The postcard at left is one of several from Cambridge, England..
Billy wrote June several postcards from Florida when he was in training (shown in chronological order below), and also sent her several, usually in with letters, from England, most of which were from Cambridge, a place that must have impressed Billy very much. We also found a stack of cards of Westminster Abbey that were either sent home in a package, or were saved by Billy himself, since they had no notes or postmarks on the reverse.
The postcard above was sent to June from Chicago, where Billy went on a training flight just before graduating from navigation school in Hondo. The postmark on the card is October 10 and he graduated from the school on October 17, 1942.
Below is a card he sent Una from the same trip:
Postcards from Florida
Card postmarked October 25, 1942
Card postmarked December 6, 1942
Card postmarked June 7, 1943
|This is a postcard showing the Jacaranda Hotel in Avon Park, Florida, loaned by Mrs. McKenna. Mick and Billy spent a lot of time while on leave at this watering hole. (Click here for more information about Billy's time in Florida.)
Here is Mick in 1994, pictured in front of the Jacaranda Hotel in a snapshot loaned by Mrs. McKenna.
Postcards from England
Billy apparently sent two series of numbered postcards from Cambridge, one to June and one to Una. We're missing "number I" in June's series, so we're not sure which ones went to whom, except for the "number I" headed "Dear Mom and Bess." Further complicating any efforts to figure out when and to whom which cards were sent is that fact that they were found in two different locations, but with duplicate numbers in each. However, from the notes written on them I have made educated guesses. I've arranged Una's series first below. I believe they were sent sometime in early 1944, given Billy's reference to flowers he sent his mother for Christmas (he mentions the flowers in a January, 1944, letter to June). June's series, or at least what we have of it, follows.
"Number III" in this series was a black and white picture of the St. John's Bridge of Sighs, which you can see in color at the top of this page.
There are more Cambridge postcards! The following four were found with no numbers or other notes on the reverse:
The first of the Westminster Abbey cards is the only one with a note on the reverse.
The first two of the remaining Westminster Abbey cards have descriptions of the scenes on the reverse:
Whereas the remaining 7 (Billy was very impressed with the Abbey, as the number of cards and comments in his letters attest) did not have anything of interest on the reverse:
Nor did this postcard, labelled the "Pool of London," featuring the Tower Bridge...
Of course, Billy wasn't the only young soldier sending postcards home. We found the following one sent from his friend, Shirley "Lard" Estes to Una (Mamaw) in September of 1942, when he was in training in Alabama: (see more information about Lard, as well as pictures, here)
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