A soldier sorting mail Letters were very important to soldiers at war. It took a long time for them to arrive, sometimes months. They helped to cheer up the soldiers and reminded them of what was waiting for them at home.
World War Two soldier sorting letters at Cairo Base post office

The soldiers would write home to their families. At first their letters were quite brave and positive:
"Today you should have seen the look of determination on the faces of all ..."
But as the the fighting got worse, so did their letters:
"I am not going to tell you a lie and say I wasn't afraid, because I was ..."
Soldiers who were hurt badly and knew they were going to die would often write a final letter home, or get a nurse to write one for them. These letters were very sad.
"You must be prepared for the worst to happen any day. It is no use trying to hide these things. I am in terrible agony ..."

A coloured postcard

Messages were sometimes sent on postcards.

A coloured postcard A christmas card to send to a loved one
A coloured postcard to send home to Mum

As well as sending letters to the soldiers, families would also send comfort parcels. In these parcels they would put treats for the soldiers. Some of the things they would send included: tobacco, cakes, biscuits, condensed milk, newspapers, knitted socks, chewing gum, writing pads, handkerchiefs, soap, combs, sewing kits ...

Soldiers needed to send messages quickly to each other about the fighting. In the first World War they couldn't just pick up a phone! One way to send messages, was to use Morse Code. Ships could do this using lights.


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(Info) Januaryl, 2006