Letter from Peter Lamprey to W Gunton



Letter from Peter Lamprey to W Gunton


Peter Lamprey writes about basic and wireless operator/air gunner training in the form of a poem.





Four page handwritten letter


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1384535 A.C.2. Lamprey.
Signals Section.
H.Q. 14 Group. RAF.
[underlined] Scotland. [/underlined]

Dear Bill and those who wish me well
I have a sordid tale to tell
Of one who would – an airman be,
Who went and signed as W.OP/A.G.
Now when the fatal papers came
(the same to which he’d signed his name)
He left his home – and went to find,
If he was lame: or halt: or blind.
They tapped him there – they tapped him here
And said “it really does appear –
As if at last, we did not fail
To find the ultra – perfect male”
His final test seemed rather crude
And might to some – appear quite rude
For when he turned his head to cough,
They nearly tore the damn things off.
But finally then sent him forth
And posted him – somewhere up north.

[inserted] PTO. [/inserted]

[page break]

[underlined] 2. [/underlined]

Now in this town of great repute
They gave him such a lovely suit
With loads of other things to pack
And learn to carry on his back.
Then wheeled him out upon the square
And lined him up with special care
With heaps of others of his make
Who’d made the same futile mistake.
And there his troubles really start
A sergeant with a stony heart,
Made him drill and do P.T.
Until, as far as he could see,
A horse’s life was one long laze
Compared with how he spent his days.
From that – he started on his course,
And weeks and weeks he spent at Morse,
His sanity – he hardly kept
He sent the damn stuff as he slept.
And when he thought he’d learnt the lot
They sent him to another spot
And bashed the Morse at him again
Until he’d got it on his brain.

[inserted] Cont on [underlined] P.3 [/underlined] [/inserted]

[page break]

[underlined] 3. [/underlined]

At last they said “here starts the fun,
We’ll show you how to use a gun
And just what tricks, to bear in mind,
When Jerry’s coming up behind”.
He learnt each little lark he could,
And said he really understood;
To always try and [deleted] an [/deleted] be the first,
To get in with a [deleted] lo [/deleted] nice long burst
That stopped his dirty little games
And shot the blighter down in flames.
At last the day he did receive
Three tapes to sew upon his sleeve
And realized at last that he
Had passed out as a WO/P/AG
The big day [deleted] indecipherable letter [/deleted] came – to his elation
Off he flew on operation
Heeding not the months he’d spent
Off at last – at last content
So his tale must close at last
Rueing not his bitter past
Heedless of lifes [sic] bitter knocks
He came back in a wooden box.

What a life.

[page break]

Of course you don’t finish up in a wooden box but I couldn’t get “wiped him out of the back turret” to rhyme – still you get the idea. A fat lot you care, you haven’t signed as one.

Thank everyone for their wishes - their letters - their books. One of these days I’ll compose a poem in praise of the chapel – when I’ve saved enough to get properly drunk. Tell Charlie to use the other hand – there are fingerprints all over his last letter.

Best of luck
Three cheers
[underlined] Pete. [/underlined]

P.S. If Moloney ever thinks of writing I shan’t believe it – it would be miracle even if he could think.
[underlined] P. [/underlined]

P.P.S. Get Eddie Hunt to kiss Moloney for me, they’ll both die of poisoning.



Peter Lamprey, “Letter from Peter Lamprey to W Gunton,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 16, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/6530.

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