Letter from Hedley Madgett to his parents



Letter from Hedley Madgett to his parents


Written from Medicine Hat and relates previous adventures while attempting a cross country flight in formation to Bowden, Alberta via Medicine Hat. Explains that he ran out of fuel and force landed near Medicine Hat and that many others suffered the same misfortune. Writes about local area and farmer who looked after him. Goes on to describe activities on the start of his course at Medicine Hat and that he will be to busy to write. Concludes with talk of possibilities of Christmas leave.



Temporal Coverage



Four page handwritten letter and envelope


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No. 1330340. L.A.C. HR MADGETT.
Hut 14A. Course 33.
No. 34 S.F.T.S. R.A.F. Station.
Medicine Hat,
[underlined] 2nd. December. [/underlined]
[inserted] Recd 20th [/inserted]

Dear Mum & Dad & Peter,
I am sorry I have not written for some time, but we have been moving all over the place this last week and even this letter will have to be a bit short & snappy as I only have an hour before bed, because – well I’ll start at the beginning.
Last Wednesday morning we took off from S. Current at 8.15 on the first hop to Bowden. When we started off there was not much wind, but it had increased a lot after an hours flying. I was in a formation of six, - two instructors each with a mechanic & us 4 U/T’s flying solo. at about 10 miles from Med. Hat, our first landing stop our leader instructor [deleted] went [/deleted] disappeared and the other went down for some reason. But we [deleted] ea [/deleted] remaining 4 could just see the town in the far distance; after about 3 min. leaving the instructors my engine cut – I had run out of gas. I picked a field quickly and glided down, but when turning into wind I noticed that the wind was far stronger than I thought it was, and so saw that I would land on a fence if
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[underlined] 2. [/underlined]
if I carried on, so seeing the field underneath me a very good one, I did a [deleted] visious [/deleted] vicious side slip into it, landing O.K. stopping 20 yards from the [deleted] end [/deleted] fence. I had force landed 2.40 hrs. after taking off - & it was a lovely landing too.
The nearest house I could see was a roof top behind a hill in the distance, & just as I was going to tramp over to it a small truck came across the field. it was a young farmer, who had seen me come down. After 1/2 hour I left a message in the kite and we went [deleted] dow [/deleted] off along rough tracks to join the main road. It was not long on this highway that we came across another kite in a field near the [deleted] ro [/deleted] highway, & found it was one of our formation. And then I just could not help laughing – for in the distance we saw 7 more kites down [deleted] on the [/deleted] stretched right across the country – all out of gas. So, stopping a passing truck we asked the driver to telephone our message to the ‘drome, & went back with the farmer to have a nice dinner. We are supposed to stay with the kite but I knew no one would come for at least an hour or so. His farm was about 2 miles away (the nearest); [deleted] down [/deleted] I had a lovely dinner cooked by a nice daughter (!) and after looking over the farm – plenty of pigs & piglets, hens, & turkeys & ducks I had a ride back: rather to our amazement to find the kite gone! We guessed
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[underlined] 3. [/underlined] what had happened so the farmer took me the 8 miles to the ‘drome. There my kite was & had been flown [deleted] back [/deleted] on by the C.F.I. When I reported I expected a good ticking off for leaving the kite – but I wangled out of it & he did not mind a bit.
It happened that altogether 12 kites had come down, & only one prop. had broken of the whole lot. Pretty good that eh!! And even then it was an instructor’s kite whose prop. smashed.
Some chaps arrived Med. Hat O.K. but some cut out just as they were approaching to land, & others their engines cut just as they were taxying to the hangers after landing & so were stuck out in the middle of the field. What fun it was! We expected this ferrying job to be terribly boring, but no, especially as we had more adventures in front of us. The furthest we got was Calgary, where we had a really good time. I could go on for ever but I must stop for time. By the way, we never did reach Bowden.
We are now on our Course here, & have nothing but lectures for 19 days, then flying & lectures each day alternately; the ground exams; then total flying every day. I thought I.T.W. bad enough for cramming but here – its colossal, with no time for yourself. 6 a.m. Reveille, 6.30 breakfast, 7.45 Colour hoisting parade, 8.0 a.m. lectures till 12.30 for dinner. 1.15 lectures again till 5.30 p.m.
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[underlined] 4, [/underlined]
Tea & then at 6.30 pm. another extra signal lectures [sic] 4 days in the week, or a/c recognition till 7.30 p.m. Then almost every night we each have 1 hour on the link trainer, any time from 7.30 p.m. to midnight. Last night I was on 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. But next morning its 6 o’clock again. [deleted] So [/deleted] So you see why I said I was going to make this letter short.
Saturday is just another day & Sunday we only have half the day.
So, [inserted] for [/inserted] the first half of the course we will have no time for writing or going down town, so you must understand if you do not hear from me for some time. I shall try & cable occasionally. [deleted] B [/deleted]
We are not definite about Xmas leave yet but I think we have a few days; but I have nowhere definite to go. John has some people in B.C. but I have not had their address. If you know of any address in B.C. (especially near Vancouver) would you please cable it as time is short, as we have to put in leave forms.
Well, I must leave now – hoping you have received the parcel. Also, I hope you have a Merry Xmas & Happy New Year to you especially; please give my best wishes for Xmas & the New Year to all that ask about me & those around 127.
With Love from [underlined] Hedley [/underlined].
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[postmarks][postage stamps]
Mr. & Mrs. Madgett,
127. Longlands Road,
[underlined] ENGLAND [/underlined]
[inserted] Recd [underlined] 20/12/41. [/underlined] [/inserted]
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This envelope approved by the Canadian Post Office Department for [underlined] AIR MAIL ONLY. [/underlined] Use for other purposes not permitted.


Hedley Robert Madgett, “Letter from Hedley Madgett to his parents,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 16, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/11230.

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