Letter to Joan Wareing from Alan Buppinger



Letter to Joan Wareing from Alan Buppinger


Describes events during an operation to support the Normandy troops when Robert Wareing's aircraft was attached by fighters and set on fire. Four crew members were killed and four baled out. Author and one other evaded with help of French resistance, linked up with allied troops and returned to England. Two other crew including Robert Wareing were caught or handed over to Germans. Both were in Le Havre hospital. Continues with subsequent events and discussion about Wareing's car which he left in Market Harborough.


Temporal Coverage



Seven page handwritten letter


This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ and https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/legal.





[inserted] Reply:- c/o Capt A. Buppinger R.A.S.C, C.S.D. Soulbury [underlined] Bucks. [underlined] [/inserted]

[Hotel Rembrandt crest]


[underlined] Sept [/underlined]

My Dear Joan,

Thank you for your letter which I received last week, & I apologize for the delay in writing. I wanted to write you as soon as I returned but was bound down by the Air Ministry. However as they appear to have given you a certain amount of information, I’ll tell you what I can. You will appreciate my difficulty I know, but I will be completely truthful & honest with you, as I think you can take it the right way.

We had bombed our objective on the night of 7/8/Aug.

[page break]

& were approaching the French Coast east of Le Havre. About 6-10 miles from the coastline, we were attacked by a German fighter, who came in three times & eventually set the aircraft ablaze in the cockpit. The rear gunner, mid-upper gunner wireless operator & bomb aimer were killed & I have personally seen their grave. The engineer baled out first, followed by the second nav, (Bob King.) & I followed them. King was burnt a little & I burned my legs getting out, & sprained my ankle on landing. Bob was still flying the aircraft in all this, & believe me Joan, I feel very

[page break]

proud of him. He was a real skipper & stuck to his job.

I wandered about all night trying to find assistance & finally at nine o’clock next morning, contacted some French people who passed me on from one to another until that evening I was taken (with Paddy Tarrans the engineer) to a farm in the woods. Here we hid for three weeks while a local doctor looked after my burns, & ankle, & patched up a few scratches on Paddy. While there they told me that King had been caught by the Germans & taken to Le Havre Hospital to get his

[page break]

burns dressed. Bob was picked up by a renegade Frenchman & passed over to the Germans, who also took him to the same hospital. He was a little worse off than we, but exactly how much I could not discover. The Frenchman concerned was picked up by the local Maquis, & they showed me Bob’s signet ring, wrist watch & your address which he had written out. These were retained by the Chief of the local Resistance movement for, I presumed, restoration to you.

As far as I know, they were both in Le Havre Hospital

[page break]

right up to the time of capitulation & since then I have been eagerly awaiting news of their return.

When our troops moved to within six miles of our farm, Paddy & I made a dash for it& got in touch with them on 1st Sept. Then by degrees we were passed back to the beach head, & embarked by sea for Newhaven on the 7th Sept.

Since then I have been busy with medical boards, hospitals, kit chasing, (about £40 worth missing!) & sick leave. I have my ankle
[page break]

encased in plaster, & it should be all right by the 16th Oct.

The point about Bob, Joan, is that he may or may not have moved out of Le Havre, we shelled & bombed it too, but tried to avoid the hospital etc etc. So you see – I don’t want to raise false hopes of any kind. I have told you all I know, & I can but add that I hope & pray that things will come out all right for you. I think I know enough about you to realise that you will understand.

Did you know that bob had driven his car to the usual

[page break]

garage in Market Harboro’ for servicing? I mentioned it to the Adjutant & asked him to let you know. If you want to dispose of it or anything like that, let me know & I’ll be very pleased to do anything to help you.

I’ll try & visit you when I can, & we will have a more personal talk.

Goodbye for now, & remember Joan – you have a husband to be proud of.

Yours very sincerely Alan

[page break]



A Buppinger, “Letter to Joan Wareing from Alan Buppinger,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 15, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/28199.

Item Relations

This item has no relations.