Joe’s Letters, WWII: “Beanos & Brylcream”

One of my Uncle Joe’s letters will be posted to this Blog each and every Friday until they are done. Please see below for a link to Joe’s full story and the other letters in this series so far.

At the time of this letter, Joe has just been posted to a squadron and has just arrived at RAF Chedburgh, from where the 218 Gold Coast Squadron will engage in active operations. And so it begins.

Letter 87; 4th December 1944

family stories letter 77 page 2 letter 77 page 3 letter 77 page 4 letter 77 page 5 letter 77 page 6

Letter transcript:

” 30——- 

c/o Sgt’s mess

218 Squadron

RAF Chedburgh

Nr. Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk

Saturday

Hello Mom,

Well there’s my new address. We aren’t there yet but will be going Tuesday. I got my washing and the pie, the latter a bit the worse for wear but it went down smashing. I had to cycle over to Feltwell for it and I also collected another parcel from Jean. Oh! boy, what a parcel too!! She sent me an Ovaltine tin full of sweets (a 1lb tin too), about 2lbs of apples, chocolate, soap, envelopes, hair cream (Brylcream!!), shaving cream (4711 or summat) and lots of other odds and ends including some Dandys and Beanos! I wrote her a nice letter in return. She hopes you are all keeping ok and sends her love, and so do I.

family stories

By the way, they have had a bit of a sensation at Liverpool so she wrote. Her Aunty Ann’s house was robbed of £30, an eiderdown and half of the house and furniture in a shambles.

I suppose you’ve been wondering how many ‘Ops’ we’ve done from here and the answer is still none! We have yet to do some training on secret equipment.

By the way I ‘hotted up’ some of that pie and it was bang-on. I ‘borrowed’ some of a chap’s Libby’s milk for it so you can imagine the rest!!!

I was very glad of some clean socks too!! I always am come to that!! I shall pack up some dirty stuff tomorrow or Monday so that you can send it to Ched’ which will, I hope, be my more permanent station!! It is about 6 miles from Wratting Common by the way. The advantage of that place is the fact that it is much easier to get home from than this dump.

Blimey, I’ve been on some dispersed camps but this one beats ‘em all by a mile. It is a 37 and a half minute walk from the hut (Nissen) to the Mess (also Nissen, large). My bike is valued at around £150 on a camp such as this!!!! I have a lot of trouble these days trying to keep it all in one piece!! Oh, happy day!

You made my mouth run when you spoke of Xmas puddings! I only hope I am home to have my whack!! If I get home for ‘Hexmas’ I shall stay home and Jean can come to our place if it’s still OK with you. What relatives are coming to no.16 this Xmas??

By the way mom, tell our Joyce I’m sorry I forgot to wish her many happy returns in my last letter; I thought of it after I’d posted the letter. Lots of love our kid, and keep slim!!

By the way mom, I did not mention my being short of money as a hint, honest.

Well this is all for now so ’til the next time, God bless and Toodle-oo.

Lots of love, Joe xxxx”

family stories

So Chedburgh it is. Here Joe will begin the ‘Ops’ which will become his bread and butter for the duration of the rest of the war. It will be interesting to see whether his expectations about Christmas will bear any resemblance to the reality of how he will be spending it!

family stories, joseph To read more about Joe’s letters please follow this link. There you will find the full selection of letters to date, as well as more information about his fascinating yet ultimately tragic story. 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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