Saturday, March 19, 2011

The J.T. Fairall WWI Letters: (6) December 13, 1917

One of the planes flown in WWI
In his sixth letter home to his mother, Jack covers two topics: flying and food.

For the past ten days, Jack and others have been training in "scout machines" which presumably were for reconnaissance missions.  If someone wasn't fit for flying the scouts, they'd instead fly bombing machines.  Jack shows an obvious preference for the faster scout machine, which is what he ended up flying throughout the war.

The dominant topic of his letter was about food, though!  He eats well and there is a variety of hot food, though this shouldn't be a surprise since he wasn't that close to the war front yet.  I personally take an interest in Jack's use of the words dinner and supper.  Many people, like myself, use the two words interchangeably.  But often in other cultures, dinner is a late afternoon meal while supper is a late evening meal.  The latter perspective is how Jack views these meals.  Also, he mentions Karo syrup which I've never heard of before, but their web site shows they have a wide presence in the U.S. today and have been around 1902.

On a side note, Jack may have written this letter in a hurry, due to some spelling mistakes and missing or repetitive words.  That is generally not the norm for his letters.  Perhaps training was taking up more of his time.  He also was getting anxious to receive more mail from his family, as he wasn't really getting any letters at the time.


My Dear Mother

No mail but still have hopes.  We have been here since 12/3 and have started our training for the scout machines which are the fastest machines.  If we break a machine we will be sent to another field and put on a bombing machine which is much slower.  Of course we don't care for this although there have been quite a number apply for these machines of their own accord.

This camp is much more comfortable than other that we have been to.  We have very warm barrack heated by the large coal heater which do except when some fresh air friend opens the windows.  Our food is very good.  We had turkey one day since our arrival this doesn't happen often but every day it is good.  For breakfast we have oatmeal with milk and sugar or molasses which goes very good try it some time.  Don't put any milk on the oats but use a little Karo syrup.  We always have bacon or some other meat and coffee along with this.  For dinner we potatoes and tomatoes or beans also coffee and meat.  I forgot mention that we quite frequently have hot biscuits or hot cakes for breakfast.  Supper is usually about the same as dinner.  From the above you can see that I am far from starvation.  I am really in fine health.  I haven't ever had a cold this winter, which is out of the ordinary.

The next time you write I wish you would tell me weather Raynor has ever sold the oboe and the amount so I can send the balance to him.  I would like get that matter out of the way.  Tell Peck* I would like to hear from him also.

For this time I am
Your affect. son

John T. Fairall
American Exp. Forces
American Air Service
Via B M C

*Peck is the nickname of Jack's younger brother Milton Lee Fairall.

Page 1
Page 2

Page 3

No comments:

Post a Comment