[Received April 16, 1918]


Turnberry Hotel

Ayrshire Scotland

March 25, 1918

Dear Mother and Father:

I just want to pass a few remarks about the immediate past. In a couple of days I will be in the flying classes and if it is windy I hope to get a chance to tell the back dope.

Last night we put the clock ahead one hour. It really is a great idea. Herb and Frank and I joke a lot about it whenever we consider the time but as a matter of fact we have gained one hour of time, and one hour of daylight each day, without any mixup or loss.

Today the wind was N.W. and blew the mist away from the land on the opposite side of the Firth of Clyde. The Isle of Arran with its rugged peaks became very plain and we could see the long peninsula west and south of it also. The old sentinel Ailsa Craig which stands 12 miles S.W. was very plain. It is a small island that rises in the form of a rocky peak 1040 feet out of the Firth. Today we could see the details of the ravines and cliffs, and bluffs on Ailsa and Arran, and Frank and I have been raving about coming back here after the war and cruising about this coast for a summer with an auxiliary sloop. I suppose Lake Champlain and lots of places in the States are just as pretty, but somehow this seems to have the stronger appeal. It seems so different, its people and associations are so different and (as I know really so little about its history I will say) I imagine its past glory and romance is of the kind that appeals strongly to me. I know the Vikings sallied forth from away across the North sea, but this shore looks like a fitting place for such a race.


Of course this high school stuff does not count for much. A fellow may be a shark here and get potted by the first Hun that gets at him in France, but just to ease your mind with the idea that, so far, I seem to be going to be able to take care of myself, I will tell you that I have been pointing the old gun pretty well. I made one perfect score on the 100 yd range with the model flying right angles to my line of sight, and the staff sargent seemed to think it was quite exceptional, saying that very few had ever been made. That was twenty shots all in the bull’s eye. Since then I have put all twenty in the bull’s eye twice on the 50 yd. range when judging and allowing for the enemy machine approaching or retreating at different angles. I do not hear of any other perfect scores being made or having been made recently.

It is the old shop training coming in very handy. A straight eye and an idea of accuracy.

Well what do you think of the Huns’ big push, and the shelling of Paris. I have not taken time to read about it. But from the conversation that is going around he is doing something. I think that the British will hold them and inflict greater losses on him than they get on themselves even though they do give up ground; and the bigger showing the Boche make now the sooner will we realize the size and length of our job and the sooner we will strike our stride.

Yesterday they unexpectedly sent a bunch of the English fellows from here overseas. Some friends of mine who have not yet finished all the training.

Yes Fred Stillman did die. It was very sad because he was the best we brought over. He lingered for two weeks. I had my first experience at nursing with him. I stayed with him all the first night until he began to wonder if I was his death watch, and went to see him several times a day until his sisters and brother came.

I surely told you about first running across Frank Williams in the lobby of the Regent Palace, Hotel. It was in my letter to Mary B.

Your letter #47, March 10, received and enjoyed. Mine of Feb. 14 was #30. I don’t remember the name of our newspaper friend. Frank is a 1st lieut. Am anxiously awaiting 6 lbs. of sugar for Whitings. Many thanks and appreciation for sending it. Ruth and I knew Kenneth Elliott of Haddon Heights well. Knud is engaged to his sister-in-law’s younger sister. He wrote me a very enthusiastic letter about it. She is a Dane 22 years old, Bachelor of Arts, 110 lbs. pretty, athletic, etc. I am tickled.



censored: About 2 vertical inches, about 4 ½ lines of writing, have been cut from the page of this letter.

Martin Gilbert describes the opening of the Huns’ big push: “In the early hours of 21 March 1918, Ludendorff launched the offensive that was intended to bring victory to Germany’s forces on the Western Front. His objective was to drive the British from the Somme and the French from the Aisne, and to threaten Paris as it had been threatened in 1914.”318 In directing this “Spring Offensive” General Ludendorff hoped to take advantage of Russia’s defeat, which freed up German troops from the eastern front, and to seize the moment before America troops and supplies arrived in large numbers. By March 23, the Germans had advanced to a point about 70 miles from Paris where their long-range guns were able to bombard the French capital.

Frank Williams was commissioned a first lieutenant in the Medical Corps in August of 1917.319

The man Parr and Ruth knew was probably Hammitt Kenneth Elliott Jr., who lived for some time in Haddon Heights, joined the Signal Corps, and trained at the “Princeton Flying School” in the autumn of 1917. He was killed February 27, 1918, in a flying accident at Ellington Field, Houston. His funeral, with the escort of the Haddon Heights Home Guard, was announced in the Philadelphia Inquirer, where Parr’s parents may have read of it.320 Parr remarks having received a letter from “Ruth Morley (Haddon Heights)” in his letter of January 27; she is otherwise unidentified.

Knud Sehested’s financée was Paula Hennings. Paula’s sister Ebba had married Steen Sehested, Knud’s brother, in 1914.321