As the centenary since the outbreak World War One approaches, the ‘Tiser has researched a series of letters sent home from the frontline.
The first, which we reprint here, was published in the ‘Tiser on December 11, 1914 and comes from former postman, HY Norwell, gunner for the Royal Garrison Artillery.
It reads: “I now take the pleasure of writing you a few lines from the front. Being one of the first to leave Ilkeston as an Army Reservist and also an Ilkeston town postman, I have the Advertiser sent out to me from where I lived, 14, North Street.
“Well Sir, I landed in this country on the 11th of August, six days after I left the Ilkeston Post Office, so I think that was quick work. I will now give you a bit of my experience in France and Belgium.
“Our first experience of this war was at the Battle of the Mons, where we were taken by surprise at night. The shelling of the Germans was terrific.
“It was practically every man for himself - that was my opinion. We , who are left, were lucky to get out of it,as there was a lot taken prisoner.
“It was an awful retreat. From there I went to Amiens, it was almost as bad as there.
“We just had time to get out of that before the Germans came in. We were outnumbered. From there I went to Collimeres, we chased the Germans out of that, after they had almost killed about all in that place.
“I may tell you our hospital is very near full with men who have hair their brains turned by the heavy gun fire. I am now at Ypres where we are still holding the position in our favour, but the town is on fire, all the houses burnt down and people homeless.”