Scans of letter of 7th February 1918

Click on the letter for a large image.
Click on the letters for large image
To get an idea of the size, this letter is approx 7" x 10" (180mm x 250mm). The paper is very thin and Harry has only written on one side of each sheet. The letters from 29th August are on much smaller sheets of paper, approx 4.5"x 7" (11mm x 18mm). BL

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Boy, it really seems obvious that Harry had much more time when he wrote these, as opposed to the majority of his letters. These are not only longer and more thoughtful, the handwriting is much neater, the lines are straighter, and the writing in general is smaller and not scrawled in haste. Assuming these sheets are approximately the same size as his previous letters, compare the last letters (where he wrote about ten lines per page) with these, where he fit in more than twice that per page (not counting the address and salutation, 24 and 26 lines!).

Was there a lull in the fighting? Did Harry perhaps get a short rest period somewhat to the rear, out of immediate danger?

-Gustav's great-granddaughter

Mushy said...

He seems so brave for those back home, trying hard to stay involved in family affairs, but you can feel his uncertainty for his own well being in between the lines.

Thanks again for sharing.

HGinCalifornia said...

Letters of Feb 7 are beautifully written. He's obviously rested and focused. He expresses his belief that the USA needed to get involved. As a front line soldier would he have known that Americans were hotly debating making such sacrifice in the name of Europe's Monarchies? He mentions the hardships at home, but England did not sustain the battle damage in WW1 as they did in WW2. Why such shortages? Please explain.

Julie said...

Now I am perplexed. The quality of the handwriting and the standard of the sentence structure means I now have to go back to the start of your blog again and reposition Harry within society by re-learning his family background. This letter - to me - shows that the pressure and the stress is markedly reduced. Such a treasure trove!

plastic said...

excellent stuff! i also wanted to let youa and your readers know that I have started a blog with a similar format. However, instead of letters the primary source material I have are a number of journals written by my Great Grandfather during his time in the AEF in Siberia from 1918-1920. Check it out if you get a chance.

http://aefinsiberia.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Love how your can copy the original letters. I love it! It is so interesting to read!!

doofuss said...

I and two others whose comments I have read may actually be getting so much more from this experience that most readers. Ruth, the American lady, says her dad was on the front lines, that he was 52 when she was born. Me, too, Ruth. My dad was was a sergeant from Illinois and was amongst the first American forces in France, and he was 51 when I was born. While most others are making reference to their grandfathers or great grandfathers, for me (and I'm sure for Ruth as well) this experience just brings it all really close to home. Can't help but wonder if Ruth and my dad ever met, if either of them met Harry. Which brings me to mention the other commenter, Tom Thourson who has set up "adoughboysblog.blogspot.com" for his grandfather (?) who not only was also amongst the first Americans to arrive in France, but he also hailed from Illinois, central Illinois, no less, just like my dad. So, for those readers who are bored by others' comments and who urge that readers' comments be eliminated from this blog, I pray that never happens. Because, people, there's just a whole lot more going on here than just a curious peep into someone's past. There is developing an enormous opportunity to examine the long-term effects of WWI, especially for those soldiers afflicted by what was then termed "war neurosis." Probably because my dad was so vague about his war experience and because he led such a -- shall we say -- convoluted life after the war, I have been moved to learn more about the "why" behind his troubles. The mysteries are many and may forever remain so. Still, it would be ever so helpful to be able to document the dates he served, exactly where, etc., but as many are aware, there was a huge fire in 1973(?) which destroyed most WWI soldiers' service records. I find this blog inspirational to the search. Finally -- for a different perspective along the same timeline -- try looking over the combat division histories and compositions at history.amedd.army.mil/booksdocs/wwi/fieldoperations. God Bless

Steve said...

HGinCalifornia

German U Boats and Capital ships were still running amoke with the Convoys from the rest of the world to the UK. Ports like hartlepool in the North were shelled from battleships and Zepplins bombed them.
Although there was not a blitz like in WW2 the Germans still had the power to hold the UK island nation to hostage. and if the battle of Jutland had had a different outcome I am sure it would have been much worse.

Geoff said...

Re: HGCalifornia.
American Forces were already in France for nearly a year, training amd getting equipped before committing themselves on the front line.
German submarines were rife in the North sea and sunk a lot of allied ships. They also sunk American ships which was one of the reasons why the USA joined in the war ...

The History Rat said...

As a history teacher, this stuff is so great! What a wonderful job of revealing what history is made of --- ordinary men and women in extraordinary circumstances. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Reading through the blog, I think often of my grandfather, when he was in France. Thanks for the time and all the work that you have put into the blog.

Anonymous said...

I find myself checking in every day, like checking my mail box hoping Harry has sent me a letter. Great Blog please keep it up.

Rick USA

Thomas said...

I read about the adventures of Harry on a German website and felt inspired by your idea to open up an old suitcase that was sitting, as such suitcases tend to do, in some dark corner. It contains a correspondence similar to yours, the correspondence of Else B., a German woman from 1915 - 1962. Obviously WWI mail, "Feldpost", is included.

I proceeded to open up a blog as well, copying the Letters, but dating the blog entries to represent the proper letter dates. The blog will cover most of the life of Else B., not just the war.

The blog sits here: Briefe an Else.

Ruth said...

Ruth from California again. I'm not sure my comment on the 12th got through. I'll keep waiting. I answered doofus and also noted the battles my dad was in. Hope to see it posted soon and when's the next letter?

David T. said...

I have just started to follow the story and I am already hooked. I love history and to read actual historic letters through your blog is amazing. I am glad that these letters where saved and that you would share them with us! Thank you!

HGinCalifornia said...

Feb 14 has come and gone. Did they then, or do they now, celebrate Valentine's Day in England? Also, Steve commented that "Capital Ships" were attacking Allied shipping. What are Capital Ships? Getting antsy waiting for Harry to write!

Ruth said...

My comment did get through but it's elsewhere in this site and I'd never find it again. I wrote again, but again, I think I did it in the wrong place. IF they ever find their way here, I'll delete one of them. This is Ruth in California, and I'll just wait for the next letters home.

Anonymous said...

I recently watched a story on NBC Nightly News, regarding your blog. I finally sat down this morning and began reading. It is very interesting! it feels real-time! I am surprised there is not more written on the cold - i thought there was a lot of suffering during the war, from the weather. I'll keep reading! Thank you so much for your blog!

HGinCalifornia said...

Harry has used a variety of papers to write his letters. Have you been able to research if they are officially issued military stationery or random pieces that he had to scrounge from various sources? The large lined sheets seem to imply that he is back in a large camp with a "PX". Once again the folds in the paper suggest that he is carrying the letters in his pocket while on the move.

Anonymous said...

This is hannah i think all people from history are great people dead or alive.