The Dunedin Society is very grateful to the family of Able Seaman William Blower for the following:
The transcription below is of the last letter written by Able Seaman William Blower RN to his wife, from HMS Dunedin a few days before the loss of the ship. AB Blower was one of the 419 men who did not survive that loss. The letter has been kept within his family since the day it was received. It is written in pencil on thin paper and this transcription is verbatim, insofar as this has proved possible.
AB Blower was not the most lettered or erudite of men, as is immediately apparent from a reading of his script. However, what is also instantly obvious is the essential honesty, decency, cheerfulness and forbearance of a sailor who was altogether typical of a whole generation of those whose selfless efforts in this country’s time of greatest peril, saved it and future generations from a fate too awful to even contemplate. All of us fortunate enough to succeed the likes of AB Blower and the people of HMS Dunedin are forever indebted to them and are mindful and grateful for the sacrifices they made.
This letter is held by AB Blower’s youngest daughter who was an infant when he was lost and who never knew her father. It is placed within the domain of the Dunedin Society dedicated to the remembrance of a fine ship and a gallant crew, with the blessing of his family and in the hope that it will help to perpetuate their memory. May they rest in peace.
The Same Address 19th Nov 1941
My Dear Darling Wife.
Once more I have the pleasure of writing you a few lines in answer to your most kind and ever loving letter which I received today dated the 16th Oct. I was so pleased to get it dear for I look forward to your letters very much for they seem to cheer me up a little and I was some cheering up on this job with one thing and another. I was pleased to hear that you where in the best of health also that you are getting a few letters from me, for I like you to get a letter dear for I know you must look forward to them very much the same as myself dear. I write as often as I can to make sure that you get a letter for some of them dear get lost I expect as much for they can’t all get through can they dear. Yes dear I had rather a bad cold but I am alright again know, but it is a very funny climate and it soon brings out anything that you have wrong with you, but I am not doing too bad dear realy for except for a little prickly heat I am alright and of cause a little heartache now and again. Yes old pal I shall be glad when I can live in my own country for as you say I have spent enough of my life abroad but it has got to be I suppose, but all the same I know where I would sooner be. I expect the weather is very cold at home now dear and it would almost kill me to arrive home in it but I think I would risk it if they would give me the chance, but it doesn’t look as though we are coming home this year, we get a lot of rumours as a matter of fact we live on them, but they all seem to come to nothing but one day they will come true well I hope so anyhow for I am dying to see you dear.
Dear this letter was posted in Willenhall and when I first looked at it, I wondered who it was from, but of cause I know your writing, but how it got posted in Willenhall I don’t now, any how dear I don’t care much as long as I get a letter from you, but I thought I would let you know. So it was Florries Birthday on the 15th Oct dear 27 is she, she is getting along, she was only a little Baby when I used to play with her on the rug, I expect she forgets that dear, for it has been so long ago, give her my love and I hope she sees many more Birthdays. Yes old pal it does seem a long time since I whent away, for the time drags so, and I too hope it won’t be long before I see you again, but as you say dear there are thousands that haven’t been home since the war started and quiet a lot of the poor souls who will never come home again expect, so we must be thankful for small mercys I expect, for it can’t last for ever dear. I am glad you whent to see mother and Dad dear for I know they like to see you, I now dad does for he loves you, he said to me very often that you where the best of the lot, and years ago he told me to look after you and not be like him. I expect Mother is getting a poor old lady know Bless her she still lingers on I hope I shall be able to see her again but I won’t be at all surprised if I get news that she has passed away for I now the state of her health and her age doesn’t help her much. I expect little Betty is a little dear now. I should love to see her dance to the Radio, I should think you all love her Bless her little heart I love her too and I expect I should spoil her the same as you when I come home again, fancy her saying God Bless Daddy, I hope he does dear and brings me safe and sound back to you all. Well Old Pal how are you getting along I hope you don’t get too downhearted but I know we can’t help but get down in the dumps at times, but keep your chin up dear for all will come right in the end. I hope that Gladys has received her letter dear for I wrote some time ago but it takes such a time to reach you, I will write her again one of these days, give her my love and tell her how pleased I am that she likes her job.
Tell Doreen I will try and send her bag for her birthday, but the only trouble we have is that it might get lost I am afraid of yours even now I have sent it, but we shall have to risk it now. Give her my love dear and tell her I am dying to see those Big Blue eyes again. Well dear I shall have to close so give my love to your mother and all at Ettingshall and accept the fondest of love. From your Ever Loving Husband Will
Good Night my love and God Bless you and keep you safe for me. X
To the Children XXXXXXXXXX From Dad XXX
1. AB Blower was from Wolverhampton. He had three daughters, all of whom still live in the city. They are Gladys (April 1923), Doreen (February 1928) and Betty (July 1939). His widow Lily, died in 1984.
2. Willenhall is a few miles away from Wolverhampton. It is possible there were relatives who lived there. Perhaps Mrs Blower posted her last letter there during a visit to them.
3. Florrie is the youngest sister of Mrs Blower. She remembers AB Blower well.
4. Ettingshall is a district of Wolverhampton in which the Blower family lived until just before the start of the war, when they moved to a new house in Bushbury Lane. AB Blower’s youngest daughter still lives there.