Joe’s Letters, WWII: “9 days ’til leave!”

family stories Joe and Crew

family stories, joseph

A bit of background for newcomers

Joe 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.

Letter 18 – ‘9 days ’til leave!’ – 17th February 1944

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Letter transcript:



Dear Mom and Kids,

I received your parcel today. Many thanks, it’s darned good of you to go to the trouble and expense. I can assure you that I waste none of the contents. The razor blades came in just

family stories

Professor Joad, British wartime Broadcaster

right as I’d got a real ‘Professor Joad’ and no blades.

The cake wasn’t even scratched and was nice and moist. Oh, boy, that chocolate!! I guess I’ve not got a great deal to say in this letter, as I wrote most of my news in the Tuesday night letter. I hope you’ve got it ok?

By the way I’ve still got to go to the Dentist a few more times (2 I hope).

I’d love to see our kid at work, knee-deep in white-wash with the persp’n pouring off ‘im!

In answer to your P.S. :- The Sunday dinner is generally the best of the week. Roast Spuds, ditto Beef, Yorkshire Pud’, Sprouts, Gravy and a pud’ of stewed dried peaches and apricots with real custard! The only trouble is that when in the queue the W.A.A.F servers family storiesmay get plenty of one thing on your plate and hardly any of others. Anyway I guess that’s not as bad as mutton, mutton and still more mutton! I must say I could eat it all with relish, at home! 

Now for the main bit of news (or is it?) As you can see I’ve got the photos (3). I’ve sent you two, keep one and enquire about the price of some copies please if you think it’s reasonable, have half a dozen done. We can send ’em to the folks and friends then. Pay for them out of that 18/- if you’ve got it yet!! I don’t know what you think of the seraphic smiel, frankly it looks as if I’ve got to be sick or summat!! That’s a matter of opinion though! What do you think of the battle dress, slick ‘ay!

That’s about all so cheerio.

God Bless, Joe.

P.S. How will the egg and bacon position be in about 9 or 10 days?! “

Joe is clearly excited about the prospect of getting home for some well-earned leave in a few days! Sadly, the photos to which he refers in the letter have been lost over the years, as have his mother’s letters in reply to Joe’s own for this period. Hopefully the one at the top of this post will suffice. Joe is the tall, handsome one on the far left of the ‘Lovely Lou’.

family stories, josephJoe’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.

Other posts in this series:-

Letter 1 – 29 December 1943, arriving at Recruit Camp

Letter 2 – 31 December 1943, settling in

Letter 3 – 5th January 1944, confined to Barracks!

Letter 4 – 8th January 1944, meeting a boxing champ

Letter 5 – 10th January 1944, theft and wrongful punishment

Letter 6 – 13th January 1944, preparing to leave basic training camp

Letter 7 – 13th January 1944, high jinx and punishing schedules

Letter 8 – 14th January 1944, posted to Bridlington

Letter 9 – 18th January 1944, arrival in ‘the dump’ for 6 weeks training

Letter 10 – 21st January 1944, an introduction to firearms

Letter 11 –  25th January 1944, a fellow cadet in killed

Letter 12 – 27th January 1944,  pork pies, live rounds and dimwits

Letter 13 – 29th January 1944, 10 fillings & the Browning machine gun

Letter 14 – 31st January 1944, Don’t worry Mum

Letter 15 –  3rd February 1944, Three ‘Joes’ and top test scores 

Letter 16 – 10th February 1944, Meeting ‘Monty’ & Military Secrets

16 responses to “Joe’s Letters, WWII: “9 days ’til leave!”

  1. Pingback: Joe’s Letters, WWII: “Camp Number Two – Bridgnorth, Shropshire” | SaveEveryStep – family stories past & present·

  2. Pingback: Joe’s Letters, WWII: “Eatin’, Stealin’ and Flirtin’” | SaveEveryStep – family stories past & present·

  3. Pingback: Joe’s Letters, WWII: “Gigalo Joe sits in his first gun turret” | SaveEveryStep – family stories past & present·

  4. Pingback: Joe’s Letters, WWII: “Meeting a War Hero” | SaveEveryStep – family stories past & present·

  5. Pingback: Joe’s Letters, WWII: “Reality Bites: A Pal is Killed” | SaveEveryStep – family stories past & present·

  6. Pingback: Joe’s Letters, WWII: “Man vs the Potato Peeling Machine” | SaveEveryStep – family stories past & present·

  7. Pingback: Joe’s Letters, WWII: “Passing Exams & Fending Off Girls!” | SaveEveryStep – family stories past & present·

  8. Pingback: Joe’s Letters, WWII: “Bonnie Scotland, here we come” | SaveEveryStep – family stories past & present·

  9. Pingback: Joe’s Letters, WWII: “The Coal Heaving Incident” | SaveEveryStep – family stories past & present·

  10. Pingback: Joe’s Letters, WWII: “‘Mae Wests’ & Smashin’ WAAFs” | SaveEveryStep – family stories past & present·

  11. Pingback: Joe’s Letters, WWII: “‘Bad rain stops play” | SaveEveryStep – family stories past & present·

  12. Pingback: Joe’s Letters, WWII: “Oops. Runaway Guns!” | SaveEveryStep – family stories past & present·

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