A letter sent to Zelia de Freitas - 27th October 1941
Written from Aberystwyth in Wales
I was determined that at the 1st opportunity I got I would write you a long letter. Well I have the opportunity now but will have to hustle everything in I have to write in less than 30 minutes. At night now when I get into bed about 11 PM I am so tired that as soon as I get between the sheets I am off asleep. Air raid or no air raid I just sleep through them all. Of course we go up to bed at 10.30. But then I have to put my own bed down, mattress, sheets, blankets, Trousers under the bottom blanket so as to have it creased in the morning. In the morning I get up at 5.45 AM. After shaving and washing, the bed has to be made up. Sheets and blankets shaken out and all folded neatly and made into a pack. Mattress is then doubled and the blankets placed on top. Then there is your boots to clean & buttons polished. What a hustle there is. Breakfast is at 6.45. Our day is divided into different periods. Two (2) Hours Navigation, one hour or perhaps more sometimes drill and parade, one hour Signals (is Morse etc,) one hour Armaments or Gas. Then there is Law, M.O. Lectures, Hygiene, and Aircraft Recognition. This is an approximate idea of the day's routine, but of course some days we might have lectures on Meteorology at the University and a thousand and one other things.
I began this letter in the Cellar at the Brynael [Brynawel??]where we are staying but I have managed to get out and now I am writing from the top balcony of the Pier. From where I sit I can look out far over into the sea. There are Crowds of small boats going up and down and the sea gulls are everywhere. Abriswyth [Aberystwyth, South Wales] is getting crowded with Tourists. You would hardly think there was a war. I wonder what can be the attraction down here. Before the war, hardly anyone ever came here and now it has suddenly become so popular. I went to a dance last night and it was packed. Every Fryday [Friday] night a dance is given here for us and most of the boys go to it. The Girls all turn up to these dances by themselves and then pair off. On these occasions we are allowed up to 12. I am looking forward to to-morrow. It is Sunday and to a large extent a day of Rest. Why we even have a late sleep. Up at 7 instead of 6. Church Parade is at 9. I like to go for walks up into the hills and lie in the Grass and either sleep or read. The weather has changed and now it is much warmer. We have been asked to say whether we would like to remain in England and finish off our training or to be sent over seas to do so. It is either, The States, Canada or Rhodesia. Most of our flight are very keen on going abroad, but I can make up my mind. The other boys that came over to England with me, (Armstrong, White and Islee (??)) have all been sent to different I.T.W. [? Initial Training Wing ?]. I don't even know where they are. I wrote last week home so let him show you my letters. There has been very little news to add. When ever you write to me, send your letters c/o West India Committee, 40 Norfolk St., London WC2. They always have our addresses, where ever I am transfered I notify them and they forward the letters to me at my new address. I have been told that if I send this letter via New York I only pay 1/6 so I shall try it on. I am taking a photo of myself in Uniform in the next week. If it comes out good I shall post one on to you. Time is up. Give my love to everybody, and tell Olga & Dad that I shall probably write next week.
PS - There was a terrific Blitz last night. About 12 when I was coming in from the RAF dance I saw one or two Jerry planes but they just went by. Apparently they did not see us or perhaps they were on their way to another place. However I am told that the Sirens kept going all night and that a few bombs were dropped. But I was so tired I slept through everything. Tonight we are going on an Evacuation March. Full pack weighing about 50 to 60 lbs. We start at 11 and get back about 5 AM. What a march. Shall write more anon.