[Received March 7, 1918]


No. 56 Training Squadron,

Royal Flying Corps.

London, Colney

February 14, 1918

Dear Mother and Father:

I have just 15 minutes to tell you that I have finished the required 20 hours solo and a successful flight on a real scout machine, and am recommended for my commission. I have done 21½ hours solo. This afternoon I took off a “Pup” (the Sopwith Pup). It is a very cloudy dark day and I could not go above 2000 feet, but she gave me the ride of my life. Oh Boy! how she will climb, and what a feather touch you have to have on the joy stick. You pull her back an inch and zip you plunge up at 40°; push her forward 2 inches and you jump out of the seat to the safety belt and plunge down at 110 miles per hour. And the way she takes the curves—your wings are nearly in the vertical all the time. It almost flies itself. Everything is perfectly balanced, but you have to keep your judgement and eye peeled when you land her.

Fred Stillman is getting along O.K. I am going to run immediately to catch a train to town. Frank Williams is going to take me to the Am. Off’s Club to hear Admiral Wyegmeiss (or whatever his name is—the 1st Sea Lord Royal Navy) speak.

I have received several letters, one from Mary, and newspaper. No trace of the other Xmas boxes and underwear. I will give you more clerical details in my next.



Parr’s Pilot’s Flying Log Book indicates he took up the Sopwith Pup with the serial number A6239 for about 55 minutes, doing “2 landings, Turns, spiral glides, engine regulation.” Since it was a single seater, there was not the option of trying out the plane with an instructor along for guidance:

The American Officers’ Club in the former residence of Lord Leconfield in Curzon Street, was organized in 1917 by Sir Henry (Harry) Ernest Brittain, a journalist and advocate of Anglo-American friendship.271

Admiral Sir Rosslyn Wemyss (1864–1933) had been appointed First Sea Lord (head of the Royal Navy) in December of 1917.272