The next letter is from Fred (now returned home) to his ‘Pals' in the Army, in an envelope addressed to Pte Henry Sykes, 9th Batt Duke of Well W.R.R., B. Coy, 8 Platoon, B.E.F, France. The envelope, postmarked Marsden, is stamped on back "Huddersfield Post Office 9 Sept 1918", also stamped "No 2 Infantry … 26 Sept 1918", there is writing in red "Rd" (read?) and the envelope has been re-sealed with a sticker. On the front there is a stamp over the address "R.E. (S.R.) A.P.S." The address (except B.E.F., France) is crossed though in purplish ink, and above it is written, in the same ink, "Deceased F Marshall Lt 8.9.18". The letter was contained in a Services Returned Postal Packet envelope to Fred., 19 Peel St, Marsden, Nr Huddersfield.
Henry Sykes, therefore, died in the War, and never received Fred's letter. He may have been Private Henry Sykes from Netherton, No 267894, 9th Battalion Duke of Wellington's (WRR) who died on 1st September 1918, aged 26 and is commemorated at Vis-en-Artois. "Over 9,000 men … fell in the period from 8 August 1918 to the date of the Armistice in the Advance to Victory in Picardy and Artois, between the Somme and Loos, and have no known grave*22" . Fred's wound and discharge rescued him from possible death in this "Hundred Days Offensive".
19 Peel Street,
Sept. 1st 1918
I received your welcome letter the other day. I was pleased to hear from you also to know that you were all alright at the time of writing. I had begun to be a bit uneasy when I was such a while in hearing from you, for I thought you must be in this last push. You will wonder why I am writing this from home well the reason is that I have been discharged from the army because of my wound in the head, I have been at home about three weeks now. It is the Feast
[First page ends here]
Sunday today and the majority of folks in Marsden are off on there holidays, but I am not going away for a week or two yet. It is miserable weather for it has done nothing but rain today so far. I am sorry that you have lost Leigh Moss to the platoon for he was a decent sort remember me to him. Tell John I have been doing a bit of farming for we have two grand pigs, also two cows two calfes and upteen hens and ducks. I will close now remember me to Tommy Walker also Walt Weatherhill when you see him. I wish you all the best of luck
Your old pal
September 7th 1918
The following letter concerning Fred's War Badge was enclosed in a registered letter. The Services envelope is addressed to Mr Frederick C. Firth, 19 Peel St, Marsden, nr Hudds., with a blue cross on envelope and a red wax seal, date stamped 7th September 1918.
WAR BADGE awarded to Private Frederick Cooper Firth
late No. 204732 The Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment
(Regimental Number and Unit)
for "Services Rendered" in H.M.'s Military Forces since 4th August, 1914
|Station York||W.W. Laxbury Major
Officer by whom Badge is issued
|Date 7 " 9 " 1918||Colonel, O. i/c.
No. 2 Infantry Records, York