Family Matters

I’ve been spending a little time in Port Hope this week helping my parents.

I have returned to the city with what I call a real treasure.  THESE LETTERS:

letters 4

I’ve taken on the job of archiving my Grandfather Elliot’s  letters home from the European front during WW1.  Among other things,  my grandfather, Ridd, was a prolific writer who published articles, commentaries and stories in many newspapers from the 1920s on.  That is one reason why these letters, written mostly to his mother Sarah from various European locations, promise to be interesting reading.  In most cases, they look to be very descriptive and are many sheets long.

letters 1

I find these ‘postcards’ from the front fascinating   The boys serving there were obviously  encouraged to write home, but due to the sensitivity of their location (?) they were provided with these pre-printed postcards.  They clearly were instructed to cross off the information that wasn’t relevant so that the family members at home could at least receive some news.

letters 3


Here is a closer look:



As a historian, I must say that I have worked with centuries old documents in the Vatican Library that were in better condition than these letters.  The paper during wartime was obviously inferior  and is now very delicate and yellowed.  My self appointed  task now is to read, sort, photograph, and store these documents properly in order to preserve them for future generations of our family.   I LOVE doing this kind of work.  I can’t wait to read what he wrote on those pages and pages of letters to his mother.  I WILL KEEP YOU POSTED.



Filed under 1917, Culture, War Correspondence, WW1

3 responses to “Family Matters

  1. ixony

    How fascinating — and so important. The postcard in your final couple of photos reminds me of Louisa Young’s excellent novel “My Dear, I wanted to tell you”, whose title is taken from just such a card. It ties in neatly with this project and you might well enjoy it.

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