This blog will record, in real time exactly 100 years later, the correspondence between Miss Emma Ash and Mr William Metcalfe during the First World War. From bundles of letters found under floorboards long after their deaths, we are able to witness the development of the later stages of the War through the eyes of a serviceman and his sweetheart, played out alongside a growing romance.
With no consideration of literary prowess, no thought that this correspondence would be seen by others (except perhaps the military censor), an unvarnished portrait of a different age and world appears.
The letters run from May 1917 to mid-1919, and will appear here in the order they were written, a century later.
Just a few lines to let you know that I am still going on alright. I am buglar for a time at our reception camp and will let you have an address soon. The armistice is signed and of course all is quiet for a time so now we won’t be long. I think I thanked you for the cigs if not I do so now. You may guess there was a bit of cheering yesterday and everybody had a smile on their face. What was it like in London last night I would have liked to have been there. My address now is Drummer W.M. 19073 (9th B. Sx. Regt.) 24 Div: Reception Camp, B.E.F. France. I don’t suppose I will be here long as I would like to be with the Batt for Christmas. I was told last night the C. Gibbs has been slightly gassed; I hope it is not bad.
Well I will now conclude and write more next time.
With Fondest Love
From Yours Ever
Just a few lines to thank you for the parcel. The choc was très bon and please will you thank your Mother for me for the cigs. Please remember me to all and I hope that you all keep free from the ‘flu. I am sending my watch home when I get the chance as it has gone wrong. I don’t think it will take long to be mended so when we get settled down for a few days I will send it home. I will now close hoping to receive that letter as promised, today.
From Will xxx
I received a letter yesterday from you the first one for seven days. I have not got it to hand now so please excuse not answering questions. I did read that book “Rainbow Island” and did you know that two and a half chapters were missing: about 48 pages. It happened to read on fairly well so I presume you did not notice it. One section of the book was left out; a mistake in “making up”. We are having fairly warm weather for the time of year but perhaps it is usual here. We had a whist drive the other evening and it went off very well. I was not a prize winner of the 1st class, nor did I get the Booby prize. I will not write more now but will write a longer letter tomorrow (if I get the chance).
With Best Love
From Yours Ever