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 is now stationed at Stranraer in Scotland, where his Air Gunnery School training (phase 4 of his training) has commenced and he will finally get up in the air….
Letter 30 – 21st April 1944
Dear Mom and kids,
I am writing this in doubt as to whether you received my second letter. I have not had any mail from you since last Wednesday or Thursday and I have been worried, I hope everything is O.K. at home?
We had our first day off today, the weather has been terrible the last few days, it rains terrific hard here the wrost rain I’ve ever seen. I don’t know whether I told before but our hut site is in a pine wood something like the ‘Lickeys’*. As you can imagine the ground is in a terrible state and our overcoats and boots are wet through.
We spent our day off in Stranraer, it is a dump with a crowd of pubs and only two cinemas but by now as you’ll realise we are getting used to making the best of things!
The weather here has stopped the flying and so we are all ‘cheesed off’ with having to sit in the classrooms all day. Sometimes when we have had our tea (about 7) we go to the billet and start re-writing our day’s notes and cleaning up for the next day. By then it’s 9 or half past and after that we try to write letters but it is hard. I can honestly say that I’m dog tired at the end of the day and am always sleepy, but I promise you I’ll write you as often as possible. I’ve only had time to write three other letters beside this since I came here. Two of them were yours!
Sorry this is short but it will be lights out soon, so cheerio.
Love Joe xxxx
P.S. Excuse scrawl”
* The 'Lickeys' is a large wooded area in the suburbs of Birmingham, known as the Lickey Hills, but referred to affectionately by locals as 'The Lickeys'.
Joe sounding a bit weary this week. The relentless Scottish weather can be enough to get anyone down, but when it has confined you to the classroom instead allowing you to be in the air, it must have been even worse.
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:-