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Tony Davies, WW1 Historical Interpreter, historian, author and speaker.

I first became interested in The First Word War when I was about 9 years old and I read a letter that had been written by a 17 year old lad to his sweetheart who was at that time a scullery maid. The lad had enlisted in the army in 1915 at the age of 16, despite being too young to do so and took part in some of the bloodiest battles of that war Ypres, the Somme offensive of 1916 and Passchendaele.

Here I transcribe that letter:

14 July 1916

France

My darling Alice

Just a quick letter to say we are all well here. Save only my mate Ernest. He was taken to the aid station yesterday and as yet we have no news. The Hun has been giving us a very hard time, and he is only about 50 yards away from us. With the repairs and all the sentry duty we all feel very tired. Please don’t you be worrying about me. I am well.

If we can get 3 hours sleep a night we feel we have our very best but sometimes we only get an hour at best.

Something happened a couple of days ago that proved I will come through all this in one piece. During a bombardment a shell we all call ‘whiz-bang’ fell outside our dugout just as I was getting the tea. I heard it coming and knew it would land close but before I could take cover the explosion knocked me several feet into the air and I landed with a bump, but I never spilled a drop. The sergeant major was very pleased and said I should be mentioned in dispatches for saving the tea.

As I am writing this I can hear the shells flying over but please don’t you worry about me.

I will close now as I am going on sentry duty but I will write again soon.

How is your mother? I hope her cough is better.

I have written to mam but just in case can you tell her you have heard from me and I am well.

God bless you

Edward

I came to know this gentle, unassuming young man. He was my grandfather and the young girl to whom he wrote was my grandmother. My father told me that he had written in code, thus passing the censors and giving information, but I could never see it. It was only after researching my novel set during those years that I discovered it – the second sentence - ‘Save only my mate Ernest’ – take the first letter of each word. Was he telling his sweetheart where he was – Somme?

The historical interpreters that are listed here are all knowledgeable experts in their chosen areas and will give the classes a glimpse into what it was like to be at these historic events – events that have shaped this country and even the world, into what it is today.

This will be done through stories, role play, with the emphasis being placed on it being interactive - with the Interpreter being dressed in the costume of the day.

Both girls and boys are catered for in the retelling of our history.