October 30, 1943
48 Massingham Road
My Dear Ern and Hilda:
I was so thankful to get your letter this morning. It relieves my mind a lot as I have been wondering so much about you. I expect you have received my letter which I sent after we got the telegram on Sept. 28th. The raid was on Sept. 27 - 28 which means after midnight. We got the news of the raid early next morning and where it was when they gave out the number of how many did not return. It gave me a shock. Then the wire from government on the afternoon of Sept. 28th.
Harry had told us we would get a telegram if anything happened. Harry said "it doesn't mean to say" and I said "Harry don't say anymore". Harry did not tell us anymore than he could help. He was very particular about us knowing. Of course you know they were not supposed to give anything away. So, if he did say anything he was very careful about it. The leave he last had, he had been on "OP" someplace two nights before he got here, and he looked very tired indeed.
He arrived here at 10 o'clock at night. I advised him to get a good night's rest which he did. That very night we got a siren warning so we had to get up. Aunt Ellen and Ivy said, "don't you think you ought to wake Harry." I said, "no I'm not disturbing Harry tonight. He needs rest." I said, "it was not more dangerous than what he'd been through." The next morning, he looked a lot better and better until the end of his leave.
You ask me Ern if Harry told us of his experiences in the air. Harry would not tell us much. Once he said, "you've no idea what it's like." If he did let out on anything, he would say, "now don't tell dad. He would worry about me." I told him then that I never tell your dad anything because he's worried and anxious enough, but Harry did tell us how he didn't think he'd see that last leave. Of course Harry had then come from an ‘OP'. I believe it was a pretty bad one too.
Oh how I do pray and hope Harry is saved. You know it's after a long time before we get to know. I feel sure the Canadian Air Ministry, Berkley Square, London will inform us as soon as they know anything. I know we must have patience and bear up as well as you can Ern. God will give you strength. I wish Ern I could relieve you of your anxiety. I would if I could. I do pray for you Ern and I know my prayers will be answered.
You sent Harry a nice shirt and he wore it the last Sunday he was here. The morning he left he said, "Grandma, I'm leaving my new shirt here. It will do for when I come again." So, I have got it and am hoping he will have it sometime.
Harry was always very attentive to dad, bringing him tobacco, and once a nice box of cigars which dad thinks a lot of. Also a nice pipe and all kinds of other things that he thought dad would like.
Yes Ern, I feel so glad I did all I could for Harry when he was here, and would always look after him myself as though he was my own son. He used to say you know, "you'll spoil me Grandma." Dad, Harry and I would sit up an hour or so after Aunt Ellen had gone to bed, and we'd tell Harry tales about your boyhood days and what you and Bert used to do in Restou. Harry used to enjoy hearing it all.
Well my dear, I could write much more, but I must give up for this time. I hope Ern, you and Hilda are well in health. I'd like to know more about Ruth and hope she'll succeed in her business courses.
Dad sends much love. Dad thinks Harry is safe somewhere; I hope and pray it may be so.
Much love from your ever loving Mother and Dad
XX for B&B
PS. Do you think Howard will come to England?
Just another line. Dear Ern, I think you will like to have these snaps taken when Harry and I were there leaving for the station. I sent one to Harry, but I'm afraid Harry did not get it. I know he would not get it in time. He would have got it on Sept. 28th. You say Ern that you understood there were nine planes. Well there were 38 did not return in that raid. Harry had been on some pretty bad ‘Ops'.
I cannot tell you how we feel about the dear boy. We always felt so happy to have our grandson with us. We were very proud of him. It seemed such a link between us here and you over there in Canada. Did Harry tell you he put in for the (Croan?) so he would be Flight Sergeant on his next leave. Oh how I pray he is safe some place.
This is all for now, Mother
PS. Perhaps it was nine Canadian planes. If you would like any more of these snaps I will send you some.