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Date: April 21st 1942
Mother & Dad - (Wilhelmina & John Gray)
Hampton Gray

c/o Canada House,
Trafalgar Sq.
April 21

Dear Mother and Dad,

I got your letter Dad. It was a good letter and I was glad to get it. Also an Airgraph dated April second. You had still not heard from me but I do hope you have by now because I have written a-lot of letters with a lot of things in them that you will be anxious to hear about. I have also had more letters from different people all very kind. Mrs. Sheldon wrote me, (I had written to tell her about Jack) and was very kind. She has those Civilian clothes of Jack’s which I shall collect one of these days. She tells me that both she and Harry have written to you and that Harry is writing again. Apparently Harry could find out very little and she is anxious to know what happened. They were very shocked to hear the news and seemed to like Jack so much. Here are some of the things she said which I appreciated. “I am so pleased to hear that John told you what happy times he had here, believe me anything we did for him was a great pleasure, for he made himself so at home and was great fun and good company for Bob and myself” She says that Harry looked so lonely when he was last home. They were, I think, great friends.

It was nice to hear about “Beautiful Jane”. I am sure with parents and grandparents like she has, that there just wont be anybody like her. And even though I can’t see her at the moment I assure you she has a mighty proud uncle. I like the name Jane too. In fact I like anything about her and I am so glad she has come at this time to ease the burden. The airgraph says that you are just leaving on a trip. I am so glad that you can get away because even though people are as kind as they were in Nelson, it will be good to get to your own people for a while and you will be getting to Calgary too. You will be able to tell Jane, Dad, that you have a bone in your arm.

I got a nice letter from Aunt Beth. I thought she might have come to Nelson but apparently however much she wanted to she just couldn’t get away. I guess she if working just as hard as she ever did though Scott has left, I understand. Pauline gets very wild every time she thinks of Scott and thinks he should be in the Army. I think so too but of course it is not up to us to say so.

The news seems to have been just a little bit better lately and there seems to be a hope of an end to the whole thing in sight. We seem to be sitting up a bit and doing things that might end it, rather than just sitting and waiting for the enemy. But it certainly cannot be said that it will be easy. However it has to be done and although I realize now that it is everybodies familys who  are making the really great sacrifices I don’t want to stop until it is properly finished. I am not as gloomy as I sound here, however, so don’t worry about me. Naturally I feel a little lonely and saddened now but I worry more about you than myself.

Today Sutton and I went away to another station for what they call a Catapult course. Every first-line pilot has to have one. In this course you are catapulted at an aerodrome instead of taking off in the ordinary way. What happens is this: you sit in the aircraft and are hoisted up by a big crane onto a long launching platform. When you are all set you give a sign and they sort of fire you off. When you understand that in the distance of about thirty feet you change from a standstill to about sixty miles per hour you can see that it is quite a jolt. However you brace yourself tight and altogether it was quite an enjoyable and interesting experience.

Sutton and I also went together for a couple of days last week-end. We took a bus down to Southampton and from there on to Salisbury where we examined that beautiful cathedral. On Sunday we went walking in the country around there and visited a terrific old Roman fort. It was a very quiet week-end and quite enjoyable as a rest from the regular and dull routine that goes on at this station.

I just heard today that Diamond is going to be in London for a couple of weeks. We intend to wire him and ask him down for a couple of days. I would like to see him again. By the way, Mother. You seem to have got the idea that he failed or something. He did get behind but got his commission alright and seems, from all reports to be doing well now.

It is just about 10:30 now and I am getting sleepy. we do so much flying that everybody gets a bit tired and you just never feel like doing much in the evenings. I will be glad when we leave this station.

By the time you get this maybe Mac-King will know what the people want him to do. I hope the French-Canadians don’t upset things because I don’t like feeling, even though it may not be true, that my Country is the only one that doesn’t seem to be pulling her weight.

I am enclosing a couple of pictures. In one of them I am eating a piece of cake which accounts for the weird expression. In the other I am at the wheel of Eddison’s funny little car on the way up to Yorkshire. I thought you might like to have them.

Goodnight and all my love,


[Editor’s note: While no year was included with the written date, the letter’s contents indicate it was 1942.]

Original Scans

Original Scans

Page 1 of WWII letter of 1942-04-21 from Lt. Robert Hampton Gray, VC, DSC