This is one of many letters sent by staff of the Great Western Railway Audit office at Paddington who had enlisted to fight in the First World War. Frank Thayer Turner sent a photograph of his hut ‘L20’ along with his letter. Frank survived the First World War and returned to his job at the GWR Audit office.
RAIL 253/516, letter from First World War soldier, one of many letters sent by staff of the Great Western Railway (GWR) Audit office at Paddington who had enlisted to fight in the First World War.
Dear Jim (Mr Porter)
Just a few lines to let you know things are going. Am having a fairly good time nothing at all to grumble about. I don’t think I shall be going to France for a few months yet. I met one of the chaps from the tickets department last week he is in the R.F.C. down here. Some of us were feet under canvas for a fortnight but owing to the wind and rain we were moved back to the huts. When we were under canvas, we used not get up till 8 o’clock, we were supposed to go on parade at 6.15am, but we dodged that. I enclose photo (not dressed for the occasion) outside our hut L20 or Hell 20 as it has been called. I am looking forward to seeing some of the office chaps when I am able to get leave. I hope your brother is getting on alright in France. Hoping you are ‘in the pink’ like myself,
Yours very sincerely
Please write as soon as poss.« Return to Letters of Lockdown
Ideas for your letter
This letter is one of hope and positivity. Frank is experiencing a challenging time in his life, when his circumstances could quickly change and he could be sent to the Front to fight in the war. Yet he sounds hopeful and says he has ‘nothing to grumble about’. When and why did you feel hopeful during Lockdown? Or did you focus on things you were looking forward to doing once Lockdown eased? Did you see others being hopeful or positive during this time? What would you write in your letter of hope to someone about your time during Lockdown?
What does this letter tell us?
What is this letter about? Read through the letter; what is Frank doing and why does he sound quite hopeful and positive?
In this letter, Frank is writing to his friend Jim. In spite of the fact that he is training to go to the Front, he talks about things not being too bad and having a ‘fairly good time’. He seems hopeful that he won’t have to go the Front for a few months yet and is looking forward to seeing some of his friends when he is briefly given leave to go home. He asks Jim to write back to him soon, and the reader can sense his hope that he will hear from his friend. The letter shows the importance of friendship especially at this time.