Monday, April 06, 2009

Leonard Charles Stewart

My grandfather was born in 1896. Somehow he survived both world wars. He was an ardent Christian: a draftsman by profession and — in light of the times in which he lived — a soldier by obligation.

This weekend, while tidying up some of Aunty's papers I ran across an article written by him as a sort of memoir of his to the Great War, as it was then called. I'd never before heard of such an article so was glad to read it.

That was easier said than done for the whole thing exists only as a carbon copy (if anyone here under thirty knows what a carbon copy is, please raise your hand! — though I dare say the youngest of you knows what a CC is!) that had worn over the years and was barely readable.

My grandfather had submitted this piece to the local county magazine for publication and this was the copy he had kept. I determined immediately to retype it so I could read it and share it with you.

Tonight I'll give his cover letter to the editor. His scriptural word-play and allusions were typical of the man:

67, Baring Road

Bournemouth, BH6 4 DT

28th, Jan. 82.

Dear Mr. Editor,

The attached is submitted in faith, hope and charity and a suggested title could be “A Hampshire Territorial goes to War”. Stamps are enclosed for the return of the photos.

Yours, with great expectations,

(L.C. Stewart)

The reply, on the editor's letterhead paper, was written a little while later. It only took me a sentence to catch the essence of his reply. One can only suppose that by this date this is not the first memoir to have come across his desk regarding life in the trenches. But, this is no ordinary man, this was my grandfather, ergo interesting:

1 comment:

  1. Well. It was their loss, to be sure! How dare they not publish Grandad's article..ha ha. I would be very interested in seeing the article and have a feeling that I might have, in the past sometime, read it - maybe I have a copy of the carbon copy!

    I enjoyed seeing the typing errors in the reply - it reminded me of those days before white-out or "cut and paste", a time when you had to put up with the errors that had been made.

    Thanks for posting this, Derrick!