Letter from Reg Wilson to his parents



Letter from Reg Wilson to his parents


A letter to Reg's parents with a note explaining what he had not included in the letter. The letter advises he reached Rufforth after an overnight train journey from London. He has started flying training trips. He has been to York to watch films. In the note, written years later, he includes details about accidents and deaths that he would not have wanted his parents to know about.




Temporal Coverage



Six handwritten sheets


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4th Sept ‘43

Dear Mum & Dad,

Please forgive me for not writing to you sooner but somehow I’ve not had the time, or else I’ve left it too late to start a letter.

Well I arrived back OK on Wednesday morning after catching the 11.15 pm from Kings Cross, I travelled up with the same Canadian officer I came down with. We arrived at York at 4.40 am and we were lucky in getting a taxi with two other fellows. I was in camp at 5 o’clock and in bed at 5.15 am, managing to scrounge a couple of hours sleep before starting another day at Rufforth. Everything was OK about the pass so I’m glad now I did leave it till late before I came back here. Those two days at home made all the difference to me, I wish I

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[underlined] 2 [/underlined] could be home as often as this always. Thanks a lot for having Pat home and making everything OK, I know I don’t show my feelings as often as I should, but I do think quite a deal, and do not take it all for granted, I’m sure you realise what I mean.

Since we came back we’ve done quite a bit of flying we went up about 9 oclock [sic] on Wednesday morning, so you see we plunged straight back into things here without much time to recover from our 48 hours at home. We’ve flown every day so far, our skipper is certainly keen to get finished here & by the looks of it we shall be leaving within a week. Today we had a cross country flight, the first I’ve done for over 6 weeks boy! was I in a daze. The speed of these planes is too fast for my working at the moment, though I guess it will be OK soon. We went down South quite a way, back &

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[underlined] 3 [/underlined] forth, all over the place, doing about 800 miles in about 4 1/2 hours. Anyway we got egg & bacon & chips afterwards plus our flying rations of chocolate, raisins & chewing gum so thats [sic] some consolation. In the mess this week we managed to get 3 oranges each, my wireless op. also brought some back with him plus some apples & pears (his sister has a greengrocers shop), my rear gunner had some apples & plums, so you can guess we’ve had quite a feed during these last day or so. I think we will be flying tomorrow night, there’s no stopping us now it seems, just 3 nights of this and we shall be finished I should imagine. I think I can safely say that I shall be in the vicinity of York when I’m posted from here and I shall be stationary this time for at least a few months.

There’s not a lot to write

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[underlined] 4 [/underlined] about really, Wednesday night I went to bed early to try & catch up with some sleep Thursday I remained in camp vowing I would write to you & then didn’t. Friday we managed to scrounge a half day off and we all got to York as quick as possible. The bus was full so luckily we caught a lift on a lorry already loaded up with shingle, but still we’re not fussy, it got us to York & thats [sic] the main item. After having tea we went to the flicks and saw “Happidrome” and “Silent Witness” both very ropey films – don’t you ever see them, & then had a few drinks, consequently we missed the last bus & had to return in a taxi. In the pub I met a New Zealander who was at Winnipeg the same time I was there, though he left before me, in October I think. There was a whole flight of them, now some of them are on Ops here, others are in the Middle East & India its queer how everyone seems to get split up in the end.

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[underlined] 5 [/underlined] Well I think I’ve pretty well exhausted all I wanted to say, so I’ll be saying cheerio for the present

Love to all,


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This letter was written at Rufforth (converting to Heavy Bombers (Halifax II series 1A) During my time here my first pilot Vivian was killed on operations over Frankfurt our new pilot (Ex second tour in the Middle East) flew us upside down and we pulled out after losing a lot of height. There were many accidents and aircraft failures e.g. two aircraft had a head-on collision, a propeller spun off another aircraft into the fuselage. Another was shot down by friendly fire whilst on a bombing exercise at night. In all some 60 aircrew were killed and we were glad to go to Pocklington to be on operations.

We did not know then the casualties at Pocklington would be even greater This letter to my parents did not mention any of these events.


Reg Wilson, “Letter from Reg Wilson to his parents,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 14, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/35660.

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