Letter from Bill Akrill to Mary



Letter from Bill Akrill to Mary


Bill writes about the hot weather which has caught him out. His diet could be more varied (Mary has mentioned tomatoes) and there could be more food. He queued for an hour to get a seat at the only cafe in Stranraer.

In answer to her questions, Bill describes how much flying they have to complete on the course, after which he should get stripes and brevet. Describes Stranraer and hope bike will arrive soon. Writes of experiencing air sickness. Catches up with news. Describes flying trip round northern England.

Bill thanks her for food sent.




Temporal Coverage



Seven page handwritten letter


IBCC Digital Archive


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inserted] Am sending Eastbourne photo in all the wrappings. Thought you’d like to have it. Have you got the photos from Brighton yet? Denny is 3rd row down 4th from right straight below me. [/inserted]
No 1436220 L.A.C. Akrill,
Hut 20,
No 4. A.O.S.,
West Freugh,
Friday 5.6.42
Dear Mary
Ever so pleased to get your letter. I’m always on the look-out.
You seem to be getting plenty of rain as well. Guess its been making things grow. Summers suddenly clamped down here. We are in the middle of a region of High Pressure – an Anticylone [sic] & the heat is stifling without a breath of wind. A wind seems to be getting up a bit now so perhaps its passing over. Yesterday it was terrible – caught me with my winter combs on!
Gosh tomatoes!! [underlined] Do [/underlined] have some ready for my leave. I [underlined] may [/underlined] get 7 days in August. If I’m lucky it will be
[page break]
in the [deleted] begginning [/deleted] [inserted] beginning [/inserted] of the month. I can do with a change of diet. Its no use getting fed up with this as its all I can get. Its no worse than usual I suppose but it’s a bit skimpy. Last Saturday we thought we’d have a civilised meal in Stranraer & had to queue for an hour to get a seat in the only cafe Still it was worth it.
Glad you’ve got your dental tortures over. Hope to see you with a sparkling grin with your new set when I get home. We had one of our frequent examinations the other night & the dental officer decided I should have a small stopping done. They’re very keen. They’ve got a mania for the needle here these days so we’ve got stiff arms.
Now all these questions. We shall be here until we’ve completed the required number of hours flying. Nothing else will keep us as we’ve passed exams. We have
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to do 100 hrs Navigation flying & 30 hours bombing flying. As a good lot of it is night flying it will depend on the weather. It may be about 5 months. After that its usual to get our stripes & brevy & go for Operational Training. We join with our own crew (get “crewed up”) & fly in planes we will do “Ops” in. We have to do a good bit of flying & study there & then we are ready for Adolf. A.O.S. is Air Observer School.
Afraid I don’t get anywhere a real town. Stranraer isn’t a very wealthy sort of place & there’s nothing in the way of kilts in the shops. I looked for something “Scotchy” for mums birthday but there was nohting worth having. If I was near Edinboro’ I could get you something that would make Isobel green. What is Fair Isle anyway?
Glad Daisy’s foal is alright. She’s a good old lass.
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Pleased to hear your sending the bike soon. I shall find it more than useful. There are some lovely rides round here & a very keen cycling club which I think I’ll join. We can wear civvies or P.T. Kit when we go out on bikes. We walked to Stranraer on Sat. It was great. The “hedges” are banks covered with the finest gorse & broom I’ve seen. The grass & meadows are real rich stuff & there are some lovely herds of Ayrshires. We cut across fields & I really enjoyed it.
We’ve got the morning off today as we did our first night trip last night. We’re [deleted] off [/deleted] up again this afternoon. I thought I was going to be sick last night. I felt sick & had a terrible head-ache [deleted] just [/deleted] before we went up just before midnight. I didn’t enjoy the trip & felt terrible when we landed & walked back to the Ops Room. Anyway I was determined not to give way & got into bed as soon as I could & slept it off. Air sickness is the most
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ghastly thing I’ve seen fellows have. The other day we were sitting on the grass waiting while they tested our kite which we had found to be u.s. (unfit for service) & a kite landed & one poor fellow staggered out collapsed & lay kicking & groaning for 10 minutes & no one took the slightest notice. Its no good going up unless you’r [sic] feeling absolutely well.
Just got a parcel and a letter from Annie. Seem to have got the birthdays mixed up. Felt sure Mum’s was 3rd. Anyway many happy returns to both. Think we’ve got a long trip into England this afternoon so must collect my maps & instruments & get my harness & parachute & Mae West ready. Finish this later.
[underlined] Evening [/underlined] Just back, had tea & a wash & found letters from Dave & Mr. Goodridge waiting. This [underlined] is [/underlined] a lucky day!!
Had a long trip – all but 4 hours & feeling tired but it was great. Saw
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dear old England again. Came right down to S.E. Yorkshire. From Dumfries over Gretna Green & Carlisle to Harrogate, close by York to Maltern, Northallerton, back close by the Tyneside towns, & so back again. It was good weather v. stable [deleted] though [/deleted] [inserted] and [/inserted] Anticyclone over the whole country & this meant a lot of Industrial haze over N. Yorks which made visibility poor. Looking forward to the day when we come a bit farther South.
What a cheek giving us 19/6 instead of a pound. Its crazy to have different values anyway. I’d heard rumours about the value but didn’t think it was true. Of course everyone except a few pupils here seem to be Scotch.
No mum I’m not worried by Polish or Canadian pilots except that it’s hard to tell what they say! I think after a bit I can persuade them to let me fly the thing when I’m not on any too exacting job.
[page break]
You seem to have got Spring cleaning fever.
Yes our raids are terriffic. [sic] Gosh I live for the day when I can join in & send my basket of eggs crashing & pounding on to the German towns & factories. If things go on like this though I shall have a job to find anything left by the time I’m ready.
Thanks for the eats. They’ll come in fine. See you’ve carried out the sacking idea. It’s a good one but where did you affix stamp? There wasn’t a sign of one when I got it. Pity you sent thick pyjamas. Too hot for [underlined] any [/underlined] this weather.
Enclosing [deleted] £3 [/deleted] [inserted] £4 [/inserted] in parcel. It should be alright. Scots pounds I’m afraid!
Love to all
[underlined] Bill [/underlined]
[underlined] xxxxx [/underlined]
[inserted] Wish you could have seen me stuffing cheese cakes & cheese away last night. Ate em [underlined] all [/underlined] before I stopped. Gosh it was good to get some real food in my mouth again! Afraid I shall eat you out when I do get leave! Think Mr. Henry was right when he said I’d been fed too well at home to be satisfied with RAF rations! [/inserted]
[inserted] P.S. How are the Rock-Plants from Mrs. Curtiss? [/inserted]



William Akrill, “Letter from Bill Akrill to Mary,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed May 19, 2022, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/18038.

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