Saturday, April 18, 2015

World War II Letters Home April 18, 1940 - Estelles Wickenkamp

                                                                                            62 Abington Road
                                                                                            Cumnor, Oxford
                                                                                             18 - 4- 40

Dear Mrs. Wickenkamp:

Although we have not met, I feel as though I know you, having so much in common through Estelles.  I find it so difficult to express my sympathy in words,  as your grief must be infinitely greater than mine.

We had made such wonderful plans for the future.  He was looking forward to the time when he could return home, and I could meet the mother he talked about.  Man proposes but God disposes, and all these things were not to be,

Through our sorrow we can feel proud, we who loved him, as he died a hero.  In his uncontrolled machine,  he swerved to avoid the other friendly air crafts, thereby saving 12 other of his comrades' lives.  And we know he died happily, as it was his wish (if he was to die) to die fighting for his country.

I wish you could See my engagement ring, it is a lovely diamond solitaire, set in platinum, with 2 diamonds on each side.

My mother and father send their greetings and sympathy, as they too had looked forward to the time when they could call him son, although he had been treated as one for the past 12 months.  I trust you are feeling better by now. Do try and write me soon, as i am so anxious to hear from you.  However all this appears on paper, my heart is with you, and I am thinking of you all the time.

Yours in Deepest Sympathy

Renee Astell

Monday, April 13, 2015

World War II Letters Home April 10, 1940 - Estelles Wickenkamp

                                                                                         Royal Air Force Station
                                                                                         King's Lynn, Norfolk
                                                                                         April 10, 1940

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Wickenkamp:

It is with the deepest regret that I have to write to you of your son who was reported missing and believed killed as a result of an engagement with the enemy on Sunday 7th April.  In this engagement a formation of our aircraft, including the one in which your son was Captain, was attacked by some of the latest enemy fighters.  ME 110s, while on duty over the North Sea.  The enemy's attack was a very determined one and in spite of the magnificent steadiness shown by all our crews in meeting it the aircraft in which you son was flying was shot down and crashed into the sea.  The rest of our machines were too high to see what became of the crew but I am afraid that they were killed instantly.  In the course of the engagement we are fairly certain that our men accounted for one of the enemy.

You will be hearing officially later regarding the disposal of your son's things, and you will of course be told immediately should anything definite be hard regarding him.  I did however want to write personally to express the deep sympathy we all feel with you in this heavy blow.  We shall all miss a very gallant comrade who had particularly endeared himself to us by his bravery in rescuing 2 airmen from burning in an accident in which he was involved earlier in the year.

                                                                                                  Yours Very Sincerely,

                                                                                                  Wing Commander

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Obituary Sunday - Estelles Wickenkamp

Grandson of Casperites Killed In Patrol Duty Over North Sea

Capt. Estelles Wickenkamp, 27, Dies When Bomber Is Shot Down

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Wickenkamp received word yesterday of the death in action on April 7th of their grandson, Captain Estelles Wickenkamp, aged 27, while on patrol duty with the British Royal air force over the North Sea.

The British government reported to this parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Wickenkamp of Stenen, Sask., that Captain Wickenkamp was leading an eight-plane patrol in a scouting flight near the Ornkey Islands.  Two of the planes were shot down by enemy pursuit ships, one of them the Wellington bomber in which Wickenkamp was directing operations.  All of the seven men instantly killed.  No trace has been found of the plane or its occupants.

Captain Wickenkamp was born in Nebraska, but his parents moved to Saskatchewan about 15 years ago.

Besides his grandparents, other relatives living in Casper include two uncles H. F. and W. G Wickenkamp; an aunt, Mrs. Alma Sehnert West; and six cousins.

World War II Letters Home April 9, 1940 - Estelles Wickenkamp

                                                                                              Royal Air Force Station
                                                                                              King's Lynn, Norfolk
                                                                                              April 9, 1940

Dear Mr. Wickenkamp:

By now you will have been informed from Air Ministry that your son was reported "missing, believed killed while engaged in air operations."  he died 'somewhere' in the grey North Sea at approximately 3:45 p.m. on the 7th of April.

I am writing to send you our deepest sympathy in the lose of your son.  He had been serving at Marham since the end of November last and had proved himself to be of a type which we call ill afford to lose.  I think you can rest assured that he was liked and popular in the Officers' Mess and with the Airmen of his squadron.

Some little time ago, through fault of his own, he was involved in a serious crash at night which resulted in the complete wreckage of the aircraft and its bursting into flames.  Although himself dazed by the crash, he assisted another member of the crew who was temporarily stunned to safety out of the burning wreckage.  Then most gallantly went back to extricate another of the crew who was stunned.  On going back he became entangled by his parachute harness and while clearing himself he received burns but was able to rescue the last of the crew who where then all saved without serious injury.  At the time it was our privilege to report this very gallant act to my Group Headquarters for official recognition.

His effects will be dealt with according to war service procedure by a Committee of Adjustment.  They will communicate with yourself, direct, in due course.  If you have any special wishes, or there is anything that I could do, will you please inform me?

Although the loss of many brave lives is inevitable in war, one might find comfort in the thought that their sacrifice may not be in vain and will not pass forgotten.  At least they are spared the further beastliness of the vile war which has been thrust upon us.

There are many at Marham who have come from Canada in the service of our Empire and I, myself came not very far from where you are - having been born at Qu'Appelle.  We also have representation from all the other Dominions as well as from all the home countries, and the men lived as such a happy family that your Estelles' death will be felt acutely by everyone.

You have the satisfaction of knowing that he has died on duty, leaving a clean and enviable record and will not be forgotten among us.

                                                                                    Yours Sincerely,
                                                                                    (Herbert) Keith
                                                                                    Group Captain

Saturday, April 11, 2015

World War II Letters Home April 8, 1940 - Estelles Wickenkamp


London PO via
Regina, Sask.
April 8, 1940
F. H. Wickenkamp
Stenen, Sask.

From under Secretary of State Ministry.  Immediate regret to inform you that your son, Pilot Officer Estelles Arthur Wickenkamp is reported as missing and believed to have lost his life as the result of air operation on 7th April, 1940.  Letter follows.  Any further information will be immediately communicated to you.

                                                                                                No. Sig. 219P

Saturday, April 4, 2015

On This Day - April 4, 1907

On This Day, April 4, 1907, my grandmother, Florence Sybil Koch was born in Billings, Yellowstone, Montana.  She was the daughter of  Charles Edward Koch and Anna Sybilla Steingruber. Flo grew up in Billings and in 1925 the family went to Casper, Natrona, Wyoming where she attended high school. After graduating high school she went to college in Laramie, Wyoming. She was a teacher in Casper, Wyoming. She married William George "Bill" Wickenkamp in 1930 and in 1934 she had a daughter,my mother, Jerry Lynn Wickenkamp.  In the 1941, the family relocated to Lincoln, Placer county, California and in 1951 they moved to Valley, Stevens county, Washington.

Happy Birthday Grandma Flo, I love you and I miss you.

I love this picture, Grandma Flo and a wicked sense of humor, she loved to play practical jokes on people.

Grandma Flo was a great cook and a marvelous baker.  She always had a freezer full of treats when we would visit. She also won many a blue ribbon at fairs for her baked goods. You say you don't like fruitcake, well you never had her fruitcake!