Leeds Mercury 1914: Letters from the Front

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Following the outbreak of war in August, 1914, the Leeds Mercury encouraged readers to send in letters sent to them from relatives on active service. A century on, we are re-publishing a selection of these in the coming months.


Fred Ridley, a stoker on the Black Prince, a powerful cruiser of the Mediterranean Squadron, writes from Port Said to his relatives at Addingham, near Ilkley. “I expect you will have wondered what has become of me, but you will know as much about the war as I do. We have been out this last two weeks looking for vessels to capture or blow up.”


Mr. Giblin, of Tudor­ Street, Bradford, sends us a letter he has received from his brother, who is a member of the RAMC, referring to the landing of the British troops in France.
“I am to receive eighteen pence a day, but I have not had any as yet. We had a tremendous reception on landing here in France, at a very old-fashioned town; with not very clean roads. The people are great Catholics, and run after you to give you rosary beads and medals. We do not get away much, as we are not allowed to go to the cafes. The people are always after our badges for souvenirs.

“We had 4,000 troops on the boat, and we were the first to arrive here. It was a grand sight from the deck, torpedo boats with searchlights guarding all the way in they came across mines.”

27 October 2017.
The view from the top of Leeds Town Hall.
Leeds Civic Hall.

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