My grandfather, Horace Nevard, was kept well informed of the goings on back in his old home of Lexden, Essex, U.K. by his sister Emily. World War I was in full swing at the time of this letter and no doubt quite a concern to all British subjects.
36 Straight Road
June 8, 1915
My Dear Horrie
We were very pleased to receive your letter on the 2nd. Curiously enough I had one from Daisy. They were both posted 18th May and arrived June 2nd. I'd just posted one to you the day before asking if you were still alive.
I am thankful to say we are all alive and well up to the present. The German Zeppelins have been very lively just lately. They passed over London on the night of the 31st. We don't know full particulars of the damage as the government won't allow a full account to be published. They were seen to pass over Colchester on Friday night and on Sunday night they passed over England and killed several people but they won't let the press publish the locality. So they are pretty daring just now. One of our airmen brought down one Zeppelin as they were near the enemy lines. A British monoplane circled above the Zeppelin and dropped a bomb into it. It broke up the Zeppelin and blew the 25 men that were in it all to pieces. The force of the Zeppelin turned the monoplane over and over as it came to the ground but the airman got up the power in his engine and got away.
You said in your letter you had rain on the day you were writing. We do hope you will have plenty of water and a bountiful harvest and a bumper lot of potatos. .
The warmer weather we have had has brought things on fine. The peas are in bloom and Horrie's wheat is in the ear. It is strong and high. Its a fancy of his to plant some wheat each year. As we do not keep fowls in the lower garden he has dug some of it up and have a nice lot of onions and potatos, a few runner beans near the wire netting.
Annie Lusted is going to be married this month. It was the second time of asking on Sunday. I expect they are doing a very good trade now as her young man has left his job as chauffeur and is going to live there and carry on the business. They have five National Reserve men in the room in the back where they used to hold club suppers, etc. (well just for lodging or sleeping I should say).
They get 9d per night.5/3 per week. That means 26/3 per week. A good many are doing fairly well out of the soldiers. The men are having a good time here, better than the poor fellows at the front. They only have to go on guard every 4th night. So they have 3 nights clear and when they are going on guard at night they don't go for a march that day.
Arthur Clayden's wife presented him with a son on Monday morning. I mean Arthur C. whose mother live next to our garden. Harold is still in Philadelphia. Uncle Robert's Walter had the stand off at R. Beaumont's so he is working on the new huts at Reed Hall. He is color man and has to mix all the paints.. The only trouble, he don't get enough work to do. He don't know what to make of it as he was used to being hustled (at R.B.). He gets either 8 or 9d per hour.
Will is still at Mr. Hutton's. He has not enlisted yet but he expects he will have to. Ernie Gooch says he hd enough of the army when he was in it. He is not going to join any more. Fred Denton is still serving butter and bacon at London Road stores. They do a big trade there now. I overheard him say he cut up between 3 and 4 hundred pounds of cheese in a week and he told me he cut up 11 sides of bacon in a week.
You see all London Road and Stanway, Colne Road, Nelson Road, Straight Road, etc., soldiers are billeted. Of course those in the new huts are supplied by the government and some of them billeted out have their rations sent but not the yeomanry. There was a fine account of them at the front in the E.C. Standard a fortnight ago. A lot of poor fellows will never return. Joe Hemmings has been at the base since last August. Just lately he moved into the firing line and he got wounded in one leg. He is in the veterinary corps. and look after wounded and sick horses. Miss Corse Scott was married..............