Letter to Jack, 29th October 1918. Battalion in action.

Harry's Battalion is in action over the few days following this letter. The War Diary gives a useful account of what is going on. Keep up with their progress between letters by referring to the War Diary entries. Jono Wood has produced a fine account that explains a little more of the experiences of Harry's Battalion over these crucial few days. BL


32507/9th Y & Lancs
12 Platoon

Dear Jack
Just a line to let you know that I am going on alright at present and hope to remain so. I have received your papers and was very pleased with them. They seem to be getting on with the war now and I hope it will soon be over.. We have been in an Italian town for a day or two the biggest we have been in yet. It is a bit more like war out here at present, but I hope it turns out a success, and the Austrians retire. I think they want peace bad. I hope you are both keeping in good health and I hope the war is finished before it is time for me to have another leave. Write as often as you can and let me know how you are getting on.

With best Love to you both

I would guess that this would have been written early in the morning of the 29th. The War Diary shows that this was a busy and active day for Harry's Battalion. They certainly saw some action and recorded 31 casualties. To keep up with Harry's Battalion's progress, the War Diaries are an important source BL

A card to Jack. Not good, but better than nothing. 27th October 1918

I'm not sure why Harry couldn't write a letter. We can see from the Battalion's war diary, that they were on half an hour's notice to move out. Probably, everything was packed and so the Field Service Post card was the easiest solution.

I'm not sure that all readers will realise, but it would be quite clear to Harry that some serious action was imminent.

Letter to Jack 17th October 2008 + News of a Book Deal.

Oct 17/1918

9th York & Lancs
C Company
12 Platoon I.E.F.

Dear Jack
I have received your paper and a letter. I am pleased to hear that you are going on alright. We have had some big marches since I came back from leave, it as just about knocked me out, and I don’t think we have finished yet, we are still in Ital but on a different front, not far from V. we have never been here before. I have not been in the line yet since I got back, they were just coming out of the trenches when I returned. Last night we stayed a night in a city about as big as Nottingham first time we have been in such a big place. There was plenty of Americans - some had just come out of the line which was only about 7 kilos so you see it is very quite just now. I expect there will be something coming off before long. What do you think of the war do you think it will finish this next summer. Things are dearer up this end the Italians tells us the farer east we get the dearer things are. Write as often as you can and send a paper or two, I hope I see you all again before it is time for another leave.

With best love to you both

from Harry
(I am sending a letter for Ethel)

It's quite clear that Harry has absolutely no idea how long this war will last. His account of marching and being out of the line, ties in with the account in the War Diary. I would think that "V" refers to Venice. The city would be Thiene. Refer to the War Diary, as the marching gets tougher on the next day. BL

Book Deal

I am delighted that Michael O'Mara Books, the London-based publisher, will be publishing a book based on Harry's blog. The contracts were signed this week.

The book, which is provisionally entitled "Letters From the Trenches: A Soldier of the Great War", is set to be published in hardback in April 2009. The aim is to take the material from the various ‘Harry’ blogs (the Battalion War Diary, the maps, photos and other pictures, the letters themselves) and to combine them, with any other relevant material, into a book which will help the reader to understand and appreciate the extraordinary experiences of this ordinary man.

The work is well under way. I hope to be able to deliver the first complete version to the publisher’s editorial and design teams in December.

There is still a great deal of research to do to complete the task. However, I am very keen not to lose the simplicity and directness that seem to have worked so well in the blog. I shall be providing an introduction and commentary to set the letters in context. I can only hope that my efforts at a book will be as successful as Harry’s blog has proved to be.