A message from the past

Tuesday 21 November 2017

A chance discovery from a house clearing has shed light on a softer and more human side of the First World War.

Richard Chapman, 44, from Immingham, a self-proclaimed Militaria memorabilia enthusiast, discovered a postcard that had been sent from a wounded soldier stationed on the Western Front to his young daughter, Edna.

The card, which is up for auction on eBay and due to end later this evening, is still in a good condition, and the front cover highlights the patriotic yet propagandist attitude which existed during the war.

But on turning the card, the sensitive relationship between a father and daughter reveals the yearning for home and family comforts that many soldiers would have felt during a terrifying and uncertain time, especially after being injured during battle.

Sent to ‘Dear Little Edna’, the unknown writer apologises for his absence and lack of contact.

“I am sorry that you are vexed about me, but I hadn’t forgot you.

“I bet you are swanning with your beads and bag, old buddy.

“Be a good girl, with love, from daddy xxx.”

The warmth in the note signals the hidden and often forgotten side of war - namely the worry experienced by family.

Mr Chapman said he was struck by the strength of the image, which labelled the wounded serviceman as “One of Britannia’s Sons”, and on reading the letter couldn’t help but have a “lump in his throat”.

“With Help for Heroes, our modern soldiers have a level of support today that was sadly missing during the Great War. While the quality of care has improved, the link between the two periods, particularly the importance of support from family has remained.

“At the time, the correspondence would take weeks to come through. Nowadays a text or an email can take seconds. But the point remains the same; messages will be sent, and our wounded, injured and sick Service Personnel still need help.”

Mr Chapman hopes that the postcard will raise as much money as possible, with all proceeds going towards Help for Heroes. It will remain on auction until 8.38pm.

To view this little piece of personal history, or to bid, visit the Ebay auction page: www.ebay.co.uk/itm/263323580433

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