As I have said before, one of the things that I love about working on this site is helping people to make connections. Earlier this year, I was contacted by the daughter of an instructor who taught at a Radar School in Boca Raton. Her father – Tom, mother – Elizabeth and aunt – Eileen struck up a friendship with Raymond Christensen of the 417th during his time training in Boca Ratan. In her possession was a telegram, photo and letter sent by Ray to Elizabeth and Eileen and she wished to pass these items along to someone in Ray’s family. That connection has now been made and I have copies of these items to share with you.
The telegram was sent by Ray shortly after he left Boca Ratan for Kissimmee. At the time, he was on orders not to reveal what he was doing and eventually secretly sailed to England.
A letter from Ray to “the girls” Elizabeth and Eileen.
This is a transcript of what I believe the letter says:
Dear Elizabeth and Eileen,
It’s been months since I’ve heard from you children. Am I on your casualty list? Frankly I feel very much alive. From time to time we work a bit hard or at lease put in a devil of a lot of time trying to make somebody think so. We have high hopes of a let up soon and a bit of vacation.
By now I have become quite accustomed to the ways of the English and find it quite pleasant to live here. Socially, I should say – the food is not so hot. I’ll even forgive some of the stuff we used to get back at Boca Raton. The food really isn’t so bad but so much of the same. At present I’m not on good terms with the potatoes. It seems I’ve seen entirely too much of ‘em.
Aside from that everything is even better than I had expected. I can almost dance like a good Englishman. Can’t waltz as gracefully and there’s a number of folk dances I look silly at but I have oceans of for trying. There are some pretty decent ballrooms I’ve located and some good music. Loads of girls even in camp we have enough WASPs to hold quite a good sized party. Not like our stay in Florida and ???. Not a single Net(?) Cadet. How wonderful. Even so, I wish I was dancing with Pompanos Belles in yea old service center cadets or no cadets. Regards to your parents. Ray.
And finally a photo with a message on the back that is quite poignant , “Somebody has to go up there”
Raymond Christensen and his pilot Joe Leonard failed to return from their mission on May 13th, 1944. You can read more about Raymond Christensen in the Letters, Diaries and Tributes page of this website.