|« December 18, 1918||Images from Photo Section 2 »|
Yes I’m back at the squadron, returned last night after three days in Nancy where I had a really good time. Found a bunch of mail piled up here among them your letters of Oct. 24, 27, 29, 31, Nov. 1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 15 and 21. Some welcome and who said Friday the 13th wasn’t my lucky day? That’s the day I enlisted also the day on which I had my first crash in an aeroplane. But I came out of those things rather lucky, didn’t I? There isn’t any excitement here, except that we are all on our toes to get home. We are sure it is coming soon but not before the first of the year.
By the way, please pay my Masonic dues for 1919. I have a receipt for dues to Dec. 31st 1918, so am all paid up to the first of the year.
Had a letter from Steve Clark who told me how much Mrs. Clark had enjoyed some flowers sent her by you during her attack of “Flu.” Hope none of you have had the “Flu” as it sure is nasty.
All of our flying clothes have been furnished by the Government and we will have to turn them in before we leave. I have a $100.00 Leather Coat (reaches to my knees) with which I hate to part, but I guess I’ll have to. The other things are an ordinary denim combination (like overall union suit except for straps at the ankles and wrists and a tight collar), a fur-lined teddy bear with a big fur collar and electric heating wires ($85.00), a fur-lined, knee length coat with fur collar ($125.00), a fur-lined helmet and face mask for extra cold weather ($30.00), fur-lined boots to wear over my other shoes in cold weather ($25.00), big heavy fur and fur-lined gloves ($20.00), ordinary wool-lined one finger mittens ($10.00), goggles ($8.00) a sweater, brown, big and heavy ($7.00). Besides I have a special helmet with phone receivers built in, for my plane is equipped with a telephone between pilot and observer while most planes have only a speaking tube, which works pretty well, but the phones are better. My rubber hip boots are Govt property also. All this stuff must be turned in. I’d hate to have to pay for that $500.00 worth of stuff and it takes an awful lot of room to carry also. I also had a steel helmet and a gas mask to use when I went up to see the Artillery and Infantry. Always took the gas mask along in the plane, too, in case of forced landings at the lines.
So Bill is still up to his old tricks, coming home early when he shouldn’t.
Guess I won’t know the house when I get home, you’ll be so swell. I agree with Bill about the marble-topped table. (Hard on Huz & Bus tho)
I’m sorry to report that Lieut. French’s pup is no more. Poor little fellow was sick, so French took him to Paris to a Hospital where he died. He sure was a cute little pup.
Yes we travel rather fast 100 to 115 miles per hour, depending on our altitude. The higher the faster, due to lessened air resistance.
Have had lots of magazines lately, two Metro’s, a Red Book, Cosmo, 2 McClure’s and a Saturday Post, also many Cits. Thank you for sending them so regularly, I sure do enjoy them. The gum came O.K. Guess you’d better not send any more magazines for they probably won’t reach me. Please save them, then if I am stuck here I can let you know. Please keep up my subscription to the Cosmo.
I enjoyed the postals of the Fair very much. (Some crowd.)
That 1919 party at the Lake is sure coming off, according to present indications at least.
I’m glad the Christmas money came to Father O.K. I thot [sp] that would be the best way to handle the situation because since Aug. I haven’t had a chance to buy a thing that is decent. Even Nancy has no real good shops.
Your letters have all reached me too late to let me O.K. your suggestions but they are all just dandy and I can’t tell you how I appreciate all your trouble.
You probably haven’t seen anything in the papers about 104 because we haven’t tried to advertise but have just done our work in the best possible way under the conditions. We have been cited twice in orders and have an enviable reputation. The Group Commander told me not long ago that for the last few weeks of the scrap we were considered by the Chief of Air Service, 1st Army, to be the best and most constantly available squadron on the front.
Am trying to have some pins made of our squadron insignia, a flying Sphinx painted on each of our planes, for Sis and Ruth to wear, also Mother if she wants to.
So Melitta is in Lawton. That is some bum town.
I sure am sorry for Ambrose McGill. I can almost appreciate his feelings. Gee I’m glad I had sense and “guts” enough to enlist when I did. You are too, aren’t you, tho [sp] it was rather hard on you at first, I know.
I’m afraid I’ll never see Elmer Geittmann [sp?]. He is at Tours, by his address – that is way out of it. But you never can tell.
I’m glad Mrs. Douglass has had a chance to show what she can do, for she sure is a good one. I think it is mighty fine of Mrs. Pabst, who is so well able, to do so much for the boys. The people at home sure have backed us up in great style after they once got started.
As yet I haven’t been near a place where I was sure I could get a good photo. Most of the French ones are punk, make you look like a corpse, etc, but I want to stop in N.Y.C. long enough to have some real American ones made.
You must have had some peace celebration on Nov. 7th. I can’t understand it, for over here there weren’t any really wild rumors on that day.
I enjoyed the “Badger” letter. Thank you for sending it. Please write to the Badger Edition, or rather General Manager and ask him to save a copy for me, as I may not be home in time to get it.
I was disappointed to learn from your letter of Nov. 21st that you had not yet received my cable. I sent it just as soon as I could get someone to take it to a French P.O. – it went the 13th or 14th I think. But I suppose there were thousands sent.
Had a wonderful time in Nancy and the rest did me lots of good, for I have been working even harder the last month than before, tho it isn’t such strenuous and nervous work. I went over to Metz for a few hours one day.
Had lots of fun swimming at Nancy. They have an enormous pool into which there is a continuous stream of naturally hot sulphur [sp] water and it keeps the pool just comfortably warm. It is like swimming in salt water to a certain extent. The building, too, is heated by the hot water. Met quite a few friends and altogether enjoyed myself immensely but the three days (plus two more for travel) cost me almost $100.00 besides $55.00 for a new uniform which I needed badly. Still I don’t regret a cent for it was my first vacation in four months and my first real leave since I joined the Army.
Please excuse the pencil but my pen went dry and I didn’t have any decent ink handy.
Lots of love to all,
In this letter home, Mortimer clearly lists many of the objects issued to him while serving as an Aerial Observer. Interestingly, he also details their individual cost as well as some information on their usage. Unfortunately, at least from the standpoint of historic preservation, Mortimer was forced to return all or nearly all of these objects or face very prohibitive costs. Here we begin to understand why the Lawrence Collection does not contain more objects from Mortimer's service during World War I.