Battlefield letters expose soldier’s mental anguish
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