MY MEMOIRS 1939 ~ 45

John Mackinder


Shortly after my wife Deirdre's death, I decided to go through the items in the loft to see if there was anything of hers to tidy up. In doing so I came across a lined box containing my RAF officer's uniform. I rang up the civilian airfield at Headcorn, which had recently set up an aviation museum. They would be delighted to have my uniform to add to their exhibits. In getting out the uniform I discovered beneath it all the letters I had written to Deirdre during the 4¼ years I was on overseas service during the 1939-45 War, two or three hundred of them. Not only that, there were the rather greater numbers she had written to me - plus a few more covering the nine months before I went overseas.

It so happened that at a previous large family reunion, on my sister's death, some of my young relatives had plied me with questions about my time in the RAF, and said why didn't I write it all down. Now, with all these letters as the equivalent of a diary of those times, I thought I would have a shot at it. Without the letters aiding my memories of those times, 55 or 60 years ago, my account would not have the reliability of extra detail I was now able to give it. Not only that, it was most rewarding to read and re-read all those letters - almost like having my wife around to chat about those times. So the exercise was a wonderful one for me. I can only hope the reader gets a fraction of that pleasure.


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