[Received April 17, 1918]


Turnberry, Scotland

March 22,1918

Dear Mother and Father:

Well, as has been the case for the last three letters I have a lot to write about but no time to write. They keep us very busy here all day and we have a big bunch of notes to write up at night. Also this bracing sea air and wonderful windy weather makes me want to pound my ears for 9 hours every night. And still some more—my roommates Tommy Herbert and Frank Read are getting so blooming congenial that when we get together here in the room to write we spend most of our time laughing and talking. So this life of “war de luxe” is not conducive to letter writing.

This afternoon I had a fine trip. We were given the afternoon for holiday. Frank and Tommy had resolved to stay home and write notes. I wanted to go to Ayr to get measured for a suit, so I piked off on the train immediately after lunch. Here at the Aerial Gunnery School we have all the scout and Bristol fighter pilots for two weeks in their training so I ran across a lot of old friends. Ritter is just finishing up here now, and my old Oxford swimming mate Scotie Henderson is here now also. He and I went into Ayr together.

Ayr is about 15 miles up the coast from here. The railroad follows the coast very closely. It is a most picturesque ride. There are several ruins of old castles on bluff points, and valleys and coves, and beaches. The hills rise right from the rocky shore, and are being tilled with great diligence. At one place a high ridge hill runs out to the water terminating in a high bluff point known as the Heads of Ayr. To the north of this point the coast makes a big cove and the town of Ayr is at its northern point. From one point on the railroad south of the Heads of Ayr you can look north and on the right is the sea then the wonderful rocky bluff of the Heads of Ayr and then to the left of the bluff, seen over the ridge of the hill which makes the bluff, you can see the big cove with the city and its spires in the distance. The coloring was beautiful. Green hills with brown plowed fields, hedges, purple mist around the rocks and the sheen of the sun on the water.

Coming home was a real treat. The sun was just getting low when I started, and when I finished the ride, an hour later, it was in the horizon mist over Ireland. So I got all stages of sunset combined with the changing foreground of the hills and coast as the train meandered on.

I had a very successful visit in the town. Scotie and I did all our shopping and I got measured for a new uniform. I also met several of our fellows, who have finished the fighting school at Ayr, that I have not seen since we were at Grantham. Scotie took a 3:45 train to another town, and I took a walk around the byways of Ayr.

It is a very quaint old town. Lots of stone houses with the floor lower than the street, and thatch roofs. I strolled down to the docks. Saw some very interesting ships, cranes, coaling arrangements, and even found a little steel ship building yard.

The course here is very well arranged, and the lectures and practices are very fine. We spend about 7 hours a day on the machine gun range. We have about 3 men using one gun and keep it pretty busy. The guns are arranged in aeroplane fuselages which are pivoted on a ball and socket joint. The regular aeroplane controls are all rigged to balance and point this fuselage just as though you were flying the bus in the air. We practice correcting gun stoppages and sighting on model aeroplanes set at various angles.

But the best part of this place is the life in a swell hotel. Wonderful air, view, baths, beds, sheets, food, service, and every thing that makes life pleasant.

Tonight the clock gets put forward an hour to start its summer day light saving career so I have to call this off. Tomorrow is Sunday but it is going to be like a regular working day for us.

I received a fine letter from Mary B.

Good night for now. I will finish this letter someday.



See letter of October 7, 1917, on swimming in the Thames at Oxford with three others, including a Scotsman. Scotie Henderson is probably Ian Henry David Henderson, son of Sir David Henderson; Henderson had flown with No. 56 Squadron in France through early August 1917 when he returned to England for a staff job; he was posted to Ayr in early March 1918.