[Received May 1, 1918]


Carleton House,


April 13, 1918.

Dear Mother and Father:

I thought I had written you more recently than April 7th, but if so have forgotten what I said.

This week has been rather uneventful. The flying has been rather informal. We have gone up about as we liked when we could get a bus to ride in. My Spad has been a bit balky on starting, but have had several more good rides in it. The weather has been very thick and hedge hopping usually was the order of the day. Thursday I took up my first passenger. I was starting off in an Avro. The mechanic, a very young (and foolish) chap asked me to take him up. He strapped himself in the front seat and away we went. I say “foolish” because a fellow with a good safe ground job should never trust his neck with a novice like me. It was very hazy and we had to stay close to the ground. I guess he thought I gave him a rather tame ride as he looked pretty cool and unperturbed all the time. It seemed awfully funny to fly a Avro with a load of two people in it after buzzing around in a Spad. She loops so slowly you think you are on a worn out ferris wheel, and you feel like you wanted to do something like smoke a cigarette or bat flies off the wall to pass the time away while she is turning over and sliding out of a half roll. A spin felt like we had anchored our tail to a parachute.

You remember saying that I needed a nurse to tell me when to come home after I told you about my getting lost on the Rumptie ride. Well I nearly got lost again yesterday. I went out to practice flying in the fog. Thought maybe I could develop a good sense of direction by exercising it. It is some sport flitting about in the darkness of fog without any instruments. One of our fellows humorously remarked about my adopted bus “That is the kind of a machine I like, because it has nothing in it to worry about. It has no stagger, no dihedral, no inherent stability, no air speed indicator, no engine temperature indicator, no radiator shutters, no altimeter, and no compass, but it’s got the gliding angle of a brick, and therefore is as much fun to fly as a shingle.”

The great Capt. McCudden V.C., M.C., D.S.O. etc. ad infinitum has just been stationed here as assistant C.O. He has given us a couple of lectures. He is a very decent chap. He tries to get us very bloodthirsty and conveys the idea that it is the easiest thing going to get a string of 50 or so Huns. I would love to hear Baron Von Ristoffen (or what ever the Hun ace’s name is) talk to the Hun pupils.

I received Margaret’s box today. It surely is a prize, stuffed dates, stuffed prunes, raisins, figs, and walnuts rolled up in candy. It surely must have been some job to put up. I received your Christmas box with the Christmas cakes in it very soon after you sent it. I surely remember telling about it when I told about receiving all those Christmas letters. Were you all really joking with me about that left hand cuff button? I thought you asked in earnest, everybody laugh. I think I told you about receiving Mr. King’s letter, probably you had not received that news before writing the last I received from you, No. 51. I also answered it. I have two pictures of Jimmy. One where he is sitting on a table, and one where he is wrapped around the arm of a chair grinning at something on the floor below. I am looking for a picture of the final model for Mr. Miller’s monument. And if you can get ahold of that other dozen pencils send them along; you remember those Dixon’s Secretary No. 3 759.

My face is practically like it was. I have a ridge in my right cheek bone, a dark place under my right eye, and a slightly crooked and flattened nose. The inside of my nose is still slightly obstructed, and I have to breath through my mouth at night and sometimes during the day. But in reality you would never notice any difference. There is not anything to say about Fred. He collided in the air, got burned, and left us two weeks after.

I am sorry you have not received my allotment. I will try to do something about it when I go to London.

Glad to hear that Mrs. Bates is well again. Remember me to her, please.

I have been playing with the camera lately. I am not at all pleased with my results, but hope to be able to improve. I am enclosing prints

I bought a dozen postal cards in Edinburgh but have never sent them off. Tell Mary B that the only way to see Scotland is from the office of a Spad. I have not gotten to Glasgow yet. I wrote Charley Piggot today.



Among the entries for April 12 in Parr’s Pilot’s Flying Log Book is one indicating he flew Avro 4408 for 45 minutes with “Boy McLoed [sic]” (otherwise unidentified) as a passenger and did “stunts” at the Ayr aerodrome. April 12 was Friday, so Parr appears to be misremembering the day of the week.

James McCudden (1895–1918) had joined the R.F.C. in 1913 as a mechanic, receiving his pilot’s licence in 1916, and establishing himself as one of the most skilled WWI aviators as well as one of the top aces; he received the Victoria Cross as well as the Distinguished Service Order in spring 1918, having already been awarded the Military Cross early the previous year. The English government initially refrained from glorifying individual aviators, in contrast to the German practice with its aces, but by early 1918 had reversed the practice, and McCudden’s name and achievements were well known.347 This may account for the nearly identical, slightly sardonic way he is initially described by Parr and in the entry for May 13, 1918, in War Birds (“The great McCudden, now Major McCudden V.C., D.S.O., M.C., E.T.C.”), although Parr’s subsequent account is generous; the War Birds entry for June 23 indicates that some felt McCudden did not help others to score victories.

Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richtofen, the German fighter pilot with the most victories of any World War I pilot, was shot down and killed a week after Parr wrote this, on April 21, 1918.

The entry for April 13, 1918, in War Birds concludes: “[Lynn Lemuel] Stratton got smashed up. He was in a Camel and his machine gun ran away so he crashed to keep from shooting another machine.”348