Letter to Mrs H Redgrave from Harry



Letter to Mrs H Redgrave from Harry


Harry writes to Jessie telling her of elements of his service life & duties including navigating a Hampden from Finningley to Hendon, and his input to their domestic life.




Temporal Coverage



Envelope and six handwritten sheets


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Mrs H. C. Redgrave,
155 Fletton Avenue,

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[R.A.F Crest]

Sgts Mess

My dear Jessie,

Thanks for your letter today and now you are away I look forward to every other morning for your chatty little notes. It was rather late Tuesday to write you much so I will try and make up for it tonight.

When I arrived here on Monday tea-time I met a W.O.A.G. who came here a week before and he offered to go with me to Doncaster to fetch my kit so off we went and after unsuccessfully searching for the kit-bags we had a stroll round the town. There are bags of cinemas and seems

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to be quite a spot of night life about in the town. I should think it is a [deleted] but [/deleted] bit bigger than Peterboro [sic] but is more or less just another provincial town. As Frank had to be back for night flying we left on the 8.45 bus. Its only 10d return and there are buses every thirty minutes. On Tuesday we reported to accounts and various other people and in the afternoon to the Flight Commander of 106 Squadron. As there was nothing for us to do that day we got off sharply at five o’clock and went into town to see Spencer Tracy in “North West Passage” which I thoroughly enjoyed. Its an all colour film of the war in Canada between the French and ourselves each side being aided by various Indian tribes. If it comes your way you

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[R.A.F Crest}

should try and see it. The next morning saw us in the crew room at 0830 and after sitting around all day I was suddenly detailed for some practice bombing. In the Hampden they use the automatic bombsight about which I know nothing so I had to scurry around and collect some gen before I could start. The target is in the shape, and of the size of a submarine and I was surprised to learn that seven out of my eight bombs would have sunk it. Pretty good eh. In the evening I started to take my byke [sic] engine down preparoty [sic] to fitting new rings and after supper went to bed. This morning I was supposed to be going to a lecture on this automatic b.sight but just as I got to the Armoury I was sent for to

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navigate a machine down to Hendon. Gee was I in a flat spin. I’d never done any work in aHampden and I was being sent down to London with all those hundreds of balloons and fighter boys Visibility was very poor but I got the plane there O.K. although we were several times challenged by fighters and on arrival found that we were there to show the Observer Corp what a Hampden looked like from the ground and the air. The night before the aerodrome had been bombed up with dozens of incendiary bombs and the Franco sign works on the North Circular Road had been demolished and also a Tube Station near by. There were two warnings while we were there but nothing happened. Incidentally was I proud

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of myself when all these civvie chaps came around asking me about my machine. They are fine jobs for navigation and have bags of guns for defence. I feel very happy about my chances in them and prefer them to any machine I have been in. At Hendon I ran into a Southend lad who I met a Prestwick and he was there demonstrating a Battle oh boy did he envy me. I found he was stationed Binbrook which is not far from here and that they had come from Eastchurch in the Thames Estuary from where they had been bombed out. Withal the weather was bad we made the journey back without incident and on landing the pilot said ”simply wizard navigation”; did my chest swell.

I’m glad you sent off Millys [sic] and

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Patty’s birthday cards. You will have to decide yourself about Mansfield as [inserted] it [/inserted] seems unlikely I shall even get a day off here to see you where ever you are. Were Gwen & Agnes keeping well? Send me one of the photos of you and Pam as soon as they are ready. Darling, don’t you ever think for one moment that you are a nuisance as having you near makes all the difference to this war, and I am looking forward to when you are near again.

Give my best wishes to Mr & Mrs Gorton and always remember that you and Pam are always in the thoughts of

Your devoted husband

Harry xxxxx


Harry Redgrave, “Letter to Mrs H Redgrave from Harry,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 19, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/19924.

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