Joe’s Letters, WWII: “Civvy food”

One of my Uncle Joe’s letters 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 at RAF Feltwell in Norfolk for the crew’s Lancaster Finishing School training, less than a month away from his first Operation sortie.


Letter 84; 26th November 1944

family stories letter olive 26 nov 1944 page 2 letter olive 26 nov 1944 page 3 letter olive 26 nov 1944 page 4

Letter transcript:

” Dear Joseph,

Was glad – as usual – to receive your letters and hope you feel better now. Have you got a cold or have you been getting some more injections? Anyhow I hope you were in form to start on your Lancs’ today. You have been on my mind almost all day – wishing you all the best and hoping you have good results from your exams, do let us know as soon as you can. 

I was very glad to know that the food is ‘bang-on’ there, as well as other conditions, I’m afraid our ‘civvy’ food isn’t very exciting these days but we must make the best of it for a little while longer, and then I expect we shall all be too poor to buy it!

I’m sorry I didn’t send your washing back earlier but I had a beastly toothache for a day or two – until I plucked up courage and had it out on my way from work. Anyhow it’s better now and up to now we are all OK. We had a surprise visitor this afternoon, Betty Taylor complete with engagement ring! What a thrill.

I opened the enclosed letter when it came because I didn’t know if it required an answer, so be sure to acknowledge it, and also your letters from Aunty Em, she isn’t a bad sort to you. Eric Jones (Pensnett) has passed for the army and goes in 5 weeks time. Buster came up last Sunday morning soon after you had gone, and was quite disappointed at missing you, he had been at a loose end himself, with nobody to get around with, and that put the lid on it! He has asked me to pass him your address. I went to a wardens’ dance at St. Brigid’s last Monday and Bert Thomas was there having the time of his life – Casanova isn’t in the same street!

Remember us to Jean. There isn’t anything exciting happening at the moment, it’s Sunday night and Joyce is doing her homework. Brian is reading and Den as usual is at the Pictures.

So with all good wishes and love I’ll say goodnight and God bless you son.

With love from Mother xxxx

family stories

Olive is clearly missing Joe a great deal this week, and he is constantly on her mind. How hard it must be as the mother of a soldier away from home, in harm’s way, to carry on as normal in such difficult conditions, trying to feed a house full of hungry, growing children with a poor selection of rationed food. Tough women, doing a magnificent job of holding the fort back home for their menfolk.

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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