(Parts 1 and 2 of this series can be found here and here)

In the first two posts in this series, I outlined my plan to analyse the ‘performance’ of fatherhood and faith in the letters sent by my great grandfather to my grandfather during the First World War. In this post, I’ll reproduce the first in the series of eight letters in the collection, before going on to suggest some ways of approaching the task of analysis.

The envelope in which the first letter is enclosed is addressed as follows:

Pte A.E. Robb

32 S Batt. R.F.Regt

C. Company

Stanhope Lines

F Block

Corunna Barracks


Here are photos of the first, followed by the second and third pages of the letter:

Below I have transcribed the letter as faithfully as possible, reproducing the original spelling and punctuation:

50 Rosebery Avenue

Manor Park E (?)

Jany. 10 – 16

My Dear Arthur

I received your letter this morning at the Office. I have now sent it on to Carrie at the Hptl.

I hope that you are getting on well and endeavouring in every way to do your very best. You are now placed in a position that everything you are told to do must be done immediately without any excuse for not doing it so keep up your courage and at every difficulty that comes in the way keep smiling and at all risks persevere untill you conquer it Be active Be prompt Be careful Be willing Be diligent and then you will get on.

You ask me to send you 4/4 from the Hearts of Oak. Where is it? I have not received anything from them except a demand for 5/- to make up the arrears they ask for and I expect there will be a few more weeks on the card that I have sent to Mr. Rattray. I am sending you a P.O for 2/6 to help you over this week. I expect you will get your pay at the end of the week. Be very careful with it as it does not amount to much but you have not many expenses to meet so you must be very considerate. Dear Arthur I trust and pray earnestly for you that you will not forget the teachings of the Sunday School and the Scouts to Trust in God at all times and remember God for Jesus Christ’s sake. God loves you not for a day but eternally and in answer to your Prayer assist you to overcome all difficulties and Temptation Do not forget to Be constant in Prayer and Watchful against Temptation

God Bless You and make you a good Soldier of Jesus Christ so that it may Blend with your life as a Soldier for your King and Country Goodbye

Lovingly and Prayerfully


Dear Father

Charles E Robb

In the next post I will use this first letter as the starting-point for a discussion of how one might go about analysing this kind of text.