Letter to Joan Wareing from Jacqueline Pillot



Letter to Joan Wareing from Jacqueline Pillot


She writes she was sorry to hear that Robert was taken to Germany before Le Havre was liberated and was not rescued by allied forces and sent home like others. Describes sending her a message from her husband shortly after he was shot down and mentions that she was pleased he had recovered from his burns. She would pass this news on to the French doctor who treated him. Goes on to describe trying to hide her husband but being betrayed by a local village. She asks for the addresses of the families of the crew members who were killed and says their graves were well looked after. Hopes to meet Robert Wareing in better conditions that the first one.




Temporal Coverage



Four page hand written letter & envelope


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[post mark]
Mrs Joan Wareing
56 West Common Gardens
Old Brumby
[underlined] Scunthorpe [/underlined]
[underlined] England [/underlined]
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[missing word] Pillot
La Cerlangue,
Seine. Inferieure
[underlined] France [/underlined]
[page break]
La Cerlangue – Seine Inferieure – FRANCE.
January 26th 1945
My dear Joan,
It has been such a long time waiting for your letter which has at last arrived on Tuesday January 9th, dated October 27th 44 and posted November 23rd 44. I hope my present letter will reach you quicker.
I have been dreadfully sorry in reading your news. The information I got at the hospital in Le Havre on September 18th were [sic] not very definite. But, anyhow, I had come to the conclusion that your husband had been sent home. (The major in command of the hospital was positive. He told me:” All our boys found here on the liberation day, have been sent home”). But I now understand that Mr Wareing had been removed from Le Havre just before the beginning of the siege. That explains why he was not in the hospital when the allied troops entered Le Havre.
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I am glad to know you received my first message. (The one sent on the evening of August 8th) I had solemnly promised your husband to let you know about him as soon as possible and it must have been some sort of comfort to him to know that I was sure to write you.
You probably wondered why his ring was cut. His burns were so deep that the fingers had swollen so much that it was simply impossible to take off the ring. I had to take a pair of players [sic] and I cut the ring.
I shall let the Doctor read your letter. I know he will be very pleased in deed to read that your husband has now completely recovered from his burns. We shall never forget these terrible hours of the 8th of August, in this filthy hay-loft, where we had to look after your husband as quick as possible.
Unfortunately we were not quick enough...some people...in fact the very Mayor of the village of La Cerlangue, had been quicker than we. He saw the possibility of winning a big sum of money by handing a parachutist and he directly went to the German Commandant and warned the boches.
The idea was to hide your husband in a hay-cart, to wait for the night, and then to bring
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him into my house where he would have been all right. Unfortunately, his burns and wounds had to be dressed first and the doctor had been long to reach. Anyhow had it not been for this man – I can really find no proper name for him – everything would have got on perfectly.
I am afraid Mr Wareing must have kept a poor opinion of the French gallantry, Joan!... I hope he realized that Doctor Evin and myself were not of the same sort...Unfortunately, there is nothing to add. Things are done now and you must wait for his return, which I very sincerely hope will not be long. I enquired, in Le Havre in the “Prisoner’s House” where Stalag Luft 1 is. I have an idea it must be very near the camp where my father was. (He is now free on account of his age 58) I shall do my best to send your husband a parcel through the Swiss Red Cross – I hope that this parcel will never join him, that would mean the Russian would have freed him. and they are pushing forward at a terrific speed “N’est-ce pas”?..
By the way, if you know the addresses of the families of the other members of the aircraft crew. (I mean those who are dead ; Blaydon,
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Hawker, Gaughran and Campbell) would you be so kind as to let their people know that the four corpses have been decently buried in the churchyard of Saint Vigor d’Ymonville – Sein Inferieure – the day after the crash. – The grave has been strewn with flowers especially on All Souls’ Day. I go monthly to the grave to lay flowers and I have always seen that the place is perfectly well kept.
Please, my dear Joan, when you write Squadron Leader Wareing, send him the best wishes and “souvenirs” of the girl of the 8th of August. I did not tell him my nave. And if you have room enough write him it, tell him that I hope very heartily that our next meeting will take place in better conditions than the first one. In the meantime I am sure you will be kind enough to let me know more about yourself. Now the mails are free and though it is terribly long, we may write what we want. I should like very much to know more about you. I am sure we can be very good friends. Please do write soon.
I am 23 years old, and a very shy school teacher.
Much love and “bon courage”.
Yours very truly. [underlined] Jacqueline Pillot [/underlined]



J Pillot, “Letter to Joan Wareing from Jacqueline Pillot ,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 17, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/28240.

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