Family Magazine

Joe’s Letters, WWII: “On the Move Again”

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.

In 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 56 – 2nd September 1944

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letter 55 page 2
Letter transcript:


c/o Sgts Mess

RAF Station


Nr Newmarket



Hello Mom.

I’m afraid I can’t write much this time ‘cos we only got in  a little while ago. It is past midnight now. We started from Heyford at 8am and got here at 10pm!! Good going, what?! I shall write more tomorrow only I’m sending this now so that you can see where I am.

By the way this is a rotten hole as well! The Mess is lousy and the food not much better. “Nice” place!

Well here’s til tomorrow, I’ve got to be put on parade at 8.30 which won’t give me much time to sleep. 

I had to use pencil ‘cos the rest of my kit is still on the way.


Love Joe xxxx

Such an enormously inefficient way of signing off trainees! A bit of ‘job creation’ perhaps? Joe looks set to demolish some home cooking and replenish the sock drawer on his leave. It now sounds a fairly run of the mill event to be joined by Jean, which is lovely.

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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