I have been approached about writing a book on 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 training (phase 4 of his training) will commence and he will finally get up in the air….
Letter 29 – 15th April 1944
“Hut 13 / 1 Site
39 Course, RAF Station
Nr Stranraer, Wigtownshire
Dear Mom and Kids,
I received your letter yesterday and was very glad of it too. On the same day I received a Registered letter from Aunt Doris’s with a 10/- note inside from some pub’ or other called the ‘Albion Inn’, it seems as if I’m on the list for a regular ‘sub’ as well!!
So far this course has been nothin’ up to now, but we will have some revision to do on the guns and the hydraulic turret system as the instructors here seem to contradict certain details about those subjects. We were taught one thing at Bridgnorth and another here and it’s mixing us up a bit so far. Keep your fingers crossed for me all the same!
I can’t write much more right now about that as I have a lot of rewriting to do later. Our Gunnery Instructor is an American (in the RAF) he isn’t too bad!
By the way, you remember me telling you in my Bridgnorth letters about our Flight Officer (DFM and BAR CGM) well his photo is in the April issue of the A.T.C magazine amongst the Aces! Some of our old Flight sent a copy to him! Tell Den to look in the page of “Some of the best” if he gets an ATC magazine! Top right picture.
Well up to now I’ve not had any time off and we don’t look as if we will get any here either! The country around here is really wild, so wild in fact that the English are still sending missionaries up here and some of ‘em never get back!!
By the way tell our kid to be a bit more careful if he wants to stay healthy. Let me know how Geoff Payne is if possible. By the way, was that P.S. a crack!?!! Well I must knock off for a bit now as I have a pile of work to do before I go to bed! Yes I said work!!
Joe Lee is practicin’ a tango, he’s got a date with a WAAF at the Station Dance Sat’ night and so have I! The WAAFs here are all ‘smashers’ not ‘tykeys’ like them at Bridgnorth!! Toodle -oo!
P.S. Send my skates and stone when possible, put in a strong box please!
P.P.S. Excuse writin’!
Thanks for your nice letter Joyce, send me another! Blimey, some people can’t even boil water!!”
Starting to see the cheeky side of Joe emerging now. He clearly has the normal eye for the ladies that you’d expect from a handsome 18 year old in a uniform! Only 5 days in Scotland and already fixed up with a date with a WAAF. That’s my boy!
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:-