My husband was digging through a few boxes of his family’s historical records last week and came across a series of letters written from one of Ian’s great uncles to what would be Ian’s great-grandparents. The letters span the time from October 1915 to December 1918.
As many of you know, I’ve written three novels featuring WWI and the discovery of these letters is like finding buried treasure.
Somewhere in France – 9th October 1915
My dear Father and Mother,
Just a line to say I have got over at last. I am presently hung up at one of our bases near the coast waiting for instructions to up and join my new battalion, which please note is the 12th Highland Light Infantry. I don’t know where they are at present and if I did I wouldn’t be able to tell you.
We had a pleasant crossing and started up country for no great distance the same evening. The weather is splendid and we are under canvas in a pretty part of the country. Uncle Fred asked me to try and find out something about Cockburn and luckily enough I cam across a small detachment of his battalion. I eventually got hold of a fellow who was in his platoon. He told me Cockburn fell at the head of his men at the very beginning of the action (Loos) and before they got to the first German trenches. The end was swift which is always something. I will just catch a post so will close meantime.
Imagine being the parents receiving this first letter with the mention of someone they knew having already fallen at Loos. The fear for your own son would be immense and no doubt they felt that fear and more the entire three years he served, never knowing from letter to letter whether he was still alive.
I hope to post a few of these from time to time – an ongoing remembrance of those who fought for our futures.
This is the first of many letters from Alexander Henry Tod to his parents. You can find the rest of them by searching the tag or category ‘Somewhere in France’.
The letters are linked. The next letter in the sequence can be found here.
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M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union on August 16, 2016. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Google Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.