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You Are To Carry On, Good Luck Z-Zebra

CHAPTER 2 

Letters from America - Snap Rolls, Slow Rolls, Loops, Stalls and Spins 


31 March 1942 

1389929 L.A.C. Harrison, C. Class, 42.I. Lakeland School of Aeronautics, Lakeland, Florida, U.S.A.

Now that I have plenty to write about I find that there is hardly any time to commence it. I do hope you'll understand and not be too annoyed about it. We rise at six each morning and continue right through until quite late in the evening and any few minutes that we do have off during the day must be used for study. During the week-end however we do have a little time to ourselves and at this time I will write as much as is possible to you.

We arrived at Lakeland on the 28th and all agree that it is perfect. Lakeland flying school is renowned to be the best in the south and we are quite convinced that it is true - well kept lawns, sub-tropical trees, pineapples and beautiful lakes, we are not a mighty long way from Miami so I am sure you will be able to imagine it fairly well. This afternoon I had my first flying trip in the U.S.A. Mum, and I really did enjoy it (as if there is any doubt about it!). The instructors of course use a different code to our own but they are perfect pilots and grand fellows in every other way, but make no doubt about it Mum this course is really tough and requires every ounce of attention and interest, the flying must be perfect and nothing else will do. I'm sure you will understand from this why every minute must be used to the best advantage. By the way Mum we should finish this elementary course within eight or nine weeks and then if we are successful we go on to our Basic School for more advanced work. While we were at Turner Field Mum we were issued with light tropical clothing and it certainly does look smart besides being extremely comfortable. I also purchased a watch at Turner Field Mum the price was over ten pounds but I gave about five for it. It certainly is a treasure here especially as minutes are so precious. If I am lucky enough to pass the full course Mum I'm certain that I shall be able to entertain you for hours; already I have about a month's continuous jawing stored up for you so you know what to expect. Well time is getting on folks and I have still plenty to do in the form of aero-engines so will close now, letting you know that you are always in my thoughts and hoping that you are still fine and well. Will be writing again as soon as possible. 


12 April 1942.

 Lakeland School of Aeronautics, Florida, U.S.A.

During the past two weeks we have had a little time in which to survey Lakeland and never before have I seen anything so beautiful it's almost like something from a fairy book especially in the evenings when the lakes are flood-lit, it shows to perfection the outlines of palm trees and a myriad of things that will just have to wait until I reach home again, for I couldn't possibly describe it to you all in the very short time I have to write. Today we were allowed out Mum and I was invited home to dinner by a local doctor and his wife. I'm sure this will give you some idea of how the American people feel towards us. Needless to say Mum after my usual reserved start I was made to feel completely at home and have now two very firm friends to visit whenever I choose. Now about the flying Mum, as I mentioned in my previous letter it's the toughest course that I could possibly have come into but I'm doing my very best and more than that I can't do. Already I can feel myself improving and so long as I can keep that up I shall be OK. Earlier in the week I was overjoyed on receiving a letter from Doris but am still hoping to receive one from you before very long. I do hope you will forgive the abruptness of this letter Mum but already it is time to begin study again so will say cheerio until next week hoping that you are all still keeping fine and well.  

The letter continues 14 April 1942 

Dear All,

Have been forced to hold this letter back through lack of stamps in the canteen, but maybe it was a good thing as I can now tell you that in the past hour I have completed my first solo flight. I feel too whacked at the moment but will give you a detailed account a little later. The best I can do now is to ask you to read the following few lines which sum up my thoughts perfectly at the present time. They were written by a 19 year old Canadian pilot killed in action during December 1941. 'Oh I have slipped the surly bonds of earth... (To read the poem in full and about the poet click here)

I almost forgot to tell you the name Mum which is "High Flight" and I hope it gives you a little idea of how I feel at the moment. 

                             

                                                                               Lakeland School of Aeronautics, Florida U.S.A. 


24 April 1942

 Lakeland School of Aeronautics, Florida, U.S.A.

Gosh! How the time flies. I have been at Lakeland almost four weeks now and hardly realise it but after all I don't have a great deal of time to keep stock of the time; what with flying and ground instruction going at top pressure the time simply leaps by.

Late last week I was overjoyed at receiving your first letter Mum and also one from dear old Sis. It made all the difference in the world to know that you are still well and jogging along as usual, at least Hitler has failed to stop your letters Mum. 

I should very much like to answer your letters more fully but do hope you understand how difficult it is with one thing or another Mum it is almost impossible to find time to write at all so do hope you won't be annoyed if my efforts are rather disjointed and a trifle short but for all that I'm thinking of you all the time and hoping for the moment when I shall be back with you all again. 

To-day I completed my fifth solo flight Mum and tomorrow will solo again with three or four other fellows to determine whether or not we are good enough to solo from the main air-field where care and caution are of the greatest importance as this is the main highway for all aircraft in the vicinity, besides that Mum after passing this test we are allowed to practise aerobatics on our own; just think of it - stalls, spins and a host of others. I find it rather hard to explain my real feelings Mum, but to fly and control the movements of an aircraft has to be experienced to be appreciated. For instance, when cutting the throttle for the glide down to land it's necessary to pick definite spot in the field and land dead on it and boy! When you look down and see the instructor on the ground it suddenly dawns on you that he's not there to correct you if the plane drops short and heads for that orange grove just in front; or on the other hand tends to shoot a little too far over the landing Tee and looks like hitting the fence on the far side. So you see it's important to keep your wits about you all the time, keeping an eye on the other aircraft and then a quick glance at the altimeter to check your height as it rapidly fall away. Now you judge that the plane is about twenty feet above the ground so you check the glide with a slight pressure on the stick and slowly lose flying speed easing the stick gently back to keep the nose up but not too much as a stall at that height would be just too bad. (A stall is when the plane loses all its lifting force and drops its nose straight for the ground. So long as you have plenty of height they are quite safe but certainly not at twenty feet up) Slowly the plane sinks until the front and rear landing wheels are about six inches above the ground and parallel to it, then's the time to get the stick right back and after that a slight jar and all the time you're wondering if she's going to swing or bump but if your calculations were correct she stays firmly on the ground and gradually loses speed and then you realise with a triumphant feeling that your judgement was pretty accurate, the landing wasn't bad either so off you go for another try.

This of course is the enjoyable part of flying Mum but all the time fellows are being eliminated for so many little things that you never know when it might be your turn and by now I realise that if I do get through it will be a miracle. At first the idea of being eliminated would have hit me pretty hard but by now I'm toughened to such a degree that I could take it quite easily without any regrets as I know jolly well that I am trying harder than ever before and at least I know that I can fly otherwise the instructor would certainly not have allowed me to fly solo.

There can be no doubt about it Mum to pass this course it is almost necessary to be a born pilot. The British training takes some doing but this course is the hardest possible.

All the fellows are of the same opinion Mum so it's just a matter of constant study, concentration and  above all the ability to accept anything no matter how difficult or unfair it may seem and consider it all part of the game. Please don't get the wrong impression Mum for we all get the fun we need but when we fly the concentration required for an hour is equal to almost a day's work so I'm sure you'll see that it is no joy ride.

Well Mum I've done my best to give you some idea of what passing this course will mean, I do hope it isn't too dry but will write a more general letter just as soon as I find the time. 

Hoping that you are all still well and that 

Spring is beginning to cheer things up a little.

I have just had a Postal Order from Molins Mum. The letter has come all the way from Brough. As the Postal Order is of no value here I'll enclose it as it seems a shame to leave it hanging about.

                                    

                                    

   Two photographs of Lakeland School of Aeronautics, Florida U.S.A. - The aircraft visible in both pictures are Stearman Trainers


19 May 1942 

Lakeland School of Aeronautics, Florida, U.S.A.

This week we shall be taking our final ground school exams Mum and then I hope to be able to write to Auntie Flo and Uncle Stan as you suggested.

Well Mum this is our eighth week at Lakeland so we should be finishing this stage of our training very soon now. I have now completed forty eight hours flying and over half of this has been solo, that only leaves twelve hours to go and then some really fast planes. I hope. After thinking it over I suppose I haven't done so badly keeping in it even this long especially after knowing the capabilities of many of those that have been eliminated. Even now Mum I'm still not certain of passing by any means but why worry about it, that will only make matters worse won't it. 

At the beginning of last week we commenced aerobatics Mum. I should have loved you all to have seen my first solo effort at it. Perhaps it would have brought your heart in your mouth but anybody watching me who knew the first thing about it would have hurt themselves with laughing.

The instructor advised me to get well up, about six thousand feet so as to have plenty of height to recover if anything went wrong. Up I went and first of all tried a loop. That was O.K. so having gained more confidence I went into a slow roll. All went well until I got the plane upside down then my feet fell off the rudders and lodged somewhere behind the dash board. Phew! What a game I had; to tell the truth I didn't know where to look for ground or sky. Eventually I managed to get one foot on the rudder again and round she went like a wounded duck. I'm pleased to say Mum that I soon found my mistakes and can now put on a fair show.

During the past few weeks Jim and I have become very friendly with a Mr and Mrs Stoddard plus a couple of daughters, one is an art teacher at Lakeland Colledge (sic)the other works on the U.S. ration committee. They really are very nice people indeed Mum and it certainly makes me and Jim feel very much more at home to have met such fine people. Last week during a few hours that I had to myself, Donna, that's the art teacher, knowing that I was interested in art myself, invited me to a lecture that was being held at the colledge (sic) by the world's greatest architect - Frank Lloyd Wright but that was not all Mum for after the lecture she introduced me to him personally; it seemed almost too good to be true. Mr Wright was only one of the people of importance that I have met since being in Lakeland but space won't allow me to mention them all. Anyway when I get home Mum I've enough to keep you all interested for at least a year.

One more thing before I have to stop. This weather may be renowned the world over but give me good old English weather every time. When I left Georgia I was pretty sure that I had got used to it but now that I have lost countless layers of skin I'm not so sure about it. 

By the way don't worry about money Mum, I have plenty.

Will close now but just one more thing.

America is just wonderful but let me see the towns and villages of home every time. I dare say I'm a little home sick but I have you all in my mind the whole day long and nothing will ever change it. 

                           

                                                               3 Miles West, North East Field (Auxiliary),  Lakeland, May/June 1942


27 May 1942 

Lakeland School of Aeronautics, Florida, U.S.A.

Have some grand news for you. Yesterday I had my final check flight by an army pilot and was passed O.K. It certainly has been a worrying time Mum but gosh! It was well worth it.

Tomorrow (Thursday) we finish flying and then go on a few day's leave before moving on to the Basic Training School in Georgia. As I had only about two hours flying left at Lakeland, I went up this morning and did almost everything I could think of, snap rolls, slow rolls, loops, spins and goodness knows how many others. Knowing that I'd passed only added to the enjoyment of it all. Really Mum it was grand.

Now that I have given you that piece of good news Mum I have something to tell you which is not quite so pleasant. Early this week poor old Jim was eliminated from flying through some small defect. It really was quite a blow to me Mum as you know we have been together ever since joining up and Jim was the finest fellow I have ever known. It may sound funny but when home is so far away a real friend is worth more than anything in the world to you, it just brings back that thought of home which we all miss so much.

I'm still trying hard to find time to write to Auntie Flo and Uncle Stan Mum. Phew! If only you could see the work we have to get through in a day. From seven in the morning until nine at night our time is almost completely occupied. 

Never mind, if my training goes according to plan I should be finished by the end of September.

Speaking about the completion of flying training Mum. If I am lucky enough to win my wings there is an even chance that I shall be asked to stay on as an instructor for about six months. I thought I should like to hear your views on the subject. Personally after finishing the training I shall be almost crazy to see you all again.


5 June 1942

 1389929 L.A.C. Harrison. C. Class 42.I Squadron "C" Cochran Field, Macon, Georgia, U.S.A.

Just a short line to let you know that I arrived safely at "Cochran Field" this morning.

Please don't take any notice of my spelling of college in my previous letters Mum, it's just a thing I've picked up over here.

I eventually went to St. Petersburg for my few days leave and had a really grand time besides spending a hell of a lot of money. I stayed at one of the higher class hotels and had every convenience you could think of. It certainly was worth it.

St. Petersburg is a very charming town on the Gulf of Mexico. A friend and I visited all the night clubs one after the other on our first night and then finished it off with swimming at about three o'clock in the morning.

The next day I met an American college graduate who is contemplating joining the Air Corps. He took me to the local airport where I had a grand joy ride in a Stinson monoplane. We left the airport and then visited the radio station which is a miniature Broadcasting House. As you can see Mum we had quite a good time and one which I shall remember.

We left Lakeland on Monday afternoon and found the station packed with people wishing us the best of luck and I must confess I had the feeling of leaving home all over again. Gosh Mum, those people treated us as almost part of the family.

We arrived at Macon with high spirits thinking that things would be a great deal easier but were very quickly disillusioned. For the last two days we have done nothing but parade and drill in the boiling sun which is twice as bad as we had at Lakeland owing to the great distance that we are inland. There can be no doubt about it Mum if I get through this Kipling's poem "If" will have come perfectly true. 

This morning we had our first flight in a B.T.13.A. The easiest way to describe it to you Mum is to compare it to a modern fighting plane. Naturally it's not so fast as they are but in all other respects there is not much difference. I was feeling quite happy until I looked at the instrument panel and then had the shock of my life for it was chock full of levers, knobs, dials, radio equipment and goodness knows what else. However, after my flight I felt quite relieved on finding that I could remember a great deal more than I at first thought. 

It's nearly bedtime but I will be writing again at the earliest opportunity and hope to make it more interesting.

                                                      

                                         Vultee BT13s at Cochran Field 1943. Aircraft assigned to Cochran Field carried the prefix 'C'.                                                                                                                                                                (Courtesy USAAF )              

 15 June 1942 (3 days after Charlie's 21st birthday)

Cochran Field, Macon, Georgia, U.S.A.

Thanks for telegram great surprise received 11th. 

As luck would have it the 12th happened to fall on a day I had to myself, so I gathered a few cronies and off we went to Macon with the idea of a party forming in our minds - a good time was had by all - at my expense owing to the fact that everyone else was broke to the wide as usual. Do you know Mum I'm considering opening an office and calling myself "The Financial Assistance Officer" as I usually loan out twice as much as I receive each week, especially to one gentleman named Daniel who is an Oxford graduate. Phew! The cash that fellow gets through. He always walks in with a face like a kite and says ' I say Charles old boy how about a fiver; dammit I haven't a cent'. Incidentally his uncle is the first Lord of the Admiralty. He's taken poor old Jim's place and there's no doubt about it he's a grand fellow.

It was good of you to write Molins Mum. I'm sure they'll think a great deal of it, as things are at the moment it's almost impossible to write letters at all.

Sis and Flo seem to be going strong in the Girls Life Brigade and pleased that Dad is still going strong in the Home Guard.

During the past week we have seen more rain and tropical thunderstorms than I thought possible but apparently it's always the same at this time of year. I'm told that after June it begins to get hot - Heaven Forbid - I'm beginning to wonder what he means by hot.

The flying is going along O.K. Mum but of course this weather has held us up quite a bit but I'm pretty certain it won't last for long. I'm beginning to realise what speed really is in an aeroplane Mum. Gosh! It only needs a touch on the controls and the jolly old planes shoot away like rockets. I think things will become a great deal easier when I can go up solo in them. My total time for flying at Cochran is only about four and a half hours in two weeks so that will give you some idea of the weather. 

                                        

                                            

                                                                                           Two aerial views of Cochran Field


20 July 1942

 Cochran Field, Macon, Georgia, U.S.A.

For the last ten days I've hardly had a moment to myself, some days we finish flying in the afternoon, have tea then dash back to the flight line for night flying which doesn't always finish before dawn the following morning; if it's not night flying it's more than likely to be Link Trainer and although this only takes an hour it's quite long enough to put the whole evening out of gear so do hope you will excuse me Mum if my letters become a little irregular. I must admit that after twelve hours work each day in a temperature of ninety five degrees and then night flying on top of that I feel slightly tired at the end of it. 

We started night flying some little time back and as it was my first experience you can imagine how keen I felt about it and to tell you the truth a little anxious too. During the first phase of night flying we had to land the plane in a narrow path marked with small guide lights down each side, at the beginning of the path we had a searchlight which indicated the spot in which we hoped to touch down. Before going solo I made three practice landings with my instructor; after these three landings he got out and left me to it and gosh did I feel brave, Arf! Arf!

To start with Mum all the controls are in darkness with the exception of the instrument panel and this means that their operation has to be estimated by feel alone ( I have now found that it is quite simple but at the time it almost deemed impossible) Anyway after a short wait I received instruction to take off so after a careful check-up away I went and as the aerodrome dropped rapidly away behind me so my spirits rose until I realised that this was the greatest thrill I'd ever had in an aeroplane. The soft violet light on the instrument panel, the roar of the engine with flame from the exhaust shooting down the fuselage; all this together with pin points of light shining up from the tiny homesteads far below made me feel at peace with everyone. As luck would have it Mum my first landing was a beauty right on the dot.

The time is still flying by and within a fortnight we should be finishing our basic training, I only hope I shall be lucky enough to pass O.K.

I hope you will excuse the rather disjointed letter but it's just a matter of shoving a few lines down whenever I get the chance. Phew! The hotter it gets the harder we work. 

God Bless you all.

I thought you might like this snap. It hasn't come out too well but I consider it quite a good group

Jim 2nd is sitting next to me. 

                              

                                  Probably the snap mentioned in the previous letter with Jim 2 seated left and Charlie seated right


28 July 1942

 Cochran Field, Macon, Georgia, U.S.A. 

Wish I could send you some peaches Mum. Whenever we land at an auxiliary field we just help ourselves. They grow on trees too not the wire type that we have in England.

If everything goes according to plan this should be my last week at Cochran Field before moving on to an advanced training school. A few days back I was requires to fly formation with the Squadron Commander to prove I knew my stuff and I'm pleased to say he thought it very good, it was certainly gratifying to know Mum.

We are having to fly seventy hours at Cochran and I have completed about sixty of them so you can see that to finish within a week we shall have to move really fast. 

Last week I flew my first cross country to the Atlantic coast. When I saw the Atlantic in the distance I couldn't help wishing that my petrol tanks were a little longer Mum. I might have spent the weekend at home!! It really was a grand experience and good fun too. During the next day or so we shall be flying a cross country at night, that should be the best thrill of all.

The heat is still terrific but last week a grand new swimming pool was opened in the camp and you can take it from me that after a hard day's work that pool's like heaven.

Letter continues 1 August

Some chance of getting a letter finished Mum; during the past few days we've had hardly a minute to spare and often spending five hours in the air at a time. It certainly tends to make us a little tired especially with this terrific heat. Every day that passes I lose another layer of skin but so long as I have an unlimited supply everything should ne O.K.

Last night we went on the cross country I was speaking of. The course was marked with beacons flashing code letters and all we had to do was locate them one after the other, really quite simple Mum but it was grand to be flying with a full moon and above all, the perfect cool of the night; besides that Mum if we did happen to stray the only thing to do would be to jump out and that made it all the more exciting. I'm happy to say that I didn't stray.

On Monday evening the whole squadron is having a party in town, officers included and as it's costing about £50 we should all have a hectic time.

It's almost time for bed now but I shall write again as soon as I reach the advanced flying school.

Hope you are all still well and looking forward to the time when we shall be together again. It may not be so long now Mum. God bless you all.

                                      

                                                                         RAF Cadets at Cochran Field in 1942 -  Courtesy USAAF

11 August 1942

Class 42 I 10 Squadron Napier Field, Dothan, Alabama U.S.A 

Been trying to write you a line for the past three days but as is always the case   when arriving at a new station there is always something to be done.

As the planes we are now flying are pretty well service type each one of us reported yesterday for a full medical exam. Phew! Some exam, they even took X ray plates of our chests.

Remember me telling you about the instruments and devices in a basic trainer Mum, at the time I considered them pretty complicated but after looking at one of these advanced Harvards it didn't take me very long to change my mind. I was quite surprised to see they were fitted with machine guns, not for fun either as during the course we spend about twelve days shooting up targets over the Gulf of Mexico.

By the way Mum if you care to glance through that large Flying book of mine I believe you'd find a picture of a Harvard. I thought you'd be interested in seeing it.

As I look like completing the course on single engined aircraft Mum the odds are pretty high that I shall become a fighter pilot, that is of course if everything goes O.K. and I'm lucky enough to pass the training, anyway Mum I've done my very best during the earlier part of the training and I don't think I can do better than carry on with it here. 

When this nine weeks course is finished Mum all those that pass successfully will receive their wings so maybe it won't be so very long before I'm home again. I won't say any more about it now as we have nothing definite to go on but I'll let you know about it as soon as possible.

Well Mum Taps have just sounded so will close now but will write again soon

                                                                      

                                                                                                 Harvard Trainers (Courtesy USAAF)

29 August 1942 

Napier Field, Dothan, Alabama, U.S.A.

Forgive me for not writing so frequently but please don't become anxious. From now on it looks as if I will have my hands really full for besides flying and ground school I have to carry out my duty as cadet captain. For some unknown reason the C.O. gave me this appointment about a fortnight ago and since then I've had less time to myself than ever before. It's my job to keep about two squadrons of British cadets up to scratch and it's certainly no easy matter especially often means receiving moans from the fellows for all kinds of things that I have to force them to do. Anyway things seem to be going along O.K. now and although it becomes rather difficult at times it begins to make me realise the things an officer has to overcome.

Flying is still going along quite well Mum and with a grand plane like the advanced trainer to fly I enjoy every minute of it. A couple of days ago I had my first impression of what it must be like shooting up 'Jerry' from a low level. The instructor got me well away from the aerodrome and over to a field with targets positioned along the hedge; we flew parallel to these targets until they were at right angles to us and at that moment executed a steep turn directly towards them, bringing them into the reflector sight as soon as possible and holding the sight on until the last moment when we made a steep climbing turn to gain altitude before making the next attack. I wasn't sure how near to the ground we actually dived Mum but it was low enough for me to read the headlines of a newspaper that was spread out on the grass!!

We commenced night flying last night and I went solo after the instructor had landed the plane about three times. I didn't find it a great deal different from Basic except that it becomes necessary to think a little faster. I've completed about thirty hours of the course now Mum so you can see that we don't lose a great deal of time.


9 Sept 1943

Napier Field, Dothan, Alabama, U.S.A.

Please excuse grease mark on paper Mum. I've been larking about with a couple of fellows and spilt some hair tonic.

The flying is still going along quite well Mum and to date I have completed 45 hours advanced flying so it won't be long now before we commence our two week gunnery course on the Gulf of Mexico and then if everything goes along O.K. and I'm not kept on as an instructor it will be good old England again.

During the past week we did some high altitude flying complete with oxygen masks, it was good fun too, we did our best to keep in close formation but when we approached twenty thousand feet the air became so thin that it was difficult to make the aeroplane climb at all. Looking down from that height really was a grand experience Mum. It was early morning at the time and crystal clear; if only you could have seen the beauty of it all I think you'd soon realise why I enjoy flying so much.

Another thing that I enjoy during flying Mum is a mock scrap with the instructor, it usually ends up in a steep turn with each of us trying to turn in the tightest circle so that one of us can get our sights on; notice I say one of us Mum, well to tell the truth it's usually the instructor that wins. Those blokes can almost make a plane fly backwards.

Last weekend the class previous to us received their wings and commenced the long trip home Mum. They looked really grand marching out of the camp headed by the Air Corps band playing all the well known British marches. When you can see fellows like that it really does make you feel proud to be one of them and if old Hitler thinks he's in for an easy time it won't be long before he'll have to think again.

Has Dad been troubled anymore with that gastritis and how is Auntie Flo going along now; it seems to me she's been having a pretty rough time of it, sounds incredible that no one appears to do her a great deal of good, Mum. 

We've been having a good deal of rain but the sun is still as hot as ever and even now although its gone nine in the evening I still find it difficult to keep cool, by the number of bugs we have been swotting I should think it won't be long before it rains again.

Well Mum, will close now but will be writing again soon.

                                                     

                                                                                                  Charlie's Military Pass at Napier Field

24 Sept 1942 

Napier Field, Dothan, Alabama, U.S.A.

During the past two weeks at Napier Field I have piled up my flying time to a total of fifty eight hours leaving me with another twelve to complete at gunnery school - where I happen to be at the present time.

The flying field to which we have been assigned is about thirty miles from the Gulf of Mexico and looks to me as if it has been cut out of the jungle. As a matter of fact Mum I have just returned from my first mission which consisted of firing one hundred rounds at a ground target; it really is grand fun to dive down almost to ground level before giving the target a burst. It gave me a pleasant feeling of satisfaction to hear the chatter of that Browning gun followed by a cloud of dust which covered the target - nothing would have pleased me better than to have seen that target change into a line of jerries. 

The time is about eight in the evening now Mum and the sun has dropped out of sight behind a clump of trees; it's just about the time when the best thing to do is to just stand and think. I guess my thoughts at the moment would just about fill a book but I'm sure you must know them all Mum without any help from me. Remember the evenings at Minster when we strolled along by the sea and all you could hear was the rustle of the grass and the lapping of the waves on the shore; perhaps you had a funny feeling in your throat - I know I always did! That's just about how I feel now Mum, maybe it sounds childish, although when you read it I know perfectly well you'll understand it better than I do myself.

Whilst we are at gunnery school Mum we are given as much time to ourselves as possible and as transport is provided we are all looking forward to a pleasant time on the beach.

As the end of our training in America is now within sight Mum we are all hoping to see home again very soon; however a few of us will have to stay on in America as instructors. These fellows are usually picked from those who are offered commissions or to be more exact those that go before the "Commissioning Board" - I happened to be one of them!

Naturally Mum if I do receive a commission it will be an ambition come true and one that I've hardly dared to hope for. However Mum, it's going to be quite a wrench if after all this time I have to stay on as an instructor and see all the rest of the fellows go home. Anyway Mum, please don't worry about it, up to the present I have heard nothing for certain but will let you know as soon as possible. So once again please don't worry Mum for I feel quite hopeful that I shall be seeing you all again very soon.

                                     

                                                                                                      Charlie whilst in the U.S.A.


Photographs courtesy Mrs Florence Morgan unless credited otherwise.



                                                                             Contents                                                             Chapter 3

RW 04.10.2015

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon

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