[Received February 15, 1918]

General Home series #24

Enclosed are 6 prints nos. 49, 50, 53, 60, 63, 66. Please acknowledge receipt in detail.

Royal Flying Corps,

London Colney, Herts.

[January 26, 1918]

Dear Mary B.:

It was a great treat to get your letter of Dec. 20th today. In answering it I will include the general home letter; so will begin by answering Mother’s letter of Jan. 2nd, #30, received Jan. 23rd. I have not received #25, 26, & 29 from home. The next time you all write can you give me a list of the numbers of my letters you have received. You speak of some by numbers and sometimes you just say that you received some. Did you ever receive Nos. 10 & 11, December 4th & 6th? At what date did you get my Christmas cable?

Mudge is a Yale man. I do not know where from. We have little mishaps every now and then, but they don’t cause much excitement. If you get some of the pictures I am going to send, you will see the leavings of a couple of crashes. Don’t get “the wind up” over them because I am not going to get hurt in any. Dud Mudge was on his first solo, at Northolt in a Rumptie. When he was gliding down over the shops and hangers to land another machine came a bit close in front of him. He tried to turn away but stalled his bus and took a nose dive into a sail maker’s shop. Going down he put on his engine. The nacelle, the enclosed body that contains the pilot and engine, went through the wall just below the eaves, and the rest of the machine crumpled up outside. Dud was a bit bewildered and climbed out of the bus while one of the sail makers turned his engine off. Dud found he had broken his arm. It occurred just at dusk. I was feeling a bit too sentimental about the wreckage to take a picture of it, but after supper I went back and took a flash light of the nose of the nacelle from the inside of the hut. You can see how it came in where a window was. The window frame was hanging on the nacelle as shown in the picture.

I have not worn my (your) knitted helmet yet. I believe they are used, but so far I have never been up when it is too cold for the leather fur-lined ones we are issued with. When I get to playing around up at 20,000 feet I may put it on underneath my leather one. The sweaters are the most useful things. Knit them very close and tight and small diameter with large opening for the head and neck to pass through. Socks are very serviceable for those who can wear woolen ones.

What makes you think I have not seen some of the big English cathedrals. You cannot beat the Grantham Cathedral, not to mention St. Paul’s, Westminister Abbey and the Cathedral here in St. Albans.

Much obliged for Miss Whiting’s address. I was in West Ealing a lot when at Northolt. We used to change cars there going to town. It is not far from here, 14 miles, and if we get any good weather clear enough to see things below I will fly down and if that Long Acre Garden is long enough I will practice forced landings in it. I think it is fine for you to be home most of the time but really you ought to take any opportunity like going to Dr. Finney’s hospital. You would not have to stay but about a year probably and it may open up a wonderful bit of life to you. My feet have been O.K. except for a spell at Grantham and one here about a week ago. Turkish toweling moccasins and large shoes solve the problem. Thanks for the tip about Ye Old Cheese and the Tate Gallery. I will take them up when I get to town.

I received a Christmas box from Mrs. Coleman. Her son “Dewey” was a chum at Columbus, and when I visited “Rox” Fleet we called on her. She sent some wonderful stuffed dates and home made cookies. Dewey is in France. I was up for 3/4 hour today. It was very cloudy so could not go up high. I practiced landings. Hope it is clear to-morrow. Will mail this and write a letter next time. Enclosed is a list of my photos.

As ever,


Parr did not date this letter; “Jany 26, ‘18” has been supplied by another hand. His numbering of the letters makes clear where it fits into the sequence.

According to Parr’s Pilot’s Flying Log Book, Mudge’s “mishap” occurred on December 5, 1917. Parr’s mother presumably inquired about Mudge in her letter of January 2, 1918, in response to Parr’s of December 13, 1917, in which he mentioned visiting Mudge in hospital. Parr took a photo of the crash (5.15), as did John Chadbourn Rorison (photo 12 in Peter Doyle, Jr.’s “War Birds Pictorial”). Mudge’s mishap is described in the entry of January 14, 1918, in War Birds, with slightly different details.

In his letter of January 31, 1918, below, Parr recounts his first visit with Miss Whiting and her family.

Dr. Finney was the eminent Baltimore surgeon John Miller Turpin Finney. Although mainly associated with Johns Hopkins, Finney also played an important role in the development of Baltimore’s Union Protestant Infirmary (renamed Union Memorial Hospital), where Mary Hooper trained as a nurse; his signature is on her diploma.234 In 1917 Finney was appointed director of Base Hospital 18, which was organized and staffed by Hopkins personnel and which by the end of July of that year was functioning in Bazoilles-sur-Meuse in the Vosges region of France.235 This is presumably the hospital that Parr was recommending to his sister.

DeWitt Coleman, Jr., graduated with Parr and Rox Fleet from the Ohio State University ground school on August 25, 1917.236 Fleet and Coleman grew up in New Jersey, in neighboring Dumont and Tenafly, respectively.237 In a letter written to his mother on September 10, 1917, Parr recounted an enjoyable recent visit to the Fleets in New Jersey, accompanied by his Ohio State University ground school squadron mate, Clarence Bernard “Mac” Maloney

Parr’s list identifies the subjects of most of the photos he took through mid-January 1918.238