Letters to Loved Ones

During the First World War, letter writing was the main form of communication between loved ones, helping to ease the pain of separation. One of the poignant love stories featured in IWM Collections is that of John and Elizabeth Mudd.

  •  Jack Mudd
IWM HU 57198 Portrait photograph of John William Mudd

IWM HU 57198 Portrait photograph of John William Mudd

John, known as Jack, Mudd was born in London in 1886. Before the war he worked as a butter blender. Jack married Elizabeth Hart (Lizzie) in 1908, and the couple had three children – Mary (born in 1909), John (1911) and Ann (1913).

  • Jack’s love letter

During the war, Jack served as a Private in the London Regiment. In a letter that he wrote home on 22 October 1917, Jack expresses in simple but moving words his deep love for his wife and children, his anxiety over their safety as a result of the air raids on London and the spirit of comradeship that existed between him and his pals.

IWM HU 57199 Portrait photograph of John's wife, Lizzie

IWM HU 57199 Portrait photograph of John’s wife, Lizzie

“I love you more than ever … I often take your photo out of my pocket and look at your dear face and think of the times we have had together” Extract from Documents.1174

It is believed that this was Jack’s last letter home – he was reported missing just four days later during the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) and his body was never recovered.

Lizzie eventually remarried but for the rest of her life, she kept Jack’s last letter, papers and service medal close to her.

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