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First World War » The 'French' Letters

Written between November 1916 and February 1917


French Letter - 27th November 1916 (page 1)
French Letter - 27th November 1916 (page 2)
Franqueville, 27th of November 1916
Mr. Robertson,
Amy and I have received a card from your friend, Mr. Flemming, who has given Amy his address. I replied to his letter this beautiful morning, not knowing the address. Could you please ask him to read my attached letter? In the hope that you are both healthy and achieving your plans, hoping that God will protect you.
Travel, dear sir. I have good memories of your stay and I hope that you do too.
I address a cordial handshake.
Widow of Leo Meartin at the house of Monsieur Gamard
in Franqueville, in Domart-in-Ponthieu, Somme.
Written just after the battle of the Somme ended on the
13th of November 1916.


French Letter - 28th December 1916 (page 1)
French Letter - 28th December 1916 (page 2)
French Letter - 28th December 1916 (page 3)
French Letter - 28th December 1916 (page 4)
28th of December 1916
Dear Robert and Alexander,
A little French so that you do not forget Amy Gamard. It is with very great pleasure that I take this pen to address you a few lines, which I know you will definitely enjoy. Already long days have passed since your departure, which was too sudden. We also regret the end of the good times passed in your cheerful company and you can believe that you have very good knowledge of the subject of our conversation.
We'll never forget your good heart and your kindness towards us, and the good memories will be unforgettable. Also, when you have a little free time, and would be nice enough to send a little note, we will be very happy to hear of your good news. For myself, I'd be happy to give you ours.
I hope you are having a good rest and are both healthy, and that at home all your family are also very well. Now, Mr. Alexander I wish to say that I was very excited to receive the nice card you have sent me during your leave. I thank you with all my heart and be sure that I keep it as a treasured keepsake. I was very happy to learn that you spent a good leave. It was certainly a bit short, but it's still nice to see your country and your family.
Before concluding, I will present to both of you my best wishes for the year that is about to begin: good health, good luck and return home soon, these are the wishes I have for you. To you, Mr. Robert, I hope that you are soon going on leave, and that you are soon appointed an officer. I think you can read my letter without too much difficulty. The letter I address my Mr. Alexander. But as I know you to be intimate friends, I hope you will kind enough to tell your dear friend.
Hoping to see you again and one day to stay with you, I finish by sending you my best wishes.
The end of this letter is hard to read as the writing has been damaged by being sellotaped over but it seems to say that Leo Meartin's widow sends her best wishes too.


French Letter - 19th February 1917 (page 1)
French Letter - 19th February 1917 (page 2)
Franqueville, 19th of February 1917
Dear Mr. Robert,
My great age permits me this name, does it not? I was touched by your good wishes on the occasion of Christmas, and also what do you think, during your short stay from Madame your wife [possibly mother - this translates as 'your Mrs'], who sent me a nice card of your beautiful country.
I also wish that your trusty friend be in good health and has all the virtues necessary to courageously withstand the battles of this cruel war. If you come near our location, I will be so happy to see you. Often thinking to you. In this hope, dear Mr. Robertson, I send my remembrances with my best wishes,
Leo Meartin's Widow


French Letter - 20th February 1917 (page 1)
French Letter - 20th February 1917 (page 2)
Franqueville, 20th of February 1917
Dear Friend,
I was very touched some days ago when I received the nice card that you sent me during your leave. I thank you with all my heart and want you to know that you are well remembered to me. I hope that you have always been well, also your friend Mr. Alexander who I do not forget.
I expect that your stay in the Trenches is finished and I think now you are at rest. I'm fine and all my family asks me to send you good wishes. In the hope that you will see us one day, I finish your friend. Sending you my best wishes, also to Mr Alexander.
Good luck and goodbye, victory and your return home.
A grateful friend
Amy Gamard



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Robert in late 1916 or early 1917
Robert in late 1916 or early 1917

In mid-November 1916 RS Robertson was in action at Beaumont-Hamel.
According to the 17th HLI Record of War Service 1914-1918 .....
"The attack which commenced at ten minutes past six on the morning on November 18th --- a day of ice-covered slushiness --- was held up owing to the insufficiency of the artillery barrage and the heavy enemy machine gun fire."
"On the 19th the Battalion was relieved and returned to Mailly-Maillet where billets were taken over...."
"During December the unit carried on training at Franqueville & Rubempré...."
"On Christmas Day, 1916, the officers beat the sergeants at Rugby by 11 points to 0; in the afternoon "B" Company beat Headquarters at Association by 4 goals to 0; and in the evening the Battalion held a cheery concert."
"The Christmas Dinners were reserved for the 30th, and on Hogmanay the New Year was welcomed with a concert."
So it appears that at the time these letters were written Robert was in Franqueville for further training.

Holly at Attingham Park
The "French Letters" have been translated
by Robert's great-grand-daughter, Holly.
Holly is currently working as a Collections Conservator at Attingham Park -- one of Shropshire's great country estates.
Read her 'blog' about Attingham Park in
the First World War ...