[Received January 2, 1918]


Royal Flying Corps,



December 15, 1917

Dear Father:

I have received your letter #18 and Mother’s #19. I am recording them now and will be able to check up any gaps. Also received the watch O.K. Very glad to get it. I have just thought of a point in regard to my boxes that perhaps I should tell you. You all were put to a lot of trouble by splitting it up into 3 boxes. It was unnecessary. I am not a private soldier in the expeditionary force. I am in the position of an officer on my own hook and can receive anything you send in any amount just as you could send something to a private citizen of the British Isles. Send everything to Brown Shipley & Co., 123 Pall Mall, London as I explained to you in my #13 letter. This instruction holds until further notice no matter where you may think I am, and holds especially when I am in France. I note your instructions about writing on one side of paper only. I did that when I first was here, but then I got the idea that the censor was not cutting my letters so stopped it. A few of your letters to me have been opened by censor but the contents were unaltered. I am very anxious to know if you receive the photographs. I suppose you will be surprised to find that there are no pictures of myself. I am always going to get someone to snap me, but so far have never had the heart to actually have it done. But I will. I have taken some pretty good ones of things about this aerodrome. I have developed them myself but have trouble getting the printing done. The shops are not allowed to print any pictures of aeroplanes etc.

It seems funny to write and have so much time elapse before the reply is received. These two letters I have just gotten are in reply to one I wrote before we left Oxford. You are wondering whether I am in France or not. Of course by now you know about my stay at Grantham. However perhaps I had better imagine and guess a lot about my future and tell you it. I think I will be in training here until some time in March and then go to France. You can probably judge how I will be connected there from the general news that will be in the papers. I am going to be trained on scout machines. If the U.S. Aviation Section have our own squadrons working at the front by then I will probably go to one of them. I will be in France perhaps a month before I go out over the Hun lines for real business. If the U. S. does not have several squadrons I may be attached to a R. F. C. Squadron.

I was very glad to hear about Knud’s invitation to a Thanksgiving dinner, The Friday Club, Jimmy, etc. I suppose you told them all about our new islands yesterday.

Nancy will in all probability meet Mrs. Green because Helen is up to her ears in all sorts of work for the new arrivals at Petersburg. She is president of the Travelers Club which gets them all located and is the leading light of several other things. That leading light idea is from my own judgment and ability to read between her lines. I should think Harriet would want to go to Camp near or with her new husband.

I have not done anything since I came back from London Thursday night. I have not been posted yet as there was some hitch about a signature missing from my papers. They are all in now and I will probably be posted to another training squadron Monday. Now the real sport is coming. I will get some dual controlled instructional work in a real flying machine, and be taught most of the aerial acrobatics. Vertical banks, rolls, spinning dives, loops, stalls, the falling leaf, Immelman turns, and aerial target practice. I will tell you just what those various stunts are in detail as I try to do them. I think I will get along fair. You remember my analytical doubt about my qualifications to loop. Well it is done much slower than the kip on the horizontal bar and is reputed to be much the easiest stunt. The beginners all say it is so simple there is nothing to it.

I spent most of yesterday looking at some of the best types of machines here and letting their structural characteristics and features soak into me. I have not seen the latest scout. It is called the Sopwith Dolphin and is supposed to be a wonder. I hope I can draw a good type when I go to France. Of course they are all good but some are better.



The Baltimore “Blue Book” for 1920 lists officers for The Friday Club on p. 359; it is otherwise obscure.188

The reference to “our new islands,” is puzzling. Parr seems to be assuming that his father was reporting on same at the December 14, 1917, meeting of the Friday Club. Possibly this is a reference to the Danish West Indies (now the Virgin Islands) which the U.S. acquired in early 1917.

Camp Lee, near Petersburg, Virginia, was a gathering and training point for troops going overseas starting in 1917. Mrs. Green was mother-in-law to Helen Green (mentioned in Parr’s letter of November 16, 1917, from Grantham). Nancy and Harriet are unidentified.