Tuesday 18th September, 1962

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Thank you for such a long and interesting letter received this morning – what a budget to answer. Sorry to hear that June is still suffering pain with the leg in spite of the injections but it is noted she does not now need to wear a special stocking. A great pity the pain cannot be reduced – or should there be some improvement in due time?

Also noted the alteration in the position at 155 High

Street. Is it the case now that the business has been sold but not the property? The delay however does give a little more breathing space regarding the repairs to the house in Eccleston Road. Things moving in that direction apparently to install electric lighting and for necessary repairs to be affected. Like everything else it costs money and charges rise almost daily.

Your proposed date of our visit quite satisfactory so far as we are concerned but we should travel on Friday the 19th October for reason which will be given later in this bulletin. Perhaps if alright with you we could return on the Tuesday which would give us the equivalent time with you. This is a matter for you and we will fall into line with your wishes. Thanks for telling Geoff and it is quite a nice idea – if not too much for June – to ask them over instead of us going over there.

On Wednesday the 12 inst Mum and I decided to get out immediately after lunch and go for a trip in car – anywhere. It had rained during morning but was clearing up at dinner time. We found ourselves at Burnham but a gale force wind was blowing in from the sea and sand was blown into people’s faces and mouths. We soon got out of that by walking along the road on which the shops are – it was closing day so back to car and home.

On the Thursday at about 6:15 Mrs Marshall came round to say that Mr Bissix, organist and choir master, had collapsed in his home and doctor had ordered him to hospital the next day and would I take the practice that night. Nothing whatsoever had been prepared and I had to start from scratch. However we got over it alright and by Sunday a relief organist had been secured. This means that I shall be taking the practice every Thursday until further notice and as the relief organist is a very nervous individual can expect some fun. The irony of it is that we have had no practices for six weeks and an anthem has to be ready for Sunday the 30th inst. This is reason I suggested coming to you on the Friday instead of the Thursday in order to get practices in before leaving here, Bissix is in Southmead Hospital with a bleeding ulcer and within twenty four hours of his admittance had been given four pints of blood. So far they have not traced the leakage and until they do do cannot treat him properly.

One of the choir girls was married on a Saturday last and choir and bell-ringers turned out for the occasion, the choir afterwards going on to the reception in the New Hall. This was a very good do about 120 being present. Valerie Bush – Tennyson Avenue – was also married in the Old Church last Saturday but I doubt if you remember her – was only about a year old when you went to London.

Talking about elderberries – yesterday (Monday) I went down to light a bonfire and looking down the fields saw the elderberry bushes loaded with ripe berries so went down and gathered 4lbs and have started the treatment for elderberry brandy. Pity you could not secure the berries Peter showed you but you have enough on your plate without adding unnecessary jobs at present.

Last evening Stevens – with whom I used to travel to Bristol when he was in the timber trade – called round for an hour. He is now a secretary to a firm at Hereford but spending a few days at Clevedon. Whilst here Mr and Mrs Hewitt arrived unannounced so we had a full and talkative house for an hour or so. The two latter very interested in your new job and asked if any further news but we had not then had your letter which arrived this morning. The Astons have gone Manchester way to see some relatives for a week.

Yes I like Crane’s arrangement for his pond but ours is much bigger and calls for something different in design of surround. Incidentally although I know we have had no rain of importance for a week or upon the level has fallen about 1½ in. since I disconnected from garage roof. Have made no further progress with pond this week but have been concentrating on potato digging whilst soil is dry. Have an excellent crop of Majestic late potatoes and fortunately very few are diseased. The weeds are a problem again having covered the whole of the garden. I think I mentioned last week I had not felt like much work in the garden and it is a fact if you leave off for a time the garden gets out of hand very quickly. However both Mum and I are feeling better now and are giving a lot of time to the garden.

Thank you very much Alec for such a comprehensive report on the set-up of the E.R. Most interesting. Thanks also for magazine which I have just glanced through and shall read in detail later tonight. The Mag seems a much improved edition than the W.R. Mag. Certainly the paper is of a much better kind. From what I can surmise it seems the E.R. is much bigger than the W.R., by the mere fact of having Line Managers who themselves are in charge of Divisions and the latter presumably in charge of Districts. Would you say that the office you are in is the equivalent of the old Superintendent of the Line’s office on the W.R.? Glad they made you welcome. I guessed someone would take you out to lunch on the first day. A nice trip to Retford too. What a lovely opportunity to see a different part of the country – some of it quite nice.

Noted you will share an office with someone who is on the same basis as yourself. Is it a nice office? Hammond of course I knew in chief controllers days when he was an assistant engineer to Alexander. It is a small world.

So Geoff had not heard until you told him. What was his immediate reaction? Noted you have not contacted Doug Matthews. If he is at King’s Cross you are not likely to unless by accident. He seems to be sticking to the E.R. It is early days of course but from all you have told us I’m rather impressed with this setup and equipment. I also feel like if you can get settled in with them and produce the goods – as it were – that there are more opportunities available than on the W.R. where the difference between Operating and Commercial is still very strong especially when vacancies have to be filled. Your comments on this are awaited. Anyhow you already know you have our very best wishes for success in a strange land.

Noted you have been pressing Carol into carrying clippings to the waste ground – I’m sure she liked that. Sorry Susan missed her party but she must learn to do as she is told. The Wonderland book was for both of them. It is a book which caters for children of all ages – sorry you had to sort things out.

How about Susan’s sight? She seems to be always looking at things very close. Does the clinic examine eyes? Where is the recreation ground? Not the park surely. How did you get on at the harvest festival? Will leave mum to tell you about the cacti. I do not mess about with these. I managed to cut all lawns last Friday – grass had got out of hand a bit but that’s another job I’ve caught up on.

We are very sorry to hear about Christine. Homework is a strain on the kiddies – I never liked it myself – but nowadays it is most necessary if children are going to stand any chance of competing with others. You had a lot from the Weston Grammar School and I expect June had her share too. Both Rebecca and Sarah have a lot to do now. Not much of a reflection on Christine’s school before she went to Pinner.

Have your new neighbours moved in for good yet?

So Susan is doing a sort of arithmetic then – good. Expect she will be very good at it as she seems to be so keen to learn. Any more driving lessons June? Our neighbour Bushell is taking quite a lot of outings in his car, accompanied of course, ready for his test in October.

We have written to Tiverton and told them we shall be down on Friday the 12th of October. Shall probably be back again sometime on the following Monday or Tuesday. Hope there will be no flooding in the Exe Valley as was the case on a former occasion. Mr Palmer is on holiday at Hastings at the moment and strange to say our vicar was also at Hastings same time (unknown to each other) and they met in the church they both attended on the Sunday morning. No news from the Heels on holiday at Rugby yet.

This time last year Aston and I had been out gathering blackberries but so far there are not all that number available. Must try and make a trip along the seawall next week, weather permitting. Cornish still meandering about. Came over here yesterday but I was too busy to talk to him. Meanwhile Mrs Cornish is busy decorating the front bedroom.

Glad your tomatoes turning in all right now. No, I do not think you will find a lot of difference in the various sorts maybe the skins of some are tougher than others. Even with indoor fruit very little difference can be detected. Miss Caple just called with a cake for a weight guessing competition – another tenner gone.

Well I think this is about all – cannot make as much news as you can these days.

All our love to you both and lots of kisses for our two dear little girls. Mum and Dad. 


Tuesday 11th September, 1962

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Many thanks once again for your interesting letter received this morning together with drawings from Susan and query Carol. It is a very bad morning – rain and a very close atmosphere and although it is only 11 am I am starting to reply. Have been up the Library but can do nothing outdoors. Yesterday morning was the same but it cleared up in the afternoon and I was able to help Mr Bushell erect a fowlshouse he has bought second-hand. Earlier he had had another go at car to stop a vibrating noise in the silencer system – a leftover from his previous attention to same. Now quite alright.

We are very pleased June to hear there is an improvement to your leg following the injections but it is noted the latter will have to be possibly repeated in two years. If however you get some easement by this treatment then it will be worthwhile having this bi-yearly attention. We do hope you will have no further trouble with the leg now.

Thanks Alec for the up-to-date information on the move to the E.R. and state of the office you have left. Seems as if McDonald is drawing his money the easy way by leaving the work to other people. This unfortunately is typical of many highly paid officials when they can put the work out. Never mind it will be interesting to have his comments when he returns from leave.

Yes I was a bit out in the London terminal quiz. Where do the G.C. trains start from in London? The question now arises who is Jagger and Russell – is latter a relative of Russell who was once assistant goods manager at Bristol? If your proper designation is Senior Work Study Assistant than presumably the assistant already with Russell does not rank so high. It does seem as if the Western Region Staff have infiltrated quite well into the E.R. and I think there are very good prospects there. Anyhow it is no good speculating and we must wait for your report following your actual arrival at Liverpool Street and how you find things. You know you have our very best wishes on the new work and I’m sure you will be able to put them up to a thing or two in due course. Salary really good too – better than when I finished at Temple Meads. Actually if I remember rightly you had not quite reached the maximum of the job at Paddington so it should be a worthwhile lift to start with.

Note Douglas Matthews still with E.R. and continuing to reside at Ruislip. It is pretty certain you will run into him now so please give him my kind regards.

Thanks, in anticipation, of the magazines. I shall be most interested to learn a bit about the E.R. In the past it is a section of line I’ve never bothered about. In my old invoicing days it was G.E. via Acton and Hackney Wick or G.N. via Acton and King’s Cross. Noted you met Haynes and Scragg in the old days. I can faintly remember Alec Eagle and another S.R. man named English – one of Godfrey’s friends.

Your report of 17 Eccleston Road shows that it is in a shocking condition and it is obvious with the best intentions in the world the various members of the family cannot do what is necessary in the time limit of three weeks. It is a major job and professional workmen are needed to do the place right through. This means money I know and it must be a tremendous worry to you to know what to do for the best. Unfortunately applications for grants seem to take a long time to get past the authorities and then you are the builders’ and decorators’ hands as to when they can start. Meanwhile Mr and Mrs Baker want to move in in three weeks so immediate attention is necessary for at least a couple of rooms to enable them to feel a bit comfortable. As we have said before we are very sorry it is necessary for them to have to make a change like this at their age. We can only hope that when they are there they will feel better for the rest they get by not having to attend the shop.

Perhaps in view of all the circumstances it would be better if we postpone our visit – you will both want to do all you can in your spare time to improve number 17 in the shortest possible time.

Actually we had a letter from Tiverton this morning – same post as your letter – and they are asking us to go down on Friday October 12th for the weekend at Tiverton and Exmouth so by a pre-arrangement with you this would mean coming to Ruislip the previous weekend which does not give you much opportunity to straighten out things at Eccleston Road. We will leave the decision to you but to do not hesitate to postpone the visit if by our coming up it would complicate matters for you.

Yes Geoff was not due back at office until yesterday and I expect by this time he has been in touch with you. I know he is hoping to get another move shortly but at this precise moment I have an idea you have caught up with him. Nice of Bob Hill to wish you well – expect he reminded you it was his original suggestion that took you to London twenty years ago. Very nice of the staff to present you with a leather despatch case and June a box of chocolates. They had to think and act quickly to do that as it was less than a week after your notification of appointment. Noted you took them out to the Mitre – place I do not know. A leather dispatch case will be most useful to you now especially with travelling in the offing.

So your neighbour did not think much of the bungalow then. The only real objection I had to it was its position in relation to other premises – some of them seemed so near and you could almost see what the neighbours were having for breakfast. The site on Worlebury Common and the view of Sand Bay must be ideal on a fine sunny day. £5400 however is a lot of money for a residence and will take some pegging back. A good premium bond would help or a Lucky Strike on the Pools.

In addition to Bill Aston and Roy Hewitt Mrs Marshall asks us to send her very best wishes for your new post.

Regarding  Norman Allen’s T.S.S.A. effort I should think the Union has been given some inside information regarding redundancy and being told to pipe down for a while. It is certain that position at Bristol is critical and I should say at Cardiff also where the District and Divisional offices have to amalgamate. Wonder if there is any comparable position on the E.R. or is their organisation different?

Thanks for measurements of the tank. I must put the rule around the boot of car but speaking off hand I should think it would just about fit.

Don’t worry about visiting Tottenham Court Road Alec I will manage with what is on hand for the present which reminds me this time last year I had a nice lot of blackberries and a lot of loganberries soaking for wine but so far the weather has not been at all suitable for gathering.

It is now 12:30 p.m. and raining as hard as ever. Had one interruption – Mrs Clark over for tomatoes. Mum and I called in at Alf Crane’s place at East Clevedon last Friday to order some gravel and cement and he himself happened to be there attending to his own pond. Not nearly as big as ours but lovely with a fountain throwing up a jet of water and a miniature waterfall over a rockery. Altered my ideas of designing our pond but although his pond is entirely surrounded by a rockery I think on reflection such an arrangement would spoil ours. This does not mean I will not make a rock garden around pond but having regard to its size I think the flat surround will show up the water better. Anyhow it was a very interesting call on Crane for he showed us round the garden and lawns – latter not a weed in them.

Mr Heel and Mrs Heel are off tomorrow for three or four weeks’ holiday in the Rugby area. Mum and I have both been off colour for a week or more so not a lot of gardening done although mum has been doing a bit in the front where she has planted out some of the wallflowers. I have finally cleared up the raspberry canes and put the rose right for another season. There is still a lot to be done including hedge cutting. Yesterday morning between showers I cut off about a foot in width of the hedge on the path side of the pond preparatory to having a narrow path alongside as far as the pond but the rain since has put paid to any outdoor work for the remainder of the week. All water containers are full and overflowing – what a contrast to a few weeks ago.

We were in Sealeys in Hill Road the other day and I spotted a Wonderland on the stall so got hold of it for the girls and I am enclosing the same herewith. Have often looked for a copy but without success before.

The letter from Tiverton said that the business in Bampton Street had been sold but Joe did not know who had bought it. I think the disposal of the business was inevitable as George’s son is not capable of managing it. Understand he will remain with the business but how long he lasts is anybody’s guess. Joe did not know it was up for sale but in any case would not I think have made a bid for it. After all he is now over sixty and must be thinking in terms of retirement. Also heard that John (Chevithorne) has joined the golf club.

The Richings (Weston-super-Mare) started their holiday yesterday. Apparently after the wedding they can only manage day trips this year but they promised to get in touch with us for a run round one day. So far nothing doing but what can one expect this weather.

Since last writing have managed to pick enough runner beans for two meals but it is a sorry state of affairs to be short of this vegetable so early in the season. The rain has come too late for them to recover.

I do not think Norman and Marion had any particular wish boy or girl but I’m afraid Marion has her hands full now as the boy is not so very old yet.

Looks as if I’ve reached the bottom of the page again so muchst close with all my love to you both and lots of kisses for two little girls. Shall be looking forward to the next letter with more news on the new job and perhaps that information of number 17 Eccleston Road. We do hope that in spite of the upset Mr and Mrs Baker are keeping well. 

Wednesday 29th August, 1962

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Once again many thanks for your long and interesting letter received this morning. Glad you all enjoyed yourselves – we did as mentioned in last week’s letter and were sorry it was over so quickly. On the whole I do not think you would have improved on the weather the following week but I must mention today. It has been I think the hottest of the year and it has been unbearable in the garden. When I looked out of the window at 6:30 am I thought the glass was steaming and I tried to clean it off but it was in fact a very thick fog and I could not see the garden. It cleared about 7:30 a.m. and sun came out very strongly with the resultant brilliant day.

Yes last Saturday was also good somewhat similar to the previous one when you went to Weston but Sunday was a shocker. Strong wind most of the day and in the late afternoon terrific storms broke out and baths, tanks, and pond overflowing.

Glad to hear your pictures turned out satisfactory with the one exception – mum is disappointed about that one. Must look forward to seeing the collection when we come up.

Pleased you were able to supply Delphine and Roy with the duplicate cactus – it all helps to build up various collections. Hope you save the buddleias after going to such trouble. I’m afraid I should not have put them in the same day as the journey was made – should have been too tired. The one in the Lewis’s bag was the one you were anxious to save.

Yes June gave us a brief report on your journey home; where did you go wrong at Keynsham? Did you go past the church and turn right? Or did you turn right after arriving at junction at Keynsham and then proceed through Saltford? If you took wrong turn after passing Keynsham church then you must have entered Bath by what we call the top road and this would not be so bad as the lower road. Naturally we thought of you all on the journey and pictured you arriving at or passing through specific points. Bath of course was not one of them. 2½ hours to Marlborough was very good going with such a load. You did well to take things slowly especially at turnings and roundabouts irrespective of what was following. Noted you found yourselves running via Burnham Beeches – not mistaken for Burnham-on-Sea by any chance? 5 hours actual running time under the circumstances was really good travelling and how nice to know the girls stood up to it without being upset. This is excellent news and you will have more confidence for future long runs. They seem to have grown out of their car sickness bouts.

I take it the paintwork can be touched up on roof of car and that there was not a puncture to let in rain. Sorry to hear about June’s case if I remember she was a bit anxious about it before leaving here.

Noted all eatables except shallots duly dealt with. The shallots will be better after they have been pickled for a few months.

Very glad you have been able to get a couple of new tyres. They were badly needed and should help considerably on treacherous roads. I will pass on your thanks to Mr Bushell when I see him. He is on late turn at present and has a couple of 12-hour spells to do before the weekend. He had a very bad accident to deal with at work on Monday this week. A man got his leg caught in a conveyor belt and it took an hour and a half to release him when they discovered he had broken leg in three or four places. The kneecap has snapped off completely. The tragedy is that the conveyor belt should not have been working at that particular time but that has nothing to do with Bushell. All this information is private of course. Bushell says there will be an enquiry and awful row about it.

So your lawn needed a trim. I did not cut ours again until Monday this week and this morning I put on a good dose of lawn sand to kill clover and plantains. The sun has since done its work and already large brown patches are appearing. Pleased to hear about your tomatoes and hope you will soon be able to enjoy your own pickings. Ours have turned in very rapidly this week and in twodays I sold 17lbs and had about 7lbs still on hand after using some ourselves. Since starting this letter Mr Aston has run over for 1lb. Does Carol like tomatoes?

Noted your new neighbours not yet in residence. You will have something to tell Mr and Mrs Gray when they return regarding the bungalow at Worlebury* and I expect they will be very interested.

As mentioned above all water storage appliances are now full including the pond. There are just over 6″ of depth in the shallow portion and from the surface level of water to the bottom of the deep it is 2 ft 1 in. I’ve taken out all the rockery stones around the edge and now making wooden template for raising the concrete level to its new height i.e. level with the path. This is only preliminary work and makes a change from the more serious gardening activities.

Re: new lock on kitchen door, I had no trouble with the new alignment for keyhole – the drill soon dealt with that. Quite a nice job now until we introduce the rain drop glass doors for all the inside doors. Haha.

Note Susan has been using trowel etc. and doing quite a lot of repotting. Did Carol like her own choice of toy? What rascals to run off to the shops on their own and with some money too. What will they get up to next?

How about the driving lessons June? Any more practice? very sorry to hear it is necessary to take further advice re: leg and hope it will not mean an operation. On the other hand if an operation is the only answer and a good job can be made on it then perhaps it would be as well to face it and get it over. You will let us know what is advised in due course please.

Surprise news about your dad putting 155 High Street into the agent’s hands. Both your father and mother must be very weary of the business and I’m sure they would be glad to get out but the question is where? We hope a satisfactory solution will be found before long and give them at least ease of mind.

We have not been out of Clevedon since you went home but have had car out for two or three trips to library and Hill Road. We had a letter from Michael Richings last week and we noticed there is an account of the wedding in last week’s Mercury enclosed to you with this letter. Mum will deal with the card question for Susan and Carol in her epistle. At this precise moment she is delivering the September magazines.

Mum has written Tiverton and told them we would be pleased to visit down for a weekend at Exmouth either the first or second weekend in October but no reply so far. Expect their trouble is not knowing for certain when bungalow will be free.

Geoff and family in Spain now and just about half way through their fortnight stay. In view of recent hotel fires there I suggested in my last letter to them they should take an extinguisher for emergencies.

No luck on football but I see a pensioner living in Bristol won £62,000 last Saturday.

Have told Don his three-year-old cider should only be taken in wineglassfulls because it is so potent. I’ve not touched it since you went back. Not my cup of tea exactly.

So far as gardening is concerned as stated in last letter I’ve started to clean it up from the bottom end. To date have only managed to reach the strawberry bed where I’ve been busy most of today. It is in a filthy mess and I have had to take out hundreds of unwanted runners. In the midst of it Heel calls from over the fence “Do you want any strawberry runners as I have some to spare?” Incidentally he is working like a navvy again and is not careful will be ill in bed before he knows anything about it. They are going to Rugby on the 12th September for a prolonged stay and is getting rid of all his poultry in the meantime. So he will start up again when he returns. Cornish has been over once or twice seems very interested in the waterfall arrangement. Mr Palmer looked in yesterday and said he was sorry to miss you that particular week was under the weather again and did not get out much. Now booked up for a holiday at Hastings commencing on the 8th prox. He looks a bit wizened and does not move about as quickly as he did. I think he stopped with his firm much too long where he could not ease up at all. The man who succeeded him as foreman has since packed in the job has been too much for him.

How are the girls getting on since they arrived back at 84? We think of them quite a lot and picture them running about this place. At the moment Susan is still away from school and they can play together but Carol will soon be on her own again now and no Michael to play with. A few months and she too will be away to school.

Well I think this is just about the lot for another week. Apparently you heard no more of your application for job at B.T.C. Anything else about?

All our love to you both and lots of kisses for Susan and Carol. Mum and Dad. 

*Interestingly this bungalow seems to have shifted position a bit, although the expressions ‘Sand Bay’ and ‘Worlebury’ are pretty imprecise. A slight whiff of snobbism here, perhaps?

Wednesday 22nd August, 1962

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec, June, Susan and Carol,

Thank you very much for your letter of the 20th inst. [missing from archive] – no need to say how glad we were to hear you had reached home safely with such a heavy load on top of car. Pity about the traffic jam but I should have thought you would have been a bit early for anything like that. Strange you should have ‘lost’ yourselves near Slough. We entered Slough and turned off left at some Traffic Lights which gave us entry into a road labelled “Stoke Poges Road” and it proved a short cut really to Ruislip. Glad you all enjoyed yourselves when with us. We ourselves had a lovely time with you all and the time went all too quickly but all good things must come to an end. Now we can look forward a couple of months to our visit to you.

We have some heavy storms here this week but also long sunny periods and both yesterday and today were very much different to the corresponding days last week.

Noted Christine duly received her birthday present as per note left in door. Expect you have since seen your new neighbours and handed over the photographs. I put the new lock on kitchen door on Monday afternoon – good job I did not tackle it whilst you were here for it took me the whole of the afternoon, The main trouble was getting the old catch off the side fixture, It had originally been put on before the top strip had been fixed and I had to use cold chisel to cut through the screws. Anyhow it is alright now and works and looks much better than the old lock and the colour of the handles matches the colour of the paint on the Hall side of door, Thank you both very much for it.

Have since ascertained that the St. Nicholas Church on the hill at Uphill is the one in which I was christened*. The tower and bells are sound but there is no roof on the church hence its closure for general use apart from one service a year ? Harvest.

A little more water has gone into the pond and I shall maintain the arrangement in order to ascertain that the pond is waterproof right to the top. Have now started to clean up the garden starting from the bottom end where I have taken out all the old logan­bergy canes and tied in the new growth ready for next year’s crop. Have at last put in another upright and wired up the three posts for the boysenberry which has been lying on the ground ever since we bought it. Next job to clean up between the ourrant bushes but this afternoon after some rain this morning I have cut the front-side of hedge alongside Heels fence – this took an hour and a half without any break and as I cut the last few clippings Cornish arrived to see what I was doing, Told him that, as usual, he had come when the work was completed.

Needless to say Mum has been busy this week but she will tell you all about it herself. How are Susan and Carol ? and did they stand up to the return journey as they did coming down? Has Daddy found a small plot where Susan can use trowel and fork? or have these articles been confiscated? Inspite of the weather I’m sure they both had a jolly good time, what with donkey rides, Mobo Toys, Model Train, the Swings and the Fair they have a lot to talk about and to remember.

It was very quiet here after you had gone on Sunday but in the evening we both went over to Church. Am afraid I do not like work vary much after practically a fortnight off, There is plenty of work waiting though and this is the time of year to get on with it so must make an effort. Did you put in the buddleias and did the move upset them much? This morning I potted up some Cinerarias that Bill Hawkins brought round yesterday and repotted the Primulas from 3″ pots to 5″ pots, Also sowed another box of Parsley seed – this should be ready, by the time vie come up, for planting out.

No more this time. All our love to you both and lots of kisses for the girls.

Mum and Dad

*Leonard always claimed this, but since the church was closed for regular worship fifty years before he was born this seems unlikely; he was probably baptised at the new St Nicholas Church instead.

Sunday 27th May, 1917

Walked to Ettinghem [Etinehem] about five miles away and had photo taken*. The German prisoner who got away on May 23rd was shot dead in trying to get out again.

*If this photograph has survived, it is not in my possession. The only known pictures of Leonard from this period of his life were taken before he set off in January 1917.

The following additional information is from Martin Farebrother:

Etinehem on north bank of Somme just west of Bray.