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Tuesday, 13 February 2018

52 Ancestors: Week 7 - A Valentine from the War Front

Valentines are the theme of Week 7 of Amy Johnson Crow's year long prompt "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks."

As we mark Valentine's Day, I like to look back on the cards my grandfather William Danson sent back home from the Battlefields of World War One to his wife Alice, at home with four young children in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire.  The first card   below was posted  in February 1918,    and I like to think was sent to Alice for Valentine’s Day.

 I never knew my grandmother who died when I was a baby.  Grandad was a taciturn countryman, who was working as a cattle man at the local auction mart when he was called up.  He was not given to flowery language, so the emotions expressed through these cards seemed out of character, but revealed his closeness to Alice.  In contrast the pencilled messages on the back were very prosaic. 

Field Post Office - Feb. 7th 1918
Dear Alice, received your letter allright.  I have landed back at the Batt. and am in the pink.  I have had a letter from Jerny [sister] and am glad they have  heard from Tom [brother].  Your loving husband, Billy   XXX


Field Post Office 29 April 1918
Dear Alice, just a line to let you know I am in the pink and hope all at home is the same. There is nothing that I want.  Will write again shortly.  Your loving Billy, xxxx

I don't know when the card below was sent, but again the love my grandparents shared shines through. 

Inside verse 

"Oh, Can you read the secret of my heart?

You surely must, dear Wife.

??? of myself, you are the better part, 

Companion for my life 

The secret is, wherever you may be, 

No power n earth can change my love for thee,

Your loving Billy XXXX

William and Alice, c.1916 


                           William and Alice, 1938 at my own parents' wedding 

Unfortunately Alice remains the major brick wall in my family history, as I have not even been able to trace her birth certificate to find out the name of her mother - but that is another complex story!

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

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