Letter from Alan Green to his Family



Letter from Alan Green to his Family


Alan writes during his training at Torquay. He had just heard about the bombing of Coventry, where his family lived. He has arranged leave to visit his family. His course has finished and he has been made Guard Commander.




Temporal Coverage



Eight handwritten sheets


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[underlined] Alan [/underlined]
Nov. 1940
[Royal Air Force Crest]
1150518. A.W. Green.
B Flight
4 Squadron
5 ITW.
Toorak Hotel
Dearest Ma, Pa & Gwen
Many thanks for the letter which I received last night about 7 o clock. It was a great relief to me to know that you were all alive anyway, even if other things have gone. Very few people will have any-thing left after this war, and if we manage to get away with our lives, we can consider ourselves lucky anyway.
On Friday night, I heard rumours about here that 1000 people had been killed in Coventry, and natu-rally disputed them, thinking it was absolutely impossible that there
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could be such a death toll.
On Saturday morning I got a paper and had the shock of my life when I saw that it was true. As soon as I finished at 6.30 on Saturday, I tried to get through, but it was hopeless. On Sunday morning I spent two hours in a telephone box, and got Coventry, but could not get in touch with you or Griffiths or anyone. I spent two more hours on Sunday night, and still could not get through.
At last in desperation, on Monday night, I rang Coventry police station, but was asked why I wanted the police. I told them, and they said they would put me through to the enquiries department they had set up at the council house.
I spoke to a Mr Grant, who knew Pa, and he said that there were no Greens on the casualty list, but
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[Royal Air Force Crest]
that 60% of the casualties had not yet been identified. He said that he would try and find something out about you, and get you to wire me. This as you may well imagine did not relieve me much, espe-cially since he told me there were quite a few casualties in the Morningside area.
Anyway, I got back to the hotel very worried, and was overjoyed to find your letter on my bed.
Grant told me that Earl St was all in ruins (I already knew this from pictures in the paper). I had a let-ter from Basil this morning saying that Pa had been laid up with lumbago, and so, what with one thing and another, I decided to see my Commanding Officer
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with a view to getting 48 hours leave, to come and see you. The application has been successful, and so I shall come home either on Saturday night, or Sunday morning, but will have to be back here by Monday midday. The only trouble is that I shall have to pay my own railway fare, so, if we have any money at all, I wish you could wire me a little on immediately to cover it. I understand that E/S shop is completely gone. H/S windows smashed, the wharehouse [sic] gutted, and Cheyles more ruined. Is this correct? I suppose there is something left of my pet shop Stoke Heath. I imagine we have lost £1000’s of pounds worth of stock and other things, and are possibly up to our necks in “__it”. Tell Pa that [underlined] if [/underlined] we get through all this, we can start again, and therefore not to worry himself to death about it all too much —
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[Royal Air Force Crest]
Its just no good!
I have finished my course here, and assure you I am not sorry, for it has been terribly hard work all the time, and I have hardly been out at all in the past 2 weeks what with exams and guards etc. I have never before taken a [sic] exam for instance after being on guard, and having had no sleep for 38 hours. You see, I am generally made guard commander, which entails changing sentries all night, and as such am not allowed to go to sleep at all. On top of this we probably get several hours hard drilling (when they make you sweat like bulls, and sit all the rest of the day in wet clothes - its (sic )marvel-lous!). But it gets you hardened for the time when you meet Jerry. I am not at all sorry I
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joined up, because in the not too distant future, I may be able to get my own back on some of the rotten devils. I can assure you that if I continue to go through as an observer, I shall, as navigator and bomb-aimer lose no opportunities to put out a few chemists shops!!
If all goes well, I shall be home this weekend, and also home for 6 days leave a week on Monday, but don’t bank too much on this, as I may be posted without leave, even abroad. I have got my flying, but as I think I told you, more about it when I see you. Its [sic] remarkable.
The next part of my course, will I understand be mainly flying.
By the way, let me know where you are, because I see you posted my last letter in the Warwick - Leamington district. I am on guard again tonight, and
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[Royal Air Force Crest]
so must go and look for someone to post this letter for me. I have missed one letter post already.
Whatever happens keep your pecker up we shall win through yet with a bit luck - thats [sic] what we must consider first. Other things will come afterwards.
If you are short of [inserted] ready [/inserted] cash sell my motor bike if it is still whole. Wilmot Evans might take it. But if you can manage, leave it, as I might be able to get a better price for it, or may even be able to use it at my next station.
I should become a leading aircraftman in two weeks, although it may be a bit delayed. My pay will then be 5/6 a day with 1/6 extra flying pay I believe. This will be much better. Anyway, I think it is time I closed
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now. I am hoping against hope this letter will reach you. If you wire me any money, send it to Lucius (LUCIUS) Street post office [inserted] TORQUAY [/inserted] where I will collect same.
Keep smiling.
I am your Son
P.S Please excuse disjointed letter, and many thanks for thinking about a parcel at a time like this. I know that you have got plenty to occupy your three minds, and so don’t worry about things like par-cels, I will manage without until things get more settled.



Alan Green, “Letter from Alan Green to his Family,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 19, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/28173.

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