I came across this a while ago and I was just waiting for the right time to post it, it is so lovely that I just wanted to share it with you all.
This is a love letter from a French woman to a British soldier during the First World War it was unearthed in 2014. The letter, sent on Valentine’s Day in 1916, was sent as preparations were under way for the Battle of the Somme. In a mixture of English and French, Eleornore Anneelle, a cafe owner’s daughter from the Somme village of Berteaucourt-les-Dames, declared her love for Private James Ivan “Jimmy” Menzies, a member of the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment who had either been billeted at the cafe or was a regular visitor there.
The letter was bequeathed to the University of Leeds’ Liddle Collection of private papers of those who lived through the First World War, by Mr Menzies’ daughter.Jimmy Menzies, who had signed up at the age of 18 not long after war broke out, was badly wounded in the Battle of the Somme in August 1916.He performed in concert parties during the remainder of the war and was discharged before the armistice was signed, the university said, then went on to become a singer and actor, famous for his comic baritone roles with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company in the 1920s. In 1923 he married fellow D’Oyly Carte singer Elsie Griffin, who had entertained British troops in France during the war, popularizing songs such as Danny Boy and Roses of Picardy in the trenches.
Here is the full letter, translated:
I’m answering your letter that I received this morning, it gave me great pleasure to hear that you’re well; I am also well, as are all the family. I think of you always, and send you my very best wishes. If you are in Candas as you said I hope you will come and see us, as it’s not very far from us. Next time you can send me more details. My parents send their best wishes and say hello.
With best wishes from a girlfriend who thinks of you always.
My love you
When shall I see you again
Hoping to get some good news from you soon.
Eleonore Aneelle, Cafe de la Poste, Berteaucourt-les-dames, Somme.