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"I’m sure mum was no different to lots of other young women in the First World War, but she passed on to us a sense of loyalty and stoicism.” Bruce Margrett from Polegate, East Sussex, writes about the psychological damage his father Archibald Margrett, known as Jimmy, suffered after serving in the war.

“Jimmy gave himself without restraint to the conflict in France and carried the scars for the rest of his life.

In December 1916, he was posted to France with the 8th Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment, who were in the Festubert area.

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‘‘Her punishment was to be sent to another munitions factory near Bristol for a number of months.

Each weekend she would travel back to London to her widowed mother (Mum’s brother was killed at the battle of the Somme) and return to Bristol on Sunday evening.

The periodicals arrived quite alright, thanks very much. It is so in some parts of France, but where we are just now you do not hear much of the singing of the birds but rather the constant roar of the artillery, the hurtling shells flying through the air on their mission of death, at he crack, crack, crack of the machine guns; the trees, mostly only half standing, the ground full of shell holes and here and there little crosses telling you that underneath there, there lies those who have fallen [in] the conflict...

‘‘Your reference to the setting sun I was most charmed with dear.

The leave ticket records the reason as ‘shell-shock’.

Before the end of June, he was back with his Battalion in France, moving to Wyschaete near Ypres."After the war, my father came home severely shell-shocked which lasted until he died in 1970.Mum nursed him back to health and went on to have four children.Kiss my little pet [his six-year-old son Fred] for me. The next day, says Mrs De Smet, “he was carrying rations up to the men in the front line when a shell burst just over his head and killed him instantly.He suffered no pain and wouldn’t have had time to realise that he was hit.” Betty Rennid from Oakington, near Cambridge, writes: “During the First World War, my mother, Mrs Lillian Standen, was a forewoman at Woolwich Arsenal.Ronald Davey from Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, encloses a series of embroidered postcards sent to his father’s Aunt Fan (Mrs F Ling) from a Royal Engineers soldier, Ern Hamblin, based in “sunny France”.

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