Letter to Joan Wareing from Jacqueline Pillot



Letter to Joan Wareing from Jacqueline Pillot


She writes expressing how glad she was to hear of Robert’s liberation and homecoming. Continues with comments on how Robert was treated by the Germans and how awful prisoner of war camps were. She asks some other questions and talks a little about the situation in France. Concludes by talking of her fiancé and her future and includes an invitation to the wedding.




Temporal Coverage



Six-page handwritten letter with envelope and wedding invitation


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[piece of envelope missing]

Mr & Mrs Robert Wareing
Old Brumby
56 West Common Gardens

[/piece of envelope missing]
La Cerlangue, en Seine Inferieure[?]
June 5th 1945.

[centred] My dear friends, [/centred]

Words are simply inadequate to express my feelings after reading Joan’s last letter posted on the 29th of May. I am so very very glad that your tragic situation has at last come to an end – I do not know what your religious ideas are, anyway I must tell you that we have been praying days and days, my aunt, my pupils and myself for Mr Waring’s safety and liberation. And the good news of your arrival gave us a deep feeling of relief indeed.

Doctor Tevin[?] has been extremely pleased to hear that his patient had safely come back home. He sends him his best wishes for a prompt recovering, and better luck. By the way, we should like to know what happened to Allan and the other boy of the crew – whose name I have forgotten – whom Dr Tevin[?] tended and hid till we were liberated. They solemnly promised to write but we never received any letters.

I understand that Mr Wareing never went to Le Havre after all. There must have been a confusion or a mistake between his name and another one. Anyway, I am not at all surprised at the way the Germans treated him. These are generally their usual proceedings: bullying people; acting like mad brutes, showing absolutely no

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consideration for a man who has done his duty and who suffers a great deal. Fancy you have not developped[sic] infection on your burns, since they never looked after them. I know they are simply dreadful even in prison camps; when my father was in camp Oflag IVD near Dresden in Silesia, he broke his leg in skating; [deleted] we[?] [/deleted] nobody looked after him except his fellows in the “barrack” and his leg was mended in such an awkwar[sic] way that he hardly escaped claudication. Besides I have a girl friend who has just come back from Ravensbruck . Well, she is no more a girl, but an old woman, the shadow of herself, hurt for the rest of their life by the terrifying things she has got through. We refused to believe the story of the petrol vat which every prisoner had to dive in, at his or her first arrival in camp. It is perfectly true. My friend lost one eye doing this. Is it not terrible?

I may assure you, I have not the faintest pity, I am not in the slightest way sorry for the Germans. They simply deserve the way they are treated.

I want very badly to send you a small parcel containing some “douceurs” (sweeties) and I am trying to find an opportunity because we are not allowed to send packets by [deleted one word] post.

I should like to know too – (many things I’d like to know) whether the Germans left you your fountain pen and your 200 francs? And your marvellous little safety parcel (the one with angling line, toffees, pills, razor etc…) and what is the chemical composition of your violet pomade which you had put on your burns.

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[underlined] 2 [/underlined]
Both of you are going to think I am frightfully curious; but the details of your accident and short stay in the barn[?] are still as vivid ten months [deleted] later [/deleted] after, as they were on the evening of the 8th of August.

As to us, the liberation enthusiasm has completely disappeared. We have got through hard times. Morally and materially speaking. France looks like a huge [deleted] vessel [/deleted] boat where every body wants to steer, and nobody is able to do so. De Gaulle whom we still worship is simply overpowered by the Russion influence.

Le Havre, Rouen, Caen, and some other towns in Normandy are the only cities who voted for a moderate council. I think it is because Normandy suffered more than other parts of France, but even in Normandy there were frantic brawls for the vote. The women voted for the first time, and to give you an idea of the bad organization of everything, no preparatory lecture was

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given, so that in many cities and villages, lots of women, not knowing what to do, put 3 or 4 lists in the same enveloppe[sic] ….. (70% of the bulletins were declared “null and void” – To use a French slang expression, “les elections furent une [indecipherable word] foire”.

Black market has developped[sic] to a considerable extent. My father wrote to me last month that in Lille they pay 1,000 francs (about £5) for a pound of butter; 15 francs (7/-) for an egg … and so on.

Ordinary petrol is sold 125f for a “litre” 7[?] French litre = about 3 pints …..

Well I am not going to deliver a lesson of Arithmetic, but it may give you a good idea of the way things are going …

All the same, my finance and myself intend to get married in September … Luckily for us I have all my mother’s things, furniture, linen, and silver

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which represents a considerable amount of money … I should be totally unable to buy all these things.

My fiancé passed his last examination in April. He got honours. I am desperately proud of him – he is now a certificated chemist and is looking for a place where he will soon be able to poison people.

I am finishing my school time in June (exactly the 26th). My pupils are going to pass their exams in Le Havre. I am very busy on account of the lessons, very busy and tired, so you must be indulgent and pardon my horrible scrawl.

I must stop now, dear Joan and Robert. Once more let me tell you how very happy I am. I associate myself to your joy, and I make hearty wishes for a future full of happiness.

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I hope the moment is not far when we meet and have a long chat about our common souvenirs.

God bless you and good luck.

Yours truly
Jacqueline Villot

Thanks very much for the nice photograph. I could perfectly recognize my poor patient. His hair was not so well done in the barn – but his smile was about the same.

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Madame Henri DRONY,
Monsieur Paul PILLOT, Chevalier de la Legion-d’Honneur, Croix-de-Guerre 1914 et Madame,
Mademoiselle Juliette PILLOT,
Ont l’honneur de vous faire part du Mariage de Mademoiselle Jacqueline PILLOT avec Monsieur Henri DRONY, Pharmacien de la Faculte de Paris.

Et you prient d’assister a la Benediction Nuptiale qui leur sera donnee le MARDI 18 September 1945, 1 11 heures precises, en l’Englise Saint-Leonard de La Cerlangue
28, Avenue des Acacias, CROIX (Nord) LA CERLANGUE (S.-Inf.)



J Pillot, “Letter to Joan Wareing from Jacqueline Pillot,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 24, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/28242.

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