Letter 13 - expecting to be posted soon...

A note from the Editors:

Oliver still waiting to be posted, and feeling dejected as all his fellow pilots have already gone to squadrons.

Franked 11 AUG 17
Mrs Chas. E. Pearson,

No1AD Officers Pool Mess
Letter No 5

My dear Mother
I got your first letter yesterday & was so pleased to have the photos. I thought that particular film had gone west with two others that have been lost. Arent the photos good as such considering the light in which they were taken. Ena is awful serious in hers isn’t she about the only second she looked serious that day – of course.

I shall have them mounted & hang them near my bed when I get a bed of my own. I haven’t been posted yet as you see but expect to be to-night. I am very desolate as all my real friends who have been with me now on 3 moves (4 of them) have been posted. The last went to-night. He has been with me all through since Turnhouse & was a very white friend. He was an Australian named Vick & comes from Sidney. He was the best fellow I have yet met to have an enjoyable night out with as he never went beyond a certain point or let you & yet you always had a very pleasant time. Its one of the drawbacks of greatness that you get parted from your pals: he only flies Pups, but was an excellent but not dashing pilot. I feel deserted.

Donald was sort of expectant & suppressed excitement. He will have a bad time till he gets used to things in general but he wont go wrong I should think with all his home training.
Send that silly ass Archer his bob & a stinker of a letter to wake him up. He always was a fool & always will be now I suppose but if you go for him enough he wakes up with a start for about five minutes. He was of course my batman. I will write to Stephenson.
Don’t pay for Kodaks they are all prepaid.

I should very much like you to send me a few papers say The Observer, Punch & the Royal. We only get papers 2 days old & hear all the news from hearsay & know of the “lively bombardments” & the “Drum fire” by hearing it. Once it was so intense as to make the hut vibrate although 26 miles away & yet there wasn’t much sound only dull booms. The newsagent in Exchange Walks would do the whole job & I will pay for it. Keep an account of what I owe you most carefully.
I am awfully pleased to hear of Bettys success. Isn’t it great. Please congratulate her like anything for me & tell her how pleased I am.

Fren Hollands letter would be posted in Boulogne & mine was in --------. I know Leslie had won an MC but didn’t know what for till you told me. Poor old Buster Johnson as he was known in the ICOTC.

There has just been another of the funny sudden thunderstorms that seem to be general nowadays. The last one caused an apalling loss of valuable machines & pilots.
Last night I and a Canadian Captain walked into -------- to see the cathedral. It is truly a beautiful place but has been much renovated. A most beautiful Reubens hangs in there. It is of Christ being lowered from the cross & is an original but a duplicate as Reubens painted two like each other. In all the little side chapels hang most lovely old pictures but the chapels are so small you cannot see the pictures hardly at all the light in most cases making them shiny in some part. It is a great shame. The place is 13th centuary. The original floor now decorates the walls & the bases of pillars. Funny old pictures on large tiles or stones. There is an old statue of Christ making him look like a Buddha with short legs & sitting on the cathedral in miniture. Lots of the funny old carved & painted groups in stone are also very grotesque & old.

I went for about a ten mile walk last night the first part through fields & the second along an interminiable straight road with trees on one side at regular intervals & in a line.
There were vast stretches of barbed wire in places were it had been put during the first advance of the Huns.
Give my love to Dad & everyone & heaps for you
From your loving son
Oliver xxx

Most chaps have their girls photos but I havent got one so must have some of my very best friends. The photo of you and Ena together is awfully good. I like it very much. Send me one of “The smiling couple” that Biddy took please to hang up.

1 comment:

Mike Johnson said...

Leslie 'Buster' Johnson mentioned in this letter, and previously in our first letter posted, when Oliver shared his digs while in the IoCOTC, is probably this chap I've just found on the CWGC register -
Second Lieutenant L N JOHNSON MC, 6th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment), killed 03/06/1917.