Beth Saward

Extract from: Telegrams of a Soldier

REDACTED, May 1915

MOTHER I HAVE ARRIVED IN FRANCE SAFELY STOP JOURNEY WAS ROUGH I DO NOT LIKE BOATS STOP VERY VERY SICK IN ENGLISH CHANNEL STOP FATHER ALSO ARRIVED SAFELY WITHOUT BEING ILL STOP PLEASE TELL MADELINE NOT TO WORRY BEING FED WELL MORE MEAT THAN AT HOME STOP RECEIVED FULL UNIFORM TODAY FITS WELL WILL ATTEMPT TO GET PHOTOGRAPH AFTER FIRST PAYCHECK STOP WILL SEND MONEY TO YOU ALL STOP HOPE WILL IS NOT FINDING WORK TOO HARD BUT ITS ALL FOR THE WAR WHO KNOWS MAYBE FLOSSIE WILL BE CALLED UP  FOR THE FACTORIES SOON WILL DO HER GOOD LOVE J END

REDACTED, June 1915

MOTHER HAVE NO NEWS OF FRANCE TO REPORT ALL HAVE SEEN IS INSIDE OF TRAINING CAMP FOR TWO WEEKS FEELS LIKE BLIGHTY STOP MET SOME NICE LADS FEW IRISH BUT THEY ARE NOT SO BAD  DRINK AS MUCH AS THE REST OF US STOP KEPT AWAY FROM FRENCH CIVVIES ONLY COMPANY IS EACH OTHER HAVE STUCK WITH BOYS FROM BRUM ALL ARE DOING WELL STOP TOMMY HAD AN ACCIDENT IN TRAINING PIPPED OWN FOOT WITH BULLET NOTHING SERIOUS JUST WOUNDED PRIDE DO NOT WORRY MRS ATKINS T STILL HAS ALL TOES AND CAN WALK WELL NOW STOP WEATHER MISERABLE LOTS OF RAIN SO FEEL AT HOME LOVE J END

REDACTED, August 1915

MOTHER AM FINALLY ON MOVE FINISHED TRAINING AND AM NOW ON WAY TO FRONT STOP US BIRMINGHAM BOYS ARE IN GOOD SPIRITS TOP BRASS KEEPING US ALL TOGETHER FATHER KEEPING AN EYE ON US ALL TOMMY IS WITH US STILL NOT BACK TO HIS OLD SELF BUT CAN WALK AND THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS STOP RAIN HAS EASED SOME SUN BUT MOSTLY GREY STOP SEEN SOME OF FRANCE NOTHING SPECIAL SEEMS JUST AS GREY DULL MUDDY AS BLIGHTY STOP YET TO COME ACROSS THE BOCHE MUST BE ON THEIR SIDE OF TRENCHES STOP FOOD HAS GOT WORSE THE FURTHER IN WE GET THE BRASS HATS COMPLAIN ABOUT IT BUT US BIRMINGHAM BOYS ARE USED TO IT STOP I MISS YOUR COOKING WE BOTH DO STOP GOT A FEW LADS FROM NICER PARTS OF BRUM WHO ARE FINDING IT HARD NOT USED TO SO MUCH WALKING ALWAYS KNEW WORKING AS A RUNNER WOULD WORK OUT FOR ME STOP OTHER SMALL HEATH BOYS USED TO FACTORY WORK SO ALL THIS MARCHING IS AT LEAST OUTSIDE LOVE J END

REDACTED, September 1915

MOTHER HAVE ARRIVED AT FRONT STOP NO TURNING BACK NOW WE ARE IN THE TRENCHES STOP THE DAY WE ARRIVED RAIN STARTED AGAIN GOOD INTRODUCTION TO THE MUD STOP THE MUD GETS EVERYWHERE EVEN ON SUNNY DAYS THERE IS MUD STOP THE MUD GETS INTO EQUIPMENT JAMS MECHANISM AND CAUSES TERRIBLE PROBLEMS FOR HORSES ESPECIALLY WITH ARTILLARY STOP MANY HAVE BEEN SHOT STOP THE RED TABS FORCED TO RETHINK STRATEGY AS MOST ARE STILL STUCK IN LAST CENTURY NO IDEA WHAT IT IS LIKE AT THE FRONT STOP THE RED TEBS THINK THAT ALL WE NEED IS MANPOWER EVEN A NEW RECRUIT CAN SEE THAT SO MUCH MORE IS NEEDED END 

The complete Telegrams of a Soldier can be found in our UEA Special Edition Volume Three.

Beth Saward is a third year student in English Literature and Creative Writing at UEA. The performativity of texts and how the physical construction of a narrative impacts on the reader’s experience forms the backbone of Beth’s current work.