Pte. A.A. Smith
1st Essex Regt.
I expect we shall be settled here for a little time; so I shall be pleased to hear from you but do not send any parcels yet.
We had a good crossing & I expect we shall feel more settled when we get used to it again. Sleeping 14 in a tent so it is a bit of a squash but it helps to keep us warm.
Well there is very little news I can tell you.
Pleased to say I am quite well & hope you are all in the best of health.
With much love
Letter to Rev. R.M. Laporte Payne 2 March 1917
Embossed address and black edged.
North Finchley, N.
March 2nd 1917
Dear Mr Laporte Payne,
My husband thanks you for your kind letter, and we should be very grateful for you to remember our dear boy in your service on Sunday afternoon, his name **** Douglas French 2nd/Lieutenant 6th City of London Rifles, and he was killed in action on Sept 15th 1916 at High Road, Fleurs. His last message written in his diary on the night of the battle was as follows.
Sept 14th 1916.
“I am going into action tomorrow and in the event of not returning I would like all my family to know that I go as a soldier and with no sentiments except for breaking the bosche, therefore if they want to see me look at the beauties of England and weep not for me while she is free. I have no enemies and forgive and ask the same from any I do not know. If May Edna and Alistair carry on and help Father and Mother, God bless you all. B. Douglas French.
I should very much like to go to the service, but it will have to depend on the Drs if they will let me go out, as I have not been out yet. Mr F the Gr and the house hold will go.
May I ask if you ever have your memorial services printed, if so I would like to order some.
I had no idea you had a son out there, and please tell Mrs Payne how I feel for you both the anxiety is so great, I know what a mother’s heart feels, and I will daily pray that your sons will come safely back to their loving parents, and that you will have your **** for your measuring mark for the good of mankind. Your kindness and sympathy to us in our time of sorrow we will never forget, if your lips are silent our hearts are full and grateful.
Dolly H. French.