In 1943 Bob Lawrence graduated from high school. He and his best friend joined the RCAF and in 1945 Bob was stationed as a mail clerk in Yorkshire, England with the RCAF’s No. 6 Group Bomber Command.
In 1945 Marion Mortimer was 18 years old with a part time job at a drug store in Hamilton, Ontario. She worked at the lunch counter and one day happened to serve Bob’s father, Blackwell Lawrence, who worked at a furniture store on the same street.
Blackwell told Marion about his son who was overseas. As was common at the time, Marion was writing to a few boys: one who was in the Merchant Marine and one in the Navy, as well as a cousin in the Army. She offered to write to Bob as well and the first letter we have from him to her is dated May 23, 1945. He did not save her letters.
The first letter is from London and describes the celebrations that took place on VE day. Since the war in Europe was over, Bob’s subsequent letters talk about how he kept busy – and how he couldn’t wait to get home.
When Bob joined the RCAF he lived in London, Ontario where he grew up. During the war his parents moved to Hamilton and he knew that he was coming home to live with them in a city where he knew no one.
- In fact Bob joined up without staying long enough to get his diploma. When London South Collegiate Institute invited him to their 75th anniversary in 2003, the principal presented him at that time with his 1943 diploma.