Friday, 6 March 2015

Music at the Front

Drawing room interior with piano, The Lodge, Bedford 1920 [Z50/9/831a]

Saturday 6th March 1915:  Mr Thomas Brightman of 17 Park Road, Kempston has received a letter from his son George, who together with his brother Arthur is serving with the 1st Field Company of the East Anglian Royal Engineers [1]:

“Dear Dad, We have got a decent billet, and that counts for a good lot. We are in a house with shell holes through the roof, some of which have been done since we have been here, but luckily they did no damage to any of us. We all have to sleep on the ground floor, but we have got used to that. During our spare time we often have a wander round the empty houses, which are very plentiful, and in our house now we have tables and chairs, and last, but not least, a piano, which has been on the go until 9 o’clock to-night, and as most of the chaps have now gone out to work I have settled down to write these few lines. I suppose if I told some people that we had had a piano on the go and singing only about a 1,000 yards from the firing line they wouldn’t believe me, but it is true though. When our Company does come back, dad, they will be able to hold their heads up knowing they have done their bit. Last Saturday some of the Company went out to do a ticklish job, and although a shell burst wounding some, and they were under a severe rifle fire at the time, they did the job they set out to do … I wasn’t there myself, but Arthur was, and he says it was a sight he will never forget. But still we’re here in the best of health, and you can’t wish for more, can you? And we are looking forward to the time when with the best of luck we shall be back home again with you all.” [2]

Source: Bedfordshire Times

[1] 1st Field Company of the East Anglian Royal Engineers were serving in France with 2nd Division near Béthune.

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