Letter from Arthur Woolf to his parents



Letter from Arthur Woolf to his parents


Writes that he is glad to be back in England and to catch up with news. Asks if they received any of his letters from German prisoner of war hospital. Relates his last days as prisoner and liberation by American forces and journey home. Continues with account of RAF hospital and suggests that they visit him and ask them to send him some money. Continues with other news about his kit and how he is feeling and his treatment. PS that he had received their letter and catches up with news and gossip.




Temporal Coverage



Ten page handwritten letter and envelope


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.





Mr & Mrs C. Woolf,
31 Ismere Road,
Birmingham 24.

[page break]

Ward 3
RAF Hospital,
Nr. Swindon,

Dearest Mom & Dad,

Well here I am back in England and gosh it feels good! I hope & pray that you are all in the very best of health and have been so since I last heard from you, which seems like [underlined] years [/underlined] not months, back in July.

I hardly know where to start for I know there will be many things you’ll want to hear about. I wish I knew whether or not you received any of the letters I wrote from the German prisoner-of-war hospital in Nancy. I certainly hope you did. Well I’m afraid I haven’t time now to tell you [inserted] about [/inserted] my stay in the hospital at Nancy except

[page break]

that when the Germans did finally evacuate the town and the hospital they decided (thank God!) that I could be moved because of my leg and so I was one of the only 4 where patients left in the hospital [inserted] with 1 doctor. [/inserted] We spent the last 6 days down in the cellar, in bed, because of the bombing and shell-fire. It was a long 6 days believe me! At long last the U.S. Forces reached the town and wiped up the few remaining[?] Germans. Within 2 or 3 hours the Yanks had us out of that cellar, in an ambulance and on our way to an advanced field hospital of theirs. Well that was Friday, 15 Sept. a day and date I shall never forget as long as I live! During the next 8 days I was in the different field hospitals

[page break]

all under canvas. They are doing a great job. Each move was further back from the fighting. The last one being near to a landing strip. On Saturday evening flew back to England in one of a number of American hospital planes. It felt great coming back to England after once having been so near to being evacuated to Germany! On landing here in England I was taken by ambulance to an American Army hospital with the rest of the American soldiers. Then yesterday I was brought to this RAF hospital by ambulance. Boy, the miles I’ve travelled in ambulances these last 8 or 9 days! Well that, briefly, is the story.

This hospital is a very nice place and I am in an officers ward. The food is very

[page break]

good especially after what I’ve been getting for the past two months or so! There is also a radio which is another luxury to me. We are allowed visitors here on any day between 2 and 4 o’clock in the afternoon. The trouble is that it is such a long and awkward journey from Birmingham. I thought that maybe you could perhaps make an outing of it one of the days with Sheila of course, some day when it is convenient, there is no great hurry, for I suspect that I shall be here for quite a few weeks yet, although I’d very much like to see you. As far as I know this place is about 5 or 6 miles from Swindon. I am told that there are half hourly buses from town (Swindon) to the

[page break]

village of Wroughton, which is still about 2 miles from the hospital unfortunately. That’s about as much as I know I’m afraid. I’m waiting to see what you say in your reply before expecting too much[?] for I know that travelling by train is not very easy these days, besides of course the expense too. Don’t be afraid to tell me now if [inserted] you [/inserted] can’t get here at all, I’ll understand alright.

Now Mom, I hope you don’t mind me asking, but could you possibly send me some money. I have had to borrow 10/= from one of the fellows here to buy such things as shaving stuff, writing materials, stamps, etc. and about 6/= has gone already. I have seen one of the sisters here about notifying

[page break]

the camp at East Kirkby, and instructed to have my kit etc. sent home. Then you can send my cheque-book to me and I can pay you back the money. Also when the kit does eventually get home will you please send my shaving kit and such personal things to me. I am in [inserted] the [/inserted] unfortunate position of having come back from France without a single thing. The Germans took everything I had, including my battle dress.

Well, about myself, I feel O.K. in myself. I have a plaster cast on from the toes of my broken leg right up to my stomach which means I am still unable to sit up, or move much. I have now been about 9 weeks on my back in bed. It took

[page break]

them 6 weeks to get the bone properly set. It is my left thigh bone that is broken. It Is pretty awkward trying to do anything lying down like this, as I expect you’ll have seen from the writing here! But I hope you’ll understand alright.

Well I hope you’ll forgive me if I finish off now, I feel a bit tired. I hope Fred & Madge are both in the best of health, please give them all my love and best wishes. So Bye-Bye for now. I’ll wait till I hear from you before writing again, hope that’s O.K? [deleted one word] Please remember me to all relations.

Your loving son Arthur [21 kisses]

[page break]

P.P.S. (4.45 p.m.)Just received your letter. Gosh I was so excited I could hardly open it! I’m so glad that you are all O.K. at home. I’m sorry you’ve had so much worry about me. Back in France I was hoping and praying that you would receive the prisoner of war letters. I wrote you from there in August to save you any worry. Those [underlined] damned [/underlined] Germans, I doubt if the letters went outside the hospital! Now I want some “gen” from you, because for the love of me I can’t remember what happened

[page break]

way back in July on that eventful night! So if you’ve seen Bill and Trevor (we call him Jack) you can give me some gen. Thank God they’re safe! If George & Woodie are interned in Switzerland they will now be O.K. for I read that all allied forces in Switzerland are now to be freed through France. Gosh I’ve been wondering for the last two months what had happened to the rest of the “boys”.

Well I don’t think I can say much more now. I think I had already answered your

[page break]

other questions. I’m so very glad you’re going to come down to see me, with Sheila, that’s [underlined] great [/underlined] news! So I’ll say Bye Bye again. God bless you. All of my love.

Arthur. [7 kisses]


A Woolf, “Letter from Arthur Woolf to his parents,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 9, 2023, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/30946.

Item Relations

This item has no relations.