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


Zingzog said...

Hi Bill, Excellent work!

One small tech tip. When you scan the letters, if you want to reduce the bleed through of print from the back of the paper, scan using a black backing sheet instead of teh scanner's white sheet. I use a piece of the black paper that sometimes comes with picture frames.

Once again, wonderful work.


Anonymous said...

I am reading the letters in 'toronto, Canada. Keep it up!

S. Roseth

Hugh said...

This is indeed a wonderful blog and, like thousands of other readers, I look forward keenly to each new post.

However, the thing missing is any mention of communications between Harry and his wife. Perhaps this matter has been dealt with before, but I expect such letters were too personal to be kept and were not included in the cache of mail that was discovered. Am I right?

Sonja said...

I am new to your blog having just heard about it on CBC a few weeks ago here in British Columbia, but I have caught up!! Am so intrigued. Thank you for this and I know it is a lot of hard work. If you have some spare time - ha! ha! or when there is a space between letters, can you tell us anymore about Harrys wife Ethel? It is too bad that none of her letters from Harry or to Harry have survived. Thank you again, Harry has become almost like part of our own family.

Scranton, PA said...

Is that your blood at the bottom of the back of the page, Henry's blood (amazing that it's still red 90 years later), or is is something else.

Fascinating blog. Thank you!

Luis said...

Keep it up with these letters, I hope Harry will end up ok... I am reading this from Angola, Luanda. Regads.


Asdrúbal Suárez said...

Wonderful blog, i'll follow

Greetings from Venezuela!!

Anonymous said...

I,too, discovered your blog after seeing the item on CBC tv. I think it's great. My Dad fought in many of the battles Harry did such as Passchendaele so I am very interested in how Harry makes out.
Thank you from Canada for taking the time to do this.

Richie said...

I am getting worried for Harry!
Come on Harry write soon.
What time does the post come???
As i am checking this blog 4 or 5 times a day!!!!

Patrick said...

Another new reader to your blog. I read about it in a Dutch newspaper last saturday, this is certainly a wonderful project!! Keep up the good work!

Gr Patrick, Amsterdam.

Tânia said...


I am from Portugal.

I have found your blog through a national radio station - antena 3.

Lots of Portuguese young man die in this war and this is also a tribute to them!

Keep on, i love the blog.


Samantha said...

Thanks for all your hard work! It really is a wonderful blog. Like other readers, I heard about your blog from CBC.

I too would like to know more about Harry's relationship to Ethel. He seems to keep in contact with her quite often as he mentions his correspondence with her.

Hope Harry is ok and I cannot wait to read more!!

Samantha H., Vancouver, BC, Canada.

meg said...

I too am enjoying the blog, excellent work.

Were there no letters from Harry to his wife??

Cary said...

hi, like many other Canadians I saw the item on the CBC about your blog. I find it most interesting and heart breaking at the same time. Harry sounds so homesick. He seems a very kind and generous soul and must at times seem overwhelmed at the war machine he's part of, yet he's an optimistic soul as well and has that British stiff upper lip about doing what he doesn't want really to be doing. My father was in the RAF in WW2 and was a POW. He escaped near the end of the war. He only ever talked about it when he was in his 80's, before that he said it wasn't a thing he wanted to talk about. His father was in the Black Watch Regiment and was wounded in WW1. I know nothing about his war service but he was known in the family as being very irascible and all the stories I know of him are about his difficult personality. I often wonder how much his war experience may have affected him and subsequently his family. My father never talked about him. Strange to think that my generation (I was born in Britain) and that of so many other people around the world have been affected by both World Wars in ways we know of and ways we don't. I will be so sorry if Harry doesn't come home, when he so much wants to.

Umbriel said...

Hi! Got word of this great blog thru an item in the Washington Post. I am doing the same thing for my father's correspondence during WWII! It is not a "round" number of years ago, like 90, but from the year 1944. Some of your readers might want to check it out at www.captainrussell.blogspot.com.

Jan said...

Hi, I just read about this blog in our local newspaper this mornign. I have to catch up but I am already enjoying it. Keep it up!

Jan; Borken, Germany

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
just let you know that German television news-program "tagesschau.de" just aired a story about your project, including interview.

here is a direct link to a streaming-video



David N. said...

Hey Bill!

Just watched a short documentation about your blog on one of Germany's most famous newscasts. And I am pretty amazed and touched to read those letters.
Also, I am hoping all the best for your grandfather and wait for the next letter to arrive.

Best Regards

Anonymous said...

Just as an aside: did Harry know there had been a "little peace in the great war" on Christmas 1914 (picture in "Daily Mirror" of 1915-01-08) ?
BTW: great idea, hopefully we will see many more letters from him !

Anonymous said...

Saw the report on the in German TV this night as well; very impressive! I am sure Harry will survive because his faith in God seems unswerving and - remember the Czech WW1 story of "Private Schweijk" (author Hasek), after the war at 6 p.m. in the pub... - I think he is very clever. I do hope it.
And must thin of the last year's movie "Letter from Iwo Jima"...
So thank you very much for this history reveiw, my history, erspecially. I am a German...

Tfg said...

I just want to say, what wonderful job you are doing. I just read about this blog 4 hours ago at the website from the German "Tagesschau". And for about these 4 hours I am reading this blog, and I think it's impressive how many work is invested by you. It is such a great thing to learn something about history beside all typical books and articles. Thank you for your hole work.

At this point I also would like to thank to all the allied soldiers who fought in WW I and II.

In reference to the blog I have 2 questions:

1) What is meant with Willie's mug?
2) Did they already really say "xmas" instead of "christmas" in 1917 as it was mentioned in one letter?

Thanks for your answers and your work.
Best greetings from Germany.

(And please excuse all my mistakes I made and tell them to me)

Tea N. Crumpet said...

I'm reading about Harry and I'm in Alaska! Great blog you have here-- one of the kids showed her history teacher who is using it for another class!

Marcus said...


this is such a great idea to publish your ancestor's experiences that way. I'm really interested in this time period and was quitre delighted when I found the report about this blog on the "Tagesschau" homepage.

Best regards,


and good luck to Harry

Frank said...

Hi Harry,

I noticed your blog through a report on German television.
Your letters gave evidence from a very dark side of our european history. My best wishes for you and your family and I hope you will see your family again.

Frank, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Vinzenz said...

These letters convert the numbers of casualties we read in books into lively fear, empathy, uncertainty of life. The history that seemed to have died is re-played in full emotion, understandable through our daily emotional behaviour.
Thank you for this translation.
Vinzenz Hokema, Germany

Luli Ramírez Nicolas said...

I knew about your log trhough a Chilean news paper, they made an interesting article about it, and here I am.
What ca I say, I loved it, thank you for sharing a piece of our world history.

Luli Ramirez Nicolas, Chile

Theo Thourson said...

I have been reading your blog on your grandfather's letters from the Great War.
This is a great idea and very educational. My dad was an American infantryman
serving in the American Expeditionary Force in France and his letters to home
have been preserved. Inspired by your blog I decided to post his letters. It
would be interesting if we could get similar blogs from other countries: Canada,
Australia, even Germany. I am a little behind date-wise but I hope to be up to
date in February. As of this date my dad is still in the US, training in Texas.

You can see my blog at http://adoughboysblog.blogspot.com/

Bet regards to an ally

Tom Thourson

Dead2thewind said...

Greetings from Leeds (urgh), should start leaving notes on the date of the next letter would make life a little easier. thanks for posting though great idea and really interesting.

Telse Schulze said...

I saw a documentation about your blog on German TV a few days ago and want to express what a great job you have been doing so far. My father has just finished to adapt my great-granduncle's diary and letters from Russia in WW2 for our family. An ancestor you have never known is becoming a character in your mind.
Thank so much for this wonderful blog!

Best regards

Telse Schulze, Lilienthal, Germany

Guido G. said...

I finally reached "the present" days. Looking forward to reading more of Harry's letters - and learning about the past at the same time. Keep up the great work!


Anonymous said...

greetings from croatia. your work is great..

Anonymous said...

Yeah, great work, sir!
I´m from Schwandorf/Germany and i saw about that on TV...

Anke said...

I wonder whether you would like anybody to have these letters translated into other languages. Personally I am sure that it would help e.g. German pupils or old people to read the lines in their mother tounge. As this is a matter of trust the decision surely is not easy to make finally. If you do at any point of time, please let me know.

All the best from Germany

Sarah said...

What's new with Harry??

Cary said...

I find now that I'm opening this blog to see if there's been a letter from Harry before I open my own mail. The way you're doing this blog really makes me think about him and his family in the day to day way that they must have thought of each other. Do you have a website or place to go where I could start researching my grandfather's WW1 service?

Nestor! said...

I am reading the letters in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I readed about the blog in a newspapper of my country (Clarín).
this is a great work...congratulations!!


Anonymous said...

All the best for you!!!!!!!!!!!! from Peru [South-America]
I hope you'll keep doing this amazing work ^-^ :D
Lorena C=

Al's nephew said...

Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News reported on your blog tonight. I have read up to the beginning of the 2008 posts.
My mother's brother is buried in Normandy; another soldier, from a different time, who sailed from an English port into the hell of war.
Thank you for sharing Harry's letters -- you have brought the world closer together.

I hope Harry makes it home.


Anonymous said...

Brian Williams spoke about your blog this evening on NBC News. I am so grateful to him for talking about it and to you for doing the work behind this blog.
The letters (and I went back to start from the beginning) are fascinating and well-written; the anecdotes that you have provided about Harry's family and friends are also interesting and hold one's attention. Thank you for sharing your grandfather with us. We are fortunate that we are getting to know him.
Iva from Pennsylvania

Anonymous said...

grüße aus ballu

Anonymous said...

Greetz to Harry.
Im reading this letters from Berlin,Germany
Its very interesting


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