9 April 1919 – Topher to Gertrude

09 Apr



Dear Mother

No letters from you by last mail save some papers for which many thanks. We have moved since I last wrote, down nearer Kantara which is much better in every way. As we can bathe every day in the canal it really is lovely, and at present it is very hot. I shall be left here on my own till the 16th as the other half company moves down to Ismailia on the 10th and I join them later.

Very little news this week, the unrest has quietened down since the return of General Allenby. One has to walk about armed with a revolver these days. No chance of any leave yet as it is all stopped, also demobilization

So Eleanor is engaged, no luck you see. Who is the fellow she is engaged to, do I know him. Paul again on leave, same as he was before the war always on leave.

Nice for him being at Portsmouth, I suppose Nance will be going down there now.

No more news, best love to all

Ever your loving son


Finally – after the war is over, we hear from Topher. Previously we have only heard from him once, writing to his sister Dreda

Topher had a hard time in the War, and that followed on from his hard time at school – his school-day letters tell us he suffered from headaches and his reports show he was consistently at the bottom of what was an admittedly small class. I suspect he had undiagnosed and unsupported dyslexia, but he could have just been socially anxious and had less aptitude than his peers.  In some ways, Topher’s difficulties show us more than anything else in these letters how much the world has changed in the last 100 years. Now a child who struggled as Topher did would have strong support from worried parents and probably have a statement of special needs to show for it, though of course whether those needs were met would be another matter entirely. 

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Posted by on 9 April, '19 in About


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