Letter to Jack 30th April 1918

satxxkenn said...Excellent blog - very informative.
May 05, 2008

Roger O'Keeffe said...Harry has been a Lewis gunner for some time at this stage. The "L.G.S" in his address stands for "Lewis Gun Section".
The Battalion diary has frequent references to training since moving to a quiet sector in Italy, so it's not accurate to assume that the unit was poorly trained. Manuals are just one of many kit items which were in short supply: some officers in France and Flanders even bought wire cutters for their platoons because the regular issue ones were so inferior.
My guess is that he may want to be sent on a potential NCOs' course (which would get him to an even safer location), and therefore wants to brush up on general soldiering including blanco and bullshit as well as the specifics of the Lewis gun.
Here is a link to a privately-published US manual for the Lewis Gun, which refers to the lessons learnt from its use by the British Army "during the present war": http://www.fenrir.com/free_stuff/lewis/index.htm#index
See scan 65 for a description of the duties of Lewis Gun teams, which in open warfare comprised five soldiers including three ammunition carriers (they would carry their rifles and ammo in addition).
BTW, I've just spent a couple of days in the Verdun area, very moving.
May 04, 200
Thank you Roger. The link to the Lewis gun manual is one I used in earlier posts.
Looking forward to my trip at the end of the month. BL
luciano said.... OI meu nome é luciano lamin eu moro no brasil e gostaria de saber mais sobre a familia lamin

VetMichael said...I also am aghast that some malicious person can derail such a wonderful Blog - If need be, I would be most happy to add my two cents to whomever need be petitioned to restore your blog.

As for the request for the Lewis Gun book - I wonder if Harry is not running into a common problem during the latter days of WWI; supply line breakdown. Some soldiers found it easier to get supplies (such as boots or food) from home than it was through the quartermaster. But this is pure speculation, but Harry's request does seem to fit.

I am "crossing my fingers" that Harry makes it home safe and sound as well!
Keep up the good work!
May 02, 2008
Still no response from Blogger. I've requeste a review of the "block" but have no idea what else I can do. If youhave any ideas, please let me know. BL

Spitfire said...Brill site And great pics
May 02, 2008

Paul Dyson said...Extremely interesting blog for me. I have recently discovered my grandfather's war records on Ancestry which show that he served, and survived, in Italy from January 1918 with the 240th and 390th Siege Batteries, Royal Garrison Artillery. At the moment I believe that this was in the Asiago area, as there is a letter which shows he was involved in defending against the Austrian attack on 15th June. Does anyone know of evidence of where the batteries were placed or of any other accounts of RGA service in Italy? I already have Hugh Dalton's book.
Paul Dyson (Bolton)
02 May 2008
I am accumulating information on the Asiago campaign but it needs a lot of sorting and collating. I'm sure that someone out there will have the information you need. I'll be happy to pass anything on. BL

Anonymous said...Yeah, Harry being put on a Lewis gun is not good news for Harry. I know in WW2 my grandfather was given a BAR (a type of automatic rifle) during fighting in Italy and he apparently "lost it" in the river to save his hide - because he was enough of a vet to know the guys with the BAR's were the ones that go killed the quickest.
May 01, 2008

Anonymous said...I'm heading to London next week and will visit the I. W. M. (Imperial War Museum) is there anything about Harry on display. Those poor guys went through some sh1t and should never be forgotten
Irish reader
May 01, 2008
Nothing in the I.W.M. - Yet. The blog is "Work in Progress". When it's all over, I have to decide what to do with the material. There will be a great deal at the museum about the events Harry went through. BL

Blogger JoK said...I am appalled that someone should have reported Harry blog as spam. What can we do to assist in getting the spam notice off your blog?
To whom would we write to confirm you are not as reported?
Like many others Harry has become a *virtual* brother, and I check the blog daily, April was hard with so little news of him.
Strangely like Paul I am also in NZ :)
Kindest regards
May 01, 2008
I have requested a review from Blogger but haven't the faintest idea how long the process takes Hopefully, not too long. Blogger seems to be all automatic, I can't work out how to contact a human being! NZ; Hope to be visiting in August! BL

Anonymous said...Great blog! Keep up the good work!!! =)
April 30, 2008

Molly said...hey
Thank god for this site.
I'm doing an assessment at high school on world war 1. It's really interesting. Do you mind if I use some of this letter for my assessment as I am hoping to be getting a level 8. For my assessment, I'm creating a large model trench and a memories box containing a diary, letters, medals and photographs. I would be grateful if you could comment back with some links for other good world war 1 sites. Thanks for your help
Molly aged 13
Thank you Molly. Please use any material on the blog. I would reply personally but don't have your email. You can email directly to me via "My Profile".BL

Pte Harry Lamin said...Apologies if we are delayed with the next post or so but some sad, malicious individual has told blogger that this is a "spam" blog! New posts are not allowed until Blogger has investigated. Probably pay back for my report about receiving spam via comments.

April 30, 2008

Anonymous said...A Lewis gun is a two man machine gun. It had a man to carry the ammunition and a man to carry the gun. The 2nd was the feller that fed bullets into the gun and replenished the supply when it ran out.
Lewis gunners were targets for grenades, snipers and all sorts of "hate" and usually had a short life.
April 30, 2008
Harry has been in the Lewis Gun Section from June 1917. My references suggest that the Lewis Gun section consisted of 12 soldiers. Only 3 of Harry's section returned after the Battle of Messines Ridge so it does look like an uncomfortable job! BL

Anonymous said... Does anyone know what the "Lewis Gun" book is and why would Harry need one anyway? Seems like an unusual request.
Harry was in the Lewis Gun Section (L.G.S.) and so , clearly, wanted top learn more about the machine gun. There is a link to an on-line version of a book on the Lewis Gun in a quite early post (about May/June 1917) . Link here. BL

Anonymous said...Like the previous commenter, I too am checking with increasing frequency..... in the end, will we, as his self-appointed new "family", be worrying over Harry as much as his wife and siblings did?!? I too feel real fear for him, and pray Harry makes it safely home.

And I take your point, Bill, that Harry had no idea when the war would finally end; but the sheer weariness of the past almost four years must have been building to a crescendo. I think I'd better check up on my history, but wasn't this coming summer, the summer of 1918 that is, very brutal?
April 29, 2008

Anonymous said...Checking this a couple of times a day now.The closer Harry gets to the finish line, the more I find myself being apprehensive as to his fate. His requests for letters from home are very poignant too. Hope he'll be alright.
April 29, 2008
We should always remember that Harry's family (and, of course Harry) has no idea when the "finish line" will be crossed. We (the readers) have a distinct advantage there! BL

Italian Terrain 2008

Dinu said... wonder if the families, when they were notified, were also told where their loved ones were buried.
Dinu, I'd be grateful if you'd leave advertising links off your comments. (Deleted) BL

Pat Tobin (Ireland) said...Such a beautiful, sad place. Men who left homes, wives, families hoping to return, now here forever. Sad, and I pray for them. God bless.
26 April 2008

Anonymous said...Many thanks to Rocco! The pictures are very serene, with no traces of the war other than their own gravestones; also very sad, to think of these small outposts of the fallen, so very far from home. I wonder if the families, when they were notified, were also told where their loved ones were buried. (It was probably unlikely that the majority of the families could have made the journey to these small faraway cemeteries, but I'm sure it would have been nice to know where they were!)
April 26, 2008

Just a small moan. I've cleared ALL the advertising off the site - because I just don't want to go that way. I get a steady trickle of "comments" that are actually concealed ads. Today, I got a whole load from a UK loans company wishing to steal advertising space on Harry's blog. They use several "Blogspot" addresses. Steve Cadick, (probably not his real name), Please don't do it. BL

26th April 1918 Letter to Kate

Anonymous said...My Great Great Grandfather was in this battle (Messines Ridge, June 7th 1917 BL) and I found Harry's letters very insightful of what my Great Great Grandfather went through. He died on the 7th of June 1917. Thankyou.
April 26, 2008

Jes said...Oh, how sad and lonely he sounds in this letter. He's been such a 'rum chap', but I think you can really tell more in this letter than any other how much the war and time away from family is wearing on him. I wonder how he would feel to know that 100 years later, he has the hearts and best wishes of so many.
April 26, 2008

JOEL WYERAZ - EM ALGUM LUGAR said...Hi guy, I´m Brazilian, living in Rio, and saw news about your idea in a newspaper at January, 2008. Congratulations. I guess that every family with relatives in wars are pleased.
It´s great tribute to Lamin´s memory.
April 26, 2008

Anonymous said... Bill, did Harry really put the date as '2th/4/1918' or is that just a wee slip on your behalf?
The blog is compulsive reading!
Nona, London
April 26, 2008

Ooops! Corrected now. BL

22nd April 1918

Anonymous said...

Well done Harry, I was getting a bit worried, with such a long time since his last letter. What a fascinating snapshot of the times this letter is, though. A mention of the Zeppelins attacking England, progress of the war in France etc. Sad to hear that Harry's father has died, it's sad to think of him out there, at what must have in those days seemed an impossibly remote distance from his family. Looks like it's been a tough time as well, let's hope things get better for Harry, still, at least it's better than where he was before, eh?
April 21, 2008

Blogger Kittybriton said...The reference to Zeppelin raids is worth noting; something we give little thought to, since the bombing raids of WWI were overshadowed by those of WWII. But probably, the raids were more unnerving in the Great War because the public had never been exposed to danger like that before.
Chin up Harry, we're all keen to see you safe home.
April 25, 2008

Silarnon said...April 25th is ANZAC day in Australia and New Zealand. (ANZAC = Australia and New Zealand Army Corps). The day, aka Poppy Day, commemorates the landing of the ANZACs at Gallipoli, Turkey, on 25 April 1915.
It was the first major military action for the ANZAC troops. The plan was to capture Istanbul, and knock Turkey out of the war. The campaign ended up taking eight months before the ANZACs were evacuated, having lost 10000 soldiers.
You read more at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ANZAC_Day
It is a day of remembrance and reflection for Australia and New Zealand, and I thought I'd mention it here as this blog provides an excellent insight into what was a very hard time.
April 24, 2008

erathwomen said...This letter really encapsulates the experience of the war for so many men--out there for 12 months without much contact with family, his father died without his knowing or being able to go to the funeral, the weather extremes and the inability to feel there would be an end.....I feel more for Harry here than I have before. This may be his best letter yet.
April 21, 2008

Anonymous said...Oh Harry! He sounds tired and frustrated (the weather and the continual trench warfare), lonely ('write to me soon! Your letters mean so much'), and sorrowful (his dad dying, with Harry not getting a chance to say goodbye). But there's also a glimpse of what I think of as the essential upbeat Harry: 'we see fine sights, a nice place for a holiday'. It's rough out there on the front, but Harry always seems determined not to drag down the folks at home. Take care of yourself, we're all praying for you Harry!
Gustav's great-granddaughter
April 21, 2008

Letters 2nd April 1918

edward said...one shilling was worth 12 pence at the moment, so you have more than halved little Willies' present :) there were 240 p in pound before 1971 ;)
very interesting blog btw
I think I got it right. My commentary meant that a shillng in 1918 converts to 5p in modern English currency. You are correct that it was 12 pence (but 12d not 12p!) in 1918. We're just getting confused with the dates and the change in British currency to decimal in 1971.

Anonymous said...this blog is a wonderful enterprise, is moving, is intriguing and extremely useful for me because I'm writing my diploma thesis (as Jungian analyst)about the war experience in UK in ww1, about the Comm. War Graves comm. birth, its deep meaning as trial to face the war horror and the families' pain for their dear dying in battlefields. Thanks for all !!
April 16, 2008

Anonymous said...Sounds like a great idea! Very sorry I won't be able to join you; I can only imagine how it'll feel, to stand where Harry stood. Please take lots of photos to share here on Harry's blog!-Gustav's great-granddaughter
April 15, 2008

SoldierGirl2008 said...No letter for more than two weeks! I hope Harry is alright!
My love just came back from Afghanistan after 6 months, and things seemed to be just the same for Harry and him... he eagerly awaited my letters and asked me to send his favourite chocolate and salami ;) And he kept all the letters and read them when things got too rocky. It helped him to get through the hard times!
So, Ethel, Jack, Kate, keep writing! And Harry, I keep my fingers crossed for you...
April 15, 2008

jaydee66 said...I only started reading this blog a couple of months ago. It's great. I've always had a fascination with the first World War. I think of it as the forgotten war. I did a history project on Passchendaele in school as a teenager and to read letters from someone who actually experienced it is amazing. Like others, although I know Harry is long gone, I still hope that he makes it through the next few months to the end of the war.
April 14, 2008

Maureeno said... Hello all, greetings from Asiago..thanks for this blog. It reminds to all of us the ww1 was a terrible and bloody period for our country as well..I also lost a relative in Piave front line and I hope a better end for Mr Lamin. keep up Henry...
April 13, 2008

Blogger Joel said... I love this blog! I check it every day. My only comment is that I cannot see a way to e-mail the blogmaster, and I think a little note at the beginning of the blog telling us when we can expect Harry's next letter would be helpful. Keep up the great work!
April 13, 2008
Sorry, no help with the next letter! Harry's relatives would just have to wait for the postman. So must Harry's readers. An email address is included in Harry's profile and a few lines down on this page. BL

princess-janine said...Hello, I just finished reading the blog so far and wanted to say what a great idea this is. :)
I definitely look forward to read and learn more about Harry's fate.
Btw, it was an article in my local newspaper that brought me here.
Link to the article: http://www.espace.ch/artikel_507051.html
Greetings from Switzerland
April 12, 2008

Anonymous said...Oh wow, you soooo.. deserve this trip. I hope you have a great time - but don't forget to share, we are all counting on you.
April 13, 2008

Tea N. Crumpet said...I am a letter writer and an envelope artist. I do email but it's not the same. My friends like getting my letters but they don't write back most of the time and e-mail me instead. I have a compulsion to put words on real paper.
This blog-- in addition to being fascinating, reminds me of why I write. Letters ARE appreciated.
April 05, 2008

Anonymous Steve said...To Tea N. Crumpet
I was in the RAF during the first gulf war and our families sent us Blueies
We used to keep them in our pockets and read them time and time again, specially when things were dull.
I remember one letter from my Girl friend at the time, It just used to keep me going when things were honestly so dull.
She remembers writing the letter spending time over a number of days trying to express what she wanted to say.
All of this is just not possible with email and I will assure you we keep this letter forever.
Btw shes my wife now.
April 09, 2008

Blogger Jürg said...Fantastic idea... great blog...
I'm from Switzerland and in today's (Saturday, 12. April 2008) Newspaper there is a whole page about your Blog... I've scanned it and could send it to you if you like. How can I reach you?
Best wishes from Messen, Switzerland
Thanks Jurg. I'd love a copy. You can email me direct bl@pool.cornwall.sch.uk. BL
Judith said ..Frederick William Ware was my grandfather, born in October 2,1887 in Warrington, England, and immigrated to Saint John, NB, Canada with his family around the turn of the century. Met and married my grandmother Florence (nee Mailman); and ,apparently, moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba where their children were born, my mother Florence being one of them. He joined up and was killed at Passchendaele, Belgium October 26, 1917; he had just turned 30. He left a widow and 4 small children who subsequently grew up in the orphanage, perhaps because their mother had no means to support them. As a result of their upbringing, they acquired few social skills and the marriages of three of them ended in divorce; the 4th died young in her 20's. There seemed to be a chain reaction in the family and my siblings and I also ended up in the orphanage when our parents' marriage broke up. All our marriages ended in divorce or separation except my older brother's who became a Mormon, I believe, because of the strong emphasis on family in that religion. Last summer my daughter and I went to Europe, to Warrington and to the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium, taking a tour of the War Cemeteries and the trenches as well. It was the most moving experience of my life. Thanks. Kind Regards from Canada .
April 4 2008
The horror of the front line was only part of the dreadful consequences of the war, spreading out like ripples, still affecting families today. BL

Julie said... In Harry's letter to Jack he had asked for more paper and envelopes so maybe he ran out and had to scrounge some. He often says that he will write more next time - it is like a paralysis of the mind has set in. But it is loud and clear how very special were those letters from home. France left an indelible impression, didn't it!
April 04, 2008

Anonymous voyance said...Thanks! Great Blog!
April 04, 2008

Blogger Tea N. Crumpet said... I am a letter writer and an envelope artist. I do email but it's not the same. My friends like getting my letters but they don't write back most of the time and e-mail me instead. I have a compulsion to put words on real paper.

This blog-- in addition to being fascinating, reminds me of why I write. Letters ARE appreciated.
April 05, 2008
Thank you for the Email! BL