy it so I guess it is alright. They have been doing it for hundreds of years or something.

We have not been doing much flying lately but enough to keep us going! We got lectures on ground subjects but they are mainly just a repetition of what we have had before so they are inevitably rather boring but, I suppose, essential. As far as we know we will finish here about the end of February. Then we will have a month more training, probably in Scotland, Then we are supposed to be ready for operations but whether we shall go right on to ops. is doubtful.

I told you in my last letter how I had received all the parcels in good time just before Christmas. I got the one with the shirt in it from you, a lovely one from the Boomers, Mrs. Curries Xmas cake, Rene Fink’s, Alice Stevenson’s and one from 1016 [Rubbn?] and the Gyro parcel. So all in all I think I was pretty lucky. There really is not much I need except as I have mentioned before, a Ronson lighter. As far as clothes are concerned I am quite well off, and have lots of shirts and collars. My socks too are in good shape. Those black ones are grand.

The allotment of $40 is starting at the end of January. But if it does not come then do not worry as there will be $80 at the end of February if January’s is missing. I have arranged it that way.

I got a card from Jack the other day. He is on leave at the moment and is going to some squadron in Nottinghamshire after. I am getting a few days leave on the 5th of January so I shall be able to see him I expect. Two of those parcels contained Air-Force socks which will be handier for him than they are for me.

We had Commander Brock down to see us the other day. He was trying to see as many of the fellows as possible around Christmas. He seemed quite a reasonable chap for a change. Apparently he is leaving his post over here as liaison officer and the job will be vacated as there seems to be no farther use for it. However we feel it is a bad thing as it is always nice to have someone with a little more authority to go to if you needed help. However that is how that situation stands at the moment.

One of the chaps that just arrived from Kingston tells me that Diamond has been put back another course. I don’t know why but it seems rather funny.

You will be waiting now (about 1:10 here I think about 10:10 AM there) to hear Churchill speak. We heard him speak to Congress the other day and it was certainly great except that the beginning was spoilt for the English chaps by some reference to Kolynos tooth paste. I am glad he is over there. He certainly has made some hit, it seems and has undoubtedly done a great deal even just by going to unite the two countries. We may win this thing sooner than we expect if we can only start blasting Japan before they take the whole Pacific.

I am going to send this letter by ordinary mail. I think they have suspended the air-mail for the time being. Tell me how long these things take to get there will you.

I sent some pictures of the course which I hope you get.

The next day.
I got over to hear Churchill speak and did not get back to the letter. It was certainly another grand speech and will I expect make Mac-King sit up and take notice. Maybe one of these days he will decide it is time for conscription. Today I got another parcel, a book from Pauline so I really am the lucky boy. I don’t think any parcels could have gone down. The book is called “Inside Latin America” and deals with the South and Central American cities. Speaking of books Dad did you ever get “Berlin Diary”. The chap I lent it to sent it to me at home. I hope you opened it.

You will remember the chap Dimsdale whose farm I mentioned I had visited when over here before. He has been down on a seaplane course on the South coast. Well he appeared here today with another chap we used to know. It is always nice running into these people who used to be with us. It is so easy to get out of touch with them because once they leave you there are so many others taking their places that one is apt to forget them.

I hope business was good, Dad, around Christmas. By now of course you will be rested up. I suppose the war striking a bit closer to home won’t do it any good but you in Canada are still a lot better off than people here.

Much love


[Editor’s note: The “/42” annotation added to the date is incorrect. The envelope postmark is  “4 JAN 1942” and the letter’s contents, such as Hampton’s stationing in England, make a December 1942 date inapplicable.] 

Original Scans

Original Scans

Page 1 of WWII letter of 1941-12-29 from Lt. Robert Hampton Gray, VC, DSC