First World War: A letter from the trenches from Edmund Walker (Bootham 1903-1906)

We are glad to be able to publish the following letter from Edmund Walker to our beloved Secretary :— “I thought you might be interested to know that at least one copy of BOOTHAM has found its way into the trenches. My brother sent mine on to me here, and I have just spent a very pleasant hour in my ‘dug-out ‘ reading it. It was very interesting to read about the fellows who are working out here in the Ambulance Unit, also the list of other old Bootham boys out here. We have been in the firing line about six weeks, and, although they seem very quiet along the line, we have had plenty of thrills [censored]. It takes some time to get accustomed to the feeling that you can’t show your head without two or three bullets whizzing past it. We have also had a baptism of shells. We had one burst in a room with about thirty men in. It missed me by about two yards.”

From ‘Bootham’ magazine, March 1915

Oliver Bernard Ellis – Part 4 (“A letter from Alexandria”)

This post continues from Part 3, and is part of a series for Explore Your Archive week.

Oliver Bernard Ellis wrote an essay for ‘The Observer’* called ‘A letter from Alexandria’. According to notes by his family, the essay was based on a letter sent by his uncle, Edward Dare Evans, to Edward’s daughter.

Image of first page of the essay.
First page of the essay.

The essay is written from the perspective of a serviceman who is wounded and in hospital in Alexandria. It gives an account of the events leading up to the injury.

The first sentence reads: “Looking back over the happenings of the last week, I realise the futility of attempting to give you any idea of the horrors of modern warfare.”

The last sentence reads: “When this letter reaches you I shall have left this broken shell, and shall be free to fly back over land and water to the old home, and there I shall stay for a few short years until we can meet again on the same footing ‘Death is not the sunset but the sunrise of our lives’.”

Image of last page of the essay.
Last page of the essay.

The series concludes tomorrow with his time in the R.N.A.S.

*The Observer was a collection of handwritten essays on a range of subjects by Bootham students and staff, that was regularly produced. This essay is taken from 2nd Series, Volume XXXII, p599.