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Letters From World War I

Posted 06 April 2017

Mw Training No Signs Of Moving 750 X257

Sidney Broad Hodges, 30 December 1915, Longmoor, England. Born: 7 January 1884, Regiment: Royal Engineers, Railway Troop, Regiment number: 138032, Rank: Sapper, Died: 1956

Explore the world of The Great War and Mary's Wedding through the words of soldiers in historical letters documented by the UK's National Archives.

Mw Dardanelles An Everlasting Nightmare 600 X412
Thomas Harold Watts, 18 June 1915, Dardanelles. Born: 28 August 1884, Regiment: Drakes Battalion, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, Died: 11 September 1953

"We live in a trench and it is a mercy it don’t rain otherwise we’d be washed away. The fighting just lately has been terrible. Our shells knock the enemy all ways and the sight in the trenches that we take is awful. We wear our respirators because of the awful smell of the dead. I’ll never get the sight out of my eyes, and it will be an everlasting nightmare. If I am spared to come home, I’ll be able to tell you all about it, but I cannot possibly write as words fail me. I can’t describe things."

Read the full letter at The National Archives.

Trenches Had A Game Of Football 600 X641
Ernest William Bratchell, undated, France. Born: 28 July 1893, Joined GWR: 3 February 1908, Regiment: 1/3 (City of London) Battalion (Royal Fusiliers), Regiment number: 2176, Rank: Private, Died: 1969

"Had a game of football about two weeks ago with R.G.A.* Battery, the pitch being a serious drawback. I think it was a cabbage patch. Still we managed to get a good game in and most important of all, won. The weather here has on the whole been very good just lately only getting an occasional day’s rain. Last night we had a sharp thunderstorm, a new experience it had at least the effect of shutting all the other disturbances of our rest up so we did not grouse."

Read the full letter at The National Archives.

Training No Signs Of Moving 750 X257
Sidney Broad Hodges, 30 December 1915, Longmoor, England. Born: 7 January 1884, Regiment: Royal Engineers, Railway Troop, Regiment number: 138032, Rank: Sapper, Died: 1956

"I might say we are all merry and bright and not down hearted yet.
Dear Mr Hunt,
Received card alright for which I must thank you very much. We are still at Longmoor and no signs of moving as I have been made cook’s mate and had to work very hard all through Xmas.

Sapper Hodges"

Mw Injury Fractured My Skull 550 X328
William Albert Hastings, 4 October 1915, Northumberland War Hospital, Newcastle. Born: 17 March 1888, Regiment: 4th Seaforth Highlanders, Regiment number: 2092, Rank: Sergeant, Died: 1937

"Dear Effie,

You were doubtless surprised to get a postcard from up here, don’t know why they sent us such a long way north, it is alright but I think London would have suited me better, could have seen my pals sometimes. I am not allowed to get out of bed yet, tried the other night and fell down in a fit serves me right for disobeying orders. I have the piece of shell which fractured my skull and shall look after it for a souvenir. The doctors say I was very lucky not to have been put right out. It was a heavy piece (British) would not have been wounded by anything less. We were in an advanced post sticking beyond our front line called the “Duck’s Bill” and naturally pretty close to the German trenches."

Read the full letter at The National Archive.


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