If you’re reading this…

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If you’re reading this… Last Letters from the Front Line, by Siân Price (2011). This book does what is says on the tin: A selection of letters written by serving soldiers from the Neopolianic Wars to conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. I was fascinated by the common themes in #GreatWar letters and those written by 90 years later: love for family; acceptance of fate and pride in being a soldier; attention to practical matters; frequently humour – and often religion. Take this written by Second Lieutenant William Binning in France in 1916: —- “Don’t grieve dearest mother and father. I should so much have liked to live and show you what good there was in me but still I am happy for I have done something. I shall be happy in His care and will look forward so much to our reunion … Give Belle, Annie and Johnnie my very best love … I have tried to do my duty … I am enclosing a holograph Will so you can get (my money) without difficulty.” —- And this, written by Guardsman Neil Downes in Afghanistan in 2007: “Well I guess by now you have heard the good news. I am up in heaven now with grandad and nana – sure they are stopping me pulling the birds. Well don’t be mad, don’t be sad. I died doing what I had to do and that was serving the British (Army) … I love you and I will see you all again … I have told my parents to leave you some money out of my insurance.” —- A final word from another modern-day soldier; a farewell message recorded by Master Corporal Raymond Arndt: “Should this disk be read then the worst has happened and I have died. I ask only that people try to understand what I am trying to do, and not to be mad or hate the army … I’ll keep the beer cold till we meet again … ‘And when he gets to the pearly gates / To St Peter he will tell / One more soldier reporting, sir / I’ve served my time in hell.’” #history #soldiers #BritishArmy #amreading #amwriting

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About Hannah

Author of literary historical fiction set in the First World War. Revising my first book, writing the next, seeking representation. Mountaineer, gardener, traveller, off-road runner. Africa, modern history, coffee, roses, films, book and unrealistic romance. NHS midwife in a former life.
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