Saturday, 17 January 2015

Absent Friends

Seaforth Highlanders in Bedford Park, 1914

Sunday 17th January 1915: Although some of Bedford’s Scottish visitors have now gone to the Front they have not forgotten their former hosts, nor been forgotten by them, with letters and gifts passing in both directions. Mrs B. M. Blanchard of 47, Foster Hill Road, Bedford has received letters from two of the Seaforth Highlanders who until recently were billeted with her. Private J. M. McLeman writes:

“I thank you very much for sending the Christmas pudding and parcel. I am writing this in a building that has been shelled by the Germans, and the roar of the guns, day and night, is awful. We are spending our Christmas far away from home, but are happy in looking forward to a more peaceful one next year, if we are spared. We are making good progress as far as we know. I was glad of your long letter, with all the news of Bedford; you have no idea how pleased we are to get a word from home. We got Princess Mary’s Christmas gift, and one from the King and Queen, with a nice inscription on it. We are well looked after and are supplied with everything needful. Really, the transport of the British Army is a wonderful thing. You should have seen us a week ago, all wearing beards, but now e are all nice and trim and the mud cleaned off our clothes. You will be pleased to hear we are all well, and as lively as ever. We had a concert in a barn on New Year’s Eve, and MacKenzie sang three songs. Please remember me to Mr. Blanchard and family, and I hope you will have the best of health and happiness in the New Year.”

Private C. Mackenzie says: “We enjoyed your welcome gifts very much. We are having very bad weather here. Our guns are fairly going at them now, and just shaking the ground under us. All the boys are in good health; excuse bad writing, as writing desks are scarce here – not like good old Bedford, where one could have all comforts, but we came here to rough it, and rough it we must. I received a parcel from your sister, Miss May, for which I do not know how to express my thanks”.

Source: Bedfordshire Standard, 15th January 1915

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