Seaford: “All the bands in camp turned out this morning”

Seaford Camp, Sussex
[undated, but probably 12 July 1915]

Dear Jimmy

By the time this reaches home you will have both days over you and I hope from my heart that they were good days for you. All the bands in Camp turned out this morning and it would have done you good to think that though we are here we have not forgot the days that are past. There is to be a meeting in the YMCA tonight at 6.30. They are expecting 10-000 Orangemen[?unclear] to be present. You might write me a line after all is over and let me know everything passed off.

J Adams

Seaford: “We had a big inspection by Lord Kitchener on Tuesday”

D. Coy
9th Batt. R. Ir. Fus.
Seaford Camp

Dear Mrs Adams

Just a line to let you know I received your letter alright, thanks very much for the same. You need not be expecting a letter from Johnie [sic] for a few days as he has strained his thumb and will not be able to write for some time until the swelling goes down. But he is in the best of health only for that.

We had a big inspection by Lord Kitchener on Tuesday and he was very pleased with the Division. He says if we had our ball-firing over we would be fit to go any place.

I suppose all is going on as usual over there and some people getting married and people dying and all the people working on as usual.

Y here there is not much strange going on here at present we are just fooling about at the same old thing as when we were in Ireland. I have no news to tell you at present but may-be I will have more the next time.

I think I will close for the present. Tell Annie and Jimmie I will send them p-c’s later as I have not time to write them now.

With best love to all
I remain
Your sincere friend

Date evidence: Lord Kitchener inspected the 36th Ulster Division on Tuesday 27 July 1915. This letter was presumably written a few days afterwards.

Seaford: “I am sorry this is all I have time for”

Postmark: Chyngton Camp B.O., Seaford, date unclear, 1915
[estimated date based on a hunch]

Dear Mother

Just a pc hoping it finds youse all in good health. As it leaves me in the same here at present. I had a letter from Tommie [?] today. He seems to be all right. I am sorry this is all I have time for. Will write later on, and tell youse all the news. We are having fine warm weather now. Hoping it continues. […unclear sentence…]

15 Seaford Dear Ones 02

15 Seaford Dear Ones 01

Postcard shows: “My thoughts are with the dear ones at home”: A greatcoated soldier at camp, sitting on a box, smoking his pipe, is thinking of his wife and young baby at home.

Seaford: “There is nothing strange here, but I will write later on”

Postmark:Chyngton Camp B.O., Seaford, 16 August 1915

[There is an additional mark on the front of the card, showing “11 AM 17 AU”, but the location is not visible].

Dear Jennie,

I received your letter this morning. There is nothing strange here, but I will write later on. Hoping you will have a good time at home. This is all I have time for now.

J. Adams

150816 Seaford 02

150816 Seaford 01

Postcard shows: “The Esplanade, looking east, Seaford” Pedestrians in Edwardian dress promenade along the front, while some rest on the adjacent benches. A shingle beach, scattered with small boats, fills the right hand side, and a terrace of houses lines the road on the left. In the distance are the headlands and white cliffs of Seaford Head.

See this scene on Google StreetView.

Seaford: “I was up in Brighton on Saturday. It surely is a lovely place”

[For God, King & For Country]
[HM Forces on Active Service]

D Company
9th RIF
Seaford Camp
Sunday 18.08.1915

Dear Mother

Just a line to say I received your letter alright. Hoping this will find youse all in good health as it leaves me in the same at present. I am sorry that I was so long in writing but indeed I thought I had written. I hope Jennie will have a good time at home and get good weather. I am sure she has need of a rest. You can tell her I will write to her as soon as I get time perhaps tomorrow. Well Dear Mother I need not buoy you up with false hope, but if every thing goes well you may have a chance of seeing us again before we leave England. Some of the U. D. [Ulster Division?] has got it already. 7 days leaves. But when our turn comes I do not know. It may not for a month yet but it would mean 4 clear days at home. Of course you need not depend on it for so many things can happen. Well I got my photos taken but they were that much changed that you do not know me from someone else. So I will not get them taken until we go home and then get them taken right. For these got the five [?]

I got the stamps many thanks for them. I am sorry to hear of you been sick but I hope you are better by this time. I was up in Brighton on Saturday. It surely is a lovely place. They Promenade is 5 miles from one end to the other. The lights goes out there at 8 o’clock and the place is in total darkness afterwards.

Tell Annie and Jimmy that I will write to them all. Jimmy might write to me some times. This is a photo for Jimmy of all the units in the 36th Division represented. I think this is all now.

I remain
Your loving son
John Adams

Excuse this scribble in haste.

This little brooch is for Annie. I will get you something later on.

Bordon Camp: “Let us all pray that we may all meet in a happier place when all wars will have ceased”

“D” Company, 9th Roy. Irish Fus., Martinique Barracks, Bordon, Hants, England

My Dear Mother

I received your parcel allright. Many thanks. But indeed I did not expect what you sent, and I am sorry that I passed the remark that I had no stamps, for I think that you wanted and has need of all the money that you get. And my saying that I had no stamps did not mean taht I wanted you to send me any money. But indeed I never thought of the likes: so you might not have thought that I would be angry at you for sending me any more. So you know your self that I would not be angry no matter how little you would send. All I was angry at was you sending any at all. I got the paper it must have been sudden about old John MacCormick was he long sick? But he was an old man. I had a letter from Jenney this morning she says that she has been very busy since she went away from home. I am writing to her also today.

Well dear Mother I may as well tell you the truth: all leave is cancelled, so there is no chance of us getting home again before going out. Which I think will not be long now about the 20th of the month. But I hope this will not make you any worse than what you all. You knew it would come to it sooner or later. So it need not come as a surprise to you any more. And if I do not have the Good Fortune to come back again, let us all pray that we may all meet in a happier place when all wars will have ceased, and there shall be no more trouble or sorrow.

But let me get away from this as it will do none of us any good. And what ever happens let us hope it may be for the best as we are all in a Good Man’s Hand and he knows all our hopes and fears. But thank God if I do not come back all belonging to me can hold their heads up for I have done my duty and shall do so no matter what it may cost me so youse will have nothing to be ashamed of.

This is a lovely part of the country and is great for Route Marching. You would never feel tired on the road.

There is about 20 shops in the village of Bordon which is about 5 minutes from camp and a Picture House. Of course there are all the camp stores built for the men in camp here. The range here was made by German prisoners. And this camp was opened by the Kaiser[?] but I think I told you that before.

I must draw to a close as I am going on duty tonight.

Good bye and may God Bless and take care of youse all
I remain
Your Loving Son
John Adams
P.S. You might send me Lizzies address as I would like to write to her.

Bordon: “We have arrived here safe but tired”

Postmark: Bordon, Hants, 24 September 1915

Dear Mother

We have arrived here safe but tired. I would not do the same journey again for any money. We arrived her at 5.30 on Thursday. Hoping youse are all keeping in good health. Will write later on, excuse this in haste.

J. Adams

Postcard shows High Street, Bordon. A row of shops on the right, with a hairdressers in the foreground. Trees stand on the left of the road, on which a number of men loiter.

150924 Bordon 02

150924 Bordon 01

You can see the same place on Google StreetView.

“Good-bye, Mother Darling”

No date or postmark. Presumably included in a letter, or posted in an envelope. The inspection by the King mentioned in the cards took place on 30 Sept 1915, a Thursday, so this puts the date of this probably at the beginning of that week, perhaps Monday 27 September 1915, and his location at Bordon, Hampshire. He landed in France, as indicated in the cards, on Monday 04 Oct 1915.

Card 1: “Good-bye, Mother Darling”

Dear Mother,

Just a PC in answer to your letter and card which I received alright. I am sorry this is all I have time for now. We are just in from a rehearsal of the march past which is to take place on Thurs before the King, when he is going to inspect us. The place we have to go to is about 9 miles from here and it rained the whole way home on us, so you may expect we were wet. But we may be worse off before long so we need not complain. Well I got back alright but it was an awful journey. But I sent you a P Card the night we came across. I do not know how it was you did not get it. But I did not post it myself, so that may account for it.

Card 2: “Good-bye, Mother Darling”

I also wrote to Jennie, but she may not have got it either. I hope Jimmy got back alright from the main line. There was a lot of people there that night. There will hardly be as many to see us off to France the day we go away. But then we are leaving England and not Ireland. I will write to you after Thursday but I have not time now as we are gearing up for the Review. I want Jimmy to get them photos as soon as he can as I would like to have them before we leave here. I expect we will be clear of this place on Monday. But I do not [sic] if it is the [Tuesday?]. I think this is all now.

I remain, loving son [sic]

J. Adams

150927 Two cards 02

150927 Two cards 01

Postcard 1 shows:

“Good-bye, Mother Darling (1)
Mother Darling, I must leave you, there’s a duty to be done;
At the front the battle’s raging, won’t you spare your only son?
From your eye a tear is falling, Mother, have you nought to say?
Bus she bowed her head in silence – ‘twas the price she had to pay.”

A young man, in a civilian suit, bids farewell to his aging mother as he goes to join up.

Postcard 2 shows:

“Good-bye, Mother Darling (4)
Good-bye, Mother darling, good-bye, you make it hard to part;
Battles may rage in the days to come, one takes place now in your heart
Twixt your love and duty, for England is calling your son.
There’s a parting at a cottage door, a battle now is fought and won. “

Mother and son embrace outside the cottage door as he, now in uniform, leaves for war.

Southampton: “We will get to France sometime at 7.30 tomorrow morning”


My Dear Mother

We have arrived here on our way out. We left Bordon last night at 11.30 arrived here at 2 o’clock and will not leave here until 7 o’clock tonight.

We will get to France sometime at 7.30 tomorrow morning. I sent home a small parcel. I suppose you will get it alright. I hope youse are all keeping in good health, as this leaves me in the best of spirits at present.

Will write as soon as I get time. This is a fine dock. This is where all the soldiers go from to the front. Remember me to Annie and Jimmy. Tell them I will write soon to them.

I remain
Your loving son

Date evidence: 9th Bn R.I.F. arrived in France at 6.30 am on 4 October 1915, according to Maj John George Brew’s account.

London: “Just a line to say I have got so far safe on my journey out to France”

[postcard: plain]

02.05.17, Southampton London

Dear Mother,
Just a line to say I have got so far safe on my journey out to France. I received your parcel alright before I left N Ards. Many thanks for what you sent to me. The weather is still very nice. I hope it continues. No more at present.
Your loving son
J Adams

Birmingham: “The nurse here who is attending me comes from Monaghan and I am the only Irish boy in the ward, so you need not fear for my treatment”

9th Royal Irish Fusiliers
Ward C 11
2/1st Southern General Hosp
Dudley Road


My Dear Mother

I suppose you will be glad to get this note from me and to know that I am in England once again. I am sure you have had all sort of thought this last few days, but don’t worry I am alright. I am as happy as the King. I got wounded through the right leg, so my only trouble is I have got to lie on my back. It will be some time before I can walk again, so I hope you will forgive this writing as it is not very good.

The nurse here who is attending me comes from Monaghan and I am the only Irish boy in the ward, so you need not fear for my treatment. I have got no writing paper or stamps, nor money to buy them, so you may forgive this short note. I hope you can make out this address. Tell Jimmy I have got 6 in [?!] of a beard on and no razor to take it off.

Your loving son

Birmingham: “My leg is in splints to keep it still”

[possibly a fragment at the end of a letter?]

Please excuse this short note as I cannot sit up in bed long at a time. You see my leg is in splints to keep it still.

Well this is all this time so I will close for the present. Hoping to hear from you soon.

I may have the pleasure of spending Xmas at home this year.

Good bye
Your loving son

Birmingham: “I have still my leg in splints”

[Probably in Southern General Hospital, Birmingham – see previous letter]

18th October 1918

My Dear Mother

Just a few lines in answer to your ever welcome letter which I received alright this evening. And I am glad to know that your self and all at home are still enjoying your usual good health. As for myself I am going on as well as can be expected. I thank you very much for what you sent to me. It is really too much of you.

I had a letter from Jennie a few days ago and also a parcel today, with cigarettes in it. So I have got as much as will keep me going for a good while. I am sorry to hear of Mrs McComb’s death. It must have been a shock to the boys. I suppose none of the girls are at home. Mr Rentoul [?] had also a short reign out here. But the German shells have no respect of persons. They kill and maim whatever comes in their way. But it [is] all in the fortunes of war or rather the misfortunes.

Well Dear Mother [I] am getting along first rate. I have still my leg in splints. I have still got 6 days to lie on my back before they take them off. You see it takes the artery so long to knit and heal up. But I will be running about in a few days again.

I hope Jimmy is not working too hard but I suppose the most of the work is finished. Tell him he might write me a few lines some night he has time. I suppose the Dances will soon be starting for the winter. I was telling you they were talking of sending a few of us across to Ireland when I first came in here. But as I was not able to be moved at the time I did not hear anything more about it until this evening when they came around and [took] the names of all men belonging to Ireland. So whither [sic] they are going to send me across or not I do not know.

Well I think this is about all tonight. I will now close. Thanking you again for what you sent to me tonight. I shall not forget it.

I remain
Your loving son

Tell Annie I shall write to her as soon as I am able to sit up. Hoping to hear from her soon.