Letter from Peter Lamprey to W Gunton



Letter from Peter Lamprey to W Gunton


Peter Lamprey writes about his basic airman’s training and social life in the Royal Air Force whilst stationed in Blackpool.





Five page handwritten letter


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42. Hawthorn. Rd.
Blackpool. N.S.

[underlined] Monday [/underlined]

Dear Bill.

While I continue to suffer in the cause of democracy and freedom, I can see no legitimate reason, while my erstwhile friends are enjoying themselves, why they should not suffer by reading of the sacrifices made. So far as my memory serves me, my last epistle left the hero with head bloody, but unbowed.

Many thanks for your letter and I assure you that letters are very welcome when you are among new faces. Thank Rusty for the cube root and all who sent their wishes. Remember me to Frank B. before he goes and tell him its [sic] only twice as bad as they say.

We are now officially airman [sic] as our training period is nearly over, and we can do anything with a rifle, except make it lay eggs we learn that next week I believe. My training has been thorough and on the dismiss I can always be among the first six inside the canteen or café. Our squad are pretty good at

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foot drill and they are very good at halting, in fact they are always ready for that order and will do it almost without telling. We get gas lectures twice a week from an officer who gets more worked up about it than Bill S. These are reckoned as rest periods and by the excercise [sic] of the old loaf a back seat can be obtained and a good time had by all.

I still have to find this pub. of yours, although this week has been spent almost entirely on one pitch as it is nice and comfortable and my elbow just goes on the bar. The barmaid is proper north-country and when she said she was going on munitions, we asked her what an endless belt was, she thought it was sleeping with an airman. The weather however is a lot brighter, and when we get time the pub. will be found and judgement passed on the beer.

This saluting business is a bit of a binder and takes a lot of getting used to. The first week we saluted [corrected] nobody [/corrected], mainly because we were too weak to raise our eyes much less our arms. The next week we saluted everyone from tram-drivers down to Air-Chief

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Marshals. This week we sort them out and salute tram-drivers mainly with an odd officer here and there. The best lark when an Off. comes along is to look at some tart’s legs and he has a look too and again everyone is satisfied. One way and another we kill time pretty well up here and as long as they dont [sic] make a race of it, between killing us and us killing time, the next few months should see me really getting down to this war business. At present we are still posessed [sic] of a little money and the war has faded into the background and is only brought up by the Corporal as a threat. He told us the other day we looked like a bunch of pregnant women, but it was pointed out, it was all he could expect the way we have been f----- about up here. The smartest squads in our wing always cop for guard duty so when the O-C. drill takes his daily look you can rely on about four good men to make a b---- up for the sake of the others. The old sweats are talking of taking a few lessons from our little mob as they think their education was neglected.

Tell Charlie not to get worried about RAF life, anyone who can stand the strain of spotting can push this job about and enjoy it. I am glad to hear

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my little “Cherry” has resumed and is doubtless engaged on working something up for [deleted] something [/deleted] someone. Tell him he will have to learn to throw things himself up here as nobody takes anything, not even the women. How are the spotters doing are they still on the car-park? My time spent on that job has been of assistance to me here, I can distinguish at great range W.O.’s – Flight Sergeants and other type of enemy craft.

Despite all joking the training here is quite severe, quite a number of men crack-up and go sick and that is the last you see of them as the squads move on through their next round of training. At the Morse school they wheel them out all day with straws in their hair, I’m glad I have got mine cropped short.

We have been down the range today, fired our course. I am pleased to say I passed O.K. 8 in the bull and [deleted] an [/deleted] two inners, the Sergeant was very pleased but he kept well to rear while we fired or he might not have [inserted] been so [/inserted] blasted cocky. After this for a change we went marching and I have a suspicion that I am now walking on my knees. What with the boots halting before I do and the trousers standing at ease

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while I’m at attention your mind has to be right on the job to duck any trouble.
This modern war has bred a lot of suspicious minded corporals and N.C. O’s generally. I put it down to too much talk about the other little affair. Theres [sic] not a lot of news I can give you except that the RAF. have a decent reserve team in training. New men continue to pour in and ask the advice of us old sweats (save the mark). You can always tell a new man, hope shines in his face but after a fortnight all hope is gone and he begins [missing] to [/missing] enjoy himself. This life is a bit of cake, you work like a beaver, eat [deleted] h [/deleted] like a horse, sleep like a dog, all we want is an animal trainer instead of a Corporal.
Best of luck,

Remember me to everyone and give my best wishes to F. Baum. Tell Dave, balancing a rifle is easier than balancing a book.



Peter Lamprey, “Letter from Peter Lamprey to W Gunton,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 21, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/6237.

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