Family Magazine

Joe’s Letters, WWII: “A Quick Note from Mum”

By Saveeverystep @saveeverystep

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 honor 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, Joe is several months into his RAF experiences and has just moved to RAF Stradishall in Suffolk, as part of the crew’s final stretch of training before active operations begin.

Letter 58 – 4th September 1944

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Letter transcript:

“16 Elmdale

Monday morning.

Dear Joseph,

Have just received your first letter with new address and thought I’d better dash this note off before I start washing to let you have your pullover and mail.

It doesn’t sound too good a change for you so far, but perhaps you haven’t seen the best yet! What have you done about your bike? Let me know because we shall have to collect it this end if you have sent it.

I’ve got your shoes back from menders, shall you want them?

I won’t stop for more now so that Joyce can post it at once, so

Cheerio for now and

Love from Mother and nibs

Olive must be getting used to Joe’s constant movements by now, but trying to keep up with ‘snail mail’ only as a form of communication must have been quite a challenge. Reading between the lines of these letters, one can tell that Olive was continuously washing, baking, mending and posting items to and from Joe, in order to keep him up to date with laundry and supplementary food. The RAF were clearly not well equipped to keep up the standards that Joe could have expected in his mother’s house!

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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Tagged: 1940s, Birmingham, family, genealogy, history, Joe, lancaster bomber, letters, memories, nostalgia, Royal Air Force, stories, World War II, writing home

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