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  • This letter was sent to my father when his brother was training in USA

    LAC (Leading Air Cadet) M.A. Goldstein (RAF)
    Hut R 10, Pat W.5, Squad 52
    Naval Air Station
    Virginia, USA

    7 a.m. 27/11/41

    Dear Tully and Eve,
    After getting up at 5 A.M. & waking all the others for the flight at 6.30 A.M., only 10 were allowed up, so I and another chap had to wait behind. It was a great disappointment, as all my previous trips have been for only 2 hours without much need for navigation, whereas today was a long spell which would allow us plenty of practice. Never mind, there will be many more opportunities. At least I have caught up with my post and answered everybody and can give you a turn. I now write to Simon Clayton, Lew Levine, and our cousins in Philadelphia so I am kept quite busy.

    I have now been here for three weeks whereas I only expected to stay only a few days, & I expect to move any day now – down south. We have had a very busy time here and little discipline. Usually we start at 8 A.M. and have some Morse and Semaphore for nearly an hour. Then a lecture til 10 A.M. - & if there is nothing special on the programme we read and write, and drift off to dinner at 11 A.M. We report back to the Squadron at 1 P.M. and if there are no flights we stop in the Ready (Waiting) Room and pass the time reading and studying Air Force manuals, ships and plane, and systems of navigation, & anything that we can pick up that may be useful. If there is nothing definite in the programme we ‘secure’ (pack up) at 3 P.M. & go back to the barracks.

    Of course if we are scheduled to fly we have to report any time – e.g. this morning 10 men were off at 6.30, another 10 to 16 will go up at 8 A.M., and the rest of us soon afterwards if there is room on any planes. Now & then we have Star Classes in the evenings, but they are rare.

    Actually we are just waiting until the advanced bases down south (Bermuda, Cuba or Florida) are ready for us. Then we shall have long patrols out from 6 to 10 hours per day, until the end of January or early February, & finally return to England.

    In the meantime we get about and visit as many places as possible – New York, Washington, Richmond & neighbouring small towns, & I have been to Philadelphia, where I spent a grand weekend meeting all our cousins & their families & being shown all over the town & countryside. They made me very welcome & I felt at home, Luis Clapton came down from Trenton about 30 miles away & enjoyed himself too. Now I am waiting to get another weekend off to tour New York under his guidance. About 20 of the others have been there & had a wonderful time in the city of skyscrapers.

    I have made several contacts with people as it is so easy. They are very hospitable and go to any length to please us, sometimes quite embarrassing us. Virginia is still a Southern State but the climate is more like England, being cold in the mornings & bright during the day, though we are further south down here than you are in London.

    It is 5 months since I left home, the longest absence in my life. For a while, about 2 months ago, we were homesick, but now it has all worn off, & we are more or less resigned to our fate, counting the weeks , & waiting for February to arrive.

    This Sunday I will go out for the day unless I decide to hitch-hike to Washington on Saturday, & if I am still here the week after I will see New York.

    Later: We have just had a talk on the procedure for abandoning aircraft in case of forced landing, & this afternoon we shall have a full dress rehearsal on the water, & take to a rubber life-raft. I hope it keeps afloat and steady.

    I am wondering where I will spend Christmas as we shall probably have a holiday. If I am still here I will go to Philadelphia as they (our cousins) want to see me again, & I have had invitations to stay at several homes.

    An airman’s job consists largely of waiting – for the next trip – which may be at any time, anywhere – though none of us have been night flying yet. I have only flown 8 hours in 3 weeks, which is really only a day’s work for an observer. We are fed up with lectures, revisions etc. & continual disappointments, & I have had my share. I nearly went on a trip to Bermuda last Saturday, but the plane had to travel light.

    At any rate I am seeing more of America – some of the big cities - & find life here more interesting than down south.

    Hoping to hear from you soon, & to know that you received my photograph.

    Best regards from Archie
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