Leeds Mercury 1914: Letters from the Front

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.


Mr. D. McRink, of Addingham, has received letters from his two sons who are serving with their regiments in the fighting line.

His son John says:-

“We are having it a little stiff out here. I had two horses killed under me and several of my chums that came out with me are killed or wounded, so I must be one of the lucky ones.

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I don’t think it will last much longer as the Germans are starving with hunger.

It is rather a hard time with us. I have only had nine hours sleep in a week and eleven hours another, so it will give you an idea. We are always in the firing line and on the go.”

His son Lorrie writes:-

“I hope to be with you before long, as the war will not last long now.

We are doing well now. It has been raining three days and nights, and all of us have a bad cold, but we still go on fighting for Old England, and not a word, for every man is plucky and hearty, and doing his best for his good old country.

Remember me to all the ‘boys’ in Addingham.”


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Private J. Clarke of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders writing to his brother in Leeds assures him that he is in the best of trim.

“I’ve been away from England since the 18th August and I have been fighting nearly the whole time I have been out.

The hardest engagement I was at was at Le Cateau. We lost a lot of men during this fight, but the General gave us a good name.

Although I have done some hard marching, and continuous fighting, I have continued in the best of health.”

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“I have seen some terrible sights here, but am not allowed to say where but of course, you know I am in France.

I should be grateful if you could send me some cigarettes, cake, biscuits and chocolate.

It would be a godsend to me.

Write to me as often as you can. It would cheer me up. And when writing, please put inside a sheet of writing paper and an envelope so that I can answer your letter as soon as possible. It’s hard to get stationary


A Bradford R.A.M.C. man writing home from hospital at Nantes says:-

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“We have some German wounded prisoners here. They are very pleased to be with the English. They are well provided for.

When asked why their troops fired on the hospitals they put the blame on their officers.

German officers march behind the men and urge them on, whereas ours are at the front.”

“The Germans have some awfully big guns that fire a much greater distance than ours.

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Their infantry and Uhlans fire from the hip. They bring their troops up in transport wagons with guns attached.

It’s a good idea as it saves the troops from getting sore feet by hard marching.

“It is a common sight to see legs and heads by themselves.

We had some more of the R.A.M.C. killed last Sunday. One of them slept beside me.”

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