Letters from the trenches, 1915-1916

Letter to his wife Ethel Whitehouse describing arrival in the trenches and rations
13 November 1915
Letter of condolence to Ethel Whitehouse from Lieutenant J J Banham
6 Mar 1916

Herbert Percy Whitehouse was brought up near Epsom, Surrey. He was killed in February, 1916 just outside Ypres.

Months before his death, he wrote two letters to his wife, Ethel, in Newport Street, Brighton.

Up to your knees in mud and water

“We got in about 2 o’clock this morning. They gave us a small glass of wine and, for breakfast, biscuits and cheese and one small loaf between 12 men. So you see they don’t overfeed us!  I should like to have some of those people that put photos in the papers out here with us for a week. It would open their eyes a bit, I think, up to your knees in mud and water…  P.S. Today one of our chaps got 5 years penal servitude for sleeping at his post in the trenches.”

Percy’s letters, together with two letters of condolence, have been contributed to the Letter in the Attic collection by his grandson, Peter Whitehouse.

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Comments about this page

  • These documents have been of great use as I am researching the 9th RSR as my Grandfather was in the same regiment and these are important as first source material. The Battalions war diaries do not give the same minute details about conditions and how the men felt. Excellent. Luckily my Grandfather survived the war but rarely spoke of it. Thank you for publishing these letters and thank you to his descendants for allowing publication.

    By Gill Gwatkin (19/02/2014)

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