Letter from Bill Akrill to his mother



Letter from Bill Akrill to his mother


Describes how flying training, although fun, is becoming harder. He seems to be struggling with navigation and landings. He remains happy but accepts he may not have the aptitude to pass this phase of pilot training. Will have to do a test with chief flying instructor. Bill is concerned that some of the lectures are poor and they miss some due to other training. Unsure when he will be moved on and where to. Concludes catching up with family and friends.




Temporal Coverage



Five page handwritten letter


IBCC Digital Archive


This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ and https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/legal.





No 1436220 LAC Akrill.
No 26 E.F.T.S.
Wed. 14.1.42 Reading.

Dear Mum,

Pleased to get your letter today. Sorry about colds & humbugs. Hope all over now. Thought I’d better get this off now though I’ve no gen about leave or posting or Exams. I expect that by next week at this time we’ll not be here (I certainly hope so) but where we’ll be I’ve not the vaguest idea.

I expect that that those who get through O.K. will gather up all their kit & get some leave before being sent for to Manchester to be embarked. That’s the usual procedure I believe. Of course it’s by no means sure whether I’ll get through or not. This is certainly the most difficult rung of the ladder so far & once over the top is [deleted] almost [/deleted] is quite hopeful (with plenty of hard work) the course

[page break]

[circled 2]
Is certainly a far stiffer one than we had been led to imagine. We thought were in fir just a few joy rides but now find that we have to take a flying test with the Chief Flying Instr. & also do the usual Ground Exams. The lectures are hopeless & we’re always missing them to go on the link &c. We’ve 3 subjects we know nothing about - Engines, theory of Flight & Airmanship. We get off after tea about 7.0. at night & are much too tired to do much swotting so I don’t know what kind of a mess we’ll make.

Of course flying matters most. After about 10. hrs we should be able to take the C.F.I. up on “Circuits & Bumps” - that is start up the plane, taxy [sic] out, take off, do a good circuit of the drome & land again, repeat process once or twice & taxy [sic] back. The weather’s been very bad & though I’ve got 7. hrs down I’ve not done much “circuits & bumps” yet. Some chaps have 11 hrs & are quite ready for tests or solo. I’m afraid it takes a bit to

[page break]

[circled 3]
sink into my thick scull [sic] but both the Link Instr & my Flying Instr. tell me I’m improving at last. My Flying Instr. told me it would be hard work for me as I’ve not got “air-sence” [sic] & it doesn’t come natural. Still I [deleted] tho [/deleted] can do the take-off & circuit O.K. provided I don’t get lost & I can get the plane down somehow, though once today I thought I was going to take the top of a tree with me! Tigers stand plenty of rough handling but people say they’re the hardest possible to fly. I’ve been doing several spins!! When my Instr. first showed me one I thought I was being flung out of the cockpit & the earth was revolving up to meet me. “Right” he said “now you do one to the right” so I swallowed hard, set my teeth & sat squarely on my seat & away we went spinning down to mother earth & I felt no queer sensation at all & came out of it right way up

[page break]

[circled 4]
I’ve done several since then and really enjoy them. The ground’s been covered in snow for the last 2 days & we got no flying in yesterday & had to pack up early this afternoon because of bad visibility. Don’t expect there’ll be any in the morning.

We had another group photograph taken today by the main entrance of our stately residence. It will be really funny complete with Turks & their high officers our Ground Instrs., snow and plenty of wide grins. You’ll soon have quite a gallery.

Pity I didn’t know Joan Reeson’s address. Yes Barney & I have found a little Congregational Chapel in Theale but on working Sundays its a rush to get there & we miss our 3rd meal anyway.

Had a real fan . mail today - Ron Melton, Dave Nip & your’s. Ron tried once again to get in for training as Pilot but didn’t succeed. Don’t think he’s enjoying life too much. Sad about his sister. Dave tells me of

[page break]

[circled 5]
More troubles in the office. Jelly has gone into hospital with Sugar diabetis [sic] & Mr. Sunman has a bust ulcer in his stomach causing internal bleeding. Poor old CTS. He never was very strong - especially in that quarter. I’m afraid it’ll shake him up for a long long time & goodness knows what the office will do. [undecipherable word] & Gorgeous will carry on I suppose! Titch used to live at Theale when a nipper.

Well must retire as it’s striking 9.0. and I like to be in bed by then.

Will let you know immediately I get to know anything — until then take it I’ll be gone from here in a week and —WISH ME LUCK!!!! (I’ll need it) [underlined] Bill [/underlined]



William Akrill, “Letter from Bill Akrill to his mother,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 7, 2021, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/18005.

Item Relations

This item has no relations.