This letter was written by Hugh Charles Hood (Charlie), a member of the family, we think on 31st May 1942 straight after the bombing of Cologne. Charlie was a Wireless Operator and Air Gunner for the RAF. Charlie’s letter is a personal account to his family of what he went through on that horrific night. I can see him, in my mind’s eye in the Sergeants’ Mess late on a Sunday writing out this letter to his loved ones. Even the folds in the paper conjure up a living breathing person. To read the descriptions of terrifying battles in the sky and the graphic scenes he witnessed, to hear the longing to be safe and with his family, is beyond poignant.
Charlie went missing on the night of 6/7th June 1942 while on air operations. He was 33 years old. Because he had no known grave his name is listed on the Runnymede Memorial.
This was his last letter.
One thought on “Adventures in Letter Writing No. 29: In Memoriam”
Thank you for publishing this.
Charlie was a Gunnery Leader, instructing on turrets in Manchesters. He was not on operational flying and at that time thought he might not fly them again – sadly this was not so. The demands were such that he did have to start operational flying again. Charlie was reported missing “as result of air operations on night of 6/7th June 1942”. He had taken off from the base at 11.19pm as Wireless Operator and Air Gunner on 6th June.
I have all his letters that were addressed to his parents, my grandparents, and whilst some are harrowing, as was his final letter, others shone with his sense of humour. Sadly I never got to meet him as he was killed before I was born, but his memory lives on via his letters.