Flight Lieutenant Joseph Thompson, aka ‘Mac’, left his mother’s small Birmingham home in December 1943 at the age of 18 to join the wartime RAF.
Letters from a Lancaster Gunner follows his journey through the hardship and adventure of basic and gunnery training, a love affair with a girl from Liverpool, crew friendships, losses and disasters, over twenty Lancaster bombing raids, a virgin mission, which ends in a ‘ditching’ in the North Sea, and a post-war stint in Singapore.
Joe’s original letters and his mother’s replies are the narrators of this story, which begins and ends with the events surrounding their re-discovery some 65 years after they were written. The wartime experiences of the family Joe left behind also unfold.
A mother, widowed in 1941, struggling to cope physically, financially and emotionally with four children during wartime, while working full time in a factory. There is much love, detail and hardship in these letters, which ultimately end with heartbreak that could not have been foreseen.
|FORMAT||234 x 156 mm|
|PUBLICATION DATE||7 March 2019|
|ILLUSTRATIONS||45 black-and-white photographs and 74 letters|
Helen Thompson is the 50-year-old niece of the story’s hero, Joseph Thompson, although they never actually met. Born in Birmingham, Helen now lives in North Yorkshire with her large family, where she works as a photographer. This book is a labour of love, written on behalf of her father as a tribute to her uncle, and captures the stories of and behind a series of letters written 70+ years earlier, which changed her life.