Roslyn Rutherford: Wartime adventures

Part of letter dated 10.8.1918

I have a large number of letters that my mother wrote home, beginning when she arrived in England. She often speaks of things having not arrived because they had been "subbed" (carried on a ship which had been sunken by a submarine), and it is clear that a number of her letters either did not arrive, or were subsequently lost. It is possible that some of these were censored by the family. There are also several fragments of other letters.

I also have a few oddments from the journey over, a number of photos, and various official documents, apparently assembled in support of a claim for compensation from the government after the war.

All the letters in my possession are reproduced here, to the best of my abilities. Her writing is hard to read at the best of times, and many of these letters are written on both sides of poor quality paper, sometimes in ink, sometimes in pencil, and occasionally in a mixture of both. To make matters worse, when she arrived at the end of the sheet, she would often turn back to the first page and write up the left margin to the top, then fill in all the spaces around the salutation and the address.

Many of the names she refers to mean nothing to me, so I have had to guess when they are hard to read. She has also used many slang terms which are no longer current, and "soldiers' French". I have reproduced her punctuation, and her spelling (when I can decipher it) as she wrote it.

The letter on the left is one of the better examples. It starts


"Dear Mother,

      Your letter of 10th June came yesterday. I have not had any mail from home since 16th May. Now what were you all doing during that period. ....."


[ To read the full transcription look up '10.8.18' in the index to the letters for Royaumont. ]
 © Roger Riordan 2004-2019

Letters: Introduction