HEARTRENDING letters penned by a soldier during the First World War have been discovered in Leeds. They were found by Alan Blake, 88, from Meanwood, amongst the belongings of his late mother, Lucy McMillan.
They were written by his uncle, Albert McMillan, who was stationed in France in 1916 with No 2 Platoon, 1st Battalion. One of the letters, dated 17/4/16,begins: “I am writing this from the trenches, it is Sunday afternoon, I could just do with being home for my tea. I could just seat some custard... I see you keep having the Zeppelins over... Will you get me a writing pad as the one Florie sent me is done. I want one with a strong back as we have to throw our things about.”
Another, addressed to Lucy (Alan’s late mother), reads: “To Lucy, Stanley and Norman, I thank you very much for your little present and letter. You don’t know how pleased I was when I opened it and saw who it was from.
“Well, I am glad to hear you are all well. I am back in the trenches again now and we are only 25 yards away from the Germans. They are keeping very quiet just now but when they start on us, we always give them twice as much back and something to be quiet for. I will now have to close my letters as I am going on sentry [duty].” Sadly, Albert never came home.
Retried plumber Alan said: “When I found the letters, it made me very sad to think all he wanted to do was to have some custard and there he was fighting for his country. I just thought it was important this year and to point out people should be grateful for what they have.”
Alan is also trying to find old school pal, Geoffrey Banister of Cookridge, who would be 88 now.
We are only 25 yards away from the Germans. They are keeping very quietAn extract from the letter written by Albert McMillan in April 1916... he never returned home