Letter from Peter Lamprey to W Gunton



Letter from Peter Lamprey to W Gunton


Peter Lamprey writes about his life undergoing basic airman’s training whilst stationed in Blackpool. He makes comments on cross country running and problems with various sergeant trainers.





Four-page handwritten letter


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A.C.2 Lamprey.
84 Dickson Road.

Dear Bill and Company.

Here is the continuation of the novel experiences of an A.C. plonk. A short drama in two acts – act quick and act daft. We have succeeded in crippling our Sergeant and today he is in a convalescent home with a badly strained back although I should imagine his mind has become unhinged with the horrors he has lived through. The new Sergeant looks tough and has a big reputation but the mob are confident he can be taken on with every hope of our eventual success in passing him on. We have also been given a new C.O. He looked us over and he doesn’t like our marching and he doesn’t like our drill. Nor do we but we have to put up with it and so will he. I can see the RAF fighting a rearguard action in Blackpool to keep the enemy off our hard won inefficiency. He also has a big reputation but even champs meet their masters and the boys are on their flat feet ready for anything but

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co-operation. We had a four mile run - cross country - to find six distance runners to represent the squad in the wing championship. The fight for places was terrific and the six winners wont [sic] speak to the rest of us, they, reckon they’ve been sold, still someone has to finish, you cant [sic] hang about all day. My laces came unstuck about a dozen times before I got into the rear. The Flight Sergeant was thinking of sending a search party for us when we struggled gamely in, trying every inch of the way, trying to be last. We are getting properly weather beaten with all this outdoor lark and now the fine weather, I hope, has set in, we do all our P.T. in singlet and shorts on the sand and when the wind blows, talk about brass monkeys. Browned by the sun and browned off by the RAF. They get different ideas about things every week up here, one week you do one thing and the next week you are told its [sic] wrong and you do something else, unless you’re an old hand and then you [inserted] do [/inserted] nothing but wait till they make their mind up. We’ve now had ten weeks training and are soon to be classed as airmen and not recruits, we know everything there is to know about drills, guards etc. At least

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that is the impression, someone is going to get a shock when they try us out. Life is a bit too short to learn all about that and how to get by in the evenings as well. I hope Mr. Hunt has noticed that there has been no ref. to Wallop so far. Dont [sic] think we have stopped that game, but we are on the wagon until pay-parade and the next missive will be full of it.

Once again I take up the pen and continue the screed. The suprise [sic] of taking on a really tough sergeant, who is getting away with murder, is only exceeded by the discovery the [sic] Jack Moloney can write. I must be very dear to the boys and can assure them that dear as I am in their minds I should be a damn sight dearer in a boozer. Mr Hunt will notice we have had a pay parade. To get back, the new N.C.O. is pretty grim and has a technique all his own. We get a route march and then foot-drill and by the time you get back from the march you’re to [sic] tired to make mistakes. Still, we’ll beat him if it takes the blood of half the squad, that's if he don’t [sic] get in first and have all our blood. This bloke’s a Geordie and in Civvy Street

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is a P.T. specialist on the Board of Education. What he can’t do, according to himself, isn’t worth doing but there is one thing we’d like him to do that nobody’s asked him yet. The first bloke that does ask him will get jankers for life. Always willing to admit reverses, half the mob are executing a strategic withdrawal. In other words we are working our loaves to get re-squaded, even if it means another fortnight in this haunt of iniquity. I heard from Bill Smith and he seems fond of getting sick leave, I suppose thats [sic] one of those low Army dodges and I couldn’t stoop so low, in fact I can hardly bend these days. Well, Bill, I shall shut up for this week. Remember me to the Guv’nor [sic] and his N.C. O’s, Rusty and the rest of the awkward squad. Hoping this find’s [sic] you as it leaves me, nearly broke with a mouth like a dirty birdcage.

Yours forever Pete.
P.S. Tell J.M. and C.S. now they’ve learnt to write they should practice hard and when I get back I’ll teach them something else. P



Peter Lamprey, “Letter from Peter Lamprey to W Gunton,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 16, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/6239.

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