Ted’s letter of the 30th September 1914 is 1250 words, 1100 of them in a single paragraph. He writes mainly about the voyage from Karachi (then in India) to… well, he’s not sure where. He’s on one ship in a convoy taking troops from India to the theatre of war in Europe, and his sister Ben is in another ship on her way home to England. Ben had been living in India with Ted as part of what was called “the fishing fleet”, the middle and upper class women who went out to the colonies to catch husbands. (Their working class sisters were called “camp followers”).
Ted spends most of the letter talking about the journey, but part way through he commissions his mother to buy him a field lantern. The typescript includes a photocopy of the sketch in the letter, presumably made in the 1970s.
I am delighted the illustrations are included in what I’ve been sent, but the question is what to do with them. Do I include them in the blog in this rather messy format, or do I clean up the palimpsest that’s showing through from the other side of the paper (an artefact of the photocopying). With this one, I have cleaned it up.
It’s a rather charming image for Christmas, now that I look at it. I hope to get in touch with the IWM and ask for permission to see and photograph the line drawings in the letters and to include some pictures of the manuscripts in the website.
In the meantime, this will have to do.