Sunday, November 12, 2006


Broughton Manor
June 30th 1915

Dearest Ned,

Papa showed me the letter you left for him this morning. It has taken me all day to compose myself sufficiently to write to you so please forgive me if these pages are a little tear-stained.

Papa explained to me that when the other lads in the village joined up, you felt constrained to do the same in spite of the fact that you are not yet eighteen. You asked him to keep the date of your birth a secret and I assure you he will do so. You have always been big and strong even when we first met when we were twelve. Do you remember?

I am sure the authorities won’t doubt your age and Papa and I agree that it is a very noble thing you are doing: to join the Accrington Friends fighting for King and Country in the war to end all wars. I just wish we could have said goodbye but I understand that would have been too painful for both of us.

For the last five years we have seen each other every day and although I realise we come from different stations in life; you an under gardener and I the daughter of the lord of the manor, I believe that whatever happens, one day we will be together for ever.

Since dear Mama passed away Papa has come to realise how important it is to be near one’s loved ones. That is why I was allowed to be educated at home. I know he thinks well of you and I feel sure by the time this war is over the class system will not be so divisive and people will be judged on their character and not their bank balance.

I am sending you a flower – not one of your beloved roses but a simple bluebell which I picked from Ramsden Wood today. When you see the gaudy poppies of Flanders (not to mention the Mademoiselles from Armentieres) I hope it will remind you of home. You should smell the white garden this evening – it is intoxicating and the moonlight gives it an other- worldly feeling. I look up at it and imagine you doing the same. Are you thinking of us at home?

Now Ned I want you to put the Kibosh on the Kaiser and come home safely. Do you remember our song ‘My true love has my heart.
And I have his.’?
I am singing it now my dearest one. I pray we meet again before the leaves drop from the giant oaks.
All my love,

PS Don’t worry about your mother I shall visit her regularly.


I first posted this on the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. Forgive me for repeating it but I feel the two letters should be together.


R. Sherman said...

There's a movie screenplay in these two letters, dear.


Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

Another 'Birdsong' for sure.

Polly said...

Can I ask why you decided to change her name and the name of the place? Just wondered.

PI said...

Randall: wouldn't that be luverly!

Daphne: Sebastian will be delighted!

Polly: I'll try not to lose the thread...
I wrote Ned's letter some time ago as an exercise. Then I wrote the girl's letter as a blog and couldn't find the original so did the names from memory. Then when I came to blog the original I founnd I had inadvertantly changed the names so changed them back again. The important thing was to have the two recent ones the same.
Dying for a cuppa!

Polly said...

Confused - you will be !
I think I'm with you.
Kettle's on.

fjl said...

That's lovely. Justice has a habit of speaking louder than malice. ;-)

PI said...

polly: there's a good gel!

PI said...

fjl: that's a good thing!

fjl said...

depends who's on the receiving end :-)... There are those who're huffing and puffing at the moment about my "online circus" -but it's usually those things you look back on and giggle about- when it's all gone.

Sorry you fell of blogroll, I'm putting you back on, I don't know how it happened.


Saving Private Ned. I liked this.

PI said...

4d; if only!

Theblonde said...

I'm so glad you shared these letters with us, quite touching and sad. Thanks

Theblonde said...

I'm so glad you shared these letters with us, quite touching and sad. Thanks

PI said...

theblonde: thenk you. It's always gratifying to know it was worthwhile going with an impulse.