Soldiers live on through letters home
PUPILS and parents at Great Chart Primary School have been learning about a special collection of letters from the First World War. Staff at Kent Archives have been helping the children to discover letters, pictures and souvenirs from 90 years ago and hearing family stories from the relatives of local soldiers and sailors. The last of the three history lessons will be held next Tuesday in the school hall close to the Singleton Manor home of the remarkable woman who compiled the collection.
In January 1915 Elizabeth Strouts started the Great Chart Sailors and Soldiers War Fund, less than five months after war was declared on Germany. It raised £1,605 and friends used to send letters and parcels to local men in the armed forces. They sent a total of almost 6,000 letters and 1,000 parcels. Records were saved in 22 albums now kept at County Hall in Maidstone and souvenirs sent home by soldiers and sailors to record their wartime experience are part of a collection in Ashford Borough Museum. Mrs Strouts would visit and comfort the families of those lost in battle and make hospital visits to the wounded. The letters home from the front line expressed sadness and shock, exhaustion and At the first family learning session last month Vic Chittenden, son of William Chittenden, a trooper in the Dragoon Guards, said: “My father was in the trenches. He was in the cavalry but rarely used the horses. “He never spoke about the war except to say how the rats ran along the top of the trenches. I was interested to see the letter he wrote.” Present children and parents helped to create and decorate a new Roll of Honour featuring the 100-plus names in the Great Chart war albums.
Cpl Samuel Brunger, who gave his life for King and country in Palestine