Joseph Ready, a Pilot Officer of Kensington, P.E.I was killed in April of 1941 while flying with a Royal Air Force Squadron based at Detling in Kent, England. He wrote a letter to his sister and brother in light of what appeared to him to be the likelihood of certain death on active service during the Second World War. The letter was received by his family and later printed in Prince Edward Island newspapers and several magazines. It became an example of self-sacrifice and devotion to one’s family and country.[i] The letter can be seen on display in the Kensington Veteran’s Memorial Museum as well as in the Digital Collection of the Island Narratives website by clicking here: Joseph Ready Letter
Dear Mary, Arthur and Kathleen,
By the time you receive this I’ll have gone on my last flight and arrived, at last, at the end of the trail.
I know it will be a great comfort to you to know that I was well prepared to face Our Lord and that even as you read this I will be close by, in spirit, praying for you all.
Ever since I started flying in Canada I’ve realized that this was liable to happed suddenly, at any time, and more so, since war started- so I’ve never left the ground without being prepared. Knowing this I’m sure you won’t feel too badly about it all as the best any person could wish another is that they arrive safely in Heaven. I realize I’ve been, more or less of a great worry to you most of the time between slackness in study and sickness and I want to thank you all, for being so patient all my faults and drawbacks, during our time together. I realize also that it was a great sacrifice for you to finance my way through college and shoulder my hospital bills and I’ve always intended and hoped to be able at some time pay you back but it was just not to be so. At any rate, I want you to know, that I’ve always appreciated it and always felt deeply grateful despite the fact that I may not have seemed so, at times.
It was not nice dying so far from home and among comparative strangers but I thank God for the really great privilege of being able to give my life as an aid, small through it may have been, in overthrowing one who would destroy religion, freedom and all that’s worth living for. I also thank God for the really great privilege of having had such a brother and sisters as you. Not everyone is so fortunate.
And, now, it’s time for a final good-bye. And knowing that you’ll be all leading good Christian lives I’ll be up Here with Papa and Mamma, watching and waiting for you and praying for your success and happiness, until the day when we shall all be, once again, reunited. May God bless you all!
Your loving brother,
Photo: Pilot Officer Joseph Ready of Kensington