Letter from Mervyn Adder to his brother Alex



Letter from Mervyn Adder to his brother Alex


Written to his brother who was pilot training in Canada. Asks after Joan and mentions recent activities in Scunthorpe. Mentions he is now in the RAF and describes initial activities and train journey and meeting someone who had missed their connection. Comments on German propaganda on news. Writes about his social life. Accompanied by note of explanation from donor clarifying some of the content. Note has b/w photograph of buildings at RAF Cardington with jet gate guard.




Temporal Coverage



Six page handwritten letter and printed explanatory note with one b/w photograph


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SAdderM175073v10017, SAdderM175073v10016


153, Albert Ave,
Anlaby Rd.,

15th October 1941

Dear Alex,

We were jolly pleased to receive your letter and to hear that you arrived safely in Canada.

By the time this letter reaches you I should think you will have settled down in your new camp and have stared flying again, which I hope you are enjoying as much as I am sure you are enjoying your stay in Canada. How do twin-engined aircraft compare with those you flew over here? I shall be very pleased to hear all the ‘gen’.

Does Joan still write to you? I hope she does as I am sure all letters are very welcome and especially hers.

I enjoyed my weekend at Mary’s very much it was grand seeing her again. We spent the

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afternoon in Scunthorpe, which is about an hours bus ride from Belton, looking round the shops and later went to a picture show. In her last letter Mary said that she went dancing every Friday night to a dance which they hold in the village, and wants me to go down there again so that we can go to the dance. She suggests I come straight from work on the Friday and stay the weekend. It sounds crazy to go all that way to a dance, but I think I will take a few days leave towards the end of the month and go along to see her, and try the dance.

I am now in the R.A.F, and after a year of waiting and kicking my heels at home have been accepted as a pilot, and am now on deferred service for about three months. I expect to be called up just after Christmas.

I did not go to the same place as you for my medical, but went South. I went along with two chaps from Hull who

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were about my age and we had a grand time together. We took a whole day over the medical yet did not spend very long at the camp, arriving 17.30 on Friday and leaving 18.00 on the Saturday night. We hadn’t a chance to get a decent wash or shave before leaving the camp so we had a wash and shave in the train. Have you tried shaving in a train? I shouldn’t it isn’t healthy, yet we felt so grubby and needed something to keep us awake or else we might have missed our connection. We met a person who had missed his connection and although he made us laugh we felt very sorry for him. He had been to see England play Scotland at soccer at Wembley, or his intention was to do so but unfortuneately [sic] he was drunk by 14.00. The next thing he remembered was waking up on the train and after asking a sailor what time it was found he was about four hours past his station. We met him at this point and he proceeded


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to tell us his sad tale, which he punctuated with repeated draws at a bottle, and begged us to go back with him as his wife would be very mad and he would have to fight all her brothers. The number [deleted] s [/deleted] of brothers grew with each drink from his bottle and we left him at Leeds with a prodigious number of brother [deleted] s [/deleted] [inserted] in laws [/inserted], and in search of the station master.

I haven’t time nor space to tell you all about the good time we had in B- before we caught the train back to Hull.

The nine o’clock news has just finished and it is now made much more interesting by the fact that a voice, presumably from Germany, and who we call “Funf” (Do you remember Tommy Handley – it’s very much like that) keeps interupting. [sic] It seemed rather funny at first and we had a good laugh, but now his, ‘It’s all lies”, etc. appear ridiculous and childish as his repertoire is not very big, and having to make things up on the spare [sic] of the moment is reduced to saying mostly ‘It’s all lies’ – like a parrot

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I have started going to the dance down Chestnut Ave. and enjoy it very much as the girls there are very nice. I met a nice one on Saturday, she lives in Willerby and goes there every week. I am meeting her at a special dance they are having on Friday night, at the moment I am not sure whether it will come to anything. I don’t fancy walking all the way from Willerby, I think I will find somebody who lives a little nearer to us.

All the pictures close before nine o’clock now and buses leave the city not later than about 9.15, so that you can imagine how dead things are here. I shall be glad to leave this town as things are much brighter in other parts.

Football is going along fine, so far I have not been troubled with my ankle and am enjoying the games although our team is not very strong this season.

I am afraid things are jumbled together a little

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in this letter, [deleted] and [/deleted] [inserted] I [/inserted] hope you will be able to piece things together, but I feel very tired tonight I think it must be due to two consecutive nights fire-watching – curse it.

I have just remembered that they told me, at my medical, that I had to have a few false teeth as I hadn’t, in their estimation, enough to masticate my food properly. I am going to Goldthorpe tomorrow for an impression. Have they put you one in the front yet?

I am afraid I will have to finish here, although I feel that I have written a lot but told you very little. I will write again soon so until then the best of luck from everybody over here and good flying.

I am off to bed now


[underlined] Mervyn [/underlined]

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[black and white photograph of an aircraft in front of a few buildings]


15 October 1941

This is one of the few letters that Mervyn dated. He records writing the letter in his diary on that day. I know from this that my father was in Canada at the time. Contrary to Mervyn’s assumption, he actually hated it!

Of course I wonder who this Joan was with whom Dad was so pally??!?

At this stage Mervyn is seeing Mary Bootyman. It’s definitely her as he went to Belton with her.

He has also officially joined the RAF and been accepted (at this stage) for pilot training. He described the trip to his medical which was at Cardington near Bedford and his story about the drunk on the train says a lot about the humour between him and Dad.

We now know that the Funf referred to by Mervyn as not very amusing was in fact Jack Train in ITMA as a German spy. Please see enclosed article.

He had been to a dance and met a girl so his romance with Mary appears flexible at that stage. On 27 September he went to a dance at Chestnut Avenue with friend Trevor Russell. . They danced to a radiogram. He describes how early everything closed early on a night. He met the girl whose name was Jean on 11 October another dance there with Trev and Ali Mason.

We also learn that he had trouble with his teeth.




M Adder, “Letter from Mervyn Adder to his brother Alex,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 19, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/33237.

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