TEI Encoded Letter from Raymond Higgins to Claire Higgins, Dec. 1938

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<author>Raymond Higgins</author>

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<resp>Text encoding by Bronwen </resp>

<resp>Annotations by Bronwen </resp>

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<publisher>Bronwen </publisher>

<address>

<addrLine>Faculty of Information, University of Toronto

Toronto, Ontario, Canada</addrLine>

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<note>Letter kept by addressee Claire Ward (nee Higgins) and inherited by her daughter, Vandra</note>

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<p><material>lined foolscap</material>25 x 20 cm; written in black ink on </p>

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<lb/><PersName key=”#1″><roleName><choice><abbr type=”acronym”>L.A.C.</abbr><expan>Leading Aircraftman</expan></choice></roleName><surname>Higgins</surname><addName>531168</addName></PersName>

<lb/><address><orgName type=”acronym”>R.A.F.<expan>Royal Air Force</expan></orgName>General Hospital,

<lb/><placeName><settlement type=”city”>Habbaniya</settlement><country>Iraq</country></placeName></address>, <date when=”1938-12-05″>5-12-38</date>

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<body>

<lb/><p> Dear <PersName key=”#2″><forename>Claire</forename></PersName> </p>

<lb/><p>Now that I have decided to write, I don’t know just

<lb/>how to start, and can’t <del rend=”writeover”>don’t</del>think of much to say.</p>

<lb/><p>It is some consolation to know that I have

<lb/><distinct type=”slang”>broken the neck<gloss>completed the greater part of a task</gloss></distinct> of my stay in this country.

<lb/>The time has gone very quickly as I look back.</p>

<lb/><p>According to the letter I had from <PersName key=”#3″><forename full=”abb”>Marj</forename></PersName> a

<lb/>few days ago, you seem to be <distinct type=”slang”>keen<gloss>enthusiastic</gloss></distinct> about your

<lb/>home &amp; the rest. If you experiment at a Christmas

<lb/>pudding I hope it turns out nice and black and

<lb/>I’m not being flippant or sarcastic as you

<lb/>generally think I am when I refer to your

<lb/>cooking.</p>

<lb/><p>It seems strange to hear that <PersName key=”#4″><forename>Anthony</forename></PersName> is

<lb/><distinct type=”slang”> knocking around<gloss>to be the habitual companion of</gloss></distinct> with a <PersName key=”#7″>girl</PersName> doesn’t it? Still

<lb/>there’s plenty of time, he’s far from being old

<lb/>yet, but I’ve got so used to him being interested

<lb/>only in his motor-bike.</p>

<lb/><p>When I last wrote, I must have given you

<lb/>the wrong impression. The 90&percnt; of my correspondence

<lb/>which I mention was <del rend=”writeover”>h</del>between <PersName key=”#3″><forename full=”abb”>Marj</forename></PersName>, <PersName key=”#5″><addName type=”honorific”>Aunt</addName><forename>Rose</forename></PersName> amp; you.</p>

<lb/><p>You probably read in the papers of the

<lb/><name ref=”http://www.imperial-airways.com/&#8221; type=”org”>Imperial Airways</name> <distinct type=”transportation”>flying boat<gloss>form of seaplane having a boat-like fuselage</gloss></distinct> crashing on <geogName>Lake

<lb/><pb n=”2″ facs=”page2.jpeg”/><fw PageNum=”2″></fw>

<lb/>Habbaniya</geogName> last Sunday. Of the crew of six, two

<lb/>survived and are in here, one of them dangerously ill.</p>

<lb/><p>Well, the rainy season has started at

<lb/>last. We get a good downpour at least twice

<lb/>a week, but when it gets colder it will ease

<lb/>up a bit, I hope. You wouldn’t <distinct type=”antiquated”><gloss>credit</gloss>

<lb/>it</distinct> freezing out here about December or

<lb/>January would you? It does though.</p>

<lb/><p>The new draft has arrived out here

<lb/>feeling as <distinct type=”slang”>green<gloss>immature, raw, untrained</gloss> </distinct>as I did when I first got

<lb/>to this delectable place. It is nice to think

<lb/>that I have got a year less to do than

<lb/>they and having got over the first satis&mdash;

<lb/>factorily, know how to manage another.</p>

<lb/><p>Everyone, I should think is getting ready

<lb/>for Christmas at home now, the same as we

<lb/>are. What we enjoy as much as anything

<lb/>is the two days’ relaxation of discipline, <del rend=”strikethrough”>bu</del> when

<lb/>at the Christmas dinner, one of the <distinct type=”military_slang”>urks</distinct>, in reply

<lb/>to a short speech by the <choice><abbr type=”acronym”>C.O.</abbr><expan>Commanding Officer</expan></choice>, lets the world know

<lb/>what the unit thinks of the <choice><abbr type=”acronym”>S.<del rend=”strikethrough”>C.</del>M.</abbr><expan>Sergeant Major</expan></choice> and a few of

<lb/>the <choice><abbr type=”acronym”>N.C.O.’s</abbr><expan>Non-Commissioned Officer</expan></choice> It’s all taken in good part, though.

<lb/>There was a slight <distinct type=”UK”>ruffle<gloss>disturbance</gloss></distinct> though at a boat dinner,

<lb/>when a <distinct type=”slang”>chap<gloss>man, fellow</gloss></distinct> submitted a menu, showing the

<lb/><distinct type=”military” place=”UK”>Sergeant’s Mess<gloss>dining room for senior non-commissioned officers”</gloss></distinct> as his conception of hell.</p>

<pb n=”3″ facs=”page3.jpeg”/><fw PageNum=”3″></fw>

<lb/><p>As there isn’t much to say, I will sign off now,

<lb/>wishing you and <PersName key=”#4″><forename>Arthur</forename></PersName> a Merry Christmas, and

<lb/>all the best in the New Year.</p>

<lb/><p>Love,

<lb/><PersName key=”#1″><forename full=”abb”>Ray</forename></PersName>.</p>

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