Letter from Bill Akrill to his mother



Letter from Bill Akrill to his mother


Bill hopes harvest is going well and complains about food in the camp.

He gives a vivid description of dinghy drill, which was very funny to watch, but got on well with his own swimming and went on to Girvan where he describes what they did on their day off.

Resumes letter the following evening. The parcel has arrived with tomatoes. There is a rumour that they will have to take their exams before getting leave (so six weeks rather than four) and Bill mentions local exams in photography and bombing. He has been bombing and writes of daily routine and that he will probably be unable to attend the service which will be broadcast as he has flying scheduled.

Next page has cartoon drawing of two fighter pilots captioned 'FIGHTER BOYS!'. Mentions Churchill's visits to all over the world. Describes hut 20 drawing which he has taken down from the wall.




Temporal Coverage



Six page handwritten letter including coloured cartoon.


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No 1436220 L.A.C. AKRILL
Hut 20.
R.A.F. Station,
W. Freugh.
Thursday 19.8.42.
Dearest Mum,
I was pleased to get your letter. You write lovely common-sence [sic] letters & believe me every bit of them makes the best reading.
Hope the harvest’s going all right & that you’ve had better weather than we’ve had. Expect the R.T.Gs will be [deleted] her [/deleted] at home this week-end. I shall like to see the new little Peggy. [deleted] Fa [/deleted]
Fancy talking about tomatoes & mushrooms! Couldn’t I do with a plateful of mushrooms just now. I’m just feeling as sick as a pig after tonight’s tea. Our staple diet of mouldy bread was mouldier than usual tonight & even the marge wasn’t strong enough to disguise the taste. I was so hungry I had to eat a couple of slices but I’m suffering for it now & have been trying to take the feeling off with canteen buns – they should be dry enough! No wonder so many are still [deleted] sick [/deleted] air-sick
[page break]
But I swear I’ll not grumble [underlined] out [/underlined] of camp so enough said.
I went to the baths last Sat. though not to do Dinghy Drill. I thought it a good chance of getting some swimming in. It was great fun & I had a good day – We had a long bus ride along the wooded coast. The scenery was fine. At the baths I watched Dinghy drill for a bit & nearly died with laughing at the escapades. You dive in in flying suit & Mae West, blow up May [sic] West in the water & then try to turn the dinghy over & this being done they scramble in looking like drowned rats & paddle in triumph round the bath. I got on fine with swimming. After this the bus stopped at a small seaside resort – Girvan - & 2 of us decided to stay & catch the 7. o’clock train to Stranraer. We had a real “day off” 3 big meals – all very good, some raspberry ices, a game on the putting greens, wandered round the shops & amusements & on the front. It was a real good day though compared with my usual spending cost a lot – 8/-. I think we are due for dinghy drill on Sat. & it would be nice to stay again but I don’t think I shall.
I’ll see if I can whisk away the drawing
[page break]
from the wall though I expect there’ll be an outcry when it goes. It’ll show you something of what Hut 20 looks like anyway. Well I’ll try to get some rest as I’ve to be up at 6 in the morning to bomb up ready for bombing.
[underlined] Friday night [/underlined]
The parcel and letter turned up on this afternoon’s post. The sight of those tomatoes was good. I’ve already eaten a couple of small ones. Havent [sic] explored the tuck box yet as there’s the wreckage of the cheese cakes in the way. Afraid they don’t bear the post very well though what’s left’s very good.
It may not be true but there’s a rumour going round that we have to take exams before having our next leave & that this now won’t be ‘till 6 weeks today instead of a month. Ah well it’ll be good to get them over anyway. If only we could get our tapes as well I wouldn’t mind. In any case I’ll have to start working on some subjects though I’ve really passed wings exam on Navigation subjects & gunnery. They are giving us some more “local” exams though, not set by the Central
[page break]
[underlined] 4 [/underlined]
Examinations Board. They are giving us Photography (which takes a bit of grasping) and Bombing which isn’t too bad.
Have been bombing this morning until a bad weather report came through followed by some bad weather which kept us grounded. It’s a lovely evening now – the first for several weeks. I don’t think a day has passed without rain since I came back from leave. I’m glad you’ve had some fine days tho’ Ah yes 48 hrs (without the travelling) would go down very well at the moment.
I do hope that leave is O.K for the 18th as David is hoping to have leave then. It’d be just too grand to get it together. I was afraid it was too good to be true.
Afraid I may not be able to [deleted] hear [/deleted] [inserted] attend [/inserted] the service broadcast on Sunday as I’m detailed for flying late in the afternoon & may not get back in time to get there. Even if I do I’ll not feel much like singing as I’m on 2 details which will mean 7 hours flying at least & that can be tiring. However I’ve no doubt it’ll be good as we rehearsed it last Sunday.
The Squadron Leader’s suddenly got a notion for sending us up to 10 thousand feet & though it’s nice
[page break]
to get up above the murk & gloom below the clouds to the sunshine above its apt to be tiring at that height as well as cold & it gets monotonous looking at clouds all the time
[cartoon drawing of two fighter pilots]
David was tickled at a drawing I did of the fighter boys so I’ve done another for you. Its really not as exaggerated as it looks
Good old Churchill! What other man of his position would you find rushing all over the globe & working as he does. America Cairo, Moscow. I [deleted] expe [/deleted] wouldn’t be a bit surprised to hear of him in new Delhi or China next. I expect you got excited over the Dieppe raid. Every body did here (yes even [underlined] us [/underlined] !!!!!) & thought it was the 2nd front! Rehearsal I expect. Gee I hope I’m ready when it starts.
Well, I have to be up early for dinghy drill in the morning & I’ve to wash & make up my bunk bed make up [deleted] my [/deleted] the parcel etc etc
[page break]
So I’ll say good-bye for the time being.
I’ll explain the Hut drawing more when I see you. It’s a view I see every night from my bed. The fellow with the ball is our P.T. Instructor who is in charge of Hut 20. He’s a grand fellow.
Lots of love to all
[underlined] Bill [/underlined]



William Akrill, “Letter from Bill Akrill to his mother,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed February 27, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/18057.

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