Bat­tle­field let­ters ex­pose sol­dier’s men­tal an­guish

The Sunday Post (Dundee) - - NEWS - By Tracey Bryce TRBRYCE@SUNDAYPOST.COM

The men­tal an­guish en­dured by many sur­vivors of the First World War has been re­vealed in a mov­ing cache of old love let­ters.

Found by Mark Ward­law, they chart how the re­la­tion­ship of his grand­par­ents fell apart un­der the trauma of the con­flict.

Pe­ter and Kate Ward­law, from Clack­man­nan­shire, met as young­sters.

Pe­ter joined the Royal Field Ar­tillery and saw ac­tion in Gal­lipoli and on the Western Front.

The cou­ple ex­changed nu­mer­ous let­ters while they were apart. They wrote about of hopes and dreams for the fu­ture, and later got en­gaged, mar­ried and had a son.

Sadly, haunted by bat­tle­field hor­rors, Pe­ter re­turned suf­fer­ing what was then known as shell shock, now PTSD.

Mark found the let­ters while clear­ing out his par­ents’ Ed­in­burgh home when his mother Eliz­a­beth passed away.

Mark, who now lives in Corn­wall, has cre­ated a legacy to his grand­par­ents by pub­lish­ing the let­ters in a book Bro­ken By Messines in WW1 – The Grand­par­ents I Never Knew.

“It’s clear from the let­ters that Pe­ter was find­ing it in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult to write to Kate; to con­nect with hu­man­ity when death and de­struc­tion were all around him.

“Af­ter the war, he came back a changed man and couldn’t re­late to her any­more.”

Pe­ter Ward­law saw ac­tion in Gal­lipoli

One of the mov­ing let­ters be­tween Pe­ter and Kate Ward­law

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.