March 24 1943

Radar was a new technology that made a difference to both sea and air conflict. Canada loaned newly trained radar officers to the British Navy because sadly, so many British radar officers had been lost in the Mediterranean during the early years of the war. Cec was posted to H.M.S Indomitable, an aircraft carrier, in the Mediterranean, but the ship was damaged, and had to go to the USA for repairs. Cec told us that as the wounded ship was crossing the North Atlantic, they hit a tremendous storm that rolled up the flat top of the deck like a can opener! Once the extensive repairs were done, they returned to England for new equipment and their aircraft. So the first letter we have is written from England, where Cec had met King George VI. The handshake meant Cec was close enough to see that the King wore thick pancake makeup.

H.M.S. Indomitable

G.P.O London

March 24, 1943

Dear Folks, 

I haven’t heard from any of you since I last wrote, but another letter is past due. I haven’t been doing very well in my letter writing – as a matter of fact it comes more or less like prairie rainfall.

I had an air letter from Mrs. Haywood last week telling all about Les’s visit. Lucky devil! But I’m so glad he was out to visit you. It is the next best thing to getting home myself. He wouldn’t be able to give you much idea of my life on board, but he probably gave you some idea of what I’m doing. Gosh, I’ll bet he had a wonderful time.

A parcel from you arrived today – some bars and last but not least – magazines. They have no decent magazines of any type on this side of the water. If you have any Redbook etc. send them along – they make grand “packing”.

Life on board is extremely interesting. A couple of Canadian pilots are going to take me for a ride one of these days when I can take the time off – I’m still as busy as ever.

I have been mighty lucky since my arrival over here in anticipating Royal visits. The King inspected our ship, ship’s company on the flight deck – our parade ground I had charge of our division, and so came in for an introduction, a few words and handshake from the King. Something to remember in my old age isn’t it? Les is one up and visit Home, but I am one up in this direction. The moral is – you can’t expect everything. 

But I do envy him his trip. His mother’s letter brought me closer to feeling homesick than I’ve been since I left. But it has worn off to some extent, and I’m awaiting your letters and Les’s is telling of his experiences. By the way, am I an uncle again yet or is it an aunt this time. I gave Merle definite instructions to the effect that I wanted a niece

I say good night for now. Don’t forget to write often – in spite of R.O.P. 

Love to all 

Cecil

Indomitable service:

August 1942                

                10th      Part of Force Z covering passage of military convoy (WS21S) to Malta.

                12th      Under heavy air attack and hit by three AP bombs. Aircraft already airborne were diverted to land on HMS VICTORIOUS. Fires brought under control with difficulty and ship returned to Gibraltar.

September          Passage to USA for repair and refit.            

October to December – Under repair.

January 1943        Post refit trials.

February Passage to UK. Installation of Aircraft Warning Radar Sets Type 218B and Type 79 with new Plan Type radar displays and radio telephone equipment for fights direction.

March                  Work-up for service.

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