Troubador Wartime Letters: Hamp and Peggy Smith

Released: 28/10/2014

eISBN: 9781784627010

Format: eBook

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Wartime Letters: Hamp and Peggy Smith


This book has been compiled in memory of the author's parents. It gives a brief introduction about the history of the family that had its roots in Yorkshire and Lancashire before emigrating to Canada on the Valiant (1817). It is a book of letters written by Joan Noble's parents to each other during their courtship (1942) and after their marriage when her father was overseas in the UK during World War II (1944-45). Hamp was a Medical Officer in the RCAF (Squadron 423) stationed at Topcliffe, Yorkshire from May to December 1944, at Castle Archdale, Lough Erne, Northern Ireland with Coastal Command at the Royal Air Force flying boat base January- June 1945 and after V-E Day at the Canadian General Hospital in Bramshott, England as a Medical Officer in the venereal diseases unit. It’s not often that one has a chance to eavesdrop on their parents' courtship and early marriage. Joan's father joined the RCAF after graduating in medicine in 1941 and travelled northern Alberta as a recruiting officer and then was posted overseas. He met her mother, a student nurse, just before he graduated. Their romance was just taking off when he joined the RCAF and they carried out much of their courtship by post. In 1944, a year after they married, he was posted overseas and they wrote each other 2-3 times weekly and carefully preserved all the letters. Reading them is a vicarious participation in their early years together. They were romantic and very much in love. For their second wedding anniversary in his letter of 6 January 1945 Hamp writes: "On our second anniversary I want to take a little time to tell you again how much I think of you. We had 15 months together which were the happiest time I have ever spent and I think that they are only a tantalizing taste of what happiness is in store for us in the future". 'I think our parents remained in love from the time of these letters for the rest of their lives. I’m sure they had the ups and downs of every marriage but I don’t remember much discord and they had great respect for one another. Reproducing their letters has been satisfying and like being given once again a chance to be with them,' says Joan. All of the letters have been typed out as they were. They document Hamp and Peggy's lives from 1942-45 and give an insight into life as a medical officer in the RCAF in the last years of the war in the UK and life in a small city in Canada during the war years.

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