We are lucky the letters survived as they had been stored in a garden shed and were covered in grass cuttings and dirt when found. But they are in very good condition although difficult to read as they are mostly written in pencil which is all most soldiers had available to them.
We have left Jack’s spelling and grammar as we found it including abbreviations. There are some words we weren’t able to make out and these are typed in [square brackets]. Some of his abbreviations need explanation and these notes are shown in [italics in square brackets].
Where possible links to further information will be provided and of course scans of some of the original letters.
This work couldn’t have been done without our two marvellous volunteers – Bev and Tina who worked solidly in transcribing the letters – reading them out to each other in an attempt to decipher some of Jack’s handwriting. Thanks also to Alexandra our student volunteer who stepped in last winter with some transcribing of her own.
And special thanks to Tina who went the extra mile in contacting Jack’s family in Canada, who themselves have been kind enough to provide the photograph of Jack and Ethel.
A final thank you to Councillor Graham Whitham who helped us decipher Jack’s Medal Card and records, and understand what the 1/5 London Rifles role was on the first day of the Somme.