Letters from the Trenches The First World War by Those Who Were There by Jacqueline Wadsworth published by Pen and Sword is symbolic of the Great War and what it meant for British soldiers, their country and their beloved ones, families, children, this war.
The author confesses that she didn't imagine she would have found all the material she later discovered. Letters, postcards! so many! It was customs to send wagons of postcards from soldiers, and then journals, diaries.
The story starts from Bristol because there lived also the author's grandfather and his brother, Edwin and Fred Wood.
British soldiers were sent in every corner of the world and we will assist so at a real reportage of events, different customs and traditions, but there are also scenes of a never-ending horror were soldiers assisted at the departure of their beloved friends passing away with impotence.
There are letters that I can classified as "stressed" because of the shock of the moments lived.
Someone wrote: "I dreamed I saw him last night poor kid but he lies among his thousands of fellow comrades who have given their lives for their king and country."
A man describing the trenches: "I came out last night after being in 4 days. You have no idea what 4 days in the trenches means and neither has anyone else who hasn’t had it. The whole time I was in I had only about 2 hours sleep and that was in snatches on the firing step. What dugouts there are, are flooded with mud and water up to the knees and the rats hold swimming galas in them...We are literally caked with brown mud and it is in all our food, tea etc."
It was possible in these conditions to fall ill.
Holidays like Christmas spent in the trenches put soldiers down like not receiving any letters from home for a while. Sometimes it was the opposite: families sent letters but they waited a long time before to receive an answer from their relative.
Love was a powerful connection and strong, beautiful love-letters were sent to girls, plenty not just of romanticism but hope for the end of the war and the beginning of a life spent together.
Someone later developed another trendy idea: taking pictures of soldiers, printing them in postcards for let see to the families their relatives in war and...in uniform like also taking pictures of ruins of places destroyed for the creation of stunning postcards to send to the beloved ones at home.
Cards started to become a business for every moment of the year, they were produced by individual regiments and soldiers could pick up the proper one for the proper occasion and for the meaning that they wanted to give at their message.
Soldiers sent also pressed flowers.
Problems were never-ending. The end of the war caused a surplus of women and a lack of men so most of women remained unmarried for this reason.
The book later treats also the problematic of married men at the front and their thoughts for their domestic life like also what it meant for a family the arrival at home of the news of the death of soldier, first of all a son, a husband, a boyfriend.
This book gives the perfect idea of what happened during that years in UK and in the rest of the world thanks to the written words of soldiers, wives, relatives and it is a real treasure to keep.
I thank Pen and Sword for this ebook.
Anna Maria Polidori