Read soldiers’ wartime tales

BookCover'Front cover of "Letters from the First World War" by John Taylor.''MPMC WK24 M11
BookCover'Front cover of "Letters from the First World War" by John Taylor.''MPMC WK24 M11

A BOOK compiling letters from local soldiers fighting in the First World War has been published by a Citizen columnist.

The book, written by Bletchley historian John Taylor, is called Letters from the First World War with all material sourced from newspapers circulating during the time of the Great War.

Mr Taylor spent nine months going through back copies of the Bucks Standard, North Bucks Times and Wolverton Express to find letters sent home by serving soldiers at the Front.

The upcoming100th anniversary of the war sparked the idea and Mr Taylor said his reason for writing the book was that there were plenty of books around covering the war, but not many providing an in-depth and personal account of the lives of the soldiers.

He said: “When reading the letters you almost get a sense of being there yourself and you get a unique insight into the conditions which prevailed.”

He hopes the book will prove useful for people researching their family history, present day residents of the towns and villages mentioned and anyone interested in reading accounts of “those who were there”.

The book is divided into the soldier’s home town or village so that readers can easily find letters from soldiers from their own neighbourhood.

Mr Taylor said: “People will now be able to relate to the list of names on war memorials with the letters they sent, it is more personal.”

“In an age long before the mass media, soldiers were only too pleased to allow the publication of their letters, since they provided friends and families with an often graphic portrayal of life at the Front, he said.

“Despite the hardships of active service the troops developed a unique bond of comradeship, black humour and a steadfast conviction in the righteousness of the cause and nowhere does this become more apparent than in the letters they sent home to family and friends.”

The author has already written two books about Bletchley during the world wars and published several accounts of the history of Milton Keynes and its surrounding villages.

> The book is available from