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Wilfred Owens' letter home from France on his father's headed notepaper"

25 February 1918

See 42.15 for main entry and details of where to find the other letters.

Wilfred Owens' Letters from 16th November to 2nd December 1917.

(Numbers 12 to 22)

Fred Griffiths, who sent Wilfred Owens a 4/- postal order, set off for Canada to seek his fortune, boarded a ship Canada-bound, then changed his mind and returned home. He set up a newsagents at the Cross, having closed his business in Lane End before he set off. That's why he was called Canada Fred - note by Wilf Owens.


12.Friday Night unable to post it till Saturday

Nov 16th 17


Dear brother Edward & all at home,

Well I have this afternoon received Edward's most kind letter which he sent a week today sorry at being so long but I notice he as not put my complete address so maybe that has prolonged it in getting here. I will give you my full address further in my letter. Well Edward I was most overjoyed at receiving your letter it being the first I have had from England. As I mentioned before I had one from Andrew. Well Edward yours came just as we were having tea so I finished my tea and slipped over to the Church Army Hut to answer it for you. It is just going dusk so I have plenty of time and I am going to write Mr. Jenkins at the same time. Well I am pleased to hear of you all being quite well at home. I am glad my father as been speaking to Mr. Rowlands but I am of the opinion that it is the Lord's will that I should be passed out here as I am. So that all that I can do and am doing is to put my trust in him and have faith that I shall be brought back home to you all again and I am sure you are all doing the same at home. I have had many a worse time out in Ireland and it was the Lord's doing that I should be brought safe from there so we must have faith that it wont be long before we are all home and that war is a thing of the past as many out here seem to think that it will soon be over. Well they have taken my name as a fitter to be transferred to the Tank Corps.I volunteered so am expecting to hear more when I rejoin the Batt. in a week or so. I am at present under a course as a Royal Engineer doing sand bagging trench making etc. also the Doctor said he would see what he could do for me as he could see I am not fit so I will have to see him when I rejoin the Batt. Well I am glad to hear the Douglas goes well and that you are putting it away for the winter out of all the bad weather. Let us hope that we will be all together at home to tune it up for the spring. But they are a good machine there is no end to them here also Triumph, P.M. Royal Enfield & B.S.A. they are on the go all the while through mud and slush something awful. Well I have not come across anyone out here whom I know but I have a pal from Caernarvon also plenty of other good pals. Well Edward or mother & father whenever you write to Gomer and Fred also Harry Connah & John Samuel please tell them I am going on quite well. Please remember me to them all and don't forget in your very next letter to let me know how Gomer is going on send me his address. I will now give you mine before I forget Platoon D Company B.E.F. France.I am anxious to drop Gomer a line. Well by now you have had a lot of letters from me also George's birthday card. Hoping Aunt Mary & Frank & Wainwright's also Fred Griffiths have had my letters. Please remember me to them all & all at the Warren & thanking all of you also them for all kindness. I must now come to a close hoping this finds you all well & trusting in the Lord as your true son & brother is doing Wilfred.

P.S. lease remember me to Bob Davidson hoping he as received is machine from the Ariel Works and that it goes alright also I hope his brother as not had to join up, yours Wilf.




13.Remember me to Ralph Messham and give him my best regards

Nov. 19th. 1917


Dear brother Edward & all at home,

Well Edward yesterday (Sunday) I received your second letter which you sent on Wed. night the 14th inst. Well I do thank you for them also all the news. Pleased to hear that father was at Liverpool I know he would be very pleased to read my letter when he got back. Well your letter came in 4 days this time to I think that is not so bad travelling I have not as yet had any letters from anyone else but am expecting one from Fred Griffiths pleased to hear they have had mine also Frank. They have all had my address sent to them by me Uncle Edwin as well. Well I am pleased to hear of Bob Davidson's motor going well also the Enfield & the TT Douglas they are three of the finest makers which are doing service out here. Well Edward you are very good in mentioning me to our old pals in your letters you should see us though out here on the look out for pals. I am watching at all times when we pass Regiments whom I know some of my pals are in but I have not come across any of the R.W.F. yet. I am sorry to hear John Samuel as been sent to a Camp which he does not like but he will get used to it, hoping you have heard by now from Gomer and Fred and that they are still going on in the best of everything.I was thinking a lot about them both only the other day how I had not had the luck to see them since I have joined the Army but anyway I am hoping to be together with them shortly also a lot more of our pals whom are out here and in training. When that eventful day comes when peace reigns once more sooner the better that day comes. Well I do hope this finds you all cheerful and in the best of everything hoping that mother & father & grandmother nor any of my brothers or Miriam are in trouble at all about me being out here because I am going on alright and am making the best of things out here and trusting in the Lord that I shall be brought safely back home to you all. I trust you have had all my letters & George's birthday card well I also sent you a letter in reply to your first letter at the same time I wrote to Mr. Jenkins. I also sent you a Field card yesterday saying I had had your letter. I suppose you will get it a day before this. Well mother and father I suppose you were wondering were I got too on Sunday Well I was at two services morning & night at the Church Army Hut and I must say we had a splendid service together you must always think of me on a Sunday being at a Place of Worship if I am able to get anyway. Well I suppose you have sent me a writing pad and a few other things also a few shillings P.O. So I don't think I have much more to say hoping everything at home is going on alright and business fairly brisk & all of you in the best of health at home as this leaves me your true and ever loving son & brother Wilfred.




14.Wednesday Nov. 21st 17


Dear mother & father & all at home,

Well father I now take the opportunity of answering your most kind letter of Monday. Well father the kind words of your letter has helped me a great deal and I mean to always stand up to them for my own sake also you at home and you can always have faith in me concerning the same. Well I have been expecting a letter from Fred & Arthur and am wondering whether they got mine with my address. Well I forgot to mention when you were sending me money to only send only Postal Orders as we are unable to change anything else and those being hard enough to change am expecting something from you in a day or so I am getting a bit hard up through not having a pay out here yet with not being with the Battalion but we are expecting to join with them in a day or so then we are expecting to draw 10/- or so. Well I am still going on the same in the best of everything. I am still under the course with the R.E. but am expecting to join the Batt. When they come out of the Line for a few weeks rest but I have to go to see the doctor and he said he would see what he could do for me so I will let you know at all times when I have a chance how I am going on. I notice that all the letters are just 4 days in coming except Edward's first one which was a week but he hadn't got my address complete. Well I trust you got Mr. Jones a motor cycle at Chester but tell Edward he is not wise selling his without an exceptional good price because it will fetch a good one in the Spring, say between £40 - £50. Well I am pleased to hear Bob's doing well hoping you have had Mr. Roger's engine and that you have fixed it up a treat for him now. Well mother I thought it best to let you know not to send me any socks or anything till I write & tell you as I have plenty more clothes than I can carry and if the Chapel is sending Xmas parcels they may send me one, they generally send tobacco & cigarettes so remember I don't smoke that is if any of you are there when they are sent. Well I had Edwin's letter alright enclosed you will find a reply to it for him dear little Edwin, he begged and prayed in his letter for a letter in return to him alone. Well I have no more to say hoping this finds everyone at home quite well. I am expecting news of Gomer and Fred in your next letter, Yours Wilfred.




15.Friday Nov. 23rd 17


Dear mother & father & all at home,

Well on Thursday I was very pleased to receive 4 letters. Father's and Edwin's in one envelope sent on Sunday 2 of Edward's letters sent on Saturday & Sunday & 1 from my dear old pals Fred & Arthur sent a week last Wednesday. So you can see I have had all the news at once. So I must now thank you all for your kind letters. Pleased to hear you are all going on the best of health at home as this leaves me quite well I am sending this reply to all of our letters but will write you Edward as soon as I can. I am trying to write Fred a letter to go with this. Well father your long kind letter was very much appreciated by me also Edward's with all good news which you sent me. Well I trust by you get this that Mr. Jones as had is petrol permit and as decided on buying the Douglas but am sure that the Enfield at Chester is very cheap also a good machine but he as two good machines to choose from. Well I am sorry to hear of Charlie Roberts' son being wounded hoping you have heard more and that they found him not very badly wounded. Well on Wednesday we were at a concert here at the Church Army Hut and I must say we had an enjoyable evening. Well Father I was thinking the same as you about what good Wednesday nights we have had together along the Beach also on a Sunday with Edward & Bill, George, Fred & Arthur. But as time goes on we have many changes so we must all keep our hearts up hoping that I shall be spared to have another chance for the best shortly. Well I am pleased to hear of John Samuel being at home again trusting he likes the Camp by now and is enjoying himself. Well I am very sorry at hearing that Mr. Colley is no better also sorry to hear there is poor hopes of him living. I trust Mrs. Colley is going on quite alright in the Shop with her servant. Well father & mother you can see how full up the M.T, & A.S.C. must be to put Billy Powell in the infantry they are transferring them out here in the infantry from the M.T. & A.S.C. so that there must be plenty of mechanical men more than they want. But Edward don't trouble about me going into the R.F.C. as I don't wish to do so. I think I am better where I am. Well now about the parcels pleased to hear you sent me on Monday will let you know when I get it. Well mother you needn't send me any clothing whatever as we have got plenty also I have plenty of socks so all you need send me is something to eat. I know you will be sending me one for Xmas so mother send a few of your home made cakes you know the kind we used to have round ones 1 in. or so thick it doesn't matter about currants being in them if you are unable to get them now.




16.Wrote Saturday Posted Sunday Nov. 25th 17 France


Dear brother Edward & all at home,

Well I now take the pleasure of answering your two last letters of the 17th & 18th inst. Hoping these few lines find you all quite well at home as this leave me. Well I hope by now that Mr. Jones as had his permit and as settles on which machine he will have. So Edward you must let me know in your next letter whether you have parted with the Douglas I know you are not particular whether he as it or not as they are such a good reliable machine. Well John Samuel is lucky to get home so soon after is hospital leave, but I wish him more luck still hoping he never as to come out hear again but I am of the opinion that this war wont last very much longer. Well there is good news lately is there not Edward from the Italians also this front as you have seen by the papers a few more victories such as we have had lately will I am sure finish the whole thing. Well I had a letter from Frank on Thursday I was very sorry to hear he had been hurt slightly while at work but am glad it was not so serious. I am pleased to hear of Dai being over on leave hoping he had a good time and that he is looking alright after his illness. Well I am expecting your parcel at anytime now but they are generally longer than letters in coming. Well, Edward I suppose Gomer is still in hospital in Birmingham anyway I hope he is and that he is there over Xmas & the New year because he is better off there than anywhere without he was at home. I am also pleased to hear of Fred being quite well the last time you heard from him. I suppose he as returned to the line once more hoping you have again heard from Harry Connah with the good news that he is still going on quite well, I am always on the look out for them all out here. I trust that Bob Davidson's motor is going alright but the petrol bothers you all now hoping his brother Edward is still working at the Mountain and that he manages to stick there. Well I have no more to say at present but will write you all again as soon as I can hoping this finds you dear brothers & sister Miriam in the very best of health & spirits as this leaves me. Please remember me Edward to all at the Warren & at Spon Green & at cousin Franks, Mr. & Mrs. Rodgers & all I know don't forget Ralph with kindest regards to all. From your true son & brother Wilfred.




17.Sunday Nov 25th 17


Dear mother & father & all at home,

Well I have just received your parcel also a king letter from my dear Aunt Mary it as just taken a week for her letter to arrive. I will send her a letter by tomorrow's post as they are only collected once a day. Well I thought it best to let you know I had had your parcel with Edward's letter as they collect our outward letters just after we get ours from home. Well I am pleased to say I am going on quite well hoping this finds you all at home the same. We are having some very nice weather only a bit rough today. I have been to the Church Army Hut this morning and we had a splendid service so am going again this evening. Well I must now thank you very much for the parcel also all your many kindness's with kindest regards to all at home. From your true & ever loving son & brother Wilfred.




18. Monday Nov. 26th 1917


Dear mother & Father & all at home,

Well I now take great pleasure in writing you once more as I stated in Edward's letter I had received your parcel quite safe I have since opened it and found everything in order. I thank you very much for the two nice cakes also the butter which was none the worse for its journey also the apples, toffee & sweets & socks. Thanks for the Daily News which was very good news for us I am sure pleased to say we all seem to think out here that it wont last much longer as they seem to be entirely fed up with it. Well mother & father I am writing this on Sunday noon but it wont leave here till Monday. I am answering Aunt Mary's kind letter at the same time. Well I will be having some of your splendid cake for my Sunday tea. I am thinking about what a good time I was having with you all at home only a month today. Remember when I got off without you knowing for the week-end I have travelled some miles since then but let us have faith what it wont be long before we are all returning which I don't think will be long when peace reigns once for evermore. Well we had a very good service at the Church Army Hut this morning so I am going again this evening the same place were I went to last Sunday. Well Frank was saying in his letter that you are having a Concert at the Bistre at Xmas so I hope you have a good time only wishing that I was there having a good time with you all. Well Frank also says that he expects Cropper to open his Picture House before Xmas. So if he does he will do well just for a week or so while the newness of the place lasts like everything else, but all the same it will be a nice change during the winter months. Well have still not heard from Uncle Edwin so am wondering whether he as had my letters. Well Aunt Mary says that Gomer & Fred were quite well hoping they are still the same. Fred was saying he may be going to Italy. Well all the talk was that our Battalion was going there but it as died away. So I must now enclose with thanks to you all for all kindnesses. Trusting this will find you one & all quite well as this leaves your true and ever loving son & brother Wilfred.




19.Tuesday Nov. 27th 17


Dear mother & father & all at home,

Well I am pleased to tell you I had a very good post on Monday the 26th so will tell you all which I had, the registered letter with the £1 note safe also Edward's kind letter enclosed dated Tuesday Nov. 16th another kind letter from Edward dated Thursday Nov. 22nd. I will write you Edward in due course when I have time but cant express my many thanks to you all. I also received my dear father's kind long letter of Thursday morning Thursday Nov. 22nd wrote before the lads proceeded to work. I also received the writing pad. Well I also had a kind letter from Uncle Edwin dated Wednesday Nov. 21st also he sent me the Christian Herald. Well the next is my last which I received from my old pal McTaggart from Pembroke Dock remember me telling you about him he had his discharge from Crosby after having Spotted Fever he was in Ireland with me. Well now mother & father you can see how well I am looked after with letters which you know will take time to answer. But I can't express my thanks & gratitude to you all at home for all the things which you have sent to me out here also all which you have done for me in time gone by. But take notice of my next few words dear mother & father it is what I have thought a lot about since being here and that is the good bringing up I have had as you know dear parents we have no end of temptations out here so I am pleased to say with God's help & the thoughts of the Good and kind ones I have left behind for the time being that I have been able to resist all these temptations and I mean to always do the same with the Lord's help not forgetting your earnest prayers at home. Well as you know I have not been up the line with the Batt. So I am pleased to say they have come out the other night. Well I have been up to see my pals and am pleased to say they have all come out quite safe. Well you will remember me telling you about that lad Hulley from Gresford he as relations at the Pentre well I have been to see him he is quite well after his first experience up the line as you know he was exceedingly pleased to see me he was saying he had had many narrow escapes he said I was very lucky not to have been up the line. Well dear mother & father & Edward, I have not time to detail all about your welcome news in your most kind letters of late but I am very pleased always to hear from one of you. I am pleased to hear you are all quite well at home. I trust your letters leave you all in the best of spirits as I am sure they find me as it is the best in the long run as you know it makes things no better to be grumbling & pulling a long face. I must thank you all for your kindness in remembering me and giving my kindest regards to all my good and kind friends. I can't understand why Gomer as been put into training Nr. Manchester without having his hospital leave but maybe Xmas is what he is waiting for hoping he gets home for then. Well what better news could I wish for from you at home than to hear of you all being quite well at home also keeping busy hoping you have done something with Mr. T. Jones. We must all be thankful for these mercies. Well you will be pleased to hear that I have received all your letters I am thankful to have had them all it is marvellous how the Nation works everything to a nicety just fancy them supplying Millions of men out here with letters. Well I have heard no more about my transfer to the Tank Corps. But am waiting till I rejoin the Batt. So must enclose with love & kindest regards to all from your true and ever loving son & brother Wilfred.




20.Wednesday Nov 28th 17


Dear brother Edward & all at home,

Well I am writing these few lines in reply to your letters of late. Well I thank you very much for same pleased to hear of you all being quite well at home also Fred & Gomer although sorry to hear of Gomer being in training without having his hospital leave but maybe he will get it later on for the Xmas holidays so I hope to hear better news of him also I was pleased to hear of Harry Connah being alright and looking out for me as I am on the lookout for him also all the others. Well I suppose by you get this letter that you have heard more about whether you will part with the Douglas so you must let me know. I had a letter yesterday from Mr. D. Jenkins so am going to write him tonight pleased to hear that he is keeping alright with plenty of business. Well Edward I am still going on alright and am still at the same place under the course with the R.E. I can't say how long it will be before I join the Battalion. Well today we are having splendid weather but the last few days we have had an awful lot of rain. Well Edward I have had all your letters also father's & little Edwin's & Fred & Arthur's Frank's & Uncle Edwin's. I am very pleased to hear of all being quite well so what better news could I wish for. You say that John Samuel has stopped over his leave also Dai so I expect they would come badly off for it besides stopping themselves from getting leave in time to come. Well Edward I have wrote Wainwright's at Spon Green a bit ago but have not had an answer so am wondering whether they got my letter. Well I am very pleased to hear of all the Motors going well also you have got Bob's alright. Yes father Mr. Rodgers will have to wait for his engine as everyone is very busy at present. Well I have no more news for now trusting this will find all of you in the best of health at home as it leaves me. Please remember me to all. From your true son & brother thanking you for all kindnesses Wilfred.




21.Friday Nov 30th 17


Dear mother & father Edward & all at home,

Well I received your two kind letters father's & Edward' on Wednesday. You sent them on Sunday so they were only 3 days in coming. I also at the same time had one from Wainwright's at Spon Green. Well I am very pleased to hear you are all going on as usual quite well pleased to say I am still the same. Well I am sorry to hear about Mr. Colly bing dead I did not think he would be leaving us so soon. I suppose Mrs. Colly's relations had found her a home and as taken her away. Well father I am pleased to hear of Mr. Astbury's son going about in a car back & too to his work but I am the same as you now knowing how he manages the clutch, brake etc. but he must manage alright. Well Edward I will be writing you a letter maybe tomorrow in answer to yours. I was sorry to hear of Fred Reynold's going up the Line again but I trust he will come out safe & sound. Well Gomer is rather unfortunate at having to start training again before having his leave from hospital but I trust he will be having it for Xmas or the New Year. Well I am pleased you have had it in the papers about our victories of late which we all think out here is ending the war fast. Well Edward I am pleased to hear of all the motors going on grand I am thinking of what a good time we will have next spring if this lot is over and we are able to get petrol. So Edward I would not trouble whether you sold the Douglas or not as you wont be able to buy a better thing I am sure all the motors at home are in the very best of order better than the last time I was on leave than ever I have seen them. The Royal Enfield, Douglas & B.S.A. all going a treat. Well we are having some very nice weather hear also we are unable to grumble at all. Hoping this finds you all quite well and in the very best of everything. Thanking all of you for all kindnesses. From your true & ever loving son & brother Wilfred.




Sunday December 2nd 17France


Dear brother Edward & all at home,

Well Edward I received your letter of Monday the 26th quite safe on Friday 30th I also had father's & yours of Sunday 25th on Wednesday. I have sent a reply to father's so I now take the greatest of pleasure in answering your two. With the letter I had the Christian Herald so I am writing Uncle Edwin also Fred Griffiths now I have the change. Well Edward I do thank you for your many letters to me I can see you write every chance you get also my father. I am pleased you are all going on alright in the very best of health and keeping fairly busy. Well you have still got the Douglas yet so if I were you I would not part with it as you all know at home that we can't get another like it and we will want a good machine when normal times come again and we are provided with a fair share of petrol once more. Well I am pleased Fred & Gomer are still going on quite well the last you heard from them hoping to hear of Gomer coming home on leave before Xmas. Well Edward I am on the look out for the R.W.F's to see Harry or Fred or some of the other pals but I have not come across any yet they don't seem to be anywhere about here. I am very sorry to hear of Charlie Connah having to join up but he is only 18 so he wont be wanted out here as there is the best of outlook now for an early peace. Well Edward I was saying in one of my letters to you about not hearing from Wainwright's well the very next day I had one from them and I was very sorry to hear of Mr. Wainwright being very ill for over a fortnight. Well I have come across a pal whom used to come from Kinnerton but about 5 years ago he moved with his parents to Cumberland but he collected rents with a pony & trap for many years for Swetenham an Estate Agent he came every Saturday afternoon around Buckley. Well I have no more news at present hoping this will find everyone quite well at home as this leaves your true son & brother Wilfred to all at home.


Author: Owens, Wilfred, 1898-1918


Year = 1918

Month = February

Day = 25

Document = Letter

Event = Historic

Gender = Male

People = Single

Work = Military

Extra = Military

Extra = WW1

Extra = 1910s

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