Family Magazine

Joe’s Letters, WWII: “Your Brother is Reading the Encyclopaedia”

By Saveeverystep @saveeverystep

As Remembrance Sunday approaches, please spare a thought for every mother who has ever written to her son, not knowing when or if she will see his face again…… lest we forget.


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, he is several months into his RAF experiences and is now at RAF Wratting Common in Cambridgeshire, as part of the crew’s final stretch of training before active operations begin. He has recently written to tell his mother that he plans to marry Jean, the girl from Liverpool whom he met less than four months ago.

Letter from Mum; 31st October 1944

family stories
olive letter 9 page 2
olive letter 9 page 3

Letter transcript:

“Home. Monday night.

Dear Joseph,

Just a few line in answer to yours received on Saturday, and thank you very much for £1 which came in very useful. I sent Joyce up with your bool to take the other £1 to the bank for you.

Yes thanks, I’m still getting on OK at my job, but it’s too early in the week to say much about my legs and feet! I only hope they don’t let me down as I am quite interested in it and what is more to the point, I should be able to carry on at it after the war according to the foreman.

I hope you have received your washing safely by now and that your feet are more comfortable. Its actually not rained all day today for a change, which makes things a bit brighter. Brian has got a week’s holiday this week, so I shan’t have so much running around to do for the shopping and of course all the housework will be done – mmmmmm, I wonder. At the moment he is deep in a rather good book I got for his birthday – a child’s encyclopaedia – and Denis has raced home to be in time to go to the Rep theatre to see – of all things – Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale! Yes, there IS a catch in it, they have gone from the YMCA!

The Wash (A) and the Norwegian coastline

The Wash (A) and the Norwegian coastline

We were interested to hear about your adventures by the Wash and over the Norwegian coast etc; I’m keeping my fingers crossed and my faith in God to look after you though.

Young Brown is home from Canada I hear but haven’t seen him. Well son, I have to close now, but I thought you would want to know your letter had arrived safely. Remember us all to Jean, so good night and God bless you, with love from

Mother and trio. xxxx”

family stories

I can imagine my Dad as a little boy poring over an encyclopaedia like a boffin! So THAT’S how he got to be so clever! He’s also excellent at housework, so Olive must have taught him a thing or two….

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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Joe’s Letters, WWII: “Your brother is reading the Encyclopaedia”
Joe’s Letters, WWII: “Your brother is reading the Encyclopaedia”
Joe’s Letters, WWII: “Your brother is reading the Encyclopaedia”
Joe’s Letters, WWII: “Your brother is reading the Encyclopaedia”
Joe’s Letters, WWII: “Your brother is reading the Encyclopaedia”
Joe’s Letters, WWII: “Your brother is reading the Encyclopaedia”

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