The severity of life as a soldier during the First World War was highlighted for me just now, when, in doing some research into the local history of a small village in Shropshire, I ran across the following entry. It seems that during that war, schoolchildren in the village would collect eggs to send to military hospitals for patients there; it helped to enliven their diets. They would write their names and addresses on the eggs in the hope of a reply. These are some of them. They testify to the impact that a simple egg gave to their lives; something that we today take completely for granted.
‘I happen to be boiling a few eggs for the patients so I thought I send you this pc. Many thanks for your kindness.’ E. Morgan, Private RMAC Orderly, Royal Herbert Hospital, Woolwich.
‘How I did enjoy my egg for breakfast this morning sunday with your address on. I thank you so much.’ Private A Trollope, Military Hospital, Hampstead.
‘Dear Friend, I must thank you very much for the eggs, they were very nice. This is a terrible war but hope it will soon be over and of course we shall be victorious. Yours, a Tommy’, L/Cpl H. E. Leake, sent from somewhere in France, on a postcard of a church. The name of the town was erased. Dated 8th August 1915.
The entry also relays that some of these messages led to ongoing correspondence with the men, sometimes even after they had returned to active service.
[P. M. Ray, Ashford Carbonel: A Peculiar Parish, (self published, 1998), p. 43.]