I’m considering the possibility of writing a book about Joe and his time with Bomber Command. I’d love to hear your feedback about this. Please use the comments box to give me your thoughts. Novel, or non-fiction? Do you think it would make a good read?
A bit of background for newcomers
Joe (aka ‘Mac’ to his RAF comrades) was my Uncle, but we never met. His precious letters have come into my possession some near-70 years after they were written. It is my honour to transcribe them, and the poignancy of hindsight about what happened to Joe makes this all the more difficult to write, but all the more important that I do. One letter will be posted to this Blog each and every Friday.
Please see below for a link to Joe’s full story and the other letters in this series so far.
In this letter, Joe has recently arrived at Stranraer in Scotland, where his Air Gunnery School (phase 4 of his training) will commence. There is no envelope with this letter, so I have done my best to index it chronologically, but have no exact date for it.
Letter 28 – approx. 12th April 1944
Dear Mom and Kids,
I am writing this immediately after phoning you. The operator cut us off and I had such a lot to say too! This time I am making sure that the P.O. is in the envelope!
You did sound poorly over the phone, have you been ill or anything lately? If so let me know as your voice had me scared stiff. Even Joe Lee said you didn’t sound as if you were well. Don’t worry about me as I’m alright, but I know what you are for worrying when any of us are away. Keep that chin up!
I had a nice shock this morning! The Corporal came in and grabbed 5 or 6 of us as ‘volunteers’ for some coal heavin’! Joe Lee was laughing his ‘ead off until the Cpl said that he could come along too if he ‘wanted’ to! We had to load up a lorry six times with bags of coke, then twice with bags of coal! After we’d been and delivered that lot we were put on filling up the bags for a change! Poor old Joe Lee had a face a mile from eyebrow to jaw!
I’m afraid there’s not much more to scribble about now. I’ll be ringing you up again tomorrow so toodle-oo for now.
Love to you all.
I have no way of knowing whether there was anything significant about Olive’s mystery illness, since the letters which she wrote back during this period have been lost. Joe certainly sounds worried about his Mum, though. It’s great to see that such high spirits prevail and I love the little diagram which Joe has made about the coal carrying!!!
Joe’s full story is beautiful and tragic. He was our family hero. He IS our family hero. If I knew how to complete an effective RAF salute, I would salute you now, Joe. Long may your memory live in our family stories. I hope to post a new letter from Joe’s correspondence with his Mother here every Friday until they’re done. It will be a turbulent and heart-wrenching journey. Subscribe to the Blog to make sure you don’t miss any of it.
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Other posts in this series:-