Fred Firth's WWI letters

February 29th 1916

The following letter, written soon after Fred enlisted, is from "G.H." (George Herbert Wilson, who was in 1911 a weaver, of 1 Peel St, aged 35), his wife "MAW" (Mary Alice Wilson, in 1911 aged 30 and a shop assistant), and "Eli of fighting fame" (possibly their daughter Sarah Elizabeth, aged 8 in 1911). It would appear that Fred's younger brother Thomas had taken his place assisting their father in the plumbing and glazing business. The "Old man at the farm" is probably David Firth at Gatehead. The Norman mentioned as (Sunday) School Treasurer may be Fred's younger brother.

1 Peel St
Feb 29/16

The 1st Epistle To Joshua *2
1st verse

Dear Fred
Many thanks for your letter to hand.
We are all very pleased to hear you are alright & keeping your end up.
I have been up to your house to see [how] they were sailing & I found everything in apple pie order. Your Thomas seems to be driving the pen & your father is at his elbow, telling him about unions & all that sort of plumbing talk. So far as I can gather the Old man at the farm is A1, as his temperature was dead on normal this morning, if he shows any sign [End of first page]
of scarlet fever or typhoid I shall wire for you at once.
The hens are frozen up with the storm & as soon as it breaks we shall be mooed aat wi eggs.
I met Amy up Warehouse Hill this morning & by the way she spoke I think you must have been telling her something.

Anyway I mean to get it out of her when I meet her again. Your Mary came down on Saty. evening & we put a record score on, 1518 at one call. Little Sam came in last night & we had a short round, & they kept wishing you were here.
I think the Kaiser has got to [End of second page]
know of your action as he seems to be putting speed on, so that he may get it over before you get on the scene. Give him a Jack o Marker's if you come across him! There's soon be a lot more cuckoos down at Clipstone as I hear they are migrating. But I shall have to close Fred, as G.H. & his Mrs are booah wanting to have a word i't epistle to Reckabites at Likes Sherry.

[Eli of fighting fame.
with love]*3

The 2nd Epistle to Joshua Dear Fred
I just thought I would have a word with [you] before tea, they are papering the Old School windows up
[End of third page]

for Sat, [tis &] my word if you had been at our house the other nights and seen Mary Alice face went they put that big score against us, you would have thought that the cat was lost. I have got Norman to be School Tresurer and I think he will do his work very well. 

Some week end we are going to have a Concert at our house
Norman is practicing on the Clarinettee till he is black in the face. Mary Alice is getting a Solo for the occasion how beautiful are her feet. He ha could laugh but tha knaws ha darnt. Im conducting and when they goa wrang ha tell Norman to boil it then he will have a better tone and Mary alice to drink some leather watter then who wint be rusty and who looks a black as thunder
[End of fourth page – no signatory but probably by "G.H."]

The 3rd Epistle
to Dear old Fred 
Dear Fred
I must have my turn now, you cant scarcely imagine what a pleasure it was to have your nice letter. I don't think there is much I can tell you about the Chapel only you was very much missed on Sunday in fact you are missed every day at our house, I have not seen Annie or H.E. this week yet, I went to School on Sunday afternoon, Charlie was there, but H.E. was not perhaps they have had a little Tiff, but you know Fred they will love one another all the more for it when they make it up again, after School Annie wanted to go for a walk it was very nasty & sloppy but she said H.E. had made a cake for her brother James & would
[End of fifth page]

I go up with her for it, we went up when we got to H.E. she had gone to Chapel, & we must have missed her however the cake was not mentioned & I think she may have sent it to Charlie to get round him again, I shall be able to tell you more news next week after the Sale of Work Mr Evans gave it out on Sunday that Mrs C.H. Fisher was going to open it on Saturday. Annie is coming round again I think she will keep popping up to see your Uncle now you are not here to look after him, Oh by the way, Mr J.W. Dyson called in last night, & he said we must tell you not to come back again unless you had got the V.C. but you know Fred we shall be very glad to see you anytime with or without V.C. We have had a P.C. from Frank, he is at Osterley Park
[End of sixth page]

& he says he is liking very well but it is very dirty about 6 inches in mud & he is learning Moter Driving*4 I hope you have come across Joe Garside before now Fred because you will feel much better with some one you are quite used to. Frank Sykes was sick on Sunday so Guthrie was at the Organ Mr Evans said he had four letters from the boys last week one from H. Cotton, H. Hewett A. Walton & E. Cawthorne, I went & sat with the children they were fairly good Annie B. was there & Lillian Dransfield Sunday turned out very nasty we went to Mr Harpers to tea, I let you mother see you letter on Monday morning. Mary & Mrs Dyson greenboarded us on Sat night I do wish you could just look in every night as you used to, I must stop now it is 7 oclock. G.H. said I must tell you the concert was postponed till you come home. write again soon Fred