Letter from Bill Akrill to mother and family



Letter from Bill Akrill to mother and family


Writes from the Receiving Centre of his billet in a 'rather nice block of flats' near Regents Park and of walking round looking at bomb damage to some old haunts in London.

They go to the zoo for their meals ('lot of monkeys').

Will on be at the current establishment for two more weeks and having a series of medical and other tests for selection as aircrew. Will then go on to Initial Training Wing.




Temporal Coverage

Spatial Coverage



Four page handwritten letter


IBCC Digital Archive


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No 1436220 A.C.2. AKRILL,
O/12 No. 4 Squadron.
Monday Night. 15 Sept 1941.

Dear Mum & all,

At last I have a chance to sit down and so I must get off a letter, though when I’ll get it posted I don’t know! Must see if I can cadge a stamp.

I am billited [sic] in one of the best parts of London in a rather nice block of flats close by, almost overlooking Regents Park. I share a bare room with 4 others - beds on the floor but they don’t look too bad & I’m certainly ready for one! Got to King’s X. at 12.25 & had a stroll around town as I wanted to have a look at it as a [underlined] CIVILIAN [/underlined] before getting to camp. Just the same old place it seems. I’ve only seen one bad lot of blitz & that strangely enough was in Bedford Row - you know my old haunt.

[page break]

[underlined] 2 [/underlined]
really depressing. I walked down it and every place was gutted & dead though in the square hoards of evacuated slum bains ran about. As I passed the old Clevedon - though it’s windows were gone it displayed the sign - ‘Open’ Good old Clevedon. Oxford St. was as usual though you see ruined buildings wherever you look. All the big stores were carrying on. I had a pot of tea, Lyons & took the tube for St. John’s Wood getting to Lords soon after 2. Crowds of fellows on the way and the whole place swarming with Cadets - the white flash I envied so much is of no value here - I’ll get mine thrown at me first thing tomorrow and I hear that the thing’s regarded as a curse! We are in charge of a damned decent corporal & I believe we’ll get on fine. Do you know where we have to parade for meals? None other place than the dear old Zoo!! Lots of monkeys I suppose. If [[deleted] expect [/deleted] I do well I shall be gone from here in a fortnight - anyway this address will hold no longer. I have to go through a Psychological Test a Night Vision test and a Maths Test

[page break]

[underlined 3 [/underlined]
down here. If I fail the first I’m out, fail the 2nd I’m no good for Night flying - fail the 3rd & I stay here [deleted] for [/deleted] indefinately [sic] on a Refresher Course. Hope I can manage them all & then I should be gone in something like a fortnight. Don’t distribute the address around as it’s not permanent. Though if you do, make it clear that it will hold only for a fortnight. From what I can see we have a pretty easy time here - we’re allowed out from 6.0 p.m. to 10.30 & 11.59 on Saturdays. This is a receiving centre & we go from here to an Initial Training Wing. I can hear the wardens going round shouting about Black-out. Air raids are taken [underlined] seriously [/underlined] here!

For the moment I can’t think of anything more to say without boring you. Our N.C.O.’s just been giving us fatherly advice. Nice bloke. I’m liking it O.K. so far. A decent lot of fellows from first impression. Like my room mates. One of them was at Cardington when I was.

I’ll be sending my civies [sic] home shortly. Cpl: informs us we’ll get no leave just yet.

Feel like getting out for a spot of fresh air & finding a pillar-box. [deleted] I [/deleted] Tell every body I’ve got my pecker up and am very cheerful

[page break]

though I expect I’ll be stewing in my uniform by tomorrow at this time.

Tell Mr. H. that we actually have to salute WAAF officers! Our Cpl told us a funny story of how he was marching some recruits along through the park when a WAAF officer came along. He gave the order “Eyes right” & the poor woman dropped her suitcase in surprise.

I’ll not be able to write separately to Harry & Ros but this goes for all - if you can read it. I’ll have lots to tell you when I see you. It’s great fun. Best of love to all [underlined] Bill [/underlined]



William Akrill, “Letter from Bill Akrill to mother and family,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed March 22, 2023, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/17997.

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