Letter 29th January 1918 - Scans

Scans of the letter from 29th January.

I've had quite a few suggestions as to how they may be interpreted. I'll present the scans here so that you can make your own judgements. Two sheets of paper.

I am really beginning to wonder if there is a sheet missing as 1 & 2 seem to fit together as do 3 & 4, but 2 & 3? Who knows?

Letter to Jack -29th January 1918

Jan 29/1/18
32507/9th Batt Y &L
C Company
12 Platoon L.G.S.
Dear Jack
I have received your long letter and tin of salmon which was very good. I was sorry to hear the bad news about Uncle and Jack Bonser. I did not know he was died but I heard he was wounded very bad. I was glad... (turn over)... to hear that you and Kate went to the funeral it was the least you could do. I am also pleased Mrs Higgins liked the letter which I wrote. We are on that part of the line you seen in the paper and it is quite true except for the long march after but they left the rum bottle out which they never forget to take .... (new page..) ... Their is five or six parts of the river they have to cross before they get to the other side it is very wide and the farthest away from the enemy I have been when in the front line. I have not had the job yet but might get it any time a fighting patrol mostly as a lewis gun and three or four of the team...(turn over ...) with them our batt as had no luck yet, mostly get spotted. I was pleased you found Willie and Connie alright, but we can except (expect?) dad being bad I think he has been very lucky I hope he gets better. I hope the war is finished before you have to come out their are plenty of younger men.
Write as soon as possible.
With Love from

This is a strange letter that doesn't quite make sense. I've indicated the ends of pages so that the reader can make their own judgement as to any interpretation. I wonder whether there's a page missing or the rum bottle that was "left out" has something to with it. I hope the latter!

According to the Battalion's War Diary, Harry was in the front line when he wrote this. I suspect it was a bit calmer than the front line in Flanders.

A Milestone.
Yesterday, 28th January, Harry's blog recorded its millionth page load! While not too exceptional in WWW terms, it is way beyond anything I imagined when I started publishing the letters.

Note for the enthusiast. "B.E.F. Italy" (British Expeditionary Force - Italy) has just changed to "I.E.F." (Italian Expeditionary Force) in Harry's letters' address. I gather this was an "official" change to reflect the involvement of the other allied armies. I've seen quite a discussion on one of the forums! BL

Letter to Jack 18th January 1918

Jan 18/1/18

9th Batt York & Lancs

C. Company

12 Platoon LGS


Dear Jack

I have just received your box of cigs they are very nice, of course I shared them up. I have also received a box of cigs from Ilkeston Town Hall. Things must be be very bad for you in England only allowed such small rations. I have had a letter from Kate she said she enjoyed herself at home this Christmas. Connie and Willie is about right again Connie as started school after five weeks holiday Kate tells me what a rum chap Willie gets he can say anything. I am very pleased you’re going on alright and that you are very happy. Dad keeps about the same he seems a wonderful old man. We have had some very sharp frosts out here but this last day or two it as been very mild. I think the spring starts next month and so we shall be having some warmer weather. but then I hope it is all over before summer. I should be glad if you could send me a London paper now and again. We can’t grumble at our rations to say the war has been on as long and the quiet time we have had lately I hope Kate or Annie manages to just pay you a visit it would be very nice. I will write again soon hoping this letter will find you both well

with best love
from Harry

Late Arrival! Letter to Kate 9th January 1918

Jan 9th/1917

32507/9th York & Lancs Batt
C. Company
12 Platoon L.G.S.
B.E.F. Italy

Dear Kate
I have just received your parcel alright everything was in good order. I am glad you are going on alright and like your job. How did you go on at Christmas. Ethel tells me you managed to get home for a week. How did you find Connie and Willie where they alright, well how did you find them all. I hope you enjoyed yourself. I am going to write home. It is very cold out here at night but we have some nice days. I am sorry to hear about Uncle Shelton and about Jack Bonser getting wounded. I hope he gets on alright. Write as often as you can. I think we shall get our letters alright now. I shall be glad to see you all again.

With love
from Harry

The letter was mis-filed as the date was obviously wrong. I have realised today that Harry must have just forgotten that the year had moved on to 1918.

I did exactly the same when posting the letter of 14th January! (I can edit my version, however.) BL

Click on the letter to enlarge

Letter from Italy January 14th 1918

Jan 14 1918

32507 / 9th Batt York and Lancs

C Company

12 platoon L. G. S.

BEF Italy

Dear Jack

I have received your letter. I have also received two parcels of woollen goods from Mrs. Higgins but you cant carry a lot of stuff about we have enough to carry about. It was very good, their was a nice jersey home made which I am keeping and some socks so I had a clean and new rig out which I wanted. Your biscuits was grand and I enjoyed them. I have also had a nice parcel from Kate she said she enjoyed the Christmas alright at home. Willie and Connie as not been very well but they are going on alright now. Kate says Willie gets a rum little chap and can say anything. I am pleased to hear you are going on alright and that you are very comfortable and settled down. It is still very cold out here at night and we have had some snow. it is different to being out in France, very quiet. Write and let me know how you’re getting on as soon as possible. As Kate or Annie been to see you yet. I have wrote to Mrs. Higgins so I shall no doubt have a letter from either Mrs. Higgins or Miss Worthington. Pleased you liked the card

With best love


I think that I've discovered the "card" referred to in the letter! Ill upload a scan as soon as I'm certain. BL

Comments. Fresh Approach.

The wonderful comments received by readers have required a complete re-organisation. The original system was fine for the few comments that were being received but was not structured enough to cope with the volume that is now being sent. For the moment, there are two "Comments" blogs available. If you really don't like the "new" one, please let me know.

Please address specific comments to the post concerned. However, if the comments are generally about the whole project, it makes it much easier for me to deal with them if you add them to the latest post.

All the answers to questions that I have made have not been transferred to the new "Comments" blog. I'll try to go through and re -enter them. Apologies.

Finally, I do really welcome comments and emails. They have made all the hard work well worthwhile. However, it is more difficult to add comments received by email than those received by the Blog "comments" system.

Television Programmes on Harry's Blog

The BBC on the Regional News Programme "East Midlands Today", really launched Harry's Blog to the media

Click here to link to it.

CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Centre visited Cornwall to prepare a broadcast on Harry's Blog. Interesting contrast with the BBC version.

Click to link to the CBC video

ABC News has published a very nice article, including comments from a range of contributors.

Click to Link to ABC News Article

ARD, the German Television Channel has made a lovely news item on the blog.

Click to link to Tagesthemen broadcast

Back in the front Line

I have today received the latest posting of the Battalion's War Diary. As could probably be predicted from the recent patrols, Harry is now back in the front line.

This section of the War Dairy is extremely difficult to decipher, but I will do my best to update the blog of the War Diaries as the entries occur.

For those that haven't followed the War Diary, Harry's Battalion made it to the Divisional Football (soccer) Cup Final last Wednesday and won 2-0. A great result! BL

BBC Programme on the Blog

BBC East Midlands Today - a regional news programme - produced an article on the blog which was very well done. At least, I think so.
Click here to link to it.

Using the Blog

The last few days have been very hectic with extensive media coverage attracting a huge number of new readers.

For new users of blogs, at the risk of stating the obvious, everything is in the reverse order from that of a "normal" journal or diary.

If you want to pick up Harry's story and follow it properly, it may make sense to start with the first archive, July 2006 and to work forwards to the present, January 2008 (Actually January 1918.) To make things even more complicated, each archive is also in reverse order - the latest material appears first!

To completely understand Harry's experiences, may I also recommend that readers follow the Battalion's War Diary explaining the situation of the 1,000 or so men that made up the 9th Battalion York & Lancaster Regiment. There is a link at the top left of the blog.

The comments received are very much appreciated and very welcome. I've collected them together in a separate blog, also linked from the top of this page. In there, I've attempted to answer any questions that readers have posed. B.L.