2nd Lt. Aleck A. MacKinlay

December 4, 1915:
Was not able to get train tickets on short notice so ended up staying in Glasgow an extra day. Worked out marvelously as I was able to head over to the University and see some of my Profs and classmates and say farewell. Father is still a bit upset that I won't be finishing my final year of engineering, but he has mostly come around and now actually seems proud to see me doing my part for the war. Funny, I really have the old man to thank for my wings; if he hadn't been working with Richard Barnwell at the Clyde Shipworks I never would have had a chance to get in touch with his son Harold Barnwell. What luck to have Harold usher me right into the Vickers Flying School this summer. Thank God for 'connections' or I would likely be heading off to some muddy trench rather than a pilot's barricks (they will have barricks I hope, not bloody tents).

December 5, 1915:
Said my farewells to Mother and Father this morning. Mother was quite upset. I hate these emotional goodbyes and tried to assure her I would keep myself safe and be back home before she knows it. Father even seemed a bit teary, which shocked me a bit. Never seen that from him before. Got a cab to Glasgow Central Station, and had a gloomy cold train trip along the West Coast Main Line to Birmingham. The weather was dreadful and wet but the trip was uneventful. I could have made it to London in a day but decided to stop off and see the lads at No. 5 Training Squadron; I have a few days to spare. Was able to hop a ride on an army lorrie that was heading east and arrived at Castle Bromwich in time for evening mess. Even though I have only left two weeks ago, there are lots of new faces. I wonder if the new sods have figured out yet that half the instructors at good old 'Number 5' don't know their arse from a cylinder bore. Oh well, I made it through alive, so I guess most of the others will too. Had drinks and good cheer with several of the lads; Squiffy, Nelson, Harrison, that bunch.

December 6, 1915:
After a rather bad sleep on a spare cot, I had breakfast with the lads, then caught a car ride back into Birmingham. Soon back on the train towards London and within a few hours I was milling about with a huge crowd in the Great Hall at Euston Station. Have made arrangements to stay with Aunty Glenise at her townhouse in West Kensington for a few days while I sort out my transport to France. I would have walked there had it been nicer weather (not too far from the station), but it was raining like the devil so splurged on a cab. Aunty was thrilled to see me, making quite a fuss over my new uniform, and had a splendid hot meal and tea for me in short order. Happy to settle into a proper bed again in her spare room.

Euston Station

Attached Files Euston station.jpg