To Jessie from Harry Redgrave



To Jessie from Harry Redgrave


A letter from Harry Redgrave to his wife Jessie when he was undergoing RAF aircrew training in Scotland. He writes of his shortage of cash that affects his trips and present buying. The possible evacuation of schoolchildren in Southend is mentioned. He also makes arrangements to meet her in London on his way to his next posting.




Temporal Coverage



Six handwritten sheets


IBCC Digital Archive


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Mon May 27th

Dear Jessie,
Still waiting for some news from home but hope to find a letter waiting at Redbrae. I suppose you were very tired when you got home and I can imagine you almost falling asleep over the few lines you managed Tuesday night.

Saturday was a rather dull day and a shortage of cash curbed my activities beyond a couple of trips to Ayr. Paddy Tonker and myself went in during the morning to find a suitable gift for Miss Anderson and a little something for the girls. As they have all been so good to us during [deleted] a [/deleted] our stay here we have decided to give generously and are each going to subscribe one pound each and

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Mitch is going to send on ten shillings. You imagine our difficulty trying [sic] find anything suitable for one so well provided for as Miss A. and decided on a cigarette box. It came a shock to me the price of decent boxes and after seeing several silver ones were shown an onyx cigarette box that immediately interested us. The price was a bit stiff £3-17-6 but it was something in keeping with [inserted] the [/inserted] quality of the Redbrae furnishings. It is a simple polished white onyx box rectangular in shape with a green inlaid border on the lid hinged with a gold piano type hinge and capable of holding about fifty cigs. We intend to get the girls an R.A.F. brooch each or a crested compact.

Saturday evening Stan and I went to Greens Playhouse and saw “Traitor Spy”

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and “Sky Patrol”. Traitor Spy was quite a good effort for an English film and Sky Patrol starring Tailspin Tommy was an exciting air picture.
Do you remember the boys telling us about the motor lawn mower and their efforts to start it, well your brilliant husband got on the job yesterday and we had it running in under an hour. The result of that was to get the tennis court mowed and the nets up and from about seven to nine last evening your husband was learning to play tennis. The game is much more difficult than it looks but I made good progress and I think in time [inserted] and [/inserted] with plenty of practice could play a fair game. All this Sunday activity and after swinging that mowing machine during the afternoon I felt stiff and fagged out

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so after supper went up and had a bath and so to bed. This morning I am wincing at every movement and ache from head to foot. Every muscle in my body is stiff and I must try and get a game with Donald today to loosen up.

I heard on the news last night that they are going to evacuate schoolchildren from your area and I was wondering if the scheme included young children and mothers as did the London scheme. If you get the opportunity to go I certainly would advise you to do so. Gwen can go for certain and I think her mother should send her. When you have seen the damage done to houses and people on the news lately I dont [sic] think anybody should keep their children home now they have an opportunity to go. If adults are obliged to stay they will be able to better look after themselves with out [sic] young children to have

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to shepherd around. If the government evacuation plan does not include younger children and mothers you had better write to the folks at Teddington and ask them if things get too warm could they accommodate you for a while until I settle somewhere. Its [sic] not worth keeping on at the bungalow if there is any possibility of you coming to harm.

Since starting to write this I have had your newsy letter and the two Standards. Congratulate Milly on her having a baby boy and I hope they both progress as well as you and Pam did, Franks [sic] like a dog with two tails I bet. Its [sic] unfortunate that he cant [sic] get a leave to be with Mil when she comes out but no doubt he will be able to when things are a little quieter.

Paddy has just gone across to try find our travelling programme for Saturday and I hope to include some times and directions for you to bring Pam up to London

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to see me.
Well dear Paddy has just come back from the office and I am afraid there is not much opportunity for you to see me as we are leaving Prestwick Friday night on the 9.12 and should be at Euston by 7.05 A.M. We are due to leave Waterloo at 8.30 A.M. and the journey and packing in and out of the stations has got to be done in under an hour and a half. I should have loved to have seen Pamela but for the few minutes it hardly seems worthwhile and it would mean you catching an early train up to London before the Southend buss’s [sic] start.
Tell Mum I am sorry she has bronchitis and hope she will soon recover. Give my love to all at Redwood and let the memories of our holiday and all our happy days keep you going till we meet again.

Always your loving
Harry xxxxx


Harry Redgrave, “To Jessie from Harry Redgrave,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed May 22, 2022,

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