Letter from Bill Akrill to his mother

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Title

Letter from Bill Akrill to his mother

Description

Relates journey to new station and 115 Squadron somewhere in Norfolk/Suffolk. Arrived at Honnington but no 115 Squadron. Arranged transport to correct base at Wretham. Well looked after at Honington by American maintenance squadron. Many other personnel had varying difficult journeys to wrong locations. No sign of 115 Squadron who do not want them anyway. Tells them to expect telegram cancelling posting. Hopefully will all be sorted tomorrow. Describes current location and living conditions. Asks them not to write to him at Wretham yet.

Creator

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Date

1943-02-26

Contributor

Tricia Marshall

Rights

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.

Format

Eight-page handwritten letter

Language

Identifier

EAkrillWEAkrill[Mo]430226

Temporal Coverage

Transcription

Somewhere in Norfolk – or Suffolk
(Goodness knows where – I don’t!!)
Friday 26.2.43.
Dear Mum and All,
Oh dear, oh dear [underlined] what [/underlined] a lot of fun I’m having!!! Honest – the mess the 4 crews posted to 115 Sqdn have got into is enough to make a cat laugh!!
I got to Bury Saint Edmunds O.K. Got a through train from Newark which only took 3 1/2 hours so I decided that would be a Bang-on place for getting home from – bags of useful trains I charged along to the R.T.O’s office on the station to get transport & was very pleased to find 2 more chaps there from Happy Heyford – Stan Hunt and his Bombadier. [sic] We rang up Honington for transport & waited for it. Imagine our amazement
[page break]
[underlined] 2 [/underlined]
when a weird looking American Jeep car came to a dead stop & some Yank officers piled out & signalled [underlined] us [/underlined] in! We’d just settled in when crowds [underlined] more [/underlined] Yanks just off a train scrambled in too. We were decidedly mystified as you may guess. Anyway off we went on a most hair-raising ride [deleted] to [/deleted] for mile upon mile. At length we reached the Jeep’s destinSation – a terrific camp swarming with U.S. Army personel [sic]!!! We reported to the U.S. Guard room who scatched [sic] their heads in amazement & finally someone remembers where the R.A.F. Orderly Room was and escorted us to a deserted looking building to the Orderly Room. There was an erk and a corporal who nearly collapsed when we told him we were reporting to 115 Squadron.
[page break]
[underlined] 3 [/underlined]
and soon informed us that 115 was certainly [underlined] not [/underlined] at Honington! It turned out to be an American Maintenance Squadron at Honington tho’ there were still about 50 R.A.F. personel [sic] still there. 115 Squadron had never really been there tho’ they had tried to re-form it there in 1940 after Dunkirk. We discovered that it was at Wretham about 20 miles away & arranged for transport to fetch us to there on the following day. In the Mess we got a marvellous tea & they found beds for us. The Sgts. Mess & quarters were marvellous & we were disappointed to think that it wasn’t the place! Later at night 8 more fellows turned up – 11 of us in all representing 4 crews.
It was a scream to hear
[page break]
4
everyone's story. Nobody had been sure [underlined] which [/underlined] Honington to go to. My Bombadier [sic] had gone all the way from London to Honington near Grantham found it was the wrong place & gone back to Grantham where he found 2 more fellows on their way there!! So they all came back to Bury St. E They’d heard that my Pilot & another pilot were also on their way to Honington, Lincs!! We had a good breakfast and a marvellous dinner – the best I’ve had in the forces of wonderful America stuff which you’d thought had disappeared since the war. Then the Wretham (pronounced Rettam) transport came & we set off over huge moors, commons & parks where there’s thousands of acres of re-apprestation. So we arrive at East Wretham. Here, at
[page break]
[underlined] 5 [/underlined]
any rate for the time being, we found 115 Squadron tho’ what, why or when 115 Sq is nobody knows. We did learn tho’ that 115 Squadron didn’t particularly want [underlined] us [/underlined]!! I expect by now that you’ve got a telegramme [sic] cancelling my posting. The Wing Co. here sent them off yesterday. He’s away at the moment so just [underlined] what [/underlined] is to become of us nobody knows. It’s pretty certain that we’ll not be staying here for Mr. H. was right about the L. IIs. and we’ll have to go somewhere to convert to the darned things I expect. We hope to find out something a bit more definite tomorrow. Maybe the rest of the crews will arrive by then. There’s only my Bombadier [sic] here so far. Goodness knows where Larry & Moff are. Jock seems to be visiting all the
[page break]
[underlined] 6 [/underlined]
Honingtons he can find!!
If you see Mr. Henry you must tell him that he landed me in among a great camp full of Yankees. But tell him they gave us a marvellous time anyway. Cigarettes & chocolate!!! It really was funny – but I think this camp is funnier!!! Anything [underlined] less [/underlined] like a R.A.F. station I’ve yet to see. We are billeted in log cabins which are round a small clearing in a wood All these little wooden huts nestling beneath oaks & spruces is more like a scout camp somebody remarked. Nobody [underlined] ever [/underlined] seems to do anything Talk about sleepy hollow! It all really looks very charming but its not so comfortable or convenient. The mess – another wooden shack under the firs – isnt [sic] so very hot.
[page break]
[underlined] 7 [/underlined]
The various buildings are scattered for miles – in converted crewyards, by ploughed fields, mixed up with herds of Jerseys, duck ponds, woods, fields & goodness knows what. The flying field is far away – a thundering great moor surrounded by woods and lakes. There’s no town or human habitation of any size within miles. So if I do stay here you see I’ll certainly want my bike. I shan’t mind it at all during the summer provided I have [deleted] my [/deleted] a bike to get around on. It’s fine country round here. I shall like it. It’s a lovely day & the place seems really picturesque!!!!
So don’t write here. I’ll try to let you know as soon as I can where I can be found. A pity
[page break]
[underlined] 8 [/underlined]
that that telegramme [sic] didn’t arrive a bit earlier!! Don’t be surprised if I turn up for [underlined] more [/underlined] leave but don’t [underlined] expect [/underlined] such luck!
I’ll give you this address in case you don’t hear:-
c/o Sgts’ Mess,
R.A.F. Station,
East Wretham,
Thetford.
Norfolk.
Love to all & thanks for a lovely leave.
[underlined] Bill [/underlined]
P.S. Just going out into the wood sticking to get the stove going

Collection

Citation

W Akrillo, “Letter from Bill Akrill to his mother,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed January 23, 2020, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/18087.

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