Letters to Kate & Jack, March 3rd & 4th 1918 + Card to Connie!

Roger O'Keeffe said...Soldiers were entitled to a very limited supply of these envelopes, whose contents were not censored by their own officers, and which were generally used for personal matters that the soldiers mightn't want known about.

My guess is that Harry used this because he was signing the card for Connie as "dad", and didn't want anyone who knew him personally asking questions about this "daughter".

Connie's name would not show up in army personnel records, so he presumably was concerned that Kate's secret might be discovered if someone spotted the discrepancy.
March 09, 2008
Possible but ... I would have thought that the card would have been sent to Ethel in the first place - as that was where Connie was living. But, I suppose, the card was found in the envelope to Kate. BL

Sometimes I read your blog about Experience of your grandfather during
WW1: it's very nice, but in the last post, you wrote that Harry was
drawn 10 lires in a month, and that's was equal to 5 shillings in
English money.
As the actual rate, the real conversion itsn't 25p-50 cents, because you
must consider the different inflation of two countries on 90 years.
Italian Statistic Institute have put this table
you must apply at the 10 liras the coefficent of the year 1918
(2560.7406), so the 10 liras are 25,607 liras of nowadays, and it would
be say 13 Euros: nearly 10 Pounds.
Compliments for the blog.
Riccardo Sabbadini (Turin, Italy)
The conversion in the letter was Harry's so it's likely to be a little out of date! If the present day value of his monthly pay was only about £10, I can understand how Harry was not impressed! BL

Julie said...Bill, you posed a question about Kate's living arrangements a couple of days ago. My guess is that she lived in "nurses quarters" because of the way that Harry has addressed the envelope. The nursing profession in those days had a higher status than it is afforded nowadays - a higher status but no less affection.
March 07, 2008
The panorama of Hanover Square suggests that it's always been quite a fine place to live. Sister Anita recalls that Kate had a fine flat which she spent a great deal on furnishing, right up to her death. That makes sense. BL

I am very touched to read these letters, I check for a new one
every few days, I feel you have done us-in-the-world at large a
huge favor by providing them this way. I fear though that this
man is killed before the end of the war, and to read that would
be like a blow to the gut -- silly, for he is long dead in any
instance. But I feel a tremulous concern for this young father
in any case, and wish to thank you for posting these personal
letters as you No need to respond to this e-message;
but I have never been so moved by an online site as this one.
-- An American in Florida

Anonymous said...The Leeds General Infirmary was built between 1863 and 1868, this imposing Gothic brick structure is one of Leeds' most striking buildings. It is the work of Sir George Gilbert Scott who was also responsible for the Albert Memorial and St Pancras Station. Its walls are adorned with bronze tablets commemorating past benefactors, directors and staff. On a wintry day, the infirmary is best viewed from the Hogshead pub opposite.
March 06, 2008
Thank you. I am assuming that Kate worked there. I'll try to check that out. BL

Felisia said... each time I see a new RSS feed from your blog I am just hoping Harry is still alive, I am so worried for him. This is a wonderful blog, I became to like Harry so much - he's just a simple man in this huge war and he has to face such terrible things but he just takes it as it is. I think it just underlines the terrors of the war.
Thank you for sharing this. (I am from Slovakia and I met this woman from Britain at a conference who mentioned this blog, so I just had a look and it's really very good)
March 06, 2008
Thanks for the comment - and thank you, whoever spread the word. BL

Casiopea said...Hello!
My name is Berta, I'm from Spain. I found your blog because a spanish newspaper told us about it. Thank you to share with us this story about war.
March 06, 2008

Anonymous said...This link will give you a 360 degree view of Hanover Square and includes a satellite view also. Click here
March 06, 2008
Well, I think that just about sews up this topic! Many thanks. I note that Hanover Square is very close the the Leeds Infirmary. Was that always there? BL

Steve said... Hanover square looks like its been re-developed.
It would be fun to see if there is an early map of the area
Interestingly Hanover Square Surounds Denison hall, A wealthy Wool businessman's house built by John Denison in 1786 and is now a hotel, but was in the family until post WW2.
March 06, 2008
Many thanks for that? What sort of Flat would Kate have lived in? Can you tell? BL

Silarnon said...I looked up Kate's address on Google Earth, and it appears her house may still exist! It certainly appears to be of the correct era.

If you're able to have a look, perhaps you can confirm?
March 04, 2008
Leeds is about 400 miles away from me. Maybe someone else can help? I do know that Jack's address in Hull still exists and is now a student let. BL

Tea N. Crumpet said...
I cannot fathom what life would have been like for Harry.
I come by every week or so and like everyone else, I am holding my breath.
March 05, 2008

Anonymous Leeroy said... Cool.Good post.I like this blog.
March 05, 2008

Anonymous said...Happy Birthday to Willie. I agree with Julie, he does sound a little depressed. Did some major changes occur in this month that I missed?
It is also cool to see how much salaries have really changed:)
March 04, 2008

Anonymous said...Kind of sad to hear he's missing his son's birthday. He, his wife, and us all wondering if he'll ever get to see another one of his son's birthdays.
March 04, 2008

Anonymous said...oh dear, what he doesn't come right out & say is so heartbreaking!

"another draft", company down to 20 men.... from what you said about the size of a company earlier, that implies that 980 men are wounded or dead.


(comment by Lynn from Camborne, Cornwall who remembers hearing about this blog on the tv but couldn't find it - but who was putting old newspaper down on the floor & came across the Packet with the webaddress)
March 04, 2008
Lyn - Not sure of the context for the "another draft" bit of your comment. The full strength company would be 120 men. BL

Julie said... Interesting, isn't it. To me Harry does not seem upbeat in the least - in fact he sounds depressed. He is wistful and he is lonely. I guess he is also bored. He certainly is desperate for any sense of home and family. Great to be able to see the envelopes too, Bill.
March 04, 2008
Must clarify, this is the only envelope of its kind in the material. The others are just plain, ordinary envelopes. BL

Anonymous said...I have been following these letters on a regular basis and have been "holding my breath" each time I log on. We, of course, know when this terrible war ended, but his family had no pre-knowledge and the wait for the postman must have been almost unendurable.
Thank you again for sharing this wonderful correspondence with us.
Two amazing men - you and your grandad. And of course the courageous women in Harry's life.
Thank you for your kind comments BL

Eva said... Did I miss something? Someone mentioned on Feb. 8 that they were sorry about the actions Ethel took. What did I miss? What do you know? I am embarrassed that as a 52 year old, I am obsessed with this story. What a wonderful connection to the past here. Anyone willing to fill me in?

March 03, 2008
Don't panic! You haven't missed anything especially new. I remarked that Ethel probably discarded or destroyed Harry's letters to her. BL

Anonymous said... Lovely! Kate must have been glad she'd left her daughter in the hands of such a warm and caring father.

Harry sounds to be in good spirits, very upbeat in this letter.

-Gustav's great-granddaughter
March 03, 2008


Anonymous said...

This link will give you a 360 degree view of Hanover Square and includes a satellite view also.


Julie said...

Bill, you posed a question about Kate's living arrangements a couple of days ago. My guess is that she lived in "nurses quarters" because of the way that Harry has addressed the envelope. The nursing profession in those days had a higher status than it is afforded nowadays - a higher status but no less affection.