Letter from Peter Lamprey to W Gunton



Letter from Peter Lamprey to W Gunton


Peter Lamprey writes about life during basic training at Blackpool. He mentions shooting, uniform, drill, social life, Morse code tests before complaining about all the time his training is taking before ‘getting behind his guns’. He concludes with friendly banter.





Six page handwritten letter with mismatched envelope.


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A.C.2. Lamprey.
2 Wing. D. Squadron.
c/o 84 Dickson Road.
[underlined] Blackpool. [/underlined]

Dear Bill.

I note with amazement, mingled with a certain amount of awe, that the true experiences of a struggling WOP/AG are regarded in a certain quarter with amusement. This is rank treason and I warn these, that they can go on the peg for it. If there is on thing you can’t do in the RAF, it’s laugh. You’re too tired. Bill Thornhill, to whom many thanks for letter, spoke of a certain variety of bird, in Blackpool one aperture is always engaged so the truth of his statement has to be proved to my satisfaction before I agree. I am also glad to see Mr. Evans is holding the fort nobly and well and beating off all attempts by Rusty to interfere. We fired our course over open ranges today. The N.C. O’s were very polite to us as we had 25 rounds of ball cartridge. They also disappeared after

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[underlined] 2. [/underlined]

giving orders to load, so the visit to the range was fruitless. The squad as a whole have benefitted by their 7 weeks training. When the uniforms were new they certainly looked just a crowd of untidy airman [sic]. They just look untidy now. We can fall in, in record time, into three ranks that take anything up to 20 minutes to get dressed and covered off and then march away at varying speeds and still get away with it. I believe the sergeant’s proud to have so many dumb clucks in one bunch and hopes to follow us in our careers to save being miserable. We have quite a number of unconcious [sic] comedians in the mob as well as some just plain unconcious [sic]. We have a march past the C.O. once a week in our wing and this is his weekly tonic and keeps him cheerful for the rest of the week. It would keep anyone else laughing for a month but you know these officers are hard to please. By the way, I never salute the wrong people now. I look into shop windows to save my arm and the officer embarrassment. One complaint I must make. Someone is evidently disturbed by the references to booze and barmaid’s [sic] but they can rest assured that I never visit the

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[underlined] 3 [/underlined]

hotels before opening time or after 10.0 [sic] at night and after all barmaids have their feelings. Some of them feel quite nice. One married one talking of her wedding day said her mind was a blank all the time and all she remembered was the throbbing of the organ and the coming of the bride. This billet we are in now should be used, by rights, by a cavalry regiment. The horses would feel more at home and if the committee that sat for an inquiry into why I was moved, like to visit me, I can get another ten chaps to jump on them as well. However I still go round to my old billet for super now and again and the old lady knows a bit of skirt I met dancing so its [sic] very handy. I only dance once a week as it is likely to interfere with my career or something. I should hope, sorry; think, some of the other boys will be getting their papers soon and then won’t I laugh, all my sufferings will not have been in vain and the sacrifices will have been justified, especially if they come up here. I warn them that we are so tough after this training that our last inoculation, two days ago, was given with a pneumatic drill to get it in. In passing I might mention that I have got by on my third morse test and

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seem to be getting ahead as per schedule. I know you are away from all the rigours of war but I must bring it to your notice now and again by mentioning little things like that after the last reserved occupation list we are having some doubts as to whether this is a reserved trade as I dont [sic] want to lose this job, its [sic] regular, clean and very well paid, £1 a day, once a fortnight. I have not found Harry Lentle yet and only hope he has not got lost in the deserts of this outpost of civilization as there are terrible dangers for inexperienced youths. The guiding pressure of an old hand on his shoulder should at least help him to spend some of the money he fetched along. Every now and then wild rumours circulate up here, first the course is being shortened, wild cheers, then its [sic] being extended, deep gloom, then somebody says they dont [sic] know anything and he’s about the only one you can trust. I could easily get a weekend pass but as it is only for 36 hours its [sic] not worth it, so I am gritting my teeth and hanging on until I get my leave when I finish my course. If the rest of the training takes as long as this is going to, Jerry’s got time to invade the U.S. before I get

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[underlined] 5 [/underlined].

behind my guns. This is a lousy dump for weather, when we are under cover it pours with rain and when we are due for drill it clears up wonderful. Not that rain interferes with our drill or anything like it, once we start drilling we take notice of nothing, thats [sic] one of the sergeants [sic] moans. If the others wish to do different to [deleted] my [/deleted] me, who am I to spoil their pleasure, we’re fighting for freedom. They have stopped all drilling on the promenade, the other amusement caterers made a complaint. Now we take the breath of humour into the back streets and brighten the lives of a few of the inhabitants. This place is filling up with visitors for the holiday and I think we may be able to have a good time. All we have to do is find a couple of visitors with a big capacity for enjoyment, plenty of cash and no morals. If they have the last two requirements I can enjoy myself enough for two. Since starting this short note and evening has intervened and we have made the acquaintance of a new bar-maid (sorry Mr. Hunt. Don’t buy a ticket this week) at our headquarters and she’s blonde, dumb

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and off Sunday night. I’ll have to put evensong off. And now to the business part of this screed.

[underlined] Rusty. [/underlined] Thanks for letter etc. Thank Dave and give him my regards. The wife and family are rubbing along nicely.

[underlined] Jack [/underlined] Thanks for letter. You’ll hear some more funny sayings when you get in, only you have to obey them with a click and not laugh.

Charlie and his ginger [underlined] cat [/underlined]
Dont [sic] despair you’ll learn to write if you try hard enough. You don’t need a box every time.

To All & [underlined] Sundry [/underlined]

Thanks for your wishes and I’ll try and get back despite them.

Remember me to everyone The Guv’nor, [sic] Engineers etc.

Best of luck.

P.S. Try and find out Harry Lentle’s address.

[underlined] P. [/underlined]

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[postage stamp]

Mr. W. Gunton.
Machine Room.
Waterlow and Sons Ltd.
Twyford Abbey Road.
Park Royal. N.W.10.

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Reverse of envelope



Peter Lamprey, “Letter from Peter Lamprey to W Gunton,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 15, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/6605.

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