As the country is in lockdown and the Prime Minister Borris Johnson urges the citizens of the United Kingdom to stay in isolation at home it is communication that binds us together and comforts us. With all the many electronic options available to us today this is easy, yet is isn't to long ago that these this plethora of social media was not available and we had to write a letter, post it and wait, and wait.....
A simple 10cm wide translucently thin piece of paper with faint pencil writing graces our upcoming Arms and Militaria sale, it reminds us of the time when social media didn't exist, telephones were a rare commodity and when the whole world was involved in another disaster, World War One. The letter is note between two friends written from the trenches, written from Captain Cyril. M. Longbotham to to Lieutenant R. Whittle Royal Field Artillery who was later to marry Cyril's sister whilst on leave from France. Dated 15th April 1915 Cyril describes life in the trenches, 'we have only had 5 or 6 casualties since we took over the firing line, escaped from snipers' and 'I here they are going to push in another part of the line, certainly they won't push here' and 'I wonder if you are anywhere near the division? if you are let me know and I will look you up when I leave the trenches'. Sadly not long after the letter was written Cyril Longbotham was wounded in Flanders on 20th May 1915 in the Neuve Chapelle sector by a piece of shrapnel to the ear drum but also suffered from gas and concussion and was invalided home. Despite several attempts to rejoin regular service in the Army Longbotham never did fully recover.
Its amazing to hold this delicate piece of history. Not of huge value on its own but combined with the medals, photographs showing life in the trenches, dog tags and other related items it makes for a very desirable lot for the collector or historian with an interest in WWI. The lot is estimated at £100-200 and will be sold alongside a group of items relating to Lieutenant R. Whittle, recipient of the letter in our upcoming Arms and Militaria Sale to be held on the 18th June.
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