Letters Home from
the Great War
to the Present Day
By Andrew Roberts
This volume is a compilation of soldier’s letters home taken from the archives of the Imperial War Museums. These letters run the gamut from the normal protests about the food, officers and conditions, to final letters from troops to their loved ones. Some of the letters try to explain to those on the home front what it was like in the trenches. These letters run from the morbid to the light-hearted to the down-right comical.
A number of the letters home, were letters of thanks for packages of food to supplement rations and additional clothing to fend off the cold weather. Much of the text is of a personnel nature, that is, how are the children getting along, are the parents okay, things which take the soldier’s mind off the day to day horrors of warfare.
Some of the more poignant letters are to the soldier’s children, especially when the soldier has had the premonition he is not going to survive the next day’s battle. Letters to spouses express concerns as to how they are getting along with food and other chores on the home front; this was an especial concern during the “Blitz” in World War II.
The book covers the wars of the 20th century, and into those of the 21st, including the re-taking of the Falkland Islands and the British participation in Iraq.
I recommend this book to any person, whether they be wargamer, modeler or historian. The insights presented here will allow that person to climb into the trenches with the Tommie’s and be part of the fighting in North Africa, experience the post war collapse of the British Empire and get a somewhat different perspective to the Wars in Iraq. Love Tommy puts a face on war by giving it a personal feel for those who fought for our freedom and for those receiving the letters at home.