[Received March 25, 1918]

Home Series #35.

London Colney

March 7, 1918

Dear Mary:

Your letter of January 3, #5 received and enjoyed. Also your muffler. I think it is a very nice one, nice and well knitted. Many thanks for it.

I suppose by now that you know of my visits to the Whitings and what a fine trip in the shipyards Mr. Whiting enabled me to have. It surely was fortunate for me that you were able to sic me on them. When I learn to throw a Pup about decently I am going to go down to West Ealing and try to put the wind up them. It’s good practice diving on chimney pots, etc. I found their house one day when I was in an Avro and dived at it twice. I did not see anyone appear at doors or windows and as I was dubious as to how they would take any foolishness and my gasoline was low I came away. I since learned that Mrs. Whiting and one daughter were in the garden and noticed an aeroplane swoop down twice as though it had some intent connected with their house. That is quite a joke on me because I thought I was doing a very thrilling dive and was afraid of scaring them; and to think they took it so calmly. I’ll try to do better next time.

I have not had a good flit since my trip north. I went up one thick day in an Avro just to try my hand, and was up the other morning in a Pup. I was not feeling up to scratch and did not have any confidence in the bus so did not do much but ordinary flying about. All the rest of the time the weather has been dud, wind and fog. Anyhow I made two landings without putting her on her nose.

Last Sunday afternoon it was storming so I took the motor bus down to Golders Green and paid a tea call on a cousin of Muriel Whiting, Mr. and Mrs. Geo A. Stonier. I had a very pleasant visit. From there I went into town and called up that young lady I met at Mrs. Smith’s dance. You may remember that I threatened to call on her and she seemed agreeable, but turned me off with a hospital excuse on my first attempt. Well this time she said it would not be worth my while to call because “Mother and she always went to bed just after dinner.” Well I am going to jolly well try her again until I get one visit anyway. She is probably engaged and thinks that that would make a difference to me. It seems that there is no such relationship with English girls now that is just a casual friendly acquaintance. There is nothing between the attention paid for physical pleasure on the one hand and marriage on the other. But perhaps I am all wrong as my experience is very meager.

What do you think of me running about with Frank. I think he is pretty fine, and hope to see him on my next visit to town. If the authorities had let Frank take Fred Stillman into his hospital I am sure Fred would have gotten alright.

Well! I got a letter from Helen. She has given me a letter to one of her friends in London, Miss Greville, who she thinks is one of the best. She also is engaged to a Canadian Officer. I am going to try to see her on my next leave.

Two of the American cadets who came here with me have finished on Spads and gone to the aerial gunnery school. And some of our detachment have gotten their commissions. So I am dragging behind, but we are getting along to something real now. Pretty soon I will have the pleasure of hearing and seeing hun machine gun fire.

Lots of love to you all,

As ever,


Parr visited Australian-born George Alfred Stonier and his wife. Stonier, before his retirement, had been chief inspector of mines in India. His wife, Ethel, had been born in Bengal, India, in 1881, to Walter Saise (“the father of Indian coal mining”) and Clara Saise (née Little), sister of Marian Ellen (Little) Whiting.309

Parr reports on his visit with Miss Greville in his letter of March 20, 1918. Helen Green (née Henderson) had visited England in the summer of 1914 and had perhaps at that time made the acquaintance of Miss Greville.310

here” may mean England, but more likely, London Colney. The two American cadets to whom Parr is referring were probably Rutledge Bermingham Barry and Thomas Cushman Nathan. The entry for February 12, 1918, (at London Colney) in War Birds includes the remark that “Nathan, Barry, [Lindley H.] DeGamo [sic; sc. DeGarmo] and Springs are all thru with Pups and Spads”; three days later: “Springs and Nathan and Barry are thru and went to Scotland at midnight last night to the machine gun school.”311 (DeGarmo, who had arrived at London Colney with Springs in January, died in a plane crash near Radlett February 16, 1918.)312

By this date at least twenty men of the second Oxford detachment had been commissioned first Lieutenants.313

Stillman died February 23, 1918. According to one obituary, “hope for his recovery was being entertained when he suddenly died of embolism.”314