Letter from Peter Lamprey to W Gunton



Letter from Peter Lamprey to W Gunton


Peter Lamprey notes that he has only five weeks to go and then he should be off on his gunnery course or a wireless operator on the ground. He mentions some casualties and that a large number of Australian had arrived at the camp which might lead to trouble with Canadians and Scots at a dance at the Navy, Army and Air Force Institute on Saturday. He concludes with some general comments on life in the Royal Air Force.




Temporal Coverage




Envelope and six page handwritten letter


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Wilts [Wiltshire]
12.30 PM
6 Aug 41

[postage stamp]

Mr W Gunton.
Machine Room.
Waterlow and Sons. Ltd.
Twyford Rd
Park Royal.
London. N.W.10

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[RAF Crest]

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1384535. A.C.2 Lamprey
3 Wing. B. Sqdn. Hut Z31
RAF. Camp Yatesbury
Nr Calne. Wilts

[inserted] 2nd [/inserted]

[Underlined) Holiday Monday [/underlined]

Dear Bill and fellow workers.

Pausing for a moment in this joyous round of pleasure I take up the pen and send you my heartiest regards. That is if you are still able to read. I was only wondering if you had forgotten how to do both things. They are still delivering letters, postcards etc. on this camp. But not to me. Seems like your life of ease and plenty makes for forgetfulness of the sufferings of the youth of the country.

We have run up against the rarest of all phenomena, a human sergeant. We have succeeded in winning plenty of cash off him at solo and Allah be praised, he is a glutton for punishment and comes back for more. Our P.T under him is one round of do it if you like. I shall be glad

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when my light duty is finished so that I can cut myself a slice of the lovely grub he dishes up. Just my luck to get hurt when a break like this pancakes on the parade ground. The rest of our stay here should compensate for the blood spilt upon the various parade grounds we have ploughed up with our elfin feet.

The end of this period is definitely in sight, five more weeks and we should be packing our kits for another move. This should either be gunnery – I – oM [Isle of Man] or Scotland or W.O on a ground post for winter. I hope it is the former. They buried four boys out of the squad three weeks ahead of us on Friday. Roll on death. No wonder they tell you the slow march if the most essential part of foot-drill. We were on the parade, rifle duty party for the week and from the way the ambulance beat it for the hills this morning some-one else is on a 07.00 hrs parade on Friday again, he won’t be carrying a rifle.

They wheeled a bunch of Aussies into camp,

[inserted] 2. [/inserted]

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150 of them, over the weekend. At present they are nice and quiet, nice boys in fact, but I think the way things are moving the excitement will break out round about Friday when they, the big shots, give a get together dance in our NAAFI From what some of the Canadians and some of the Jocks are saying it should be a dance worth going to with a pair of knuckle-dusters This little chicken will not be there, I shall just content myself with cheering from the sidelines {sic]. If all goes as anticipated I should imagine they will rebuild the NAAFI and have a return when the next lot move in.

We are really bedded down in this camp now. When we do leave I can see some tears being shed. Tears of joy. They bullshit you from dawn to dark and when you are nicely settled in bed, sound a blasted alarm and turn out all rifle huts, just for practice. They worked that one Friday night, a b------ fine start for the week-end. But this week-end I shall get my nut [head] over the fence and leg it for home, pass

[inserted] 3 [/inserted]

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or no pass. My rib is pretty fair and the strapping comes off Wednesday and with a little judicious lying, hard as it may be, I shall collect a 2q5 and 36 hrs for myself. If I have to walk back this time I’m afraid I shall give up liking this job. I don’t mind the N.C. Os [sic] f----- me about but when civvies in cars start it, its [sic] about time they fought this war themselves.

Things still go on the same quiet way and only the wet weather has interfered with our evening entertainment. We have given up drinking NAAFI beer, Mr Hunt please note, as it was not doing us any good. Put too much water in your system. Y.M.C.A tea is our beverage now, its [sic] got a kick like an anti-tank rifle and scours your guts like a steel wool pull-through. Two cups of it and WAAFI would rather do anything than drink another, so we go and do it. It’s a great life if I’ve only got strength enough, to live long enough.

WAAFI is here for a long teleprinter [sic] course, she might not go so very far in the class but she goes further than most outside.

[inserted] 4 [/inserted]

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If J.M or C.S. hurry up and get in this racket there might be a few bits left but the way the boys are belting around it won’t be very big bits. They have rationed us to 20 fags per week for airman, 15 for WAAFs so I am preaching hard about the evil of girls smoking but as I mentioned in a previous letter she’s half dumb and her conversation always starts with “gimme”.

They say this place was a concentration camp in the last war, I don’t know why they stick the word “last” in. They regard all of us air-crew as half-wits. They make us show a pass to get in the blasted place and let you walk out without bothering. If you come in late they demand your pass, look at it and knock you off. If you haven’t one they tell you to get in the best way you can and leave you alone. I think they are right.

Well I can’t keep rambling on as duty beckons with her imperious finger. Don’t write if you have all got broken arms. If I have forgotten

[inserted] 5 [/inserted]

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Anything its only your handwriting. Keep your heads up and with luck some low flying pilot will knock ‘em off.

Remember me to everybody and I hope the “old girl” is back at work. Look after yourselves these dangerous days and put your trust in the boys in the RAF. You poor saps.

Give my regards to the Guv’nor [sic] and Co. Bert Smith and Fred Cooper. Be seeing you.

[underlined] Pete [/underlined]

P.S Is Rusty still alive?




Peter Lamprey, “Letter from Peter Lamprey to W Gunton,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 19, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/6578.

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