11, Westbourne Rd, Handsworth, Birmingham, 21, England
Mrs. Cope and I have been desirous of writing to you ever since we learned of your kindness in inviting Kenneth to your home. As far back as February I wrote and asked him for your correct address, but for some reason or another, probably just forgetfulness, I have never had it. During his last leave, which finished on Monday 21., he told me that he had it in his wallet, but even so, I never had it off him. Will you therefore, please excuse our method of approach to you via the Mayor of Pensacola. This I am doing at the suggestion of the American Consulate in Birmingham. An additional copy of this letter is being typed so that further methods may be tried to ensure that you do hear from us.
I, who had been something like three years on Active Service during the last war, know how nice it is to be invited in peoples homes, and from all Kenneth has said about you and your family, I am quite sure of all his recollections of America and Canada your friendship is the one outstanding thing which most impressed him, and we should have in any case, insisted on your address from him so that we could write to you and express our appreciation of your hospitality and kindness in taking him so often into your homes, and under the circumstance we feel more bound that ever to write to you.
We arrived home in England the early part of August and had August Bank Holiday week, that is 1st to 8th, at home, afterwards a period of a month in Cornwall at a British Naval Air Station, and then another glorious fortnight wherein he was extremely happy with us all and his fiancé. He reported for duty in Scotland as a member of a first line squadron on Tuesday, 22 inst. but unfortunately was killed in a flying accident at approximately 5 p.m. Wednesday 23rd. Very few particulars have come through from the Officer Commanding the Air Station or his Squadron Leader, although they have both sent very sympathetic letters confirming the first tragic telegram, and whilst I know he has your full address, and I think some letters in his kit, from all I can learn it is likely to be some weeks before we receive it, and in any case as his death was instantaneous it may be that his wallet at least was destroyed in the crash.
We understand that his plane "stalled" and that he crashed into a tree on the edge of a considerable wood approximately one mile from the landing field. At his Mothers request he was brought home for burial and the ceremony took place yesterday, the 29th inst, in a cemetery within 10 minutes walk of home. Mrs. Cope and I have been greatly consoled by the very many letters of sympathy and prayers of our friends and neighbours and also by those brother Scouters who knew him as a boy in his troop. In addition to the fact that we feel it our bounded duty to write you a letter about this, during his first leave he was persuaded by his mother and girl to have a studio portrait taken in uniform and intimated that he would be sending a copy on to you and Mrs. Weiss. We desire to let you have this as soon as possible after receipt of your correct address, we do not however, wish to send it until this has been obtained, actually, we have not yet received his pictures from the studio but expect to do so on Friday.
I have endeavored to find the correct names of the men who were with him at Pensacola and Miami who we only know as Stevie, Ian and Des, in the hopes that they might have known you and have your address, but as yet have not been able to find this information.
Regretting that our first letter to you must contain tragic news and feeling that you too will realize the extent of our loss and would be glad to sympathise, I am,
P.S. Please address any reply to: -
c/o The Midland Motor Cylinder Co. Ltd., Dartmouth Road, Smethwick, Staffs, England.
11, Westbourne Rd,
January 11th, 1943
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Weis,
Will you please forgive me for not writing to you sooner, but I have been too stunned to do writing of any kind, and even now I can hardly believe it is true that Ken has passed on. I am sending you his picture and I do hope you will like it, we do. Did you see him at all in his officer's uniform? Before he went back the last time he asked me to let him have one as he wanted to send it on to you so you see it is his wish as well as ours that you should have one.
I am not going to write a long letter now as I intend to write you again and send it by air mail in the hopes of you receiving it first, and I know that Mr. Cope will like to put some message in as well, and I want to get this off today.
Thank you both very much for all the pleasure and happiness you extended to Ken, he was very happy with you and certainly was looking forward to seeing you again sometime in the future.
Well, I will close now wishing you a very happy and prosperous New Year, and I also hope we shall see the end of this awful war before 1944. I hope and pray that actual warfare may not touch the U.S.A. Your boys are in it I know and that is bad enough, but I hope you will be spared the bombing, as it certainly shakes one up a bit.
Well here's hoping this reaches you safely.
Ellen K. Cope