An extra letter included in Harry's bundle.
Cadet D Creighton 176219Dear Mr Lamin
No 2 Cadet Wing
Royal Air Force
No 2 Cadet Wing
Royal Air Force
As my father will no doubt have told you I joined the Air Force as a pilot Cadet nearly two months ago, and should have written to you before, but for the fact that our course here is short and hurried, we have to "swot" in the evening. I am thoroughly enjoying myself here, although it is not nice to be so far from home.
It will be a long time before I forget my first army drumhead service. It was one hot Sunday morning about three weeks ago. An aeroplane was stunting at low level throughout the service, distracting attention from the Padre's sermon. As we were moving off the field, the aeroplane flew low and crashed into the ground within a few yards of us. Luckily the pilot was unhurt, but the machine was considerably damaged.
The Padre, by the way, is Captain Daniels who has seen service at the front in some capacity. As a general rule we have the service in the Holy Trinity Church at Hastings.
From here I shall go in a fortnight or three weeks to a School of Military Aeronautics, probably at Alford. From there for three weeks at a Gunnery School at Uxbridge, and then I shall have some leave. It will be badly needed, as well, I can tell you. After the leave I shall start the real business - flying. England will not be short of pilots to finish off the war as there are 4000 odd of us here.
The weather is, as a rule, fearfully hot and we always spend the day in khaki shorts and bare knees, which have long since turned dark brown.
There has just been a violent outbreak of influenza and pneumonia among the cadets. Two of them died and a quarter of our squadron are in hospital or receiving treatment. Consequently, the medical officers have got alarmed and all theatres, picture halls and pier pavilions are out of bounds for us. Instead of having our lectures in lecture rooms we now have them in the open under trees and spend our time killing the flies. We each kill hundreds in a week. It is a wonder where they come from. I have never before enjoyed such perfect health as I have since I joined the Air Force. We are in the open air absolutely all day and have plenty of exercise and lots of good food.
We shall have an examination in Topography and Morse Signalling next Saturday 13th July, and on the Wednesday following we shall have our grand farewell concert. It is going to be some concert! And on the 19th or 20th July we leave Hastings for good, after having spent a very enjoyable time here. We sincerely hope we shall get our 'joy-rafs' (our slang for officer's uniform) at our next school.
We also have a lot of swimming and bathing here; and sports. The only things I miss are the people at home, although there are several cadets who come from the Grammar School. One of them has been with me all along and sleeps in my room, overlooking the sea. However I expect leave some time in September, and will call and see you if I have enough leave. How are Mr and Mrs Thomas getting on? Has Mr Thomas gone back to France yet? I hope he keeps safe if he has. However, I must close this letter now as it is getting on for tea-time.
Wishing yourself and Mrs Lamin the best of luck always. I remain,
I'm not sure where the letter fits into the grand "Harry" scheme of things. I suspect that this was a letter from one of Jack's parishioners. (I just wonder why he would be addressed as "Mr Lamin" rather than "Reverend".) It's written on Royal Flying Corps notepaper three months after the RFC became the RAF. I suppose it does give quite a good picture of the training that a pilot would have experienced. Does anyone have any other information about Cadet Creighton? BL