A later letter
Having used my great grandfather’s first letter to his soldier son as the basis for the first few posts in this series, I want to move on to discuss a later letter in the series, and the way it both reinforces features I’ve already highlighted, and at the same time raises some quite different issues.
The letter I’ve chosen as a focus is the fifth in the sequence of eight letters from Charles Edward Robb to Arthur Ernest Robb. It was sent on 6th February 1916 from the same address as before (50 Rosebery Avenue) to the same destination (Corunna Barracks, Aldershot). I’ll discuss the letter in detail in the next post, and I’ll use the remaining space in this post to reproduce the letter itself. Once again, I’ve tried to be faithful to the original spelling, punctuation and formatting:
My Dear Arthur
I received your letter yesterday acknowledging the Undershirt but was rather surprised to hear that you were not coming for the week end. I do not know under what rule or regulation the passes are given in your section but I do hear that in most sections they are allowed by the Officer in Charge to a certain number of the best behaved and most attentive to duty during the week
If this is the case in your section it does not appear to be altogether as it should be with you otherwise I am sure that you would have been able to obtain leave by this time.
I have been making enquiries from two or three who are able to inform me about the Fusiliers and they have made me almost to wish that you had not joined in that Regt.
Dear Arthur do take some advice from me, before you left home I begged of you not to associate yourself with bad companions Remember you are an abstainer from all alcoholic drinks. Stick to the Temperance whatever it may cost you, likewise avoid in every way card playing or gambling betting and every means of dishonesty. I have not the least doubt that you will often find it rather difficult to avoid some or all of these Temptations. If the comrades with whom you are placed are mostly used to these things then not only for your sake but for my sake and all your Brothers and Sisters. There is still a Higher Sake for you to consider. Do try and Remember that you have always been taught the Supreme Great Truth that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners and that all through Him might be saved. Again I beg of you Arthur do not be led into following these awful Soul destroying habits. I am very much afraid that you have not at all times enough courage to say No when you are surrounded by Temptation You must Pray and Pray sincerely and earnestly and keep a Watchful eye wide open so that you can clearly see there is Temptation and do not be in the least afraid to meet it and Resist. Not alone in your own strength but keep your memory clear that God is Omnipresent always near you, always ready to hear your Prayer, always willing and anxious to Help you to persist. So I beg of you Arthur not to be negligent with Prayerfulness and Watchfulness. You are not praying alone. I have promised that I will always Pray for you, that promise is to me a Solemn Vow to God so when you find you feel weak Let God know all about it and remember that I too am praying for you.
If you cannot think of words at the moment that you feel depressed try and call to mind some Hymn verse that you know like this Shun evil companions. Bad Language Disdain – God’s Name hold in Reverence. Nor take it in Vain. Be thoughtful and earnest. Kind hearted and true
Look ever to Jesus. He will carry you through.
In your letter you asked me for Carrie’s address I hope that you will write to her as I have sent her a letter and told that you are going to write The address is
c/o Miss Chapple
You are asking me for a Photo. I have not got one just now to send you I hope you will be patient for a little while till we know that you are likely to be sent away. By that time I will try and have one taken especially for you
In conclusion I must tell you this is Sunday evening and I have not been able to attend the Hall or any of the meetings as I am not at all well and am resting all day. It is very quiet and lonesome by myself but I must stand it till about the 26th when I expect that Carrie will be home again. Now Arthur I beg you to read this letter and give it all the consideration you can and Do your very best to make a True Soldier not only for your King and Country but try and enrich your Loyalty by Faithfulness and whole Heartedness in your Service to God and His Son Jesus Christ who Loves you –
From your ever anxious
And Loving Father
Charles Edward xx