Monday, 7 December 2015

Lessons Taught By The War

Leighton Buzzard Conservative Club 
(formerly Unionist Club), 2008 [CR/PH]

Tuesday 7th December 1915: The Chairman of the Women’s Unionist Association in Leighton Buzzard has received a letter from Private W. Emmerson of the Grenadier Section of the 7th Durham Light Infantry, currently in a Rest Camp in France. The letter thanks the members of the Association for sending them socks and other comforts and goes on to tell her of some valuable lessons learned through experience of the war:
“A year or so ago a few among us would have thought very little of such gifts, but when one finds this want of things it makes them appreciate them all the more. This war is teaching a lesson, at least, I should say, many lessons we had not learnt in life before, and I shall mention three of them: ‘Want’ taught us to be thankful for for what we got; ‘Loneliness’ taught us to appreciate the love of those who love us; and ‘pain’ has taught us the pleasure of a healthy, clean, sober and Godly life, that up to the present date we had scorned. All this will show you that there are two sides of warfare, there is a good and evil side, and I think it will tend to make a better nation of us. I have spent seven months of this war in trenches and have been in two big battles (Ypres), but I am not sorry for what I have been through and for the strange sights I have seen (and I don’t think any of us are sorry). Each different sight taught us a lesson; it made the foolish think, the hard hearted loveable, and above all, it pointed out the way we men were misusing the glorious life that God had presented us with. I am writing this to let you know how most of us Tommies at the front feel for those at home, and how grateful we are to those who are so kind, and think of us. Once again we beg to express our thanks to you all. If I am not exceeding the bounds of your generosity, may I beg a letter from you? Letters from home are worth a fortune.”
Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 7th December 1915

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