Joe’s Letters, WWII: “Missing your long legs on the hearth…”

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 from Joe’s mother Olive, Joe has just been posted to a squadron and has just arrived at RAF Chedburgh, from where the 218 Gold Coast Squadron will engage in active operations. And so it begins.

Letter 88; 5th December 1944

family stories letter 78 page 2 letter 78 page 3

Letter transcript:

” Northfield, Sunday night.

Dear Jo ‘Enery,

Well son, here I am again – ‘old faithful’ – to thank you for letter and once more I see you have a new address. I thought I should have had one from you yesterday to say you had received washing etc., I can only hope it has caught up with you, if only for the jam tart!

Well, and how are you, have you got over your injections yet – you know I read more between your lines of writing than you think – and how are your ‘special duties’ going on? I expect you are still as interested as ever in it all. We are ok at the moment, I’m very tired though as I’ve been doing ironing, bedrooms etc. ’til tea time. You see I’ve started doing Saturday mornings now to get an extra bob or 2 for Xmas, they stop such a lot of bonus for half day and I can use it better than them.

I’ve promised to get Joyce’s winter coat for weeks now and haven’t managed it yet, she was 13 last week. At last after 2 years ‘ve got our clock back, you remember the wooden one, and what is equally important we have had an egg straight from the fowl.

Ernie Tonks came home yesterday after 3 years nearly in Italy. Bob Foster goes abroad next week (now we shan’t be long). I had a letter from Aunt Phyll last week to see if we can go on the Friday before Xmas, to join them at a dance at Dudley town hall, but we don’t finish work ’til half past 5 and I’ve got fowl to kill, shopiing and work to do, so it just can’t be done.

Have you any idea about your leave? Do you ever hear from Joe Lee, remember us to him. Also Jean. I’ve been writing this under difficulties, Brian is sitting here with a hymn book making appropriate noises, I daren’t put singing! So now I’ll say good-night and God bless you son. We still miss your long legs on the hearth on Sundays!

With love, from Mother and nibs xxxx”

family stories

Olive is clearly doing her best to bring Joe up to date with all the news from home. He has missed all three of his siblings’ birthdays in the last month or so, and his sister Joyce has turned into a teenager whilst he has been away. Olive sounds a bit fed up about the endless chores that come with being a widowed mother of four in wartime, but as always is stalwart and accepting.

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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