Joe’s Letters, WWII: “You are the last thing on my mind at night…”

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.

Joe and crew have experienced their first bombing raids over Germany, the first of which ended in disaster. Joe is now back at Chedburgh, following emergency leave, and it is New Year 1945.

 Letter from Mum; January 1945

family stories letter olive jan 1945 page 2 letter olive jan 1945 page 3 letter olive jan 1945 page 4Letter transcript:

“Hello son,

As usual I thank you for your letters but as usual it’s left to me ‘old faithful’ to write to you from this end. I was hoping to send you a line earlier in the week but I was fetched in to Mrs Adams who is ill in bed and have been in and out ever since doing what I can to help.

How are you son? The weather here is bitterly cold and if you are having the same you must be glad to wear that warm clothing you don’t like! I was interested to read that you had been out bombing again and very grateful to know that all is well. If God answers my prayers it will always be the same, so have faith son, I have. You tell me to keep smiling, and that you are, well if you can on your job, I can on mine!

Somebody told me the other day that they (he) had always admired me for the way I had held up my head since I was left a widow, but I doubt if I could ever have made him understand how hard it has been at times to keep on smiling! But still a long face doesn’t take us very far does it, so there’s only one thing we can do.

I had a letter from Phyll the other day and she said she hoped Jean was ok and that she wasn’t too shocked by the behaviour of some of the lads in the family, but she was equal to it and quite enjoyed herself. I suppose you are counting the days now ’til 25th. I’ve hung on to some mince meat and a plum pudding to help fill that gap of yours. Joyce and Brian are just helpless laughing at the moment, we had peas at dinner time and she is trying to put a napkin on him!

Nell Terry’s husband Bill Cobley had to go in the army last week and won’t she find a difference trying to live on a soldier’s pay after being on war work all this time. At a dance at the Community Hall last Monday I had a chat with Jeff Payne who is home on indefinite leave, he sends his best wishes and the best of luck. He is very fit.

Well son I think that is all the news for now, drop a line over home whenever you can spare the time, they like to hear from you. So I’ll say goodnight and God bless you always. You are almost always the last ‘thing’ on my mind at night, it should help!

Love from Mother and Nibs xxxx”

family stories

Olive is clearly missing Mac, but still doing all she can to get by. War time or no war time, kids will still muck about and have the time of their lives. My dad remembers his childhood as idyllic, with nothing material to speak of, but freedom to roam the streets and play all day long. They were fed when they were hungry (God knows how Olive and so many others managed) and then left to their own devices after school until Mom came home from work. Letters from Joe must have been exciting!

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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