Friday, 24 April 2015

Dear Nellie...

Another treasure belonging to Auntie Nellie I have, is a postcard sent to her near the end of World War One. 

The postcard was from a man named Ben, who was serving in France at the time. The postcard was dated 11 July 1918. He writes to tell Nellie that he is "still in the land of living" and he hoped the same of her. Apparently they were having some good weather over in France, but he wished it "would allways be the same." Ben did not like the idea of winter arriving again, and hoped the next would be the last.

On the front of the postcard are a group of twelve soldiers posing for the photograph. Some are wearing slouch hats, and others service caps. I imagine Ben is one of the soldiers in the photograph, but have no idea which one. 

Auntie Nellie's birthday book possibly holds a clue about Ben. The entry for 27 March has B. Hoffman 2683 10th Batt. A.I.F.

A search for a man in the Australian Imperial Force with the number 2683 brings up records of a soldier named Carl Frederick Benno Hoffman of the 10th Battalion. Now the records don't say if Private Hoffman went by the name Ben, but due to him signing his name with the initial 'B', I can assume he did.

Only a page after that entry in my Auntie Nellie's birthday book is that of my Great Grandfather, Pte R. M. Storey 17834 A.I.F. A guess is that my Great Grandfather became friends with Private Hoffman and brought him up to Northumberland to show him where he was from. It's interesting to think that this also could have been the first time my Great Grandparent's met, in the Masons Arms pub, Morpeth.

The postcard is not stamped so Ben may have posted this to Auntie Nellie with an envelope, or perhaps he gave it to my Great Grandfather to pass on. 

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