Thursday, 21 May 2015

Last Letter of a Linslade Soldier

Friday 21st May 1915: Private Mark Page, the youngest son of George and Rebecca Page of Rose Cottage,  52 Springfield Road, Linslade, was killed in action on 9th May fighting with the 1/4th Seaforth Highlanders. Two of his brothers are also serving in the armed forces and a third is on his way from Canada to England to enlist. Three other brothers in Canada are training as volunteers for home defence.[1]  He had returned to the Front after recovering from an earlier wound. Shortly before his death 18 year old Private Page wrote to a friend with a cheerful description of life at the Front:
“We expect to go up into the firing line again on Sunday. The idea people in England have of us is one of constant trial and struggles, but believe me, I love being out here. It is not nearly so bad as people imagine. No doubt it was bad in the rough, cold weather, but we are having lovely summer weather now. You hear people saying we don’t get enough to eat, but they are wrong, I have always had enough up to now, and it is only very dissatisfied men who would want more. I often hear chaps grumbling and saying, they will write home for parcels, but it is a waste of money to the senders. A parcel cannot last a chap more than two or three days, and then they start grumbling again. Some of them expect the Army to supply just the sort of things we should get at home, custards, jellies, tins of fruit, and eggs and things like that. They would get on a lot better if they had made up their minds from the first to be satisfied with everything. That’s what I did and I have no cause to complain yet. We are not altogether without music out here as I have a mouth organ and a tin whistle and two of us played these every day in the trenches. … I have never been unwell a single day since I enlisted. I think the open air life is doing me a world of good. I never felt better in my life than a do now.”
Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer and Linslade Gazette, 15th June 1915

[1] By the end of the war six of the brothers had served in the Armed Forces [Source: Commonwealth War Graves Commission]

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