The following letter was written by Avice Fathers to her brother Ken while he was fighting during the Great War. It had been eight months almost to the day since Ken had enlisted and unbeknownst to Avice, he had been wounded one day previous during the Battle of Festubert. The letter also makes reference to Mr Hiley who wrote a poem to Avice in 1914, which can be viewed here.
Transcript to follow after the images. (Please contact me if you can help decipher any of the [illegible] words on this document)
London S. W.
26th April 1915
My darling Ken,
We received your letter this morning in which you say you are out of the trenches again. I am sending you off a book tonight.
We saw Gordon off on Saturday, previously having tea together where Gordon pointed at a soldier whom he said was like you; so he was in the distance. Then mother and I bussed back to Victoria and caught the 5.22 down. They had brought a lot of [illegible]₁ anemones and some bluebells back from Chipstead and they look so pretty arranged in glasses.
Yesterday I went down to celebration at the Parish church. Someone who I presume is the new [illegible]₂, Mr Salmon, took the service, and the Rector preached. The list of men they read out now has grown to alarming proportions, as they say who is sick and wounded or prisoners etc. Then we all stand while the Rector reads the names of the fallen; it is very impressive.
Mr [illegible]₃ has gone to S. Andrews. He came and talked to me at the social; he does bowl me flat. I was frightfully sleepy all yesterday and snoozed all the afternoon and some of the evening, reading “The Newcomes” when I was sufficiently awake.
Mother has her inaugural meeting of the S.F.S tomorrow evening and I am supposed to be singing with Alister to recite and Miss Vaux to play the cello. On Wednesday I am singing to the Band of Hope! The Rector and his family are back from Torquay. [illegible]₄ gave me an amusing account of how the Rector proposed getting there, partly cycling, partly training. He started by going by train to Wimbledon I believe!
I wish you could tell us a little more of the kind of life you are leading and what you do in your spare time, if you even have any. Also the people you are with. Do you see anything of your old chums? I hear that Joey has a poisoned foot? Where are you billeted now? I suppose it is hopeless to ask you to describe your sensations as nobody seems to do that.
Did I tell you that Mrs Howlett had asked me down again on May 5th? I shall be so bowled. I am to sing at a S.F.S concert and expect to have a lovely time. Isn’t it simply too [illegible]₅ of them! Tennis begins next Saturday; it really doesn’t seem possible that summer is nearly here. I am to ave some tennis at Woking if possible.
I enclose Mr Hiley’s last letter which I have just been answering as I thought you might like to read it!
Am afraid there is no more news.
Heaps of love from Avice