Letter From Bob Masters 1941


14th June 1941.

Dear Mother,

I have just returned from a few days leave which I spent in Leicester. I travelled by train and arrived there Sunday night and returned on Wednesday. So it wasn’t a long stay but that was all the leave I had. When I arrived I booked in at the Grand Hotel as I hadn’t written to anyone to say that I was coming. After booking in at the Grand I went for a walk down the main part of the city, where the clock tower is, I suppose you know that. After looking around a while I set off to look for Northcoate road and found it without much trouble. Aunt Claira (Mrs Smithard I think the name is) came to the door and recognised who I was immediately as Aunt Lid had sent her my photo. Ethel Ward lives with Mr. & Mrs. Smithard and in a very nice part of Leicester too. They insisted on my staying with them and even wanted me to leave the Grand that night, however I brought my things along the following morning. I had a great time there and they made a great fuss of me

Page 2


They all said how much I look like Uncle Jack and all the other sort of stuff. We went and saw Uncle Harry’s brother, Will, and he took me out on the Monday afternoon to the Engineering shop which his father in law used to own. That is Mr Spiers whom I think you have told me about before. It was a pretty large workshops where we went and they were making parts for aero engines there. There were a lot of girls working lathes and other complicated machines. I met Will Robinson there and is quite well and getting pretty old now. He was very pleased to see me and wished to be remembered to both Aunt Lid and you.

As a matter of fact it was raining most of the time I was in Leicester so I didn’t get about much. Mr Smithard has laid his car up for the war. Leicester had been bombed two nights running in november but not since. They did quite a bit of damage and a land mine landed only about a quarter of a mile from their house and it had been shaken up quite a bit. All the doors were shaken and rattled quite noticeably until they were repaired. Where the land mine actually landed some of the houses had been completely flatened [flattened]. They had quite a decent

Page 3


size allotment joining on to their back garden and it well planted with all vegetables. Aunt Claira has a fox terrier which is nine years old and is a lovely natured old dog and very playful. He has tennis balls all around the place and is most remarkable the way he can catch it. If you throw it right up in the air he catches it just about every time before it even hits the ground. When he is inside and no one will play with him he starts bouncing the ball up and down on the floor. Aunt Ethel said that every year they send four pounds to Aunt Lid for christmas but this year they didn’t send owing to all the ships being sunk, however they were going to send it this month. When I said that I had had money over from home and likely to have more, she suggested that you sent Aunt Lid the four pound and they gave me the four pounds. Aunt Ethel wanted to give me the four pounds then but I said I wouldn’t take it until Aunt had got hers. Let me know if this is o.k. I think Aunt Ethel will be writing to you shortly. They all wish to be remembered to Aunt, Dot, Jack & you etc. and send their best wishes.

I had a parcel from Havelock North two days ago. It contained cake, chocolate and the usual things. I have had no more letters since last I wrote, from N.Z. but I had one from Jim Dier last week

Page 4


This morning the whole squadron went over to France and back before breakfast. We had a special job to do and it all went off quite smoothly. I was the only one who saw an enemy aircraft. It was an ME 109 and he fired at me and missed and we had quite a decent dogfight and I gave him a few bursts but he had a enough and bolted for home and I daren’t follow as it was over enemy territory, so I turned back for England but I didn’t see anything else. Everyone got home quite all right.

Well if they call this summer I don’t think much of it. It’s that cold tonight that we have a fire in the mess. There has been a few fine days and there never seem to have two or more fine days in succession. I think N.Z. winter is better that this and would love to see some real sunshine. I do wish I had Stumpy here. I certainly will be glad to get back home after the war. The news hasn’t been quite so bad lately but I think this war will be several years before it is over yet.

Hope you are well at home.

Love to all

Original digital file


Non-commercial use

Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand (CC BY-NC 3.0 NZ)

This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand (CC BY-NC 3.0 NZ).


Commercial Use

Please contact us for information about using this material commercially.


Written to his mother, Emily Masters

Died 20 November 1941 during air operations in the Western Desert, Middle East


Format of the original

Handwritten letter

Date published

14 June 1941

Creator / Author


  • Claira Smithard
  • Ethel Ward

Accession number


Do you know something about this record?

Please note we cannot verify the accuracy of any information posted by the community.

Supporters and sponsors

We sincerely thank the following businesses and organisations for their support.