Leeds Mercury 1914: Letters from the Front

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Readers who received letters from men on active service were invited to submit them to the “Leeds Mercury.” Any extracts published were paid for, with the promise that letters would be carefully and promptly returned to the senders.


Writing home to his father in Leeds, A. North, of H.M.S. Hercules, says

“We have not got the German Fleet out yet, except three the other day, which are now lying in their proper place, at the bottom of the sea.

It is heavily mined where they are, and therefore we cannot get at them but we are beating them almost without firing.

“We are doing our work silently and well all over the World. I see our army are doing very well indeed. My word, there will be some old warriors in our family.”

“I suppose Leeds is very quiet now, with all the young men out of it; and quite right too.

I would make them all enlist.

lot of people don’t realise what this war means.

The sooner they do, the better.

I say this much, that if it were not for the Navy England would be in ruins, as Belgium is today.

The German Fleet would have been in England long ago, landing German troops.

Thank goodness it is not so.” 


Gunner Frank Thorpe, a son of Mr. George Thorpe of Cowcliffe, Huddersfield writes from H.M.S. Exmouth,

“Everything is upside down. We are fully employed all day long cleaning guns and I can tell you we are always dead beat when night time comes.

We are still waiting for the German Huns fleet to come out and God help them when they do.

Our gun crew is composed entirely of Yorkshiremen, and from my gun anyhow the Germans will know what Yorkshire pudding is like when they do come out and fight.

I can tell you we are having a cold, weary vigil in the North Sea, closed up round a gun all night nearly frozen and having to work all next day just the same.

One week I had six hours sleep the whole week, but we’ll not forget all this when we do fight them.

You put your bottom dollar on the Navy.


Mr. Harry Justice, of Cantley, Doncaster, who is serving at the front, writes:-

“There was a terrible slaughter yesterday, and the trouble seems to be that the Germans are so numerous that we cannot kill them quickly enough. There is little doubt but that the Kaiser is literally murdering his men.”

Mohammed Saddique, 88, wears medals won by his father Ghulam Hassan during naval service in both world wars. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

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