Somewhere in France .
Oct. 30 – 1918
Dear Aunt Hattie,
I have been intending to write you for some little time but something usually come up to prevent but tonight will start anyway. We are now located at a flying field, coming here last Friday and have been busy ever since. Started flying on Sunday on small ships that stay on the ground – gaining from them dial instructions on a different type of plane, and in about half an hour was turned loose to solo. Finished my solo rides in the after noon and then waited around for a day and a half for stunts. Finished that yesterday and started cross country work getting in one trip. This morning went on a triangle cross country trip of about 150 miles and got back without any trouble in time for dinner. Had to land at two fields on the way to get some papers signed showing I had been there. After dinner went out on another trip about fifty miles each way, landing on the other end. This is some beautiful country to fly over- being covered with forests which have a distinctive shape everyone of them, and lots of towns this country being fairly well populated. I got home about four o’clock, pretty well tired out. I have now finished all the work on three fields and tomorrow morning I go to another field for some work on a smaller plane and then about a day later will begin an Liberty. I really don’t see the idea of all this instruction on small pursuit ships when the ones we are going to use in action service are great big ones. Possibly they figure that if we bust any up they might just as well be litte like to have had you along today in the front seat enjoying the ride, as it was a beautiful day and no bumps and the scenery was wonderful. Every once in a while you come across a chateau with turrets and cupolas all over them, and usually with pretty grounds all around them. They are fine place for aviators to stay who have been caught out over night, as they sure treat you nice. My pal (Boothe) who went out on a crosscountry (sic) trip this am. Had not reported in yet and I presume he is spending the night in some such place.
I got letters from Esther and Cecil yesterday, the former written on Sept. 20 th and Cecil’s on the 22 nd. He told me that he understood from other sources that I was engaged to Esther and that he thought I had used exceedingly good taste etc. which coming from one of his pronounced ideas on the subject of marriage is taken as praise of the highest order. Seriously I am glad that he thinks so well of the idea as I didn’t know what he would think of it. Esther told me that she had read Bess’ letter to you and that both she and Norman liked her real well and hoped to have her for a sister some day. It sure feels good to know that some of the rest of the family endorse at it were my judgment or good luck or whatever you want to call it.
I have met any number of fellows that I have known at some time or another during my career in the army, and It seems nice to be around with some body besides a bunch of strangers.
You sure ought to see some of the flying that goes on around here. Every body is good but some are away above the average and some of the things they pull off are sure thrilling. There is an English captain around here who is a wonder and is only about 21 yrs old. They say he leaves the grounds doing a loop and while I have never seen him do it I have seen him fly and he is sure good. Perhaps some day I may be able to do such things but I don’t believe I will because there is nothing to be gained and the factor of safety is too low for comfort. Flying machines have their weak points and its bad enough sometimes in ordinary flying.
I expect to be ready for action service with in a week or so if the good weather holds on, but it begins to look from the news yesterday and today as though this little scrap was about on its last leg. You cant’ tell about these stupid Huns thought, and perhaps they will keep on even if Austria does quit. I should like to make it at least one trip over the lines after coming this far but after that they can call it off as soon as they please, and the sooner the better. The army is all right for a change but as a life job is not to be desired by me, anyway. I will sure be glad when I am a civilian again and be back and move with some of the old bunch at a little gathering. However, if it wasn’t for the war perhaps I would not have had the some opportunity to know a certain young lady, and if I derive no other benefit, that alone will be ample.
Well, its is time for taps so must close. Write when you have some time to spare and I will keep you informed as to my activities.
Love to all
Lt. Alexander K. Ogilvie.
U.S. Air Service
American E. F.
In closing there is really nothing more that I can add, this letter speaks volumes on its own. There is one fact that will make this letter all the more poignant, Kaye lost his life on 29 Nov 1918.
Letter transcribed by Julia K. Hogston great grand niece of Alexander
from a copy of the letter given to me by Jean Wells granddaughter of James R. Kaye, Uncle to Alexander Ogilvie aka Kaye, Hattie is James’ wife. Cecil is their son.