Joe’s Letters, WWII: “Saturday night at the Pictures”

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. He has recently written to tell his mother that he plans to marry Jean, the girl from Liverpool whom he met less than four months ago.

Letter 76; 27th October 1944

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Letter transcript:

“Same place, Monday.

Hello Mom,

I received my laundry ok on Sat. but this is the first time I’ve been back to the hut since I brought my parcel up here. We got a diversion on the Sat night and got back this morning. I guess that Miss P will be getting into a panic ‘cos I did not write either I last wrote to her on Friday last and I haven’t had time to write to her as well tonight. For all that miss a lot, she still writes me every day.

By the way, did you get that ‘dough’ ok? I went to get a registered envelope but was too late. I was SHOCKED to see that MY mother had been drinking 10 year old parsnip wine!!! No wonder you was ‘tired’ next morning!! The tone of your letter was much more cheerful I was glad to see. It seems you like your job ok. I was also glad to see you can get Saturday mornings off. By the way, is Denis behaving himself? He’d better, as you have enough on your plate as it is.

You’re about the only person I know who has both a good foreman and a job at the Austin. Usually one is lucky to have a good job at the Austin but to have BOTH is little short of wonderful. And I’m not being sarcastic.

family stories

You seem to be getting some decent ‘Pictures’ around Northfield these days? By the way have you ever seen Robert Cummings and Olivia deHavilland in ‘Princess O’Rourke?’ I saw it at the station we were diverted to and I think it’s grand. It may have already been around your way but should it return I advise you to see it if possible as I feel sure you will like it.

I see that Norman has got his W.O. now. He’s STILL and NCO so Freda is NOT an officer’s wife! 

Well, there is nothing of importance to report this time so I’ll draw to a close. I shall probably pack up my washing tomorrow and send it so ’til then, cheerio and God bless. Jean, as always, sends her love and hopes to see you all again and soon. That goes for me too. So long.

Lot of love, Joe xxxx

P.S. I had another parcel from Jean last Sat and amongst the eats was a new photo of her. a good one too.

We don’t know where Joe was diverted to on his flight, nor why, but presumably it wasn’t anything serious. It sounds like he’s finding it difficult to keep up with his correspondence, but is loving receiving the daily letters and regular parcels from Jean. 
Just for fun, here’s the beautiful Olivia, overdosing on cabin-crew dispensed sleeping pills in ‘Princess O’Rourke’. Those were the days eh?


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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2 responses to “Joe’s Letters, WWII: “Saturday night at the Pictures”

  1. I always love reading these letters, but how wonderful to see them in context with what was on in the cinemas at the time and what we know he looked at. It really brings them to life.

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