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“I have a strong feeling today that I shall never see England again”
on 11 February 2014
This is a short book that only took me an hour or so to read, but it gives a wonderful insight into the vast personal correspondence that was created by WW1. The letters here are not just between English soldiers and their loved ones at home, but include missives from Germany, France, India, Canada and Austria.
Most of the letters give moving voice to the emotions of ordinary people faced with extraordinary circumstances, and there are some lovely moments where, amidst the carnage, soldiers thank their wives for sausage rolls, or ask for Oxo cubes to be sent out to them.
One of my favourite letters, written to a husband in a POW camp, starts like this: ‘This is the last letter I am writing to you because on the 24th I am going to marry another man. Then, I don’t have to work any longer’ – we can only imagine what her sweetheart, if he ever received this, must have thought...