Letter from Kenneth Gill to his mother



Letter from Kenneth Gill to his mother


Writes that his course is getting harder but he was keeping up. Says a little about flying and replies to and actions requests in their letters he recently received. Continues catching up with family gossip and news. Speculates about farming in the future and writes about local countryside and opportunities in Canada. Continue with more news and gossip concerning family and friends. Writes about his elimination from pilot training and speculates on reasons. Says that he could fly the Anson that they are doing navigator training on and he might get back to piloting. Mentions that nearly half his course at Arcadia were eliminated and thirteen chums had been killed during basic flying training. Continues with news of friends and home and talks of gardening and joining local church and choir where he was enjoying the singing.




Temporal Coverage



Ten page handwritten letter and envelope


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[RCAF letterhead]

1430901. L.A.C. GILL. K.
10. A.O.S.
JUNE. 6TH/42.

Dear Mum & all.

Hello again everybody how's things at 55, Kyffin Ave. I hope you're all keeping well & smiling.

I'm quite alright, plenty to eat, and feeling fine. The course gets harder every week, but so far we're keeping up with it by dint of hard work & extra study.

The flying part gets more interesting every time we go up, and we're getting to know the country around here off by heart.

I'll start on your letters now, one was written on April 24th & the other on May 12th, they came two days ago. I'm glad you

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received the photos alright, Vera got hers too she says. The "Beating Retreat" at Albany was a little too small for identification purposes and I can't quite remember what positions we were in, but I'm somewhere near the back if that's any help.

I passed Glady's message on to Jack. I have had one passed on to me from you so we're square. I received Glady's letter last week & as yet have not replied to it, but I'm going to send it home so you can forward it to her for me.

She certainly does write an interesting letter, I really enjoyed it.

By the way mum, the News Letter from the Church says that Ronnie is on his way overseas, have you any "gen" on it all? If he's coming over here. I may

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be able to see him.

The Daffodils seem to have done fairly well this year dad & at the price, I'd say they were worth growing. Sorry the wallflowers havn't done so well dad, maybe they'll come on again & pick up.

You might tell Ron that if he's serious about the farm-life, I'll go in with him, provided he comes & farms over here, as I know one or two farmers here & could get a good place if necessary. The country around here is really beautiful & I'd love to take a horse & go riding round. The forests here are tremendous and one could easily get lost in them. The main industries here are

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farming, fishing & lumbering, so you can guess what the people are like. The rivers are full of drifting woods going down to the saw-mills & pulp mills, and all along the banks are stacks of newly cut spruce-wood. The smell of the resin & new wood is grand, and the sound of the saws & axes is like music on a calm day.

Leslie could probably do better over here as a joiner, as most of the houses are made of wood throughout, & of such varied design to give an English architect pink spots in front of his eyes.

I don't think I'd fancy his first job, although as he says things are bound to be different.

I'd like to slip over and do a bit of digging for you in the allotment & garden dad, it's

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a long time since I [deleted word] did any work of that sort. David seems to be getting quite handy & he's still [deleted word] as cheeky as ever.

I'm glad to hear Grandma & Grandad & Aunts & Uncles are well. I haven't written to anybody except Grandma, Aunt René & Aunt Gladys so I suppose I'll cop it when I come home again.

Hope Jerry hasn't bothered you of late, I heard about Bradford, York, Sunderland etc., he seems to be getting busy again.

The shooting seems to be pretty good dad, hope you do better next time you go, I certainly wouldn't like to be the bloke you were shooting at.

Mum seems at last to have

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decided to take a little rest for herself, keep it up mum.

Now for your last letter dated May 12th. Sorry you havn't had many letters for April, you may have got them by now.

I'm sorry to say Vera's letter is quite correct dad. I was eliminated for dangerous & reckless flying alright, it seems strange to me too, I can hardly understand [inserted] it [/inserted] myself, but there it is.

The check-pilot also said my flying was mechanical and said I'd make a good bomber-pilot. Mechanical flying as I understand, is knowing what the plane is going to do, and correcting for it before it actually happens, which is what is needed for bombers. Anyway, I'm out now, but there is one consolation and that is I know I can fly a

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bomber, because I've flown the Ansons we use here, & we often take-over to give the pilot a rest and a smoke. A navigator's job is more interesting I think & I'll try and get through this first, before I decide to have a second shot at a pilot. Hope you weren't too disappointed dad, I had a bad time for a few days myself but I've got [inserted] over [/inserted] that now. Jack Kellett was eliminated the same way, as were nearly half the course at Arcadia. So far thirteen of our chums have been killed at Basic Flying School, so maybe it's as well we were eliminated. Even though we are not on service flying we've had some narrow escapes here and so far we've lost

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four lads in a month.

All the lads here are getting tired of the war & being so far away from home for so long doesn't help any.

Muriel & Jack Burden don't seem to be having such a good time these days, hope Muriel goes on alright, she's a grand kid, remember me to her mum.

I'm glad to hear Vera is looking better; she seems to enjoy her job a lot better than Stanleys, and her letters are always cheery. When she refers to you, she says it's her second home & your'e her other mum & dad, Bless her she's grand.

Mum I hope the Tomatoes do as well in the window as the geraniums did, then you'll be justified in putting the geraniums outside. I saw a window in Chatham the other night and it was full of geraniums just

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like ours. I told the lady too, & we [inserted] had [/inserted] quite a discussion on different plants & things. Oh yes dad, I'm well in, perhaps I should tell you why. You see George and I and several of the boys in our class have joined a [deleted letters] choir at the United Church here & this lady happens to be the soloist soprano. The choir consists of about thirty women & young ladies, and about twelve airmen and eight civilians, so you can guess what it sounds like. A fortnight ago the twelve of us (the airmen I mean) sang a hymn unaccompanied & it must have sounded good because it's been the talk of the town since. However since then we've sung (the whole choir) Handel's Largo; Sibelius Finlandia,

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Gloria in Excelsis, Gounos' Ave Maria, Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring & others that I can't just remember at the moment.

We really do enjoy the singing, and we'll be sorry when we have to leave here. The schedule has been changed again and at the end of this month we're leaving for the Prairies, Davidson, Saskatchewan is our next stop as far as we know.

I'm sorry I'm not able to send you the snaps of Niagara yet, but as soon as George shakes himself & sends the negatives for reprint, I'll be able to send them. Well dad I'll have to close as it's time for school. Love to all, Keep Smiling.

Cheerio for now.
Your Loving Son.
[two rows of kisses]



K Gill, “Letter from Kenneth Gill to his mother,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 23, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/35571.

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