Leeds Mercury 1914: Letters from the Front: 4th September

Have your say

Readers who received letters from men on active service were invited to submit them to the “Leeds Mercury.” Any extracts published were paid for, with the promise that letters would be carefully and promptly returned to the senders.


Corporal Peter Sheridan, who is in the Irish Guards says:-

“It is very lonely about here but there are plenty of bullets and shells flying over your head.

I have not been in bed since I left home ten weeks ago. I have got so used to sleeping on the ground that I think if I come home I shall continue to do so.

If ever I am in a place and a man comes and asks me for a penny towards a night’s doss

I shall kick him out of the place. We have slept on the ground so others can.”

Some idea of the scarcity of notepaper may be gained by a passage in the letter, which states:

“I should have written before, but you can’t buy anything here.

One of our men had some notepaper and envelopes and I gave him 2 shillings and sixpence for one sheet of notepaper and one envelope.


A late member of the “Mercury” staff who enlisted with the Leeds City Battalion now in camp at Colsterdale writes:-

“I was never better than at present. The training is becoming more and more trying but the fellows are keeping up very well indeed.

There is very little sickness in camp.

Of course, there are one or two cases of influenza, sprained ankles and varicose veins but nothing serious and the percentage is extremely low.

There are one or two cases where the men have got through with bad eyes.

I can see now why the doctors were so strict. It was necessary.

One man fell yesterday with a varicose vein in his foot and while he was being carried away one of the bearers caught his foot in a hole and sprained his ankle.


Mrs. Edgar Brearly, of Edge Terrace, Longwood has received a letter from her brother, Corporal S. W. Lewis of the 1st Cheshire Regiment, who is in a Birmingham hospital, in the course of which he says:-

“I have been in nearly everything from Mons right up to where the troops are now, and I have had some exciting times.

It is nothing to be on the march and to have a few shells dropped amongst you which either kill or wound wherever the pieces happen to strike.

No one can imagine what it is like. You have to be amongst it to realise it.

I’ve seen some awful sights which are best not mentioned here, but I am quite ready to go again when I come out of here.

Now that we are here and away from the firing line it seems like some horrible dream but it is only too true.

It was the women and children I felt sorry for and it would have made you cry to see them leaving their homes, poor old men and old women too.

The rich were all right, they got along all right in their motor cars. But the poor people had to do the best they could, and there were plenty killed because they could not clear out quickly enough.”