[Received December 18, 1917]

Northolt Aerodrome

November 30, 1917

Dear Mother:

I have just written you a long discourse on my opinion of Englishmen and I have been obliged to destroy it because it was more and more uncomplimentary and I do not think it should be expressed because perhaps they are not as bad off as I think at present. Then too—I am not a qualified judge of human nature, and I am not sufficiently or widely enough acquainted with them to judge.

Judge not that ye be not judged. I am very glad that we went to the machine gun school at Grantham because Captain Hibbard and the courses there were something very fine. The captain had been out in France at the beginning of the war and had gotten straffed. All the men I come in contact with that are much good are in the captain’s category, or are colonials. England has been bled white of her men, especially her good ones. I will always be proud that we have England as an ally because of the glorious way the “thin red line” held back the first rush of the Huns, and because of the mighty part she has taken in the war so far—her armies, her aerial forces, and her tanks. [censored]

Today was a “washout” for flying. Too windy. I wasted it away in some classes and hanging about the hangars. Got up for 5 minutes at 4:30 this P.M. but it was too “bumpy” to learn anything.



straffed was apparently a standard contemporary spelling for “strafed.”166

The thin red line was a phrase current at least since 1854 when, during the Crimean War, the (red-coated) Sunderland Highlanders formed a line two men deep and held off the charge of Russian Cavalry at the Battle of Balaclava.167 Parr is presumably thinking of the British defense of and retreat from Mons in August 1914 and the prelude to the First Battle of the Marne.

censored: Approximately 2 vertical inches, perhaps 8 lines, of text have been cut away.