Letter from Bill Akrill to his mother



Letter from Bill Akrill to his mother


Writes about measures after bombing attack - half the course to go on leave and other, including his flight, to man gun post. Describes how he and friend Derry rushed to get the first post. They are on a very exposed gun post with a Vickers machine gun and work 24 hour shifts. Mentions that they have fighter patrols but the Germans attack when they are not present. Mentions attack on Bexhill and attack on Eastbourne driven off by Spitfires.

Bill hopes to get back into the Imperial Hotel soon, since he has no clean things. Catches up with news of family and friends. Ends with cartoon drawing of machine gun post and aircraft being shot down in flames.




Temporal Coverage



Five page handwritten letter


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No 1436220 L.A.C. Akrill.
2 Flight “D” Squadron
No 1 E.A.O.S.
Sunday morn. 10.5.42
Dear Mum,
This is just a scribble to let you know that alls well from the “front line”! Thought I’d get it done now or you may not get a letter until the middle of the week.
Now for the latest. The Raf authorities here are in a panic & on Friday morning we found that all cadets who’d passed exams were either being sent on indefinite leave or being put on gun posts. It was just [deleted] my [/deleted] the luck of our flight to get in
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for this. The idea quite appealed to me at first & when they were nominating duties I rushed up & got with Denny & 2 more for the first post. This is high on the tower of the largest Raf hotel & overlooks the sea. We have no protection from the wind (which is keen up there) or, more important from Jerry bullets. We have a Vickers gun mounted on a low tripod. We’ve been called the “Suicide Squad” for even if Jerry doesn’t see us we’re just as likely to be mown down by our pals on another building at the back!! But it’s a great thrill & I’m itching for a crack at Jerry. Afraid our guns ain’t very effective but its satisfying
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[underlined] 3 [/underlined]
to have something to hit back with. We’ve arrange [sic] our duties from 2 o’clock one day to two the next so that we get 24 hrs on & 24 off. Get a bit of time for sleep on night on as we’re only there during dusk & daylight. So picture me up there under my tin hat & by my gun scanning the Channel horizon for Jerries. We are the only ground protection Eastb. has (hush!!!) but we get British fighter patrols now. Jerry usually dodges in when they’re elsewhere though as he did at dawn yesterday when I saw Bexhill, just down the coast go up in smoke. He was around all day & tried Eastb. at 9. at night. Luckily some
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Spits were about and chased them back to France before they could get in. We’re still living upside down – more so than ever but I hope we can get back to the Imperial soon. I’ve no clean things or anything handy! They found another body in the Cavendish the other day.
I am glad that Dave’s been up. He’ll like it & I’m sure it’ll do him good. He’s a [underlined] grand [/underlined] lad. If you see him again tell him I’m looking out for any amount of letters & tell him I’m standing firm on old England’s shore to face the foe. Even if I don’t bring one down it will be satisfying to know I’ve shown them what I feel & what
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we're made of. I little thought I’d have a chance so soon. We were told that we’d be here until the end of May at least. Just hard luck to get stuck here. I think we may be getting 48 next week-end but I’ll let you know later. [deleted] If so [/deleted] Just in case could you let me have £1 out of my money. I’m not short but I have to be prepared & I’ve been spending a lot on food.
Must go & get to Chapel.
Lots of love to all. Hows Mick?
[underlined] Bill [/underlined]



William Akrill, “Letter from Bill Akrill to his mother,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 23, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/18026.

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