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A Briton Writes From Ypres <br />(Harper's Weekly, 1915)A Briton Writes From Ypres
(Harper's Weekly, 1915)
In a letter to his family, a soldier from one of the Scottish territorial regiments gives an account of his experiences fighting in Belgium.

"He was in the thick of the fighting that came as a result of the Kaiser's desperate attempt to take Ypres, yet he indulges in no heroics. He writes as though reporting a cricket game or a boat race."

A Letter from a Bombardier in the French Air Corps   <br />(Vanity Fair, 1916)A Letter from a Bombardier in the French Air Corps
(Vanity Fair, 1916)
In the attached letter from the artist Bernard Boutet de Monvel (1884 - 1949), the artist explains thoroughly his thoughts and adventures as an bombardier in a Vosin biplane; experiences which contrast greatly with his days in the trenches and he writes well on the feelings of lonliness that an aviator can experience at 2000 feet.

For those who are interested in learning about the living conditions and daily life of World War One pilot officers this article can only help you. Click here

Letter from a Canadian Artillerist  <br />(Carry On, 1917)Letter from a Canadian Artillerist
(Carry On, 1917)
By the time this letter was written in 1917, Seigfreid Sassoon and Wilfred Owen would have found very little common ground with it's author. However the letter is remarkable for it's eloquence and passion in support of the war.
A Post-War Visit to Metz  <br />(Literary Digest, 1919)A Post-War Visit to Metz
(Literary Digest, 1919)
This is a letter from an American infantry Major, James E. White, who wrote home to explain that there was still much to do six days after the armistice.

The major's letter relayed his experiences as being one of the first Allied officers to enter the formerly occupied city of Metz, in order to evacuate wounded American prisoners:

"The following Tuesday the grand entry of the French troops took place, but no welcome was more spontaneous than than that given to the group of American officers who on that Sunday peacefully invaded the fortress of Metz."

A British Tommy to the Mother of his Victim <br />(True Stories of the Great War, 1918)A British Tommy to the Mother of his Victim
(True Stories of the Great War, 1918)
One of the most moving letters included in the the 1918 book True Stories of the Great War was the pair that we have attached herein: a British soldier, heartily sickened by war, composed a letter to the mother of the German he had killed, pleading for her forgiveness. The mother wrote back and her response was unpredictable.
This exchange was first published in a Geneva newspaper.

Click here to read about compassion on the battlefield.

George Bernard Shaw: An Anti-Militarist on the British Home Front <br />(NY Times, 1915)George Bernard Shaw: An Anti-Militarist on the British Home Front
(NY Times, 1915)
A letter written by the celebrated playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1957) to an Austrian friend that appeared in the "Munichener Neueste Nachrichten" as well as the "Frankfurter Zeitung" in April, 1915:

"At that time scarcely one of the leading newspapers took heed of my insistence that this war was an imperialistic war and popular only in so far as all wars are for a time popular."

Click here to read Shaw on the Titanic disaster...

A Letter from the Trenches <br />(New York Times, 1915)A Letter from the Trenches
(New York Times, 1915)
An interesting letter written during the opening weeks of the war by a Canadian officer stationed with a British Guard regiment. The letter is filled with earnest enthusiasm:

"We are all one in aim, in spirit and in that indefinable quality of loyal co-operation which holds together the British Army fighting against enormous odds in France, as it binds together the British Empire by bonds not less strong because they are invisible."

A Letter from the Freshly Dug Trenches <br />(New York Times, 1915)A Letter from the Freshly Dug Trenches
(New York Times, 1915)
This World War I letter makes for a wonderful read and it gives such a vivid picture of what the war must have been like once both sides had resigned themselves to trench warfare. The letter was dated October 8, 1914 and the British officer who composed it makes clear his sense that no war had ever been fought in this queer manner before.
Tales of the Mounted German Corpse <br />(New York Times, 1915)Tales of the Mounted German Corpse
(New York Times, 1915)
A ghastly story from a 1914 front is told in this letter written by British trooper S. Cargill as he recalled a skirmish between German Lancers and British cavalry.
Britain's King Welcomes the Doughboys <br />(April, 1918)Britain's King Welcomes the Doughboys
(April, 1918)
A colored scan of the widely distributed seventy-word letter that Britain's King George V wrote to all members of the American military who had stepped on British soil. The letter is dated April, 1918 and was made to appear as though it was from the King's private stationery; the Windsor Castle letterhead is engraved in scarlet while the cursive body of the letter (in dark gray ink) is beautifully printed below in the conventional manner. It would seem that the California Doughboy who received this particular letter was not impressed; he simply turned it over and addressed a letter to his parents.
The Effects of War on Character <br />(NY Times, 1915)The Effects of War on Character
(NY Times, 1915)
The attached W.W. I letter is a reflection on the effects of war upon character written by a British officer on the western front to his wife.

"You need not fear for a 'disgraceful peace' coming from fatigue on the part of the fighting men. It is the resolution of the talking men you will need to look to."

No truer words...

Letter from a Veteran <br />(NY Times, 1916)Letter from a Veteran
(NY Times, 1916)
An experienced Canadian trench fighter gives some tips to an American Guardsman.

"Men enthuse over descriptions of bayonet charges. They are no idle pastimes, so it behooves all soldiers not only to become absolutely perfect in bayonet exercises, but to practice getting under way, keeping abreast with your mates and having a firm hold on your rifle. The soldier may say, 'Oh, that bayonet exercise isn't practical in a charge." No? Very well, that may appear right to some, but I should advise every one knowing every parry, thrust and counter so thoroughly that after they become second nature you can then do whatever your intuition at the moment directs."

Letters from the Dying <br />(The Atlantic Monthly, 1923)Letters from the Dying
(The Atlantic Monthly, 1923)
Printed five years after the war, an American nurse published these letters that were dictated to her in France by a handful of dying American soldiers; equally moving were the grateful responses she received months later from their recipients:

"I am glad and thank God he had such a quiet, peaceful death. It is a very hard thing for a mother to realize she cannot be with [her son] in his last moments...I am proud to give up my only boy to his country, and that alone is a great consolation."

This is just a segment from a longer article; to read the six page memoir in it's entirety, click here.

Click here for clip art depicting the nurses of World War One.

Reprimand from the Trenches <br />(Cambridge Magazine, 1916)Reprimand from the Trenches
(Cambridge Magazine, 1916)
This letter was clipped from a German newspaper and subsequently appeared in a British magazine some months later; it was written in response to a letter from a 13 year-old German girl who wrote to her brother at the front. She encouraged him in his sad, murderous work in her letter that was positively dripping with an affected air of trench-swagger. Outraged that his school-age sister should make such a vulgar suggestion, the soldier's response was admirable and seemed much like the prose of Erich Maria Remarque.
The Noises of Battle <br />(The Cambridge Magazine, 1916)The Noises of Battle
(The Cambridge Magazine, 1916)
This letter is very short and was composed by a German soldier who is simply identified as "a socialist". Writing to his wife from the war-torn Eastern European front in Moldavia, he describes what the man-made Hell of industrial war was like - the gas shells, the grenades, the ceaseless rattle of machine guns and the never ending groans of the wounded. The soldier concludes that if only the kings who were responsible for the war could witness this carnage for only fifteen minutes, then surely the war would end.

Click here to read about the foreign-born soldiers who served in the American Army of the First World War.

Above Verdun <br />(Cambridge Magazine, 1916)Above Verdun
(Cambridge Magazine, 1916)
ARBEITER ZEITUNG, a Viennese newspaper, quoted the following swelled with hubris recalling his flight over crushed French Village in the Verdun sector:

"I felt like a king, loaded with my bombs... I flew over Saint Privat quite low, so that I could see all the houses, and if I dropped my bombs there, I should have been able to to destroy half the village..."

Wide-Eyed and Fresh Off the Boat <br />(Outing Magazine, 1917)Wide-Eyed and Fresh Off the Boat
(Outing Magazine, 1917)
Some observations of the earliest Doughboy experiences were recorded in a letter home by this anonymous A.E.F. lieutenant during the Summer of 1917. He was unusually interested in the French architecture and rustic culture that surrounded him but also noted the deeply depressed German P.O.W. laborers, his food and the different treatment between officers and men.