Joe’s Letters, WWII: “Closer to the action”

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, he 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 72; 20th October 1944

family stories letter 67 page 2 family stories letter 67 page 3 family stories letter 67 page 4 family stories

Letter transcript:

“Same place. Thursday.

Dear Mom,

Hello and how-do. I’m afraid I can’t write a great deal tonight as it is rather late. You see we had to go to Stradishall to take a kite over for a major inspection and we have only just got back. It’s nearly 12pm and I’m tired!

If my writing is worse than usual it is because I am trying to write this with the book on my knees. By the way this particular pad cost 5/-!! It is fairly thcvk but I had to get it whatever the price as I was short of paper and it is hard to get around here.

family storiesThe night before last I was at a place called North Creake up near the Wash. We had been sent there to land ‘cos of fog over base. We slept the night there and came back to base the following evening. The organising at that place was bang-on; that was because it was an operation drome I guess. We got some bang-on food there. The snag was, we were in our flying boots and shirt sleeves with a fur coat on top. On top of that we had no shaving kit or soap and were feeling pretty riffy walking around with a day and half growth and dirty faces!!

By the way we flew near to the Norwegian coast today!! We could not see it but we knew we were near to it! The other night we were over the south of England and found ourselves in an area where there were Jerry aircraft  about, trying to launch their buzz bombs. We did not see any though.

Well I guess there isn’t much more news right now and anyway I’m tired!!

Til the next time, cheerio and God bless. Tell our kid to look after that overcoat or else – .

love Joe xxxx

P.S. A £1 for you and £1 in my bank please.

Cheerio again.”

The monotony of daily training has been broken up with excursions and the threat of nearby danger. It reads as though Joe and crew have enjoyed the thrill.

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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