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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Poignant letters home from WWI soldier go on show

* Royal Welch Fusiliers in World War One.

To coincide with Remembrance Day, Denbighshire Archives has a small exhibition commemorating the sacrifices made in the First World War.

It is a celebration of the life of Private Henry (Harry) Jones 8481, 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, based on surviving letters held at the archives in Ruthin Gaol.

* Royal Welch Fusiliers badge.
Pvt Jones was baptised in the parish of Llanfwrog in 1887, married Elizabeth Williams in 1910, and had three children, the youngest of whom was named ‘Mons’after the battle in which his father was fighting when he was born in December 1914.

His letters home are plain, with some rather unique spelling, but are also very touching - the letters of a simple man, who was obviously missing his family and finding life in the trenches grim.

His letters to Elizabeth talk about how cold and wet it is at night. He mentions receiving a parcel from Mrs Dowell with a scarfe [sic] and tobacco and says how it will be very warm for his neck. In the same letter he tells her that Mons is a very nice name for the baby and that he likes it very much.
In a letter dated 17th December 1914 he writes: “Dear Wife we are getting very bad weather hear raneing [sic] every day and cold. Dear Wife I hope it will be over very soon it is very cold in the trenches this is worser [sic] than carrying the hod with little dan.” 

He asks for cakes and sweets to be sent to him instead of tobacco and cigarettes and says that he is going to sing in the trenches for the Germens [sic].

In his last letter dated 23 February 1915 Harry asks after his father who seems to be in poor health. 

He wants Elizabeth to feed him up well with soup and oxo. 

Part of this letter reads: “Well my Dear pleas rember [sic] me to father and give him my best love and tell him to cheer up and tell him the war will be over very soon now and I will be able to see him again…” 

It is in this letter that he asks Elizabeth to send him a photo of her and the children, even telling her that she can get them “very cheep [sic] on a post card.”

Pvt Jones was killed on 1st March, 1915 - St David’s Day - before the photograph could have reached him.

Opening hours at Denbighshire Archives are: Monday (closed), Tuesday 
                            9.30 - 16.30, Wednesday 9.30 - 16.30, Thursday 9.30 - 16.30, Friday                                 9.30 - 16.30.

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