Notes from The Front
Serving soldiers posted letters back home to Rutherglen this time 100 years ago, and they all carried the same wish... “We hope this war will be over soon”. With winter closing in, local servicemen were dreading a fifth successive year of fighting on foreign soil.
Little did they realise that the Armistice Day peace agreement was less than three weeks away.
Soldiers sent dozens of letters to the Rutherglen Evangelical Institute every week, which updated the community on their health and wellbeing.
These were then published in the Reformer’s‘Notes From The Front’ column.
Below are three of those letters printed this time a century ago.
John L Muir wrote:“I expect to be very busy in a day or two, and we are just standing to, as it were, waiting on something coming off, which of course I cannot speak about until it is over.
“...we seem to be getting the upper hand on the enemy now, and we hope that ere long dreadful war will finish and allow the boys to take up the ordinary life and continue the good work of the Institute, which I trust will continue to prosper and be a power for good in the Old Burgh.”
Joseph McCormack apologised for not writing sooner.
“I have been moving about from place to place this last four months,”he wrote.“And it has been impossible to send any permanent address.
“But I know you always find a means of getting to know how I am. Though I have not written for a long time, I never forget the Institute and the many friends, past and present, I have had there.
“Give my kind regards and best wishes to all the workers; I hope to be able to pay you and them a visit before the end of the year.
“I am keeping in good health and looking forward to the day when we will all meet again in Rutherglen in the same old way with no war to blight the joy of meeting so many old friends again.”
Driver T Maskell wrote:“The weather is getting cold and rough now – a sure sign of the coming winter.
“I often wonder how many more winters we will have out here, for every one seems worse than the preceding.
“Still, we have a lot to be thankful for. We seem to be going along and doing well all over just now.
“I hope this will be the beginning of the end.”