Harry's Birthday

We should note Harry's birthday. On 28th August 1918, Harry was 31 years old. He had been in the army for 1 year and 8 months and had a son, Willie, who was two and a half years old.

My World Tour continues; I've updated "the World Tour" blog about the Tonga experience with additional bits and fresh pictures. Click on the link to view.

Today, Perth, Western Australia. I can be contacted through the "email" link above.

I'm sorry that there's a gap between letters. I can't make up correspondence. I suppose his family would have been as worried as my readers.

I have two possible photographs of Willie for the letter of 19th August. Both are "studio" photographs so I expect that Kate may have helped with the cost. I've added them to the post.

Letter to Jack, 19th August 1918

This was written on Y.M.C.A notepaper with spaces for the date, Company Battalion etc. So the heading is slightly different to the ones we're used to.

I believe the picture referred to may be one of these two. I would have thought that the one with Connie is about the right age- two and a half. (But my father looks so sweet on the other...) Any comments?

Reply to...........Company C Bat 9th Regt. York & Lancs Aug 19th 1918
12 Platoon L.G.S.
Dear Jack
I hope you got the post cards I sent in my last letter. Ethel is having Willies photo taken so I expect I shall be getting one. We are up the mountains again now it is much cooler than being on the plains, the worst part about it is getting here it is such a big climb I can tell you, and it takes us a long time to get up we are all beat when we get to the top. The village we are at now used to be occupied by Italians who were well off. they used to come up here in the summer, it was too hot on the plains for them but of course no one lives here now as it has been knocked about a bit. I think the Americans are coming up here, well I hope we are not up this quarter for the winter as it is terribly cold for six or seven months and plenty of snow. I shall be glad to see you all again, but I expect I shall be home on leave sometime in the next month if I have good luck, so I expect to see you. I am glad that you are both keeping in good health as I am pretty well at present. I am sending this letter in Ethel's so I hope you get it alright. Write as often as you can. I am always pleased to get a line from you.

With best love to you both

Letter to Jack, Aug 4th 1918

Aug 4th

32507/ 9th Batt Y & Lancs
C Coy 12 Platoon L.G.S.
Dear Jack

I hope you are getting on alright as I am in good health at present. The weather out here is very hot at present and the grapes and the figs are looking well but they are not ripe yet. I expect we shall be up the mountain when they are ready for picking. last time we were up we were there for eight or nine weeks it is a long time to be up and see nothing only plenty of fir trees so I think we have earned four or five weeks rest which I hope we shall get well we have had just over a fortnight now. The scenery is alright here we area at a place were Shakespeare wrote his poem about Romeo and Juliet. There is two castles just above our billets on a big hill and it is said that it was in one of these that he wrote this peace. it would just suit you to have a roam about here, but it is very quiet. I see from the papers that the Americans have arrived in Italy and have been to Rome. I wish they would take us to a place like thatwere we could seething. I have had a letter from Kate and she said that she was thinking of going home for August and she was going to send Connie to a school at Liverpool. I hope she gets on alright it will be hard for herto leave home but I hope she gets treated alright if not she would be better at home. Well it is Sunday today, and the fourth anniversary of the war, we have just been to church service. I think it looks like going on another year although some people think it will be over this year. I hope so at any rate. I expect I shall be getting a leave late on in September or early October, well I hope so. What do you think about the war. Do you think it will be long. We are up at 3.30 A.M. and finish at 9 A.m. Then we ahve an hour at night, that is while the weather is so hot, and while we are out for a rest. I am sending you a photo or two if you get them will you send one or two to Kate and Annie when you write they are photos of the castle. I have been up to them.
With best Love to you both

I have found five of the postcards that Harry refers to in his letter. The Castle is known locally as "Romeo's Castle." I'm not sure that Shakespeare ever went there. BL

Letter to Jack, 16th July 1918

July 16th /18

32507/ 9th Bn Y & L
C Coy 12 platoon
Dear Jack
I have received your letters dated 8th July. I was very pleased to get one. We have been up the mountains for about 7 or 8 weeks and I could not get any envelopes they were all stuck so I have not been able to write many letters. We have started to come down so I hope we shall be down for two or three weeks rest. It is very hot on the plains. We have been rigged out with drill khaki it is very thin alright for for summer, we have also got those big helmets. I am glad to hear that you are all getting on well.

Some of or chaps were very bad last month with a complaint we called mountain fever. I had a slight attack but I did not go sick. all the use goes out of your legs, sore throat and cough but you soon get well, we were isolated for a fortnight but we are alright now. I should not be surprised if we don't get on another front again, perhaps the Piave. I am in good health at present. We have had some trying jobs lately in front line on advance posts what they call sacrifice posts out all night about a thousand yards in front of our own wire and we have to stick it and only retire in case of a big bombardment, any minor raids we have to stick at all costs. This last month it has been something like France only the Austrians front line is at least two kilos away. I have had a letter from Ilkeston and they are getting on well they are making Willie a suit or two so I expect he will fancy himself. I have also had a letter from Mr Leverton. Hope you will keep writing every week as I am always glad to get a letter.
With best Love to you

This so similar in content and style to Harry's letter to Kate dated 8th July that it MUST have been written at the same time. Harry even used the same poorly sharpened purple pencil!
The date would seem to tie in with the events of the War Diary (the kit issue and the location) so it seems pretty certain that Harry put the wrong date on the other letter. It also tells us that it only takes about a week for a letter to get from England to Italy. Not bad in 1918. BL

Scans added of Harry's letter

I've added a scan of Harry's letter dated the 8th July on that post. Harry writes that he has been issued with Khaki Drill clothing. Today's Battalion War Diary reports them as being issued today, Sunday 14th July 1918.

Evidence is mounting that the date should not have been 8th July- watch this space. BL

Letter to Jack from Private Hunt, K.O.Y.L.I.

Overmead Aux. Hosp
9th July 1918
Dear Sir

Just a line or two in answer to your welcome letter which I received last week. I have been a good while in answering it but all the same I did not forget your kind letter which you sent to me in such a trying time as it as been for me but I hope for better times to come soon and I am sure they will come to all of us before many years have passed by. I shall be very pleased to meet you any time you are down Grafton Street just give me a call I shall be on my hospital leaf for ten days starting on the 14 of July. I was much pleased with your letter when I opened it and found it had come from a Church of England Curate and that you had officiated at the Burial of my wife. I thing will brighten up a little and we shall all get home before so many week as passed.
Yours very sincerely
Private W Hunt

Another additional letter in the bundle. Very sad...I've transcribed it as accurately as I can but I suppose that the poor man was quite upset.BL

Additional Resources More Rocco Photographs of Asiago today

Click to go to Rocco's wonderful resources. Click on each photograph to enlarge. Click to visit Jono's newer resources illustrating the events of June 18th 1918

Letter to Kate, 8th July 1918

July 8th 1918

32507/9th Batt Y & L
C Coy 12 Platoon
Dear Kate
I was glad to receive your letter dated 7th. Sorry I not not wrote this last week but you see we have been up the mountains for about 7 or 8 weeks and all the envelopes were stuck. I hope we get down now for two or three weeks. We have had some trying times up in the front line on what we call sacrifice post up in front of our own wire but I am glad to say we got off alright we only went out after dark till morning. Glad to hear they are going on alright at home, I think it would be best for Annie to stay at home and wait for a bit of work. I have had a letter from Mr Leverton. I bet Willie fancies himself with his new clothes. We have got some very thin khaki and those big helmets they are alright out here as it is very hot on the plains. I might get home on leave late in September if I have good luck but I hope the war will soon finish. I think it as been on long enough. I am glad that you are keeping well as I am in the pink at present. The scenery out here is grand it would be alright in peace time for a holiday. we are half way up the mountain now and can see for miles along the plains it does look well. The people out here have some funny ways and not so clean as English, but in towns they are alright they are all Roman Catholics out here. Write as often as you can and let me know how you are getting on send a book or two if you can.
With best Love
I am a little concerned by the date. Maybe it's not correct. According to the War Diary, Harry's battalion is in the front line on the 8th July. That's not the impression I get from the letter. Also there's the comment that he'd received Kate's letter dated 7th, on the 8th? (Unless it was the 7th June.) Any opinions?

Click on the scans to enlarge

War Diaries Updated

The scans of the latest War Diary entries have been received from Kew and the War Diary blog updated.

Harry moved into the front line last Friday. Click for War Diaries

Maps and similar, 15th June 1918

Rocco has turned up some interesting material to help us understand the events of 15th June at Asiago. The maps, as in Flanders, have a mixture of local names and "given names"."Camberwell Green", "Durham Hill", and "Princes Row" don't sound very Italian. Click here Michelle, Contact required by Rocco - see comments

Letter to Jack from Cadet D Creighton 5th July 1918

An extra letter included in Harry's bundle.

Cadet D Creighton 176219
"B" Flight
No 2 Cadet Wing
Royal Air Force
Dear Mr Lamin

As my father will no doubt have told you I joined the Air Force as a pilot Cadet nearly two months ago, and should have written to you before, but for the fact that our course here is short and hurried, we have to "swot" in the evening. I am thoroughly enjoying myself here, although it is not nice to be so far from home.
It will be a long time before I forget my first army drumhead service. It was one hot Sunday morning about three weeks ago. An aeroplane was stunting at low level throughout the service, distracting attention from the Padre's sermon. As we were moving off the field, the aeroplane flew low and crashed into the ground within a few yards of us. Luckily the pilot was unhurt, but the machine was considerably damaged.
The Padre, by the way, is Captain Daniels who has seen service at the front in some capacity. As a general rule we have the service in the Holy Trinity Church at Hastings.
From here I shall go in a fortnight or three weeks to a School of Military Aeronautics, probably at Alford. From there for three weeks at a Gunnery School at Uxbridge, and then I shall have some leave. It will be badly needed, as well, I can tell you. After the leave I shall start the real business - flying. England will not be short of pilots to finish off the war as there are 4000 odd of us here.
The weather is, as a rule, fearfully hot and we always spend the day in khaki shorts and bare knees, which have long since turned dark brown.
There has just been a violent outbreak of influenza and pneumonia among the cadets. Two of them died and a quarter of our squadron are in hospital or receiving treatment. Consequently, the medical officers have got alarmed and all theatres, picture halls and pier pavilions are out of bounds for us. Instead of having our lectures in lecture rooms we now have them in the open under trees and spend our time killing the flies. We each kill hundreds in a week. It is a wonder where they come from. I have never before enjoyed such perfect health as I have since I joined the Air Force. We are in the open air absolutely all day and have plenty of exercise and lots of good food.
We shall have an examination in Topography and Morse Signalling next Saturday 13th July, and on the Wednesday following we shall have our grand farewell concert. It is going to be some concert! And on the 19th or 20th July we leave Hastings for good, after having spent a very enjoyable time here. We sincerely hope we shall get our 'joy-rafs' (our slang for officer's uniform) at our next school.
We also have a lot of swimming and bathing here; and sports. The only things I miss are the people at home, although there are several cadets who come from the Grammar School. One of them has been with me all along and sleeps in my room, overlooking the sea. However I expect leave some time in September, and will call and see you if I have enough leave. How are Mr and Mrs Thomas getting on? Has Mr Thomas gone back to France yet? I hope he keeps safe if he has. However, I must close this letter now as it is getting on for tea-time.
Wishing yourself and Mrs Lamin the best of luck always. I remain,
Yours Sincerely

D Creighton

I'm not sure where the letter fits into the grand "Harry" scheme of things. I suspect that this was a letter from one of Jack's parishioners. (I just wonder why he would be addressed as "Mr Lamin" rather than "Reverend".) It's written on Royal Flying Corps notepaper three months after the RFC became the RAF. I suppose it does give quite a good picture of the training that a pilot would have experienced. Does anyone have any other information about Cadet Creighton? BL