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LETTERS FROM THE GREAT WAR
Letters to my Grandfather before his Capture
6th September, 1915
For a long time I have not written but now I have some news. Football has started, United played away, City played at home they played Stockport County they won 3&endash;1 because Henry and Fletcher the backs played well. All the players wherever they were born or used to play have to play for their team for instance Smith plays for some other team. Beale has left. He has gone to Dundee Mew plays where he born Chelsea's goalkeeper Molyneux I don't know how
From Randle&emdash;he died on 31st October, 1915.
Tuesday, 7th September, 6 PM 
My Dear Frank
I haven't much to say this time, but will fill up the rest of Randle's paper. I am glad we are having hot weather again, and you will like it better than the cold. This is truly 'Sweet September' I wish we were down with you for a week but if we had come we should have only been a day or two at each place, I don't think I could stay at Dorking and I should have to pay for being anywhere but Southampton. I hope you are keeping well and that you will winter in England, in any part of it. They have had bitter cold in France during that cold spell and the Dardanelles is a mystery. I don't like you to go there.
I have been to-day to a house that is 'on view', previous to sale of furniture to-morrow, it is a beautiful place, Oakfield House, Burnage Lane, Levenshulme (this side of Stockport Road not grandpa's side). It belonged to your grandmother's cousin, John Taylor, the brewer of Ancoats (near the Star Hall, where you played). I went for ancient recollections.
I was at a party at his house about
his daughter's birthday or s
can guess Levenshulme was a
then. I don't even remember h
there would be nothing but wa
Well it was a great party,
impressed, they were wealthy
publican element always i
was a handsome girl, bu
and diffident in those days.
assert myself or stand upon
Father's professional position
dead and Mother and I were living
Well, I have never been at the
to-day, had even lost all reco
was. John Taylor's daughter mar
who was there that night, who
confident and assertive than me.
long ago. Now her father go
left I don't know, but house and
mansion in its grounds, sold
they must have lived there forty
Do you remember me trying to f
at Ansdell when we were
that was his sister, also Mothe
This and the previous letter are written on one folded sheet of paper. A piece has been torn off, but it is still possible to understand what is left of the letter. His mother was married from her cousin's house in Manchester in 1847.
Sunday, December 9th, 1917
My sincere apologies for the length of time I have taken to answer. It did not think it was a week since you had written, never mind a fortnight, anyhow, better late than never. Well, you sent me a fine long letter last time, and the sketch of yourself was very like (I. D. Y.) While I am writing this we've got a gramophone on playing 'Two sad grey eyes' and it reminds me of your singing it here that Sunday&emdash;do you remember? Mabel got it off a young lady who is at Brown Bros. She wanted to sell it and some of the records, so Mabel got dad to buy it (marvellous to say) and they went up for it yesterday afternoon to Ashton where the young lady lives so that in spite of 'The Sisters Do Nowt' we've got music in the happy home. Who is the youth? Mabel was busy recognizing you when she descended to lovely earth with a resounding bump. It was funny. We were all on our lonesome, as you saw. Not that that is anything fresh, for we always are now, except when with Eva, for we never see any boys now at all, and were quite surprised to see one last night viz the one with you. I thought you went out with your mother every Saturday night. If I had known I could have made plenty of appointments for M[abel] and I to see you there, that is when you haven't anyone to see. You glowered fearfully at me last night every time I caught your eye&emdash;what's the row&emdash;what's the row at all, at all.
Frank has been in the firing-line again but is having a short rest at the base at present. He writes to say the things he has seen are worse than anything he has ever read or seen, even worse than the works of Edgar Allen Poe, and there's some terrible experiences written by him. Well, we've just got back from seeing Eva off on the bus and it's divilish cold out tonight. I've a long, long list of woes to recount, firstly: Frank does not expect to get leave for Xmas. We've just smashed the gramophone through over-winding it, and it won't act. We've got no currants, raisins, sugar, lemons or anything for Xmas, so we'll have to do without lemon cheese, mincemeat, plum pudding, Xmas cake and trifle this Christmas. I'm a cold miserable wretch this weather with chilblains and am going villainously ugly. Am frightfully short of cash and still owe lots. The decorator hasn't been when expected and we've had the stair carpet up and our bedroom stripped for two weeks now, and have to go to bed in a room that echoes on bare walls. I've wasted four hard-earned bob on a rotten hat. Both my feet go in on all my shoes, so I'll have to be wearing irons soon. Am fed up with being at home. Well, I feel a bit relieved after that little lot. I think everyone gets a bit fed-up at times&emdash;don't they? How are you going on for Xmas fare? Well I'll have to finish now, and will perhaps be able to write a more cheerful letter next time.
Yours to a cinder, Dora
I don't know who Dolly was, just a friend. The letter does recapture my Auntie Dora's personality, and the atmosphere of the Gent family household. There is a reference to my grandfather's experiences but, of course, no details.