Aged 17, Rifleman Stephen Brown wrote his third letter home from the army in the autumn of 1914.
As October and November wore on, the mobilisation process was continuing, and teenage Stephen’s battalion, the 5th of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, was moved to Sheerness.
Soon afterwards, he was scheduled to join the regular battalions who had returned from India to Britain in order to then join the British Expeditionary Force in France. As he waited to find out more about when he would join the front, he wrote to his mother.
We’ve been blogging Stephen’s letters to his mother in sequence:
Transcript of Stephen’s third letter
Just a line hoping you are quite well as it leaves me I have not received your letter[.] Dear mother I have not sent the allowance because I thought I would get a pass but they stopped them because of the chaps stoping [sic] over thier [sic] time but I shall ask for one and if I get it I will come home if not I shall start making the allowance I can get out in town now and go about with Frank I am getting my photo taken and will send one or two home
I have picked up with a nice young Lady
I have picked up with a nice young Lady down here I will send her photo home when I get some more I hope you are quite well give my love to aunt Tot and kitty I hope all the Little ones are quite well give my love to all the children tell Freddy that he must grow up and be a soldier
I hope you will answer soon send some fags and will be much obliged I will be with Frank on Monday and will tell him that I had your Letter this is all this time I remain
Excuse the writing
Done on the quick
Dont forget to answer”
Piecing a narrative together
It would be wonderful to find out more about “Frank” – presumably a pal of Stephen’s – or even the name of the “young lady” he claims to have “taken up with”.
Each Wednesday we’ll be blogging Stephen’s sequence of letters home as part of our Letters of the First World War series.
Lives of the First World War is launching in a few weeks, and we hope to find out more about Stephen and many more like him through public contributions.
Were any of your family in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps?
Look out for Stephen’s next letter home, and the next part of his First World War story, next Wednesday.