WWI 100th Anniversary: letter to an Uncle

Letter to Uncle Joe

Joe Weston

Western Front




Dear Uncle Joe

It was with great sadness that I heard about your death in France by a sniper’s bullet. You left some treasured memories and you were too young to have died under such terrible circumstances.

The whole family was devastated with grief at your passing, and they organised a wonderfully fitting memorial to remember and celebrate your life. Your fiancee Mary was beside herself with grief, but managed to maintain a brave face when in your dear mother’s company.

We have gradually learned about the horrors you and your comrades suffered in that terrible conflict. It can only be imagined the effect of the mud, filth and rats which was part of life in the trenches. The continual shelling and machine gun fire when you went over the top is too dreadful to contemplate.

Young Jim Carter, who was part of your company at the time of your death, came to see us. He wept as he told your family about your bravery and willingness to help your comrades, particulary those younger soldiers who joined up seeking adventure but instead found themselves subject to unspeakable horrors.

Tragically young Jim was killed at Passchendael.

We used to regard as just statistics the reports of the huge numbers of deaths and casualties issued by the War Office. We recognise now that each statistic represented terrible sorrow for the families of those young men sacrificed in what I believe now was a useless slaughter.

The so-called statesmen on all sides who blundered into this catastrophic war have a lot to answer for.

We will all continue to remember you with love and affection. If nothing else, your death served to remind future generations that war must be resisted by all sane people. Although the lust for profits from oil, and other valuable resources seems to fuel conflict which has made a lie of the claim that yours was the war to end all wars.

Well, there is little more I can say right now. I’ll probably think of a lot more to say as the years pass.

Rest easy Uncle Joe.

All my love

Your nephew Tony


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