March 17, 1939

c/o C. M. & S. Co. Ltd.

Yellowknife, N. W. T.

March 17 /39.

Dear Mother:

I think the winter is at last drawing to a close and today was really quite warm though windy.  I think the last company plane went out last year around April 13th and arrived back just about six weeks later.  Two of the office staff are going to take their holidays over breakup.  Tudor has decided to stick it out for another season—he hasn’t really had a holiday since Christmas ’37.  He told me yesterday that when Gray Arnold comes back after breakup I will be taken off the payroll and put into a dept. yet to be created as a separate unit—that of accounts payable.  I will be looking after all the invoices deciding when to pay one to take advantage of a discount perhaps and pricing the articles on each etc.  This is much closer to the kind of work I want to do than the payroll and makes me hesitate again about switching to C. A. work.  However this decision cannot be put off indefinitely.

Yesterday I played hockey in a house league game.  It was my second effort at skating this season and I found myself rather ineffectual as far as the hockey was concerned.  Due chiefly to the efforts of Gray our team won 4 – 2.  Both Con and Negus continue to be steadily beaten by Town in the big league.

Have completely given up badminton already and indeed sold my racquet.  I had the foresight to buy some extra strings and have gone into the repair business (with no equipment) and have had one customer so far.  Should get several more as the racquets bought for the commissary stock are strung with very cheap gut.

One Saturday afternoon we constructed a ping pong table and it is quite the best I have ever played on—3/4” planks surfaced with 3-ply, regulation size and painted green.  Consequently we have a few games every night.

I Haven’t taken many pictures lately except for a few table top ones.  On the first I forgot to put the copying lens on so repeated the picture but this time forgot to set the distance and by then was too discouraged to try the same subject again.

Page has been quite busy flying lately bringing in the freight that was supposed to come in with the tractor train.

Doug. Wilmot is out in the bush again—this time in a very small camp.  There are only two others besides himself.

I had a letter from Uncle Tom today.  He enclosed a clipping about the Negus pouring their first brick and I think it was this that prompted him to write.  He says he expects to return to England soon so to where to [sic] you suppose I should address an answer.  Does he mean he is moving to England permanently?

The shows here change twice a week but one is nearly always a dud as it is part of the stock that was brought in by boat whereas the second picture of the week is flown in.  The one tonight is “Algiers” with Heddy Lamarr.  Last week we had the “Goldwyn Follies” which was spoilt at first by the sound which was very distorted and finally faded out completely just when Charlie McCarthy was talking.  After that the show was stopped until repairs had been made.

With love from



[Here is the letter from Uncle Tom Stubbs, which arrived in Yellowknife on March 16, 1939]

Sophienstrasse 32/iii



Feb 23, 1939.

My Dear Tony,

The enclosed cutting from the Times sent my thoughts shivering up in your direction and I cant help wondering what on earth its like, being out in such cold!  Isnt it difficult to breathe?  It would interest me to know what the percentage of humidity is in the air!  I presume it’s a very dry cold, or it wouldn’t be bearable at all!

In England it is normally about 75% at our moderate temperatures.

It was a great pity we couldn’t meet for longer than a half hour, when I was over with the Family; I should have liked to have heard much more about your life up North; but I am glad to have seen most of your photos, and I expect you saw most of mine, as I had them sent direct to your father before they came to me in London.

Since my return, I haven’t taken a single picture, but I have put in a roll of New Agfa, which are one quarter the price of Kodachrome, though I don’t think they are quite as brilliant in the results; tho’ some people like them better!

But I want to experiment with reproduction of small objects etc, and that means many trial exposures, which comes expensive on Kodachromes.

I expect to return to London in a few weeks now, and shall then be able to send the promised Bewi exposure meter, which Archie will find useful; I think they are all bitten with the colour craze since I was there.  I have shown my photos quite a lot out here, and every one has been so interested; one of the most admired is the one of the view from my window (Yours, I believe) and it is really a marvellous scene to have before one, whenever one looks out of the window; though I had to wait some time till the smoke had gone and the air was nice and clear, and there were the right sort of clouds!

Recently I was looking at one of my old railway books, which I have had for years, and I came across a quite excellent account of the building of the Kettle Valley line, with several good pictures!  I had no idea that it was in that book, or I should have read it up before I came over.  You probably heard about Archie and I being marooned at McCullough for five hours, and having to send an S.O.S. to the house, to be rescued.

Life is rather dull here now, there seems to be “nothing doing”; minor hardships are that I can no longer get my favourite Brand of Lindt Chocolate, as they find it more profitable to make creams with the limited amount of sugar allowed them; and I am not sure how much longer I will be able to get Players cigarettes, as they have to import the tobacco of which they are made, and they are shutting down on all imports as far as possible.

I went to the Observatory here a fortnight ago, and was shown the comet; one could only see a faint grey patch against a circle of blue gray sky; not very exciting but I’m glad I went.  It has been so cloudy up to now, one has hardly seen a star at all, except during the cold snap, when it was much too chilly to go out on the balcony for more than a minute or two.

There is really no news to give you from here; I shall be glad to be back in England again, and may go on to Paris and the Riviera, or later to Switzerland.

I suppose Canada will be all agog for the Kings visit; I wonder if your Father will go to Vancouver or elsewhere to see him; or perhaps youll fly down to Edmonton!

Well, don’t get yourself frozen, and keep well!

All best wishes.

from your


Uncle Tom


Clippings From Uncle Tom

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