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FAULKNER IN TORONTO: A FURTHER NOTE MICHAEL MILLGATE Since the appearance of my article, 'William Faulkner, Cadet" (Un.. versity of Toronto Quarterly, XXXV, 2 [January 1966], 117-32), new infoonation about Faulkner's Royal Air Force career has emerged in sufficient quantity to warrant the publication of a brief supplementary note. In a paper delivered at the December 1966 meetings of the Modern Language Association in New York, Professor Carvel Collins referred to letters which Faulkner wrote home from Toronto in 1918 and in which he spoke of getting a "joy-ride" as early as August 1918 and of having completed a number of hours of "solo" flying by the end of November.' Until these letters have been published it will be impossible to form a complete picture of Faulkner's months in the R.A.F. In the meantime, however, additional evidence gathered from those who were serving in T oronto at the same time as Faulkner tends to reinforce the view that he was unlikely to have done solo flying or, indeed, any flying during this period-always with the possible exception of an occasional joy-ride-and thus to suggest that he may have somewhat exaggerated his exploits for home consumption, as he seems to have done a little later on when he appeared in Oxford, Mississippi, in the uniform of an R.A.F. officer and with an R.A.F. Bying badge (the "wings") over his breast pocket? Frank H. Ellis, author of Canada's Flying Heritage, who was engaged in the demobilization of airmen from R.A.F. bases in Canada at the end of 1918, has been quoted as saying emphatically that Faulkner could have done no flying after the Armistice,' and a similar view is taken by Mr. J. M. Hinchley (173790), who joined the R.A.F. in Toronto the same day as Faulkner (July 10, 1918) and whose military career ran precisely parallel to Faulkner's until the time of demobilization approximately five months later" Mr. Hinchley, who was good enough to get in touch with me following the publication of the first article, wrote on February 13, 1966, as follows: "None of our group did any actual flying as the flu epidemic and the signing of the annistice on Nov. 11th interrupted our schedule." In a subsequent letter (January 21, 1967) he Volume XXXVII, Number 2. January. 1968 198 MICHAEL MILLGATE added: "After the Armistice on┬ĚNov. 11th, orders came through to discontinue all Hying in Canada and from that date we simply marked time while awaiting demobilization. That Faulkner could have been doing solo Hying at that time when all activities were at a halt is hardly credible." As the earlier article showed, some Hying did in fact continue for a short while for cadets who had already begun actual flight training, but Faulkner and his fellow members of Course 42 had not reached that stage. Any possibility that Faulkner might for some reaSOn have been posted ahead of the rest of his course appears to be ruled out by his appearance in a group photograph of Course 42 taken on the University of Toronto campus on November 18, 1918, a week after the Armistice.' Mr. Hinchley acknowledged that Faulkner might have been given unofficial flights by people who could fly-there is ample evidence that this was sometimes donee-but felt quite convinced that Faulkner could not have done any other flying or been involved in a Hying accident: "If such had happened," he wrote On February 17, 1966, "the other cadets on the same Hoor in the same building would have heard of it." Mr. Hinchley remembered the two fellow-cadets who had earlier supplied me with information about Faulkner's months in Toronto, Mr. J. H. Dyer and Mr. Albert Monson (whose death in 1966 I record with regret), and said that they had both joined the R.A.P. on the same day as Faulkner and himself. In his letter of February 17, 1966, he also recalled Faulkner very clearly: Naturally we all knew Faulkner. His diminutive physique, his feeble moustache, his rich Southern drawl, which Monson thought was English,7 and a large...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 197-202
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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