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The longer the letter the better

Description of film

Henry explains how important letters were. The post is good on the whole. He explains that soldiers like descriptions of ordinary daily life. He also explains that long letters can also be used as toilet paper! He also points out that soldiers often get bad news. He then explains censorship and how some soldiers got round it. He also reminds us that letters at home were read and censored and there were penalties for breaking the rules.


This clip is one of fourteen clips in which actor John Gregor recreates a Great War soldier called Henry Fairhurst of the Barnsley Pals. Here he describes how important letters and other luxuries were.

Interesting or important points about the film

In all of these clips of Henry Fairhurst it is important to be aware that the actor is reconstructing a character from the past. He is using original source material and other research to create what he thinks is a plausible reconstruction of the thoughts and views of a private in the Barnsley Pals. When watching each clip it is important that viewers consider whether they feel the information given is accurate, but much more importantly whether they feel the tone and emphasis the actor gives to particular issues is in line with their own reading of the evidence from the time.

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Further information
Sub categoryThe Great War
FilmThe longer the letter the better
ProducerNational Archives
Year1917 / 2006
DateNot known