List of letters



List of letters


List of twenty-nine letters sent by Donald Baker to his mother between June 1940 and September 1941. Also notes he was shot down on 5 November 1941.



Two page printed document


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8th June 1940
Rhodesia Railways, Bulawayo.
Played “rugger” second league, stayed at the Sussex Hotel, where the room wasn’t exactly built last year” Received his Certificate of Registration.

Undated Letter
Hoping he would be called for the Air Force. Going to see a Major Riley about the Air Force.

Doing part time training, being called up on the 1st July or thereabouts. Trying to get in with a draft of re-cruits being sent overseas.

July 13th 1940
No. 2 Training Camp (RAF) Bulawayo No. 778186 “Doing his stuff”.
Reported on Friday 12th July to RAF. Being sent either to UK or Canada. Jolly glad. Leaving soon, about 2 weeks time, being paid 2/- a day.

26th August 1940
First letter from UK. Stationed at Bridgenorth, [sic] Sulop.[sic] Marching and doing a spot of musketry. Ciga-rettes 1/6 for 20, bought 500 on the boat for 12/6. Family news: Harry married

9th September 1940
Interviewed and accepted for pilot training. 5 months approximately to do the course. “The Empire relies on me to turn the tide”

16th September 1940
Bridgenorth, passed medical, witing [sic] to be posted for training. “175 Germans down yesterday” Cold, vis-ited Wolverhampton.

26th September 1940
Visited Somerset relatives. Caught train from Wolverhampton, changed @ Birmingham, Bristol, Bath and Westbury. Walked to Cary Hill.

9th October 1940
Left Bridgenorth to Paignton, near Torquay, starting on pilot’s course. Staying in Hotels (4 in a room, all Rho-desian), big window overlooking the sea. (Harry back from honeymoon) Leaving for 3 weeks to do a Maths course at another camp, then exams.
Thereafter EFTS 8 weeks, then AFTS 8 weeks.
Only half the fellows pass. If I fail then will be an observer or gunner.

19th November 1940
Writing exams, issued with flying kit “lovely stuff and warm as anything”. Sorry to leave Paignton. Gets dark very early.

15th December 1940
Written on Air Force letterhead. Remarked harry Roberts killed, Phylis husband? Had a few weeks leave, went to Scotland and styed [sic] with the Tullochs. Went to Uncle Jim’s school, made to take the salute in the classrooms. Babs studying to be a doctor. Met Uncle Jim Dunn and “got a lecture on religion, took my dose like a lamb”
Some of the relatives mentioned: Auntie Isobel (always in the shop), Bella Stephenson, aunt Nellie, Bella Strachan
Stayed in Carlisle on way up to Glasgow in Forces Room cost 6d. Promoted to leading Aircraftsman, rise in pay from 2/- to 5/6 per day. (Very worried about his insurance policy and the payment of premiums)

29th December 1940

£12 set aside for a rainy day! Still at Paignton, out of 5 months only done 6 weeks real work. Bruce Clothier married, staying at Wyke house.

5th January 1941
Bitterly cold, saw snow for the first time on New Year’s Day. Have to do PT in vest and shorts outside!

7th January 1941
Moved to Brough, did 2 and a half hours flying

24th January 1941

2nd February 1941
Not able to fly for 3 weeks, because of bad weather. Lectures from 8.30 - 5.30

12th February 1941
Nearly ready to go solo, weather permitting. Done 8 hrs. flying. Will have to do 42 hours flying before going to next station. In 5 weeks have only done 8 hours.
Saw Errol Flyn [sic] “The Sky Hawk”

24th February 1941
Finished final exams, waiting for results. Have to do at least 50 hours before moving to next station.

[page break]

9th March 1941

30th March
On leave in Somerset. Finished course on the 20th March and leave exteneded [sic] from 2nd april to 9th april. Will have to report to new station about 40 miles north of London. Sorry to leave Brough.


7th May 1941
Wrote Wings exam last week, set to do Ops Training after 72 hrs. here. Went to London to get off recom-mended instructors course, not keen to ba an instructor.

10th May 1941
Started night flying

May 11th

25th May 1941
About to write wings exam. Recommended for a commission, had more medicals and interview. Better con-ditions being an officer than Sargeant [sic] Pilot. Uniform £40.

17th June 1941
Wings and commission granted at Cranfield

Undated end June, beg July
Left Cranfield 26th June, went to London to get uniform, had leave and went to Somerset, then another week’s leave to Glasgow & Warrington to visit Gatherums (Forbes) Now @ Upper Heyford, Oxon

July 24th
Going on bombers, probably Hapdens. Not started flying them as yet. Cross counrty [sic] on Ansons “easy to fly”

7th August 1941
Doing Operational Training and flying the Hapden “nice, reliable plane” Had 4 teeth out.

18th August 1941
Been “crewed up”, one Rhodesian, Australian observer, wireless operator from Southern Ireland and English gunner

8th September 1941
Ready to go on “ops”, but first goin [sic] to Somerset. “Terribly boring, nothing to do when not flying”. Bor-rowed 2 bikes rode into Oxford. Went to Bristol channel to practice bombing, went to Highbridge did “shoot up along the beach. Been over Wales and Irish sea, Isle of Man

29th Septembe [sic] 1941 On an Operational Squadron. Done one boming [sic] trip so far, held up by bad weather. Oakham, in the middle of Rutland. Flying “tonight”


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“List of letters ,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 5, 2023,

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