Letter to Kate 23rd November 1917

We can see from the Battalion's war Diary that Harry is marching to the front line. The distances don't sound too demanding in today's terms but it is likely that the men were carrying their normal equipment and rifles all of which would weigh up to 30Kg (66lbs). On top of this, they were not well fed and had just spent 6 months in the Flanders battlefield.

On 23rd, the distance marched was one of the shorter ones, 7 miles, and they were in Billets by 1 pm. That would give Harry the chance to write the letter.

Nov 23rd 1917

Dear Kate.

Just a line to let you know I’m going on all right. I should be pleased if you could send some powder the next time you write the cake was grand you sent. I hope you get on all right with your fresh job.my address is the same only put Italy instead of France. Would be pleased if you could write once a week if it was only a line will write again as soon as possible.

With best love



Anonymous said...

What could powder refer to? talcum?

Thepit said...

7 Miles does not seem far to most people. But for those in war 7 miles can take weeks of moving forwards, backwards then forward again. KUDOS to you for Bring some memory out of the real forgotten war!!!

Michael Z. Williamson said...

That's not a lot of weight by modern standards, but keep in mind their rucks were inferior, their shoes much stiffer and rough on the ankles, and the terrain likely rough and not even well graded, certainly not paved.

I read Rickenbacker's diary a while back. The beginning of WWI was basically the US Civil War with observation aircraft and a few machine guns, to start with. The technology advanced a bit, but not tremendously, as the war went on.

I assume powder is either talcum powder or powder for some minor but annoying infection like sweat rash or ringworm.