Letter of a conscientious objector, 1945

Gordon Harris
From the Letter in the Attic collection
Harris family in gasmasks. Gordon Harris is at the back.
From the Letter in the Attic collection
First page of letter by Gordon Harris. Click to see full-size.
From the Letter in the Attic collection

Gordon Harris was a conscientious objector who lived in Lawrence Road, Hove, during the Second World War.  On the eve of his 21st birthday in 1945, two months after VE day, Gordon wrote a letter to himself. This letter has been shared with the Letter in the Attic project.

“In fifty minutes, it will be July 17th 1945, and I shall be 21 years of age.  Therefore, in the next 15 minutes – all that remains of my youth!  – I am setting down a picture of the world and myself as we are at this moment.”

The final paragraph of the letter reads:

“My philosophy is – Everything will come to me in time. I trust only in myself.  My one real ambition is to marry and retire, an ambition I decided upon at 17 ½ years of age.  Also, I believe that the Key to life is Biology, and it is silly to dramatise such basic events as reproduction, maturity and decay with the trappings of a fictitious romance.  Life is O.K. if you take it as it is, and be sensible, and get the humour out of it, and realise its fullness. It is now 12:10, on Tuesday, July 17th, 1945, so I am 21.  For the life of me, I can’t work up any enthusiasm.
To my lifelong friend,

His daughters, Sarah and Sophie Harris, have contributed Gordon’s letter to the Letter in the Attic project, along with his application to be a conscientious objector.

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Comments about this page

  • I worked with Gordon from 1952 to 1959 at Edmonds & Co this was located at 10 Castle Square above the shops on the south side just below East Street, the building has now been rebuilt, not where you stated.

    By David Collis (12/01/2012)

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