Sunday, April 12, 2015

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

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