Joe’s Letters, WWII: “Beaver bristles & Christmas cake”

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 his last letter, Joe and crew have experienced their first bombing raid over Germany but had ended in disaster. The crew and their Lancaster came under heavy fire and were forced to ditch in the middle of the North Sea. In this current letter, Joe has been home on survivor’s leave for a few days, and has arrived back at Chedburgh just before Christmas.

 Letter 93; 29th December 1944

letter 84 29 december 1944 page 1 letter 84 page 2 letter 84 page 3

Letter transcript:

Chedburgh, Thursday.

Hello Mom,

Howa re you? Hope I haven’t scared you for not writing for 3-4 days. We have done quite a bit of flying these last few days, NO, NOT on Ops!!

Talking of Ops, we are now fit for operational duty as from today. I can’t write a great deal tonight as I want to get to bed in case we are ‘on’ tomorrow.

I don’t know if I told you before but Jean’s mom sent me a cake and it was wizard too. A Xmas cake, you know with almonds on. I’m not giving you idle talk when I say I’d rather have your Xmas cake any day! All the same, that one I had was alright. I wrote a few nights ago to thank her for it. Jean has sent me a new shaving brush and it is a ‘beaut’ too. I happen to know it cost about 3 3/- in a shop!! Real ‘Beaver’ bristles as well.

I’m saving a bit of money to have a photo taken in Bury St. E!! All I have to do is get INTO Bury!! That;s easy (I don’t think!)

Well there isn’t much in the way of news so I’ll sign off for today. Till the next time God bless and keep smiling; (I am!!)

Lots of love Mam,

Joe xxxxxxxxxxxx”

family stories

Christmas is over and New Year approaches, but Joe is at least reaping the benefits of two doting bakers who are sending him cakes! It’s hard to imagine how nervous the boys must be about getting back to Ops after their first incident!

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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