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Mother's Letters - 7

by Stuart Wilson

Contributed by 
Stuart Wilson
People in story: 
Anne Westlands writing to her daughter Anne in USA. Florence is her other daughetr and Willie is her son.
Location of story: 
Blackburn, Lancs
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
04 November 2004

16l Revidge Road,
Blackburn, Lancs.
9th January 194l

My Dearest Annie & Harold,

We have had a very peaceful Christmas and New Year and for the last three nights, no raids over any part of Britain. Just as I sat down to write off went the siren so raids have begun again. You can never be sure when your turn will come and you have to keep a look-out in case incendiary bombs fall on your house. As I don’t hear anything at present, I will just carry on with this.

We did not go away for Christmas as we were asked not to travel unless it was absolutely necessary. Mr & Mrs Collier were not going away either so they came for dinner on Christmas night and spent the evening with us and we went to them on the Saturday. We were at other three parties and I was at the Literary Society dinner, so after all we were quite gay. I would have liked to have been at Kirkcaldy to see Billy with his first Christmas (last year he was too small) but that was just another pleasure we had to forego. We had a children’s party here on the Monday and had a very strenuous afternoon as we had them minus their mothers. On Saturday last there was a children’s party at the club and the nativity play I was training them for was given at it and went very well. What a business getting them all dressed! I thought some of the angels’ wings would be in shreds before the play began! I played for the games too. There were nearly 50 children and a few mothers came, but they didn’t bother to keep their off-spring in order. It is a responsibility having so many children together when raids are on and though we had one warning it only lasted half an hour. We were glad to see them all away safely before dark.

Pat & Willie sent me a lovely warm cardigan and a hot water bag from Billy who also “sent” a bottle of bath essence to Florence. Her other present has gone amissing so enquiries are being made about it. Mabel sent me a box of shortbread and a linen bag for Florence. Lysbeth sent Florence a work-bag and me a lovely pink and white bed jacket, so I ought to be warm! We have had a cold spell too, with frozen pipes and no water for 3 days. Then it thawed on Monday and we are all right again. There was no snow this time but we may get it yet. I hope it won’t be so bad as last year. Marjorie’s card arrived yesterday so has taken nearly a month to come. There has been no other communication from you since your letter of 23rd September enclosing the cutting with Marjorie’s photo. I sent it on to Pat & Willie.

You were on your way to the Worlds Fair. Surely you must have written since then because I answered that letter and wrote again before Christmas. We need letters more than ever just now, as we must keep in touch and there is always the risk of some being lost. Our neighbours have relations in Canada who sent them 2 cases of tinned fruit for Christmas, but they never arrived.

I had a card from Anne who is at Andover, near Salisbury, where her husband is stationed with the R.A.M.C. (I hear planes).

I have been for a tour round about but nothing is falling near and the planes have passed over but we have not had the “raiders past” signal yet so they must be still in the vicinity. It is a most diabolical form of war-fare. All war is, of course, but death coming at you from the skies and you not able to do anything about it, is the worst. How is it to be brought to an end? We have just got to do it somehow - the sooner the better.

I enclose a cutting from today’s paper. We still get “The Daily Express” the paper Willie still works for. His age group are not called up yet so he continues his work and spends his spare time (if any) in the Home Guard.

Young Robert has been transferred from Wales to Edinburgh so gets a weekend home occasionally. Bob is also in the Home Guard. Rachel’s two boys are both officers in the army, Jackie in the Medical Corp. Did I tell you Bessie had a daughter so Rachel is now a Granny. Aunt Bessie & Edith’s younger boy (the only one now) are living at Alexandria with friends and their house in Glasgow is closed. Edith’s two girls are V.A.D.s.

I had a letter from Daisy. They were missing their mother very much this Christmas but are all busy at war work. Bombs fell on the “Law” but no damage was done. Daisy was very ill in the early summer and has not done any nursing since. The long nursing of her mother would tell on her health.

I had a card from Billy and his wife Bette. They have not been damaged yet but are in the midst of danger all the time.

Lysbeth etc. went to Brighton for Christmas. Ernest’s brother Kenneth is a minister there. They have no children. I have not heard from them since they got back home but expect a letter soon. Lysbeth writes faithfully and so does Pat. Willie writes occasionally but has very little time. Billy runs about all over the house and was very excited over his stocking and presents. He went into every room expecting to see more and was so exhausted at bed-time that he fell sound asleep in the middle of his supper. I expect Pat & Willie were thrilled at having a little stocking to fill. They have not heard their siren for weeks. (Planes again overhead, bother them). I hope they pass soon as it is nearly time for Florence to come home and she may not be able to leave the club yet. One night she was there till 12.30 and then had to walk home. One night I did not undress but lay down and the “all clear” went between 5 and 6 am by which time I was sound asleep so if a bomb had fallen on the house I would never have known.

Did Marjorie and Ian get the letters I sent them in Nov.? I am afraid a good many have been lost. Our shipping losses are not so heavy the last few weeks and aren’t we giving the Italians a doing. Here is Florence safe home and guns and bombs are going hard, but I don’t hear them in the house.

Friday. All clear at 1 am so we had a good night. Are just going out now to the pictures, have not been for months. Warmest love to you all and good wishes to Ian for his birthday. Florence sends love too.

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