Joe’s Letters, WWII: “First raid ends in disaster”

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 his last letter, Joe had written to his mother telling her that he was to make his first bombing raid over Germany the following day. The raid took place on 12th December 1944 and ended in disaster, as the crew and their Lancaster came under heavy fire and were forced to ditch in the middle of the North Sea. I have included the official account of the incident which preceded Joe’s letter. It was not the start that they would have wished for, but each and every crew member, thankfully, survived the ‘ditching’.

joe 12 dec ditching edit

Letter 90; 15th December 1944

family stories

Letter transcript:

Chedburgh, Thursday.

Hello Mom,

First of all, excuse the writing material, I’m in a hell of a rush!! I’m coming home in a day or so on survivor’s leave! We were shot up over Germany  on our  first op and crashed in the North Sea.

We were picked up after 3 hours. We all got out oK and are well. Try and imagine swimming in the North Sea in December?!! Cold ain’t it?!!

We slept 14 hours after being picked up!!! I’m alright so don’t worry Mom. It looks as if I will get Xmas at home after all, at least I HOPE so!

God bless and see you soon,

Lots of love, Joe xxx xxx xxx

P.S. I may beat this letter home!”

family stories

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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