Arthur's World War 1 Letters Home - A First Hand Personal Account of Edwardian Life and WW1 from an Extraordinary Perspective.
Arthur's first world war letters are an exceptional eyewitness account of WW1 and Edwardian times. World War 1 Letters home from the front, letters from behind the lines, letters from the trenches and letters from the home front.
There is plenty of talk of mud and trenches, gas attacks (experienced first hand by Arthur), home front and society gossip, but most importantly Arthur's letters are an Edwardian and World War One human interest chronicle written by an intelligent and articulate observer from a very different perspective, not a tedious conventional military history. This is social history at its best.
These primary source World War 1 and Edwardian letters home are an almost unique view of the First World War. Arthur writes about the people, social and political events of the day as they unfolded, and of course, the battles, trench warfare and horrors he witnessed first hand.
This is Arthur's eyewitness account of the early 20th century and WW1 and the rapidly changing times and culture he lived in, an outstanding social history. There is no political correctness, just an exceptional first person observation of a vanished society.
Each generation sees the war from a different perspective, our history is constantly being reinterpreted, but Arthurs WW1 letters home tell the story of the moment.
Arthur also travelled around the world and sent a large number of letters home during the period 1892 -1920. I have also published some of those from the USA, South America, and Australia. I try to add new letters regularly. These letters also show a fascinating glimpse into the privileged world of an Edwardian gentleman and a picture of the lost pre-Great War world.
As with all history try to read these letters without the benefit of hindsight, Arthur's letters tell the story of the moment, the human touch behind social history. Contemporary sources such as Arthur's Letters were written at the time without the benefit of hindsight.
These bundles of letters are no longer forgotten dusty relics but have become a living and breathing testimony of life 100 years or so ago, social history brought to life.
Take a Fresh Look at The Great War - It was much more than mud and trenches ... some extracts from Arthur's First World War Letters home:
"Yesterday we had 3 or 4 volunteers & 3 or 4 chauffeurs gassed, most of them have been yesterday or are being today, evacuated, so we shall be very short, I hope no more go! I don’t know when they will be right! It makes one blind for time being, sort of tear gas, mustard gas they call it." April 22nd 1918
"Front trenches were 25 or 30 yards from the Germans, it seemed so extraordinary, at one point I went to the front line German trench was only yards off, it is hard to grasp unless one sees it." May 29th 1915
"Ireland seems very unsettled. What are they going to do with the wretched country, why on earth they could not leave it alone & never introduce a Home Rule Bill. It will become a sort of wild Mexico I suppose, cheerful!" July 18th 1916
"If Allies ever do really win it looks pretty blue for Kaiser, Crown Prince & all leading Generals & people who sanction these things, surely they can never escape hanging." 2nd August 1916
It's too easy to dismiss WW1 as an event only occurring in North West France and Belgium. The WW1 centenary commemorations are upon us and have already been dominated by war memorials and cemeteries.
Of course we should never forget the WW1 fallen, but should also remember those lucky enough to return home, many of whom bore the physical and mental scars for the rest of their lives...
There are site search boxes on each page, a Site Map, and I have added an index for each year 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918 and pre WW1 this gives a month by letter summary for ease of research, and I have also added Arthur's Miscellany - a selection of history related news articles and retweets in an easy to read format.
When transcribing these letters I leave the grammar etc. as it was written. I also omit the more mundane sentences or paragraphs, replacing these with "...", however I will revisit all of the letters in time. Text I have added for the sake of clarity is enclosed in [ ] brackets. Some of the words, place names or people names can be difficult to read and I replace those with "??????", but again I will revisit these letters and amend where possible.
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