Two Letters - 26th November 1918

Nov 26 / 1918

Y & Lancs
C Coy 12 Platoon
Dear Jack
I was very pleased to receive a letter from you. I hope you are both keeping in good health , as I am in the pink at present. I have had a letter from Ethel and they are all going on alright. I hope you received the letter I sent in the green envelope I sent it to Ilkeston. I am sending a letter to Kate will you post it for me. The weather as been very cold just lately. We had a big dinner last week. It was the victory dinner and alright too. I sent kitchens address in the last letter, I have forget it but I will get to know, if you have not received it. I am short of a pipe could you get me one as soon as possible as they are very dear out here. Has Kate been to see you yet I expect she will be coming before long. We are having plenty of sports just now running and football matches but we are in an out of the way place we cant get anything and there is nothing to see. It is about time they took us to a town or brought us to England. I hear they are going to break up the 10th Army on the 10th December, so we might get all parted and reorganised. I don’t suppose I shall get away for some months yet, but it will not be so bad if we can get to England. Things are very quite out here just now. I am very pleased that it is all over and we have finished with the trenches and mountain climbing. Write as often as you can and let me know how you are going on.

With best love to

you both Harry

E Kitchens address

5 Beta Villas
Mayfield Street
Spring bank

From the content, especially of kate's letter.It looks as though these are the first letters that he has written to Jack and Kate since the armistice. Once more in this saga, I'm almost apologising for Harry. E Kitchen's address would be local to Jack. Harry has got another "green envelope". The contents wouldn't be censored locally and so could be used for any personal or embarrassing content. There is a scan of a "green envelope" on an earlier post but not, unfortunately, addressed to Ethel. BL

Nov 26th 1918

9th York & Lancs

C Coy 12 Platoon

Dear Kate

I was very pleased to receive a letter from you. I am sending this with Jacks so I hope you get it alright. I was very glad to hear that they are all going on well at Ilkeston, and to hear such a good report about Connie send me her address, so that I can send a card to her. We are in a very poor place cant get anything and nothing to see only hills its about time we got to a town or to England, but I dont suppose we shall get there just yet. I dont suppose I shall be able to get home for some months yet. It will not be so bad if we can get to England. We had a bit of a rough time last time we were in action just at the finish we had to take a town called Sacile the Austrians had blown the bridge up over the river and held us up for five or six hours, but I and (am) glad to say that I got out of it alright. I hope you have a Merry Xmas it will make a lot of difference now the war is over. I hope you get home for Christmas. Let me know all about Connie if you go to see her anytime and how she is get on with walking. We had a dinner party last week it was called the victory dinner it was very nice. The weather is very cold but it is healthy very cold at night. We are at the bottom of the hills, there is plenty of snow on the top. Write as often as you can and let me know all the news you can, I got the papers alright.

With best love


Connie - to clarify; Harry in a letter to Jack back in August, tells how Kate is going to send Connie to school in Liverpool. I would guess that Chaucer Street School may have found it little difficult to deal with her special needs. The Liverpool school would have been a "special school" and Connie would have been a boarder.

The War Diary tells us that the "Victory Dinner" was held last Saturday, nearly two weeks after the armistice. Was this a general celebration for the whole of the army? BL


Janell said...

What a relief to hear from Harry. I have imagined that he was ill or injured. It seems odd that he hasn't written to his family, until now. Could some of the correspondence have been lost? Poor Harry, his letters to his brother and sister convey sheer boredom and homesickness. He and his cohorts deserve a trip to Venice, only 57 miles away, though too far, I suppose, in post-war times nearly a century ago. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Harry and the battalion.

Janell said...

After re-reading his letter to Jack, I believe that he did send an earlier letter, with one to Ethel, "in the green envelope I sent it to Ilkeston."

Kathleen said...

Is Connie not living with Ethel now? I notice that Harry is asking for her address and an update of her progress.

peregrinator said...

I'm not sure that there is a re-enactment society for Harry's Regiment alone. But the men featured are from The Great War Society - more general. So you're probably right the leather jerkins are for artillerymen. However, the older soldier with a red neckerchief is one of the people I met in Derby at the beginning of October. He features quite a lot on their website and so it should be easy to get a name. His mate - who was in full Yorks and Lancs fig - doesn't leap out of the photos at me, however, he could be the soldier with an artilleryman looking at a boiling kettle. If so, he has the uniform that, I guess, Harry would have worn during the winter in Italy.

Great photos!

Anonymous said...

I´m from Brazil and a discovered this blog only some days ago. I would like to thank you for your idea to show to the world HARRY amazing history. Ludimar Menezes Brasília - Brazil 11/25/2008

Anonymous said...

Any idea what's going on with Connie? I thought she was at Harry's home with Ethel; perhaps a hospital or school of some sort?

Harry's almost chatty in these letters. I'm wondering if he included Kate's letter with Jack's because he was running short of envelopes and/or stamps, or if (though I doubt this) the army limited the number of letters a soldier could send at a time.

Kittybriton said...

I can't begin to tell you how thankful I am that you made it through Harry. And I'm sure the family are equally happy to hear your news.
It would be nice if Jack can get a pipe out to you pronto, and perhaps some of your favorite baccy for Christmas?

Anonymous said...

In the Battalion War Diary for Nov. 28: "interior economy". Anybody have any ideas what THAT might be?!?

Roger O'Keeffe said...

"Interior economy" is posh army speak for "general housekeeping", i.e. tidying up the billet area - what the US armed forces would call "policing" them - and generally improving the look of them. Whether this was done as occupational therapy imposed by authority (as was probably the case in this instance), or just some soldiers' basic human instinct to improve their living environment, or a way of dealing with stress in between periods in the line, it's amazing to see photographs of billets in rear areas even on the Western Front where little gardens were laid out, edged with stones, and planted with vegetables.

From this distance, it is hard to guess whether, at this point after almost a month of peace, the daily routine as recorded in the Battalion diary was a still fairly strict regimen designed to maintain discipline in case of a resumption of hostilities, or a cover story for allowing the troops to take it easy. My guess is that there was probably a bit of both - probably largely dependent on the attitude of individuals at different levels of the chain of command (both officers and NCOs)in each battalion or company.