Joe’s Letters, WWII: “Was there a time before the Black-out?”

family stories

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 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 is several months into his RAF experiences and is now at RAF Wratting Common in Cambridgeshire, as part of the crew’s final stretch of training before active operations begin.

Letter 64-  19th September 1944

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Letter transcript:

“3050664 Me

c/o Sgts mess

RAF Station

Wratting Common

Cambridgeshire

Monday, 10.55pm

Hello Mom,

How’s things? OK? I’m sorry I didn’t write last night only we went to a place called Pulham on a ‘Liaison Visit’. It’s an M.F. radio station and we went there to see how things are done. We often go on these visits. W stayed the night at this station and got back here at 11am today. The meals they served up were bang on!

Well here I am trying to write a letter and can’t think of a damned thing!! I should be writing to Miss Powell tonight as well!! Ho-Hum! The women in my life!! By the way I still haven’t got my laundry yet. I’m going to ring up ‘Strad’ in the morning to ask about it.

Have they lifted the blackout in Brum’ yet? They have round here and the villages look great. Almost pre-war only that was so long ago I can’t remember it very well, and I’m not kidding. Five years is a hell of a long time and we may get another 18 months before the end really comes. At least I think so. Only hope I’m wrong (I can’t stand the heat anyway).

We are getting revision on  all subjects here so far and one or two tips thrown in. It will be about the last training we get before we go to a squadron. I’m getting cheesed. 

By the way how’s the apple pie situation (or is it?) Well Mom I must admit this letter is a very poor effort but I’m dry of all news tonight. I shall have to leave ‘Miss J’ till tomorrow. I’m tired. God Bless till the next time.

Lots of love, Joe xxxx” 

Hard to imagine how young these men were. Joe, by his own admission, was so young when the war began that he can’t even remember a time when the world was bathed in lights. The training must seem endless, and it sounds as though they are itching for something new, whether or not that means dangerous action.

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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