Saturday, 20 April 2013

An open letter from across the Atlantic

Get ready to Skype!
To the sixth grade students of Newton, New Hampshire in the US:
I hope you like the picture above, which was taken during our Skype session about the First World War. I had no idea that my face would be filling a wall! I hope the WW1 letters I was able to tell you about added a bit of colour to your studies - even if it was mud-coloured! - but how sad that so many were written by young men not much older than you.
Take my great-uncle Fred Wood, for example, a football-mad teenager from Bristol in England. He was just 17 when he joined up to fight in France, and his auntie obviously doted on him when she sent this message in December 1915: 'To Freddie, with all auntie's love and best wishes for a happy Christmas'. You can see the card below.
Auntie Pollie's card to her nephew Fred Wood
It was probably the first time Fred had been away from home at Christmas and, sadly, it was also his last. He was killed six months later on July 1, 1916 - the first day of the Battle of the Somme. This was the bloodiest day in the British Army's history, when 19,240 of its soldiers were killed, or died of their wounds. It's most likely that Fred was killed by a shell while advancing across No Man's Land. His body was never found.
Let's finish on a happier note. Thankyou to your teacher, Ms Woulfe, for organising our Skype session so efficiently - you can still read all about it on the post below. And good luck to you all, I'll let you know when my book, 'Letters from the Trenches', is published next year.

Top teacher! Nicole Woulfe

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