Letter 17: October 28, 1941
From Bournemouth, Dorsetshire, England
Sgt Pilot Piper F J
Tuesday Oct 28/41
Well here I am Nell in old England and not doing much of anything except eating and sleeping & corousing. We are stationed on the South coast of England in a city & it is really a nice place as it is a summer resort. We are billeted in rooming houses which are in different parts of town. We’ve been issued with a new uniform, gas mask & steel helmet, rain coat & new flying suits. All the boys have had their photos taken individually & the picture is pasted in a booklet & we carry this at all times for identification purposes.
We don’t know how long we will be stationed here before we are sent out to different Operational Training Units (O.T.U.’s). In fact the sooner the better because I’m getting tired doing nothing.
We had a good crossing of the ocean with no excitement what ever. We were in a fairly small convoy and thus we came across in a shorter time then a larger convoy would have. I never got sea sick but there were a few of the boys throwing their biscuits. Most of the trip across the ocean was fairly smooth but for a few days in about the middle of the trip it got fairly damn rough. There wasn’t many idle moments in the evening on the boat because there was a beer parlor on the boat and also every evening there was some kind of gambling games going on in the lower deck. Just the same it was damn nice to see land and to step foot on it again.
As far as this city is concerned there isn’t much damage done, the worst being done about two weeks ago which was about a week before we arrived, a land mine was dropped near the outskirts of the city & did considerable damage. We did see some terrible destruction on the train as we were passing through several citys that had been bombed bad.
This black out is quite the thing, a person sure has to be careful in his direction or he will get lost easily. I’ve been to several dances and picture shows since I’ve been here and the last couple of dances I’ve sure a had a swell time. These English girls don’t do much Jitter bugging but the Canadians are kind of getting them into the grove of it.
People sure can’t buy much stuff without coupons darn near everything you got to have coupons. It is still possible to go into a restaurant & have a meal but most of the meals in our mess hall have been fairly good so far. I think they are just as good as the meals we got in Yorkton. The troops get better food then the civilians do on the whole, over here they got to look after the troops because they know what they mean to the country.
I won’t be able to get any leave from this station but will have to wait until I get to my O.T.U.and the first leave I get I’m going to head for Ayrshire & see Aunt Janet and I don’t mean maybe.
This English money is quite the thing, but I’m getting used to it now somewhat better.
I send Dad a telegram just after arriving here and I suppose he has told you about it. I also spoke over the radio on the ship while it was docked at the harbour, the broadcast was recorded and will be transcribed later, and what I was kicking my ars for afterwards was that I didn’t even say hello to you & Archie & Muriel, so will you please except my apology Ellen as I was a little excited at the time. So if you happen to here the broadcast just think that I mentioned your name.
Well Nell I hope you like Outlook better then you had figured on, and that your having a good time there.
I guess I’ll close for this time as I’m kind of run out of news for the present so I’ll say solong for now.
Your loving brother
Fred's ship docked at Poole, Dorsetshire where he debarked and was taken by train to No3 Personnel Reception Centre in Bournemouth, Dorsetshire. Bournemouth was a R.CA.F Manning Depot from which individuals were assigned to their stations, airmen were coming and going at all times.
From now on Fred's letters would be examined by an inspector. All letters were opened, read and if necessary certain words were blanked or cut out. This was to protect information leaking out.