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LETTER FROM PRIVATE J. E. ELSON OF TIVERTON - DECEMBER 1914

 

Private John Ernest Elson 

2nd Battalion, the Monmouthshire Regiment:

 

John Ernest Elson was born in 1890 so he was 24 when he wrote this message on the back of a heavily-censored postcard to his parents, Thomas and Emily Elson, who lived in Barrington Street, Tiverton. He was to die in action just days after it reached his home - killed 14 February 1915.

 

In civilian life, John Elson had been an assistant in a grocery business belonging to Hubert Thorne in Gold Street, Tiverton.

 

 

"We were only forty yards from the Germans, with whom we chatted, following a sort of unofficial truce. But talking is strictly forbidden with them now.You should have heard our fellows singing carols and hymns: it was grand. One of our men accompanied on a mouth organ. They call us "The Musical Mons" as we are nearly always singing songs or hymns when things are quiet.

 

I should like to have been home for Christmas but we will have a jolly time when I do come home; that will be after I have done my duty. I am glad to say I am keeping well. You should see us coming out of the trenches! We are in a plight sometimes!

 

I do not require anything in the clothing line, thank you, as we get a change every time we come out of the trenches. I should, however, like some candles, sugar and cocoa.".

 

 
 
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