Letter sparks hunt for airman serving in 40s

Builder Gilbert Simms, left, and Lucy’s property manager Victoria Birnage with the letter found during renovation of a house in Jericho

Builder Gilbert Simms, left, and Lucy’s property manager Victoria Birnage with the letter found during renovation of a house in Jericho

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by

 BACK in the 1940s, a young man serving abroad in the forces sent a letter back to his parents, thanking them for sending him copies of our sister paper The Oxford Times.


 Talking about his new shoes, a planned cinema trip and recent Oxford news, it probably seemed trivial to the family at the time.


 But after being discovered by builders refurbishing a house in Jericho nearly 65 years later, the letter has sparked a hunt for its rightful owner.


It was found behind a fireplace while work was being carried out at 54 Juxon Street.


 Property manager Victoria Birnage, from W Lucy and Co, which owns the house, said: “It was an amazing find, we were all very excited when we discovered we had found something historical like this.


 “It’s very well preserved and was found when we moved the fireplace from its current place.”


 The two-page letter is dated August 30, 1947, and is from a Bert Badcock to his mum and dad.


 It is believed Mr Badcock was serving with the RAF in Malaya at the time, based on the postage marks on the envelope.


 In it, he writes: “I got two more Oxford Times yesterday, thank you. I see the dear mayor was at a garden party at St James’ Palace, things are looking up.

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 “I see in the paper there is no more private motoring after Oct 1st, how does that affect you Dad?


 “Also they are cutting your rations, how does the Government expect you to live?”


 The letter refers to the end of private motoring, when the Government stopped fuel being rationed for private use. It was reinstated in June 1948.
 

 The house in Juxon Street was owned by St John’s College before being sold to Lucy’s in the 1970s. The letter remained untouched until now.


 Ms Birnage said: “We would like to find the Badcocks, if possible, to give them the letter.


 “We just want to ask if anyone knew Bert or knows where he is now. It would be great if he was still living in the area.”


 Did you know the Badcock family or do you know what happened to Bert?

 Call reporter Rhianne Pope on 01865 425411.

 

 The Oxford Times August 1947

 

  •  Three people were struck with infantile paralysis and a special unit was opened at the Slade Isolation Hospital to deal with the problem.

 

  •  Thousands watched the annual Morris Motors Sports and Show, featuring athletes Sydney Wooderson and Douglas Wilson.

 

  •  An inquest into three deaths of people in a fire at Headington failed to establish the cause of the blaze.

 

  •  Residents worried about losing their fuel allowances, which would put an end to private motoring until 1948.

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