Letter to his wife from Herbert Gray



Letter to his wife from Herbert Gray
No. 17


Begins with slight admonishment over wife’s letter writing regularity and discussion of progress on wife’s health issues. Provides details of 11th operation which involved an extremely long sortie, taking off in daylight and recovering next morning in daylight. Their crew was first to return and could not land due to very low cloud. The whole squadron was subsequently diverted to several other bases. Operation covered 1950 air miles in a nine hour flight. Recovered to base later that morning. Goes on to describe crew outing to Scunthorpe which included visit to the cinema to see ‘The Prisoner of Zenda’. Bertie Gray returned to base alone that evening while the rest of the crew stayed overnight. Noted that he is looking forward to leave on 24 July. Goes on with some personal description of how much he misses his wife. Concludes with postscript that missing letters have arrived.




Temporal Coverage



Four page handwritten letter


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[underlined] No. 17. [/underlined]

[inserted] 9 [/inserted]



My Darling,

I’m afraid that this will have to be a much shorter letter than I had intended. Our programme has been drastically altered for this afternoon – it is just striking noon now.

First of all let me thank you for your Wed. letter (No. 23). I don’t think I have received a No. 22 which would be your Tues. letter. I will verify that later when I go down to the billet. Thanks also foe enclosing the Aero Spotter, you may cancel it now as I can see it in the intelligence library.

I was very glad to hear that you had decided to go to Dr. Hemiman. I shall be most interested to hear the result of the X ray. As you say, I sincerely hope that it will get to the bottom of the trouble. Of course, if it is really rheumatism there will [sic] no sign of that in an X ray. How nice that Olive will do the X ray.

Our eleventh op. was notable, not

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For any particular trouble encountered but for its length. We took off in day light flew all through the night and we were the first kite to get back to base [inserted] in day light again [/inserted]. We received permission to land but could not do so as there was a very low bank of cloud over the drome whose bottom appeared to reach down to the deck. We reported that it was impossible to land so we were all diverted to another ‘dromes about half a dozen kites to a drome. Wilf tells me that we covered 1950 air miles and took just over 9 hrs. to do it. Gee were we tired when we eventually did get back to base about 9.15 am! We did well out of it though first we got an ops. meal (bacon & egg) both at our diversion and also less than two hours later when we landed back at base.

Yes, thanks, we quite enjoyed our outing to Scunthorpe. We saw the old film “Prisoner of Zenda” with quite a galaxy of stars: Ronald Coleman, Madaline Carrol, [sic] Doug. Fairbanks Jnr. Mary Astor, Raymond Massey, C. Aubrey Smith (Now Sir

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Aubrey!) and David Niven. A jolly good show all round. I was the only one of our party that went back to camp on the 10.30 pm train. The others decided to sleep in Scun. and come back on the early morning train as it was pouring down so heavily. I did get a bit damp especially cycling the two miles odd up from Barnetby station to camp.

I will say this for you, my pet, although you are going through a pretty rotten time just now you still write your usual cheerful letter. I give you tops, old girl!

Make the time fly till the 24th and then you can make it stand still for as long as you like.

I dreamed quite vividly of you last night and as it was quite a loving and sexual dream I think it was quite a complement to you for it was another of natures overflows and I [underlined] might [/underlined] have dreamed of any women. In fact that is more usual with most

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chaps at such times – they dream of being intimate with all sorts of women they know but are not worried to. But I am even faithful in my dreams! Real dreams, not just day dreams.

Bye, bye for now dearest. God bless and keep you. All my love, kisses and cuddles,

Yours absolutely,

[underlined] Bertie [/underlined]

P.S. Your Nos. 24 & 25 have just arrived – many thanks indeed. I will answer them as soon as ever I can. Just imagine, two letters from the sweetest – girl in the world in one envelope – and both addressed to [underlined] me [/underlined] !

[underlined] B [/underlined]



Bertie Gray, “Letter to his wife from Herbert Gray,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 14, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/1044.

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