Letter from Donald Baker to his mother



Letter from Donald Baker to his mother


Thanks her for recent letters. Commiserates over bad news about a friend. Catches up with other family news. Mentions that he had a weeks leave and went to Scotland to visit friends and family. Describes visit in some detail and catches up with family health and other news. Writes of difficulty getting to Glasgow by train and goes on to describe activities. Mentions his promotion to leading aircraftsman with commensurate rise in pay. Discusses pay from Rhodesia Railways and insurance. Says still at Paignton and Torquay and had passed all his exams. Hoping to move on to elementary flying training but probably remain where he was until Christmas. Continues with more discussion on pay. Catches up with family news.




Temporal Coverage



Ten page handwritten letter and envelope


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[two postmarks]
[six postage stamps]
Mrs C. Baker,
S. Rhodesia.
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[Royal Air Force crest]
c/o Rhodesia House
[deleted] 26th [/deleted] [inserted] 15th [/inserted] December 1940.
My Dearest Mother,
I have received two letters from you since last I wrote about two weeks ago, for which many thanks. One was written the day before you left Cape Town and in which you told me about Harry Roberts. I am very sorry indeed to hear such sad news and it is terribly hard luck on Phyllis. However as you say Phyllis has courage and Im [sic] sure she’ll bear up and get over it but nevertheless it must have been an awful shock to her.
Am glad to hear that you had a nice holiday. Yes it will be nice if you can get down
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to Cape Town again next year to make up for the hasty return you had to make this time.
Youll [sic] be pleased to hear that I had a weeks [sic] leave a few weeks ago – well a week ago to be exact so I went up to Scotland and stayed with the Tullochs. That family is keeping very fit and [deleted] kept [/deleted] I really enjoyed staying there as they made me perfectly at home and gave me a very nice time indeed. Went to see Uncle Jims [sic] school and he took me into a few of the class-rooms where I more or less took the salute and the children all sort of looked at me as if I were a kaffir as Uncle Jimmie naturally told them where I came from and I had Rhodesia on my shoulders
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Babs is very busy or at least she was when I was there as she was doing about five examinations that week so I did not see very much of her. However she managed to get off one night so we saw Jack Buchanan at the Kings Theatre. She is very keen on her work and is just about a doctor. Uncle Jimmie also took me to a show but that was not nearly so good as Jack Buchanan.
Youll [sic] be sorry to hear that Uncle Jim Baker was not at all well and was in bed nearly all the time I was there. He said it was his stomach again
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and he certainly wasn’t half as cheerful as he used to be. However he managed to give me a lecture of about two hours on religion. Apparently he is in the habit of doing that and Uncle Jimmie and he are always having big arguments about the subject. However I took my dose like a lamb as I didn’t think that I was in a position to argue about such things. Auntie Isobel is very fit and just her usual self – very busy and allways [sic] in the shop. I was not able to stay with them as Uncle Jim being ill kept her pretty busy. Also saw Bella Stephenson who is pretty fit and Aunt Nellie and I went to see Bella Strachan and Husband. She is very well and cheerful but he unfortunately had just had
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pneumonia or something and was recuperating. However they all send their love to all in Rhodesia also their deep sympathies to Phyllis. By the way I sent a cable to Phyllis from Glasgow which I hope she received.
Had an awful job getting up to Glasgow as the train service is not too good owing to hold ups due to Air Raids and I had to pass through Bristol and Birmingham Left here on Friday afternoon and did not get to Glasgow until 4.30 on Sunday. However I stayed Saturday night in Carlisle at a Forces rest room as I was dead beat owing to a sleepless Friday
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night on the train and had I continued I would have arrived in Glasgow about midnight which would not have done as I had not wired to say I was coming because I had no idea what time I should arrive there. The bed and breakfast in Carlisle only cost me 6d so that was not too bad was it. Did the same thing on the way back but arrived here a day late so am in a spot of trouble but I don’t think it will be very serious.
We have been promoted to Leading Aircraftsman which does not mean much except a rise in pay from 2/- to 5/6 per day so that means that the Rhodesian deferred pay will cease
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By the way do you ever receive any money from the Rhodesia Railways as they are supposed to be paying us “make-up” pay and I thought that would do for you to pay the Insurance Premiums although I asked for it to be deducted from my Railway pay, but you said once that the Insurance firm had written and asked for the premium, so presume the Railway aren’t paying it. However please ask Dad to write to them if you have not received any [inserted] money [/inserted] yet, and if they are not paying it please let me know as soon as possible and I will send you the money from here to pay the insurance people.
By the way if you do get my deferred pay from the Railway
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what is left over after paying Insurance etc I would like Phyllis to have it, that is if you think it would be of any use to her as I have no [deleted] Ic [/deleted] idea what her financial position is and I thought perhaps it might be useful to her. Im [sic] sure I can get along on 5/6 per day, but I leave it entirely to you and please don’t mention it to her if you think she would be annoyed that I should offer the money, but it is about the only thing I can do to help her and to show her that Im [sic] very sorry about what has happened.
Am still at Paignton, Torquay and have passed the necessary exams so am now waiting to be posted to an E.F.T.S. but will probably still be here at Christmas which I hope will be the case as I don’t fancy being at a strange
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place at Xmas.
There is another thing I would like you to ask Dad to do and that is to write to the Defence Headquarters or wherever any deferred pay comes from, and inform them of my increase in rank and pay and [deleted] inform [/deleted] that it was with effect from the 21st November 1940. You see that was the date we passed our exams but the promotion was not authorised until a few days ago.
I received £10 a few days ago from you for which many thanks so have put £9 in the Post Office as that is a safe place to keep money
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Have had letters from Uncle Jack and Aunt Bess lately and they seemed to be keeping fit and well. [deleted] John [/deleted] Havent [sic] heard from Aunt Ella [deleted] for a [/deleted] since I saw them but suppose she is pretty busy on her new house.
Well dear Mother will close now hoping that this extra long and very “newsy” letter will make up for the week I lost.
Very much love to you all at home
from your loving son
P.S. I hope you understand the position with the deferred pay etc.



D A Baker, “Letter from Donald Baker to his mother,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed March 5, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/25564.

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