Letters tell romantic tale of wartime love
THE remarkable long-distance love story of an Egerton RAF pilot and his wife-to-be has been told in a book edited by their son. Love is in the Air is the Second World War memoirs of Joe Pack and features hundreds of letters he exchanged with sweetheart Margaret while serving overseas. Always in the thick of the action, firstly in Europe and later in Africa and the Indian Ocean, Joe was born and raised in the village. In 1940 he volunteered for the RAF and was posted to a bomber squadron. He flew a Halifax in operations over enemy territory between January and June 1942 until he was shot down over the German/Dutch border. His evasion from capture and return to Britain used the famous Comete Line network, involving a Dutch inspector of ditches, a Basque smuggler and many others who put their lives at risk to help stranded Allied airmen escape. On his return he was reassigned to flying boats, first Sunderlands and then Catalinas. And it was while training in Scotland that WAAF officer Margaret Dillon caught his eye. His amorous advances were rejected at first. And soon Margaret was posted to Cornwall and Joe to join a squadron on patrol in the Indian Ocean. Romance appeared off the menu but they began corresponding, and their letters chart their developing relationship and reveal many details about the wartime lives of two people thousands of miles apart living extraordinary lives. Joe eventually returned in 1945 and a month later they married.
Joe and Margaret Pack at their wedding in 1945