Letter from Hedley Madgett to his parents



Letter from Hedley Madgett to his parents


Writes from Medicine Hat thanking them for letters and asking them to continue writing; he is unable to reciprocate due to work load. Started flying Harvard and does not think it is worth waiting for next course on Oxford. Writes about flying, aerobatics, and the complicated cockpit and checklist on the Harvard. Talks of Christmas but unable to get to Vancouver as only 3 days leave. Plan to go to Calgary and Banff instead, Writes of pen and watch and abundance of fruit in Canada which he cannot send over. Concludes with talk of weather and hoping they had a good Christmas and happy new year.



Temporal Coverage



Five page handwritten letter and envelope


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No. 1330340. L.A.C. H.R. MADGETT
Hut 14A. Course 33.
No. 34 S.F.T.S. R.A.F.
Medicine Hat,
[underlined] 21st. Dec. 1941 [/underlined]
[underlined] 13th. letter [/underlined]
[inserted] Recd [underlined] June 23rd [/underlined][/inserted]

Dear Mum & Dad,
First of all, thank you [inserted] for [/inserted] your several letters. I look forward to them every few days now, so please keep on writing regularly and often. Yesterday I had one from you dated 25th Nov. and last week one also Air Mail dated 10th. Nov.
I am afraid I cannot write very often in return because we are so busy. We started flying on the 17th. on Harvards, and we are going through on a fighter centre. Quite a few (about 6) have been transferred to the next course because they want Oxfords; I would, but I don’t think its worth the while waiting for the next course to start, especially, as we have found the Harvard the nicest kite to fly. The only thing against them is their noise. They have a reputation of being the noisiest kites in the R.A.F. its alright inside the cockpit however. The first time up, I was in the back where you cannot see anything forward. My instructor F/O Cherrington was in the front & we did aerobatics galore. It
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[underlined] 2 [/underlined]
was lovely. It can do rolls and rolling off the top of a loop a real treat. He did a left hand spin and then I did one to the right. Actually, the only thing about spins is that you have to come out of the dive gently to prevent blacking out, because Harvards [deleted] are [/deleted] gain speed quickly when diving due to their weight.
The most noticeable thing however is the speed of climb. After taking off [deleted] your [/deleted] you are up to 5,000 feet in next to no time – nothing like the old Tiger. I have done 4.10 hours now, but I’m bowed if I can land without bouncing yet. I have take off’s taped now. When landing or taking off you have to be mighty sharp to stop it swinging, as it has a great tendency to do so. A chap this afternoon landed O.K. and then swung suddenly a [sic] did a superb ground loop.
The number of cockpit checks, drills and vital Actions and the whacking number of levers, knobs, switches and instruments put us rather in a whirl at first, but we are O.K. now. There are just for the sake of interest, 21 dials on the panel, each of which you must know what they should read. The simple operation of just starting up requires 16 actions, after which you have to warm up, then run up, in which everything is tested. Then comes the cockpit drill in which everything
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[underlined] 3 [/underlined]
is systematically checked. You can now taxi out to the [deleted] rumw [/deleted] runway, and stop short cross wind, to do another drill – the drill of Vital Actions before taking off – trim, mixture, pitch, flaps, fuel and sperry. Then when you get the green [deleted] the [/deleted] light you can take off. And so on. Before we can go solo we each have to go through a blinds-fold test and no mistakes.
Well, that’s enough about flying – I’ll make you bored. Christmas is the thing [inserted] of [/inserted] upper most [deleted] of [/deleted] importance now. Vancouver is out of the question now – we only have 3 1/2 days, which would leave only less than a day in Vancouver. So, we planned and got up a party of 4 to go to Calgary and from there hire a car and look around Banff and the Rockies. But just after we had [deleted] things [/deleted] everything planned, my instructor, who was also the instructor of one of my pals on this party, was going to have his leave when the other flight were having theirs, and so had to be transferred with us to this other flight, which means that [deleted] we [/deleted] I & this chap Eric will have our leave at a different time to the two making up our party. I hope you can understand all this – I’m not getting on very well – am I. What it boils down to is that our plans were ruined. However, there is [deleted] si [/deleted] three of us now, Eric, me, and another of the original party. It did
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[underlined] 4 [/underlined]
not make much difference to him because he was waiting for the Oxford course to start. So there you are. We cannot find another chap to make up to 4, so we are going to Calgary, and the hiring price will decide whether we have the car for one day, or all the time.
The reason for not going to Banff by train the whole way is because it’s the places around Banff that are interesting not the town itself, and out here you cannot go anywhere without a car, or see everything.
No, I have not received the pen yet and my watch is going swell, and only loses about 2 min. in a month. It must have felt ill or something about a month ago as it stopped once or twice in one week, but [deleted] is going [/deleted] has been going strong ever since with no adjustments made.
Re the mixed Candied Peel – I shall send some over - but is that all you want. Its hard to believe you treasuring an orange [inserted][underlined] in [/underlined][/inserted] every fruit shop you see piles of oranges, apples, bananas, etc. etc. etc in the window. I cannot send fruits over because they would be bad by the time they reached you. Which reminds me: I had a big box of some super candy and from the girl I used to write to in Indiana, in the States.
However, [deleted] I [/deleted] if you do want anything just say
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[underlined] 5 [/underlined]
the word.
We have been having some wonderful weather lately – clear skies and sun, but not hot. Just nice & cool. Earlier on we had some terrific winds – Shinooks from the rockies – which do their best to blow everything away. But today, it has become suddenly colder & so we can expect snow very soon. The locals say it is unusual to have no snow here so late in the year.
Well, I meant to have a shower tonight, but it is too late now, & I have to be up in the morning. When we are flying in the morning we have to be up at 5.45p.m. in time for flying.
I hope you had a good Xmas, and if not too late a happy New Year.
With Love from [underlined] Hedley [/underlined].
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[postmark][postage stamp]
Mr. & Mrs. Madgett,
127. Longhand’s Road,
[underlined] Kent [underlined]
[underlined] ENGLAND [underlined]
Recd Jun [underlined] 23 [/underlined].
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[back of envelope]


Hedley Robert Madgett, “Letter from Hedley Madgett to his parents,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 22, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/11196.

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