Letters Home from the Western Front

By Reid, Nick | Birmingham Evening Mail (England), February 16, 2018 | Go to article overview

Letters Home from the Western Front


Reid, Nick, Birmingham Evening Mail (England)


ATAMWORTH couple who have been holding on to a batch of letters written by a soldier during the First World War are hoping to track down the rightful owners. Audrey and Ralph Tildesley, of Sill Green in Wigginton, have 11 letters written by William Henry Cave, Audrey's great uncle by marriage, from France during the conflict.

The 66-year-old is hoping to track down William's immediate relatives, who now live in Australia, and present them with the letters to return them to where they rightfully belong.

She said: "It would be really great to find the family as these letters are a piece of living history.

"The First World War was such a massive conflict and these letters were all written from the hell of the trenches.

"The first letter starts off quite positive as William makes his way to France. In those days people didn't even leave their own village, let alone the country, so it must have been a real adventure to start with.

"The emotion in the letters changes though as the reality of the war sets in and it is quite sad to see he even talks about an armistice coming soon in 1918, but they just don't believe it.

"The paper is getting very fragile now and the words are starting to fade, so they must be given back before the stories disappear and are forgotten forever.

The First was such a conflict and were all written hell of the The letters, all written by Private William Cave of the 1st Cheshire Regiment, range from September 1916 to 1918.

Audrey was given the Audrey letters by her parents Donald and Brenda Adams after they had been passed down from her grandparents James Adams and Joyce Adams.

James's sister Maud (Audrey's great aunt) married William before he went off to war in 1916 and they had a son together called Leslie in 1912.

William died in 1918 just before the end of the First World War and his wife remarried in 1920 to a man called Vincent Holmwood (Joyce Adam's brother and Audrey's great uncle).

When they married, Maud shipped her eight-year-old son off to Australia where he was forced to make a new life for himself. …

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