MEL DAVIDSON 1940 - 1942 ARCHIVE OF 150+ TYPED AND HANDWRITTEN MANUSCRIPT LETTERS, TELEGRAMS AND EPHEMERA FROM AN RCAF OFFICER AND PILOT TRAINER
TORONTO, MALTON, ONTARIO CANADA 1940 Very Good Manuscript
On offer is an amazing collection of letters, telegrams and ephemera from Mel Davidson, a WWII Canadian RCAF pilot and trainer of pilots to his American girlfriend. There are approximately 105 letters, 40 telegrams and more. Davidson writes extensively of flights, preparations, setting up bases, plane crashes and visits by the brass, etc. He was also quite an excellent writer and speaks writes elegantly about flying. He also has an excellent sense of humor and literally pours his wit onto the pages as he flirts with his girlfriend. The letters seem mostly to be from 1940-42 starting at Air Observer School, then to his promotion to Flight Lieutenant, then "F/O" (Flying Officer) and eventually a Group Captain. Casual research suggests he was at some time based at CFB Downsview but he is no less connected with the front as he is a man that desires more than the job of training but one of flying missions against the enemy so he makes a point of learning everything he can about the current day situation. He always comments about the progress of the war, talking about events in Libya and the Balkans, etc. and assessing the British strategic position vis-a-vis the Axis powers. Charmingly the letters are filled with language of the day peppered with "Britishisms" having a "spot of tea", refers to senior officers as "old boy", and has a good friend and fellow Lt. named "Ted Peacock". He was apparently a Navigation instructor assigned to the RCAF Training Command where they seemed to be training English pilots for the RAF -- in one letter, after seeing off 20 new "Engish lads" who'd completed training and were flying off to bases in England, he laments that he "couldn't help but think what a sissy's job I have" but concludes, "we'll all have a chance yet". Later on, he's trying to get himself put on the "Flying List". In one letter he's upset because he'd heard that two more lads he'd trained had been killed in action. Here are some snippets: "I was feeling rather out of things on Sunday, so got up, called one of the Air Force cars, assembled my flying kit, and went out to Malton for the day. It was a grand day for flying; clear over Toronto, but quite solid cloud at 3500 ft. north and east of the city. We played tag with the clouds, and passed alternatively through bright sunshine and opaque billows." -- "We had a very bad crash involving two large planes similar to those we have at Malton. Seven men were killed and it will be somehwat of a blessing if the 8th one dies." "[This fellow Milne] borrowed a machine from another aerodrome near Toronto and had come over to visit one of the chaps here. Then his friend decided to borrow one of the flying school's machines and escort him back. They were doing a little dog-fighting en route, and this fellow dived too low and hit a tree." "The news becomes worse and worse. I am afraid that we are not going to accomplish a victory in Crete, which is another bad turn of events. Gibralter and Suez will be the next at that rate. And the news about the HMS Hood is bad luck indeed." Approximately two-thirds, are typed and the balance handwritten. As stated there are 105+ letters, 40 telegrams, and some miscellaneous small things like flower delivery tags, two non-military ID cards, etc. There is also a training flight sheet (shown in upper right of new picture), that gives the names of the training staff assigned to that particular flight as well as a list of instructions (i.e., what they needed to teach the trainees). A few letters are one page but quite a few that are 3-6 pages long typed single-spaced. They are extremely detailed. The telegrams are mostly routine one-liners but there's at least one that's interesting where he says he's going to be gone for three weeks because he's navigating a squadron that's going to Alberta. VG.