Letter to Joan Wareing from Jacqueline Pillot



Letter to Joan Wareing from Jacqueline Pillot


Glad to hear Joan's husband is comparatively comfortable and safe in prisoner of war camp and that she was hoping to send clothes parcels. Mentions receiving letters from families of crew members who were killed. Goes on to thank Joan for telling her about herself and that she would like to visit England again. Concludes with a little about herself, her life in France and about where she lives.




Temporal Coverage



Four-page handwritten letter


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inserted] Trusting I will hear from you soon. Best love from Jacqueline Villy[?] [/inserted]

La Cerlangue March 16th 1945.

My dear Joan,

Thanks very much for your very kind letter which came fairly quickly. I received it on February 22nd which is a definite improvement.

I do hope that, in your next letter, you will announce me the return of your husband. I am glad to know that he is comparatively comfortable if one can speak of comfort in a prisoners’ camp ….

I hope you have been able to send him some parcels or packets. When I remember the dreadful condition of his clothes – (all burned and torn – no more socks – trousers cut, in order to tend his burns – shoes pretty roasted-) I wonder [deleted] if [/deleted] [inserted] whether [/inserted] he has been given any other garments, and if not, how he has born[sic] the cold winter days.

Anyway the Red [indecipherable word] is pushing forward [deleted] at [/deleted] with wonderful speed and I do wish very sincerely that he will not long on the Baltic coast now. Do let me know when he is at last back home, by any means.

I have just received this week, letters from Mrs Campbell and Mrs Hawker. I cannot express the amount of grief and sorrow which is contained in both of these letters. I feel that they can hardly

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believe in that dreadful blow. And[?] I know there are probably thousands of other mothers and wives in England who suffer the same agony of pain, waiting against all hopes, for an impossible return.

Mr Wareing’s fate was a sad one indeed. But he is still alive, you have news from him, you know that some day, very soon, he will come back again. Let me tell you, my dear, I am so very glad you have been spared all these pains and sorrows. I am glad to think that you at least will not be obliged to cross over the Channel when the war is over, to visit a grave, whatever furnished with flowers it might be –
now let us speak about more pleasant topics. I want you to know that I was really [indecipherable word] pleased to know all about you. I can now represent[?] what you are like and what your life is.
I have plenty of very dear friends and England and am sure that both your husband and yourself will be now on the last. I long to go to England again “when this terrible war is over – so a famous song in “Gone with the Wind” says – and I am sure I shall be able to find Scunthorpe and to meet you –
We hear, in France, that you are suffering from very heavy restrictions and very poor rations.

I am not going to tell you that we live in a luxury of food which would be false; but we live in the country and are able to

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manage rather well with the acute food problems. Please, do let me know if I can do anything for you – Parcels are allowed to be sent now and if any eggs, butter or anything else in my possibilities could help you, I should be only to[sic] glad to do something for you –

I think I must tell you a little more about myself since the only particulars you have – [indecipherable word] school teacher – are not very conclusive.

I am not tall (1 metre 60), rather plump (though owing nothing to black market) – with brown eyes, brown hair and pink complexion – Quite a plain looking girl as you will see on the snap I am sendind[sic] you .

I passed two exams just before the war, which allowed me to teach in a secondary school. I intended to go back to England in 1939 to get more acquainted with language, uses, habits – and then pass a thesis before Paris University in order to be appointed as teacher of English in one of the chief colleges either in Rouen or in Paris -

Unfortunately, these attractive plans were destroyed by the war. I had to stay in France, and I came to La [indecipherable word] where our [deleted word] family [inserted] old [/inserted] house is - I have [inserted] been [/inserted] living here [deleted] for [/deleted] [inserted] from [/inserted] the beginning of the war till now with my aunt whom I consider as my mother since the latter died when I was a baby.

La Cerlangue is a very small village built on the top of the cliffs which tower the Seine valley.

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It is 28 kilometres (22 miles), far from Le Havre[?]. Usually it is a very quiet place, but during the war it was crowed[sic] with “refugies”[sic] from Le Lavre.

Since the ordinary elementary school of the village was not sufficient to instruct all these extra children, I opened a sort of secondary school and I am both Headmistress and teacher in all subjects including German, Latin, Mathematics, [indecipherable word] and so on – You may easily understand that my life is a very busy one – though now a good deal of my smaller pupils have gone back to Le Havre. Only the older ones stay with me because they have an important examination to pass in [inserted] next [/inserted] June. I hope it will be my last year of teaching – though I am truly fond of it – I am engaged to a young pharmacist[?] – 29 years old – as tall as I am small, and as steady and ponderate[?] as I am noisy and buoying. Contrasts attract themselves. (You must think that this last description does not fit with “shy” – I may say it does. I am really very shy and I have to struggle to dominate my shyness) – We have been engaged for quite a long time (nearly 2 years) and we truly hope to get married next summer, if we are able to find a flat, or a house and the most necessary things.

My favourite occupations are reading (all sorts of books, but I have a kind of preference for det [detective][?] stories) – swimming, knitting, singing and playing the organ. I used to play the piano, but have been asked long years ago to play the organ in church on Sundays – Well, you will be largely able to realize what a [indecipherable word] chatterbox I am. Please do excuse [deleted] me be [/deleted] me for being so talkative.



J Pillot, “Letter to Joan Wareing from Jacqueline Pillot ,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed March 5, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/28241.

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