Letter from Donald Baker to his mother



Letter from Donald Baker to his mother


Writes that he has recovered from recent illness and is still at RAF Bridgnorth, not doing much RAF stuff. Mentions inoculations, shooting. Says not heard from relative but visited Wolverhampton again. Mentions costs of things and rationing. Writes that locals are hospitable to colonials but other campmates not so. Looking forward to getting to squadron and says air raids are getting on their nerves. Mentions possible leave and travel to see relatives. Catches up with news of family/friends. Closes with comment on uniforms.




Temporal Coverage



Four page handwritten letter


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a/c D. A. Baker
R.A.F. No. 778186.
Rhodesian Air Contingent
c/o The High Commissioner for S. Rhodesia
Rhodesia House
429 Strand
London W.C.2.
26th August 1940.
My Dearest Mother,
Just a line or two to let you know that I am pretty fit again though I have not yet got my voice back again properly.
Am still stationed at Bridgnorth, Sulop [sic] and haven’t started on any Air Force work yet. We are just doing marching and a spot of musketry now and again.
We were all injected against Typhoid and Tetanus or something like that last Saturday. However apart from a fairly stiff arm it did not affect me at all. We were given 48 hours Light Duty after it so had quite a loaf.
We all had to go for a shoot today. The distance was 20 yards
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and we were given 25 shots to blaze into the target. The chaps here reckoned the Rhodesians could clay shoot well enough so they did not take our scores. Consequently the fellows were shooting the props and knocking the targets down.
I have not heard from Uncle Jack yet but should get a letter pretty soon.
We went to Wolverhampton again on Sunday as it is the only decent sized place near here. However some of the chaps have been to Birmingham. Things are not nearly so cheap as they used to be and what with this rationing one has quite a job to get some things in the food line. However one can do not so bad – with money. Decent cigs. are 1/6 for 20 and Woodbines are 6 1/2 for 10. However still have a few packets of Rhodesian and I bought 500 on the boat for 12/6. Our boys are moaning about the beer here as it is not nearly so good as at home despite the way the English people boost up their beer.
People here are very hospitable to Colonials and make us very much at
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home. The fellows in camp are not so keen on us as they reckon we are rather a “tough” and ungentlemanly [inserted] crew [/inserted]. Of course there is a general feeling of sort of superiority having come 7000 miles and all that sort of thing. However I suppose we’ll get over that in time.
We are all looking forward to getting to our squadrons as this camp is getting on our nerves because actually it is only a camp to instil discipline and all we seem to do is march, “spit and polish”, and clean up our knives and forks & plates but we are getting used to the last part as we had that on the boat.
The Air Raids are getting on our nerves as the sirens keep us awake at night. We hear the planes nearly every night but nothing ever comes of it – to us anyway. However we are lucky I suppose.
One has to admire the civilians though as they work all day and often spend from 10 pm to about 5 am in their shelters and still keep cheerful on it Suppose old Hitler is trying to break the morale.
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I am writing to Uncle Jim to let him know that Im [sic] over here but dont [sic] [deleted] utl [/deleted] know when I can get up there to see him & the rest of them up there and what with the petrol rationing I dont [sic] suppose they could get down here. There is some talk of 8 days leave but of course there is nothing to it definitely.
By this time I suppose Harry is married. I really must write but we are being kept pretty busy and I only manage to get out of camp at the weekends and by that time am pretty sick of camp. However please wish him & Betty all the very very [sic] best and I do hope Harry has quite a spell of married life before being called up. There is a surprising lot of civilians here (men I mean). We were all very proud of the uniforms first day but there are so many men in kit that it has worn off. Must get my wings on my chest or some badge as I really couldn’t just stay down on the ground and polish plugs.
Well dear Mother I must close and awa’ to my bed. Best love to all in Rhodesia. Your loving son, Donald.


D A Baker, “Letter from Donald Baker to his mother,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 15, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/25558.

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