Friday, 20 May 2016

The story behind the letter sent home in 1916

Now sometimes you come across a story which you know will fascinate people, partly because of the subject matter but also because of the way it came about.

Honour envelope from Herbert, May 1916
So here is one of those little detective stories which I like.

In the collection of my friend David Harrop is this “honour envelope” from the Great War.

Honour envelopes were so called because the sender agreed that what was inside was a purely personal message which did not require the censor to read it.

The family home, 2016
And just to make sure that this was clearly understood, to the left of the address under the heading Note was the clear injunction that “correspondence in this envelope need not be censored Regimentally.

The Contents are liable to examination at the Base.  The following Certificate must be signed by the writer:  I certify on my honour that the contents of this envelope refer to nothing but private and family matter.”

This one was sent to Mrs Magson on Lancaster Street, in Scarborough and given that David had a few days booked in this seaside town,

It was an opportunity not to be missed.

So on one of those hot sunny days we had last week he went off tracked the address and found the Roll of Honour listing her husband in the nearby church.

Mr and Mrs Magson had been married for 22 years when their son Herbert sent his letter in the May of 1916.

The Roll of Honour, 2016
Herbert's eldest brother Frederick was also in the army in the 2nd Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment which if I have got this right made him a regular.

The 2nd Battalion had returned from Guernsey in the August of 1914 and were deployed to Belgium in October.

Frederick was killed on July 8 1916 during the Battle of the Somme.  He was awarded the 1915 Star and the British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal.

His brother survived and died in Norfolk in 1963.

In the small bundle of "honour envelopes" sent to Mr Magson there are copies from both Hubert and Frederick.

Honour envelope from Frederick, December 24 1915 
And for those who want to talk to David about this historical adventure he will be on hand at his new exhibition commemorating the Battle of the Somme which will open in the Remembrance Lodge at Southern Cemetery in July.

David also has a number of facebook sites including  FRIENDS OF MANCHESTER POSTAL MUSEUM and it is from that site that he originally posted these pictures
Location; Scarborough

Pictures;  “Honour envelope” and pictures of Scarborough 2016, from the collection of David Harrop

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