Lennox family

John was a student at the Ontario Agricultural College when he became a member of the Canadian Officers Training Corps and in early 1941, he applied to the Royal Canadian Air Force. His college roommate Richard Palmer (the two had attended Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College just prior to the outbreak of war) also joined the RCAF and the two became pilots. John's brother William joined the RCAF in June 1942. John Lennox eventually shipped overseas to Scotland in February of 1942.  In January 1943 he received his letter of commission as pilot officer in England and was assigned to the 405 Pathfinder Squadron, which participated in bombing missions over Germany in May of 1943.

Letter from John Watt Lennox to his mother, 21 April 1941

Here is a letter written by John Watt Lennox to his mother in 1941.  Note the censor has excised identifying information.

Christmas card from Bettie Lennox to John Watt Lennox

Letter from John's younger sister Bettie, Christmas 1942.

Letter from Richard Palmer to John Watt Lennox, February 1943

Lennox's friend and college roommate Richard Palmer was stationed in the Pacific. He wrote two letters to Lennox which were included in the letters that were returned to Lennox's mother after the war.

Transcription of letter:

February 1943. Dear Sprog;

Mighty glad about your commission, boy.  I’m proud of you.  [Never?] dirty the old school [tie] now, chum – you’ll have to behave, like an officer and a gentleman even though it hurts.  You’ll have to cut out all those late nights and secret drinking bouts-cum-orgies.  “Conduct becoming to” etc.  The old oil. – How about a line one of these days, sluggard?  You haven’t written to tell me whether you’re dead or alive since Christ knows when.  You haven’t got a clue, boy.  Get cracking on a few airgraphs – but don’t try the air-mail – it’s hopeless.  Takes longer than sea mail to get here usually.  These people in the postal service don’t seem to have a clue either. – Yours truly is fed up to the teeth – what I’ve got left.  This climate plays hell with  [illegible].  Gotta go.  Lets have a bit of news, what?  Dick.”

Letter from Richard Palmer to John Watt Lennox, March 15, 1943

Richard Palmer was killed in action March 20, 1943.

March 15 1943

Dear Watt:

Congratulations son, on your promotion.  The folks at home wrote and told me about it and sent along the clipping as well from the Toronto Globe.  That was really good news, and the kind I like to get.  Since I don’t know your new numbers I’m taking a chance on your old one until such time as another letter from you filters through.  There’s only one other bit of news I’d sooner have had and that was the information that I was going home on the next boat.  What a hope I’ve got!  Anyway, look after yourself boy, and don’t let the females mob you in that new uniform.  As Cal could say, you’d better carry a short length of lead pipe to defend yourself.  As you may note from my address, at least I am an F/O six months backdated.  Be seeing you one of these years. 

All the best, Dick.”

Letter from Fannie Lennox to her son John Watt Lennox, May 3, 1943

Here is a letter written to Lennox from his mother Fannie.  It is dated May 3,  1943.  The letter was returned.

 On the night of May 4th or 5th 1943, during his seventh sortie in a Halifax bomber with other allied bombers targeting Dortmund in the Ruhr valley, Lennox and his crew were shot down along the German-Dutch border. John Lennox and his air gunner, Bernard Moody were killed, but the remaining crew survived. Lennox was one month short of his twenty-third birthday.



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