Letter from Bill Akrill to his mother



Letter from Bill Akrill to his mother


Bill describes his new location in Scotland as a desolate place, comparing it unfavourably with his previous stations: 'posh hotels, fashionable seaside resorts, country mansions'. Stranraer is about 12 miles away. Mentions that there are Ansons, Blackburn Bothas, Defiants and Lysanders present and that most of the flying will be over the Irish Sea.

Describes journey to Scotland and few spare minutes in London. Bill remains disappointed at not going overseas. Catches up with home news and asks in a PS if they can get a lock for his bike, which he wants to get to West Freugh as it will be the only way to get about and into Stranraer.




Temporal Coverage



Five page handwritten letter


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No 1436220 L.A.C. Akrill
Hut 14,
No 4. A.O.S., R.A.F
West Freugh,
Friday 15.5.42
Dear Mum,
Well, I’m afraid you’ve seen the last of me for some time. I’ve not gone overseas but I think I’ve found the most desolate spot in these Islands! I’ve not seen much of the camp yet. It seems to be situated in the middle of bare bogs & moors – with no other sign of habitation. Stranraer, which seems to be a bit bigger than Collingham is the nearest link with civilisation & is about a dozen miles away. Nobody can give us the slightest idea about how long we’ll
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be here – months anyway - & no leave!! Gosh the mere sight of a civillian [sic] will be a treat! What a difference there is between this & all my previous stations – posh hotels, fashionable seaside resorts, country mansions – and now dumped in a wooden hut with the barest essentials in the middle of a swamp!! Ah well I’ve had the smooth & I guess I can take the rough. Food doesn’t seem too bad anyway – its not good & thinks [sic] ain’t very clean, but there’ll be no going out and getting the good feeds I was used to do when food got bad at Eastb. Its pouring with rain at the moment so things look even worse! I think we fly in Blackburn Bothas and Ansons but there are Defiants, Lysanders & a few others too. Most of our flying will be over the Irish Sea.
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We had a rather tiring journey – left Eastb at 5.30 p.m. got to Vic, changed to Euston, left there at 9.30. for Glascow. [sic] Got into Glascow [sic] at 7.20, left again at 9.30 & got to Stranraer, Changed to a Raf bus & finally got into camp just before 1 o’clock. It seems crazy having to go right up to Glascow [sic] & then come South again.
Had a few spare mins. in London so walked through Russel Sq. to the YMCA canteen. Had a pleasant surprise coming back & bumped into an old aquaintance [sic] of the Clevedon Hotel – Mary Newborne & her sister. It was grand seeing her again – she still lives there – but I had to hurry to catch train – nearly made 2 others late as it was.
I never expected a home posting. Of course the weather’s getting better now so there will be more training
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done in this country. I was [deleted] hoping [/deleted] looking forward to overseas though the training in Canada is very insufficient & if you go to Rhodesia you stay in the East for O.T.U. and Ops. A pity Denny isn’t with me. He was one in a million & wants to stay in this country.
Thank you for your letters & Ros too. The £1 won’t be much use now! Have some money to send home out of the way. Hope Harry’s alright after his accident. What luck he’s having. Tell him to go steady or he’ll be [underlined] all [/underlined] bandage. Glad to hear Mickey’s still doing fine.
Will write more later – feel like some sleep.
All the best of love
[underlined] Bill [/underlined]
[inserted] P.S. Joyce Blow has to come to Stranraer to get home. It’s the Irish Embkn. Post these days. [/inserted]
[inserted] P.P.S. Left Eastb. with farewell visit from Jerry. Crashing naval guns &c. Quite a Hell’s Corner! No war here anyway. [/inserted]
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PS. I want to get my bike up here if I can so do you think you could see if you can find a lock & chain for it. Perhaps Brewster or Bales would have one. Its not safe to have it here without one. Pity its no light either. If you can get hold of a chain & lock it would be very useful if you could send it to Stranraer station, though it’s a long journey. Let me know if you have any ideas about it. A bike’s about the only way of getting out of camp & a ride round the moors now & then would be a change & keep me from going completely mad. I could [deleted] then [/deleted] get into Stranraer as well then.
[underlined] Bill [/underlined]



William Akrill, “Letter from Bill Akrill to his mother,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 15, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/18032.

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