Photo Above: Chelveston, England early in 1945, standing left to right: Richard W. Warren, co-pilot; Harold “Kandy” Kandarian, flight engineer; Walt Phillips, tail gunner; Cletus Marlowe, waist gunner; Bill “Jake” Jakab radio operator; Bill Weibel, ball gunner. Squatting left to right: B.K. Smith, navigator; Lyle Wade, pilot; Don Proue, bombardier.
My Grandmother, Ida Warren, had a habit of saving everything. When she passed away many of her things were taken to my Aunt Edythe’s home. In my twenties, I began to ask my father questions about our family history. He always told me to give Edythe a call.
Sometime in 1991, I received a call from my Aunt Edythe. She was all excited; she felt she had hit the jackpot! While cleaning her garage, she discovered a box of old letters. Much to my delight, the letters were written by my father, Richard W. Warren, to his parents, Roscoe and Ida Warren and his sister Edythe, during WWII. Almost every letter and envelope was intact; only a few letters were slightly damaged by mice. There are over 350 letters; they begin February 6, 1943 and end on May 13, 1946. Detailed is my father’s life as a young man training to be a pilot; his later letters depict life in Europe and Africa while on duty. The letters describe courses of study, barracks conditions, food served, and heartfelt stories of friends and fellow servicemen. Most of all the letters depict a way of life that no longer exists. During WWII, letters written home were censored, in other words my father could not write to his parents about his missions and various adventures. Therefore the whole story is not just in the letters. Several years ago I prompted my father to write his war stories. The result was over 80 pages of anecdotes to put with his collection of letters.
I would like to thank my family(Aunt Edythe, Ken, my husband; Katie and Erin, my daughters;Nate and Jake, my sons; and my brother, Jim ) and friend(Tom Sage )for their encouragement to start this project.This blog would not have been possible without the instruction and patience of my new friend Barbara Weibel. I am especially grateful that my grandmother, Ida Warren, had the forethought to save these letters. Each letter will be posted to the day it was written only 71 years later.
All letters are transcribed exactly as they were written with misspelling and errors!