L. Wanklyn, a colleague of Professor James Mavor, responded
to a Mavors request for copies of correspondence he had
received from his son serving with the Royal Flying Corps at
the western front.
note of the 6 instant reached me by the early post this morning
, and the copies of letters you have collected from officers
and others at the front turned up by the afternoon mail
of your request to have copies of letters that I received from
my eldest son, who is Flight Commander in the Royal Flying Corps.
So far, I would not consider them of sufficient interest from
a military point of view to appeal to others than his direct
friends and relatives. He is an old solider, and is very guarded
in what he says about the events that occur at the front, in
fact they do not convey anything of military interest. In one
letter he describes his flight from Farnborough to the Headquarters
of the Flying Corps abroad at a point that he does not disclose.
He evidently made good time in a new machine of high power that
he took over by himself, and mentions having on one stretch done
96 miles in fifty-two minutes from ground to ground at an average
height of 6000 feet. He also mentions having passed over Calais
at 8000 feet, at which altitude he could plainly see at one time
the estuary of the River Somme; the inundated areas in Flanders
and the British Coast line, which he says made him appreciate
how close to home the scene of the war really was. He says he
is comfortably billeted in a villa with four other officers,
the proprietor of which beat a hasty retreat, leaving them in
possession of all his furniture and worldly goods.
is at the Headquarters of the Royal Flying Corps, about twelve
miles from the trenches that he visits occasionally. From his
Headquarters he can hear the incessant boom of the guns, and
is constantly reminded that he is close to the firing line.
tells me that the German aeroplanes are beautifully made, but
not as fast or as easily maneuvered as the English ones. He speaks
very highly of the machines lately received, equipped with wireless
telegraphic apparatus, which enables the observer to keep in
close touch with the battery commanders, and says that the accuracy
of the work they are now able to do is almost beyond belief.
he considers that all is well with us, and that the critical
period has passed, but that everybody at the front appreciates
that they have a long hard task ahead of them before they drive
the Germans out of France and Belgium. Out troops are contented
and well fed. The Army Service Corps has been simply wonderful,
and the commissariat so good that he says many of the boys will
be sorry when the war is over.
that these few details may be of interest to you, and with kind
regards, believe me, F. L. Wanklyn PS
I return you under separate cover the letters you kindly sent me
to read over, many of which are very interest. If at any time I should
be fortunate enough to receive a letter of special interest from
my boy I would be pleased to send you a copy.