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.


Lance-Corporal Hawkins, writing from the Majestic Hotel, Paris, to his parents at Lincoln says:-

“By the address you will see I am at my winter hotel, but unfortunately am confined to my room by a slight indisposition.

As a matter of fact, I have been wounded in my left leg by a sweet little German humming bird or bullet which wanted a good home.

I really couldn’t accommodate it, so it went through my leg and away, to live with the worms.

“It was a terrible job getting the wounded away, as the Germans were shelling the temporary hospitals and also the ambulance waggons.

This place is a magnificent hotel and we are very comfortable here.

I am in a spacious ballroom beautifully decorated.

The kindness of the French people is wonderful and an example to some of the Britishers who in time of peace won’t look at a redcoat.

The doctors and sisters are very good to us and there are two Lincolnshire sisters in the ward, so it is just like being at home.

“One of them, Sister Walton, was talking to a French clergyman and the reverend gentleman said “I do not understand you English women. You work and work and are never fatigued.”

“The Lincolns have lost many of their best officers and bravest men during the war and they have been in the thick of it every time.”


Bombadier Charles Belt, of the Royal Horse Artillery, writing to his wife in Leeds says:-

“We all had a lively time the other day.

Whilst grooming our horses the enemy shelled our camp and I consider we were very lucky in having only one man wounded and two horses killed.

The 9th Lancers were in a field about thirty yards away.

One shell killed six men, and another blew twelve more and an officer to pieces. We helped to bury them the same night, poor fellows.

“This isn’t war. I consider it slaughter on both sides and the sooner it’s over the better.

We shall all be pleased and think ourselves lucky if we get out of the country alive.

Will you send some cigarettes when you can as a few Woodbines would be very acceptable and we cannot get any here.

I have been made full Bombardier so that will mean more money.

Days Out: Thornton Hall Country Park