A wartime letter 1940 Main Index

When my mother's sister Olive died, in 1987, among her papers was found a letter which my mother had written to her in September 1940. It was just an ordinary letter from one sister to another, and was not anything special at the time. What makes it interesting today is the fact that it was actually written during an air raid during the first days of the London Blitz.

Why this letter was kept and how it came to be preserved is not known, but Olive's daughters gave it to my mother and she gave it to me. For my part, I have given the original to the Imperial War Museum.

The full text of the letter can be read by clicking on the scarab at the bottom of this page. I have also provided a facsimile of the front of the envelope and the first page of the letter. I have not corrected my mother's grammar or spelling in any way, except that my mother used her own shorthand for the word and (see the facsimile) but I have always written and in full.

To see the facsimile click here Facsimile

The people mentioned in the letter are

The Writer, my mother, Brenda Gray - Bren only to her brother, sister and mother
Olive, to whom the letter was written, her sister, Olive Holland
Paul, Brenda's elder son, Paul Gray (born July 1936)
Barry, Brenda's younger son, Barry Gray (born June 1938) (Me!)
Vivian, Brenda's husband, Vivian Gray
Mother, Brenda's mother, Emma Stiby
Geoffrey, Olive's husband, Geoffrey Holland. At this time he was an officer in the Intelligence Corps
Angela, Olive' elder daughter, Angela Holland, born 1934
Dinah, Olive's younger daughter, Dinah Holland, born 1937
Auntie Jessie, married to Albert Ward, Emma Stiby's brother. Albert and Jessie lived in a large house in a village in west Surrey.
Arthur, Brenda's brother, Arthur Stiby. He was an officer in the army and was captured at the fall of Singapore.
Peggy, Arthur's wife, Peggy Stiby
Robert, Arthur and Peggy's son, Robert Stiby, born 1937
Sutton, Emma Stiby's chauffeur
Sybil, Sybil Peers, a family friend
Miss Lee, a family friend who had been Companion to Emma Stiby's mother until her death
Auntie Lindsey, Mrs Lindsey Ward, the widow of one of Emma Stiby's brothers.

There are also a number of other family friends mentioned, and described in the notes.