From Touko’s letter to his family, 5 May 1940

Reserve Officer School, 5 May 1940

Dear family,

I’m in the same place as before, meaning the first place. This school is tough. It tends to get quite shouty. You see, the corporals here are terribly officious. Well, not all of them. Our squad leader, for example, is really nice. When I said I was studying at the advertising school, he knew I was on the same course as Martti Liukas. But then there are also such horrible types as Pentti Janhunen from Pakka. The one who was a year younger than me at primary school and who spent the lessons biting his nails. It’s a miracle that he’s become a corporal.

And something that happened the other day: the line was not properly straight so the corporals made us run around the barracks, and my watch got broken in the hassle. When we formed a line again, I took the watch off my wrist and was just putting it in my pocket as we were supposed to stand to attention and – whaaaat’s going on there? I had to sew my pockets closed, no excuses.

That chap Janhunen is not the only familiar face here. One of the lieutenants is Erkki Salovaara…

Sigh. I’ll have gone through a lot by the time I’ve finished at this school. It’s unclear, though, how long this will take. The other chaps have been here for two months, but I’ve heard that the course may be extended to last three months. On the plus side, the canteen is very good. There’s even a piano, but it’s in the officers’ room, so I can’t touch it.

These boys would certainly make up an orchestra and a choir. One also plays the violin very well . It’s an absolute pleasure to hear. He’s playing wonderfully even now. We went to a military church service at Riihimäki church this morning. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to go to church. It’s beautiful inside even if it looks a bit weird from the outside. And how the boys sang. The church has probably never heard a hymn sang so powerfully and devoutly.

Hey Kaija, Unto Vuola sends you his love! And Runo sends his greeting to the whole family.

I think I’d better finish here.

All the best to you and the Kulkunens and everyone else…

Touko, trainee officer