Here’s another letter from my family history. The subject the same as in the last post: my grandmas brother. This time the letter to my gran, from her mother.
To help understand the letter: Sgt. Gaulette was a member of the crew in the same plane as my great-uncle and the letter is a description of his last flight etc.
The 50% towards the end means of the people that marched from the camps I imagine.
My dear Martha,
It is with a broken heart I am writing this, as I recieved a letter from Mrs Biggane the same time I got yours yesterday and she said she had seen Sgt. Gaulette on Monday. He was one of those prisoners who were marched across Germany from that camp in Silesia. One of the few survivors who were found by the Americans at a camp near Leipzig. Sgt. Sanders was seperated from his somewhere on the way and nothing has been heard of him since.
Sgt. Gaulette told Mrs Biggane the whole story of their last flight, they were unfortunately half an hour late in starting, owing to their having to go in a different plane at the last minute, so when they reached Munich they were the last to go in and every available searchlight and gun was concentrated on them. They were hit over the target and one engine set on fire, but they managed to put the fire out, but they had to come home on three engines which of course meant that the plane was much less manoeuvrable and was an easy target for fighters.
As they neared Heidelburg they were attacked by an ME.109. and there was a running fight for 3/4 an hour then it broke off the fight and they thought they had shaken it off. But unfortunately it came in again from underneath their blind spot and shot them with its guns from end to end setting the starboard wing on fire. Then the pilot gave the order to abandon aircraft. They were by then down to 1000ft. Sgt. Gaulette went first, then Sgt. Imrie (but unfortunately his parachute did not open and he was killed), then Sgt. Sanders. Those were the only three who managed to get out.
Sgt. Gaulette landed in a field and saw the plane go down just above the tree tops. It flattened out as though the pilot was going to make a crash landing but on hitting the ground it blew up. The Germans told him next day that they had identified the pilot by the wings on his tunic.
Sgt. Sanders who had landed near a different village met the German pilot who had shot them down in the the Burgomasters office. He congratulated them on the splendid fight they had put up. When they told him they had been flying on 3 engines he could hardly believe it and he said they aught to be flying with the Luftwaffe instead of the R.A.F. He was a boy of 19 and they were his 15th victim. She said Sgt. Gaulette could not tell her anything specially about Dick but he hoped to see me later on.
It will be very hard for Mrs Sanders if her husband doesn’t turn up after going through what they have as Sgt. Gaulette said they were both in chains for a whole year in reprisal of Dieppe. But Sgt. Gaulette said that 50% of them must have died by the way and before that in the camp at Lamsdorf. She says we must be thankful that our dear boys was spared all that and the misery of the long seperation from those they loved.
They fought a good fight and by their courage and their sacrifice made possible the victory at which the world is rejoicing now. For if those boys had not done what they did in those days when everything seemed against us and evil so triumphantly strong this victory would never have been possible and when one sees all these miserable slaves released in their millions and that wicked evil system overthrown, however heartbroken one feels oneself one knows that the sacrifice – both theirs and ours – was worthwhile.
Susie and I are going to Church in the morning, I had so looked forward to seeing him again, but now I will have to console myself that God has taken him as he needs him moreso than me. It is my loss but Gods good gain, and I know he would not wish me to grieve too much. I can only remember his words. “Someone must do it, to save our country.” Therefore God has picked on us to pay the price for victory, and one day we shall meet again but in a better land and there will be a great re-union in the life to come.
I know he is not far from us, as all these long and terrible months I have suffered he has been close to me and I can still feel his cheek on mine from our last parting.
Don’t forget Martha just to offer a little prayer for him as that is all we can do for him now and I know he will hear you.
So cheerio dear.
From your loving mam, dad and sister.