On November 1, 1944 my cousin Bill Jones who was in the Army Air Corps as a co-pilot on a B-24 stationed in San Pancrazio, Italy, was killed in a landing accident. Bill was only 23. His brother, Al Jones was 21 and in the Navy Sea-bees at that time stationed in the pacific theater. This is the first letter from Al to their father after the news of Bill’s death.
Top left Bill Jones with father Bill Jones 1944. Next is Al Jones with father Bill Jones 1942. Next is Al Jones in Pacific. Bottom left is Bill Jones upon graduating flight school. Bottom right is Bill Jones home on leave for last time in August 1944.
December 12th, 44
Dad- I just don’t know how to write this letter. I only wish that I could of been there with you when the word came. First received the Red Cross radio-gram on December the seventh. But was sort of advised not to write till I received word of Bill from you. So been holding up this letter, praying that it might not been as bad or that it might not of happened at all.
As you said in your letter that was the way Billy wanted it, if it ever had to come, was to go with his ship, as he did. Let us always remember him as he was, and what he stood for. His high principle, kindness and love for everyone. His politeness and his smile and manner and all that he and others like him stood for and died for.
We did have so much planned for the three of us, the three Jone’s. And now dad there is just us two to do it. And dad I’ll promise to do my utmost to fulfill it to when I return to you, for the three of us.
I know how trying it is for you and how much we both need each other at a time like this. But dad, I’m afraid it’s little too impossible. If there’s really important legal matters to be taken up and that there is a good cause for them and there must be otherwise the Red Cross wouldn’t recommend it to their headquarters in Washington. They might let it go through. If it does I’m almost sure my C.O. wouldn’t stop it. And dad I would like to see you and be with you so much.
Will enclose in another envelope Bill’s letters that he sent from overseas to keep and save for me. Also I’m having something done with the picture you just sent to me and would like another one if you have some more prints.
Dad, I hope you will get settled soon in Los Angeles and that you and Harry will work something out and that everything will go for the best.
And as you said dad there must be a reason for all of this and with Gods permission we shall see Bill and mother again and we will be proud I’m sure.
Good-nite and all my love and thoughts.
Love, Your Son
I cry whenever I read this letter. I am fortunate that I inherited all of the letters that both Bill and Al wrote home during WWII. I became quite close to Al (who went by Dick after the war) in his final years. He was a sweetheart of a man.
When I discovered that I was not biologically related to Bill and Al after doing a DNA test I think that hurt me most of all. They will always be my first cousins in my heart though and I honor them this memorial day weekend.