Today we’re breathing a happy sigh of relief, having sent our competition Telling Tommies’ tales, out into the world. Based on a gem of a box of letters that were found amongst government railway records (RAIL 253/516), it brings to life a close-knit group of workers at the Great Western Railway (GWR) audit office in Paddington who, like so many, joined up to fight in the First World War. The group wrote to their old workplace directly, and those left behind bound the letters into collections, which were shared amongst the friends.
This box of letters has long been a firm favourite of many of the staff here at The National Archives. Never digitised in its entirety, it has one of those innocuous catalogue descriptions that doesn’t convey the magic of what it contains. It’s unusual for such a large collection of personal letters to be here at The National Archives.
As part of the Education team, I thought these letters would make a great part of our First World War resources that we make available to schools. One of our most popular video conferences for schools, All Pals Together, uses the personal story of one soldier, Henry Fairhurst, as way of teaching Key Stage 2 pupils about the war. Continue reading »