[Received May 28, 1918]



May 4, 1918

Dear Mother and Father:

Well! I said Turnberry was war deluxe, so I am lacking a term for this because it goes Turnberry one better. We are living in a reconstructed old castle on the south coast. The tapestries, floor coverings, and most of the furniture have been removed but the old grandeur of the halls, rooms, wood work, fireplaces, doors etc., still remains. And there is a large pool room with two fine tables and the whole outfit.

The grate coal fires are all lighted and the modern bath rooms with hot and cold water are in operation. The food is perfectly fine.

Today I had my first try at really doing something directly towards finishing “The Great War.” (Laughter). Heretofore everything has been to get me ready, going to school. Now I have gotten a job and have done something. I feel like a producer again.

I landed in London this morning and went away to an airdrome and got a bran’ new bus and flew it down here. Tomorrow I expect to take it across. I may do this for a while.

This evening’s was the most uneventful eventful flip I ever had. I will explain. Some of us have had pretty bad luck at this ferrying game. I have flown the first cousin to this bus only 5 3/4 hours, and I hope and expect to go after Fritz in it; so it is more or less up to me to utilize as much of my time in her to teach me to really fly it. What I mean is that I should stunt and chuck her about every chance I get. Well you should have seen me coming here. The most thrilling thing I did was to put her gently into about a 20° bank. It was all over entirely strange country and I kept my eyes absolutely glued on the landmarks and kept her doing nothing but getting there all the way. I was a bit over determined to make my first delivery a success. In all except the experience and knowledge of flying that I got from it, it was.

Now I will answer Father’s #55. My letter #21 which you say you did not get was about my visit to the Sopwith Factory. Perhaps I said so much about the girls there that the censor stopped it. It was also a treatise on my flying and my leave in London. No. 23 which you say you did not get was the short one written (unnumbered) from the Peahen at St. Albans, about my first loops and Immelmans, and going to meet the lt. of the 53rd Queens Reg. I believe you all received that one.

W.A.A.C.s pronounced wacks means Womens Auxiliary Army Corps. They are enlisted girls and women who do all the female work and clerk and drive cars. I thought surely you would have read all about them in the magazines. Ruth wants to come over here and be one. Turnberry is the point 5 miles north of Girvan, 2 miles south of Culzean Castle. I would like to send you a harmless map of Scotland, but it might not look right. Very likely you can get one and follow my wanderings on it. The Firth of Clyde you cannot miss on a little geography map of the Isles. It is the big bay between the Clyde and the north channel. For example Chesapeake Bay is the “Firth of Susquehanna.” It is 15 and 25 miles across at Turnberry. No we did not call on Anna Grafflin when we flew to Oxford. We did not leave the aerodrome.

When I was at headquarters today I inquired about my $20 allotment for Jan., Feb. and March. None of them for any of the fellows have been delivered. But they say they will in about 6 months time. I had it stopped from April on, because as Pop Horner used to say “One of us ought to have it.”

In my last letter from Ayr I believe I forgot to tell you about delivering a birthday present to Miss Alison McIntyre. I bought her a toy mechanical anti-aircraft gun. Added some foolish sentiment on the ammunition and flew low over the lawn and dropped it out. I have since learned that they were all very tickled. Frank Read gave me the tip to do it.

Well now I will go back to Loch Lomond and take up the thread there. The morning after I wrote, Wednesday, I went across the lake to climb Lomond. It was quite windy and the lake was pretty rough for our boat with its five people. I sat on the stern and gunwales and the waves splashed up my back. However I was pretty well protected by my trench coat. A captain and his wife were the other passengers. They went up the Ben with me for about a mile and then dropped out. The climbing was pretty hard and the topography was wild enough to keep one interested and wondering whether or not you were going the best way. I was carrying a kit bag full up with all the clothes and junk I was on leave with, my lunch and a lined trench coat. I soon got pretty warm, shedded the trench coat and got it all more or less packed on my back. After going a little farther the wind became very strong and a good snow storm set in. I had to unpack and don the coat again. I stopped and took in the scenery from all the points of advantage. The breaks in the clouds let you see the valleys and lakes below, but the tops of all the mountains were covered by storm. I eventually scrambled to the top before I was snowed under or blown off. I could see all of Loch Lomond, a good part of Loch Katrine, and part of Loch Long, and several lesser lakes. Coming down the south side was very easy but took some time. I laid down in the lea of rocks and banks and ate my sandwiches in several places. When I got down to the Inn at 5 P.M. I got a real nice tea. Two eggs, bread and butter, unrationed and a strange event, toast, crackers, scones, and short bread and orange marmalade. Then I took the boat back to Balloch and returned to Glasgow. The next morning, May 2nd, I spent in the art gallery and museum of the university. They have a very fine collection of ships models there. In the afternoon I went to see Mr. Weir, a gentlemen I had met at Sorn. He was very glad I looked him up and took me out to the cathedral. Then we happened to meet Wilford Henderson (about 32 yrs.) a son of one of the firm of A. & W. Henderson ship builders. He took us down to his yard and showed us all through. They are a very old and important firm and had a most interesting model room. They built a great many famous yachts, also several steamers for McClay McIntyre. I went home to tea with Mr. Weir and had a pleasant visit with him and his wife. That evening I took the Kidston sisters to the theater. It was a very good show and we all enjoyed it. The next morning I got my telegram to report to Headquarters. I returned to Ayr and left that night for London, arriving there at 9 this A.M. No sleepers.

So I guess that is all the dope to date so I will turn in. Herb and Frank are still at Ayr but I hope they will join me soon. It would be great if we could be in the same flight when we start scrapping.



Parr has written this letter on R.F.C. stationery, similar to that he used at Ruislip and Ayr. He has written “censored” at the top of the first page and apparently has himself torn off the upper left and right corners which presumably contained address details. As Parr records in his Pilot’s Flying Log Book, he was at Lympne, a village near Folkstone in Kent on the south coast of England. An air field had been built there towards the beginning of the war, and the area was used by the R.F.C./R.A.F. in various ways throughout the war, including as a collection and take off point for planes being ferried across the Channel to France. Lympne Castle, most of which dates from the fourteenth century, but whose origins go back to the twelfth century, long served as the country residence of the archdeacons of Canterbury. In the nineteenth century the castle suffered from considerable neglect, but in 1905 a new owner commissioned the Scottish architect Robert Lorimer to restore it. At some point it changed hands again and was in 1918 “now owned by Mr. Beecham of Beecham’s Pills.”382 The castle was apparently initially used as an officers’ mess, but clearly by the time Parr writes, they were also being quartered there.383

Parr describes his bran’ new bus in his Pilot’s Flying Log Book as a “Viper SE C 6406.” This was an S.E.5a, apparently fitted with a Wolseley Viper engine, probably 200 hp. The first cousin to this bus on which Parr had had just under six hours flying experience was also the S.E.5a, perhaps with a 150 hp engine. His Pilot’s Flying Log Book indicates he had flown S.E.[5a] B660, S.E.[5a] [D]3457, and S.E.[5a] [D]3433.384

In a letter dated July 15, 1917, from ground school in Ohio to his father, Parr mentions writing to Pop Horner “my pipe fitting mate at the ship yard,” and in a later letter notes receipt of a letter from same, who is vacationing with his family in Rehoboth, Delaware.385 It is likely that this was John Franklin Horner, born in Rockville, Maryland, in 1878, who was employed as a pipe fitter at New York Ship.386

See Parr’s letter of April 21, 1917, regarding meeting a Mr. Weir at Sorn Castle.

Parr probably met Wilfred (Parr has written “Wilford”) Alexander Henderson, grandson of William Henderson, one of the founders of D. & W. Henderson (Parr has, as in his previous letter, written “A. & W.”).387 As an aside, I note that David Henderson, the son of the other founder, (also) David Henderson, was “the first commander of the Royal Flying Corps in the field and was instrumental in establishing the Royal Air Force as an independent service.”388

On this day Clarence Horne Fry, who had been Parr’s classmate at ground school at Ohio State University and whom Parr described as “the typical story-book Southerner” when writing on September 26, 1917, died in a flying accident at London Colney.389