I read this moving letter, with a moving conclusion, on a FB post for Valentine’s Day. It is taken from the Imperial War Museum.
A letter from the trenches. 1917
Private Albert Ford wrote to his wife, Edith, on a scrap piece of paper before going ‘over the top’.
“My darling if this should ever reach you it will be a sure sign that I am gone under and what will become of you and the chicks I do not know but there is one above that will see to you and not let you starve,” he wrote.
“You have been the best of wives and I loved you deeply, how much you will never know.
“Dear heart, do think sometimes of me in the future when your grief has worn a bit, and the older children, I know won’t forget me, and speak sometimes of me to the younger ones…
“Dearest, if the chance should come your way for you are young and good looking and should a good man give you an offer it would please me to think you would take it, not to grieve too much for me…
“I should not have left you thus bringing suffering and poverty on a loving wife and children for which in time I hope you will forgive me.
“So dear heart I will bid you all farewell hoping to meet you in the time to come if there is a hereafter. Know that my last thoughts were of you in the dugout or on the fire step my thoughts went out to you, the only one I ever loved, the one that made a man of me.”
Albert was killed in action on 26 October 1917. His last letter was treasured by Edith until her death. She never remarried and as she lay dying in February 1956 she said she could see Albert in the corner of her bedroom.