Letter to Mr and Mrs Wright from Arthur Wright



Letter to Mr and Mrs Wright from Arthur Wright


Letter to brother Henry, Lil and Barbara from 75 Air School in South Africa from Arthur Wright. He describes sailing to Durban. He is impressed with the food, the city and the people. Then a 23 hour train journey to the camp. He discusses his social life but his training is busy, too.



Temporal Coverage



Envelope and four handwritten sheets

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SWrightAC1149750v20137, SWrightAC1149750v20138, SWrightAC1149750v20139, SWrightAC1149750v20140, SWrightAC1149750v20141


[postmark] Brighton & Hove Sussex 17 Dec 194 [indecipherable] [/[postmark]
[postage stamp]
Mr & Mrs Wright,
150 Hatherly Gdns,
East Ham,
[RAF Crest]
Monday March 16th 1942.

Dear Henry & Lil (& Barbara)
I received your letter to-day [sic] and was tickled pink to get it It’s the first letter I have had since I left England and to read it gave me quite a big thrill. As you can see by the date of this letter it takes quite a while for mail to pass between the two countries and when you write in the future will you please date you letters. I am very comfortable, healthy and contented and Sth. Africa certainly agrees with me. I hope you are all keeping well and I bet your baby daughter gives you something new to talk about every day. Well I daresay you have received the letter I wrote to you from the boat so I’ll give you a resumé of events from the time we landed. After a very uneventful sea voyage (the only incident was when a German long range bomber, a Focker Wulf Condor, shadowed us off the coast of Portugal for about 4 hrs) we got up one morning and there ahead was Durban. We docked, and, next day had [indecipherable] hrs shore leave in this town and what a town! And what people!! Well to carry on – the first thing I had was an iced drink which after the fare aboard tasted like nectar. Then came the bath and then the piece-de-resistance; a meal and
[underlined] 2 [/underlined]
what a meal. I had steak, eggs, onions, chips bread and butter and tea, then fruit and ice-cream and another iced drink in a swanky restaurant for 2/8. Well after this I went to an open-air dance which had been organised for us costing us nothing, and then had supper in a services [indecipherable word] which was as palatial as the lounge of a first class hotel still for no charge. You can imagine how I felt after 6 weeks of virtual hell aboard that ship. Next day we boarded an electric train for our journey up north. I have never seen such scenery. There was something new at every turn of the wheels and the food on the train was marvellous. It is in a narrower gauge railway than ours and is very comfortable. There were six of us in each compartment and every man had a bunk. The temperature was very high being about 80 in the shade but as we were climbing all the time it got cooler. I enjoyed every moment of the train journey. After 23 hrs of this delightful travel we arrived at our camp. We had one dissappointmen [sic] which was that we didn’t go straight to flying school. The system here is that after I.T.W (which [missing word] did a [sic] Finningley) we have six weeks of Advanced Training Wing before going to the actual flying school. I am now about halfway through this A.T.W and every
[underlined] 3 [/underlined]
thing is going satisfactorily although this course is very intense. We have our first parade at 6.15a.m and then go on through the day with a 3 hr break until 8.45 at night. Incidentally I have cut a class to write this letter. We are in between Pretoria and Johannesburg and each week-end I go to the last named place for a break. The people here are very hospitable (the English I mean) and they have organised quite a variety of things in Jo’burg [Johannesburg] for us. I stay in the ritziest part of town in a house the owner of which is very rich indeed. It is a beautiful house with marvellous grounds, tennis courts an orchard and the duckiest swimming pool you could ever hope to swim in. For the first couple of week-ends I had to get the billet from a place that deals with all service men who come into town and have nowhere to go but now an open welcome has been extended to me and I am liberty to go there any-time I like. If the house-keeper is not at home I simply ask one of the boys (black servants) for the key and then the house is mine for the week-end to come and go as I please. The owner of the house is out of the country on government business and the house-keeper has permission to billet airmen. She or the boy (if she is not at home) fixes us our Sunday morning breakfast at any time we want it and as
[underlined] 4 [/underlined]
the most who ever stay there are four, for a week-end I live like a millionare [sic] I was very pleased to here [sic] your job is still going along O.K. but the biggest kick I got from your letter was the report of the football match. How I wish I could have been there and what a thrill you must have had when the ball carried on and sailed [underlined] through [/underlined] the net. It sure must have been a mighty powerful drive. To read that account when the sun was blazing down as I did gave me a breath of the Old Country which drives home forcibly the fact that there is “No Place Like Home”. To be really honest I have not been homesick much since I landed mainly because I have been so busy I suppose, but at times when things are quiet I miss you all terribly. However it will all be over one day an when we do meet again I’ll have a million things to talk about. I should like you to keep me posted regularly and when you write cram your letters full with all the news you can think of as these letters are very seldom censored and I am simply dying to hear how London is going along. Well I think this is all for now. [deleted word]
So hoping to hear from you again as soon as possible
Your loving brother
[underlined] Arthur [/underlined]



“Letter to Mr and Mrs Wright from Arthur Wright,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed May 27, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/2283.

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