World War One Visitor - a Memory of Camelford.

In January 1917, my grandfather, Percy Smith, a young soldier from Australia, was on leave from the Front in France. He visited a family in Camelford, and this is the letter he wrote home to his sister. I would love to know more about the family and the area he visited.
Helston Manor
Jan 31st 1917

Dear Maud,
I wrote to Mother last week - the day after I arrived from France and told her about my journey across. The trip across was not very pleasant but you more than make up for that once you get here.

I spent three days in London and had a look at all the sights - St Paul's Westminster Abbey, the tower of London  and all the rest - and then came along to this place where I only intended to stay a couple of days, but have been nearly a week now. I promised the son of these people I would come and see them should I ever be in England and I am glad I did for they are very nice and have given me a splendid time. The day I came here my mates went to Scotland, and I was to join them there in a couple of days, but this is too good to leave especially as you loose (sic) such a lot of time travelling about.

              Camelford is quite a small village on the River Camel only a few miles from the sea, and the place where I am, Helston Manor, is just what you would imagine an old manor to be. The family (at home) consists of a grown up son, a boy going to school, and two girls, who have been taking me to see all the sights about.

              On Sunday last one of the girls who is the organist took me to a little church about two miles from here, and I don’t think you could imagine anything so old fashioned as it is. The church, the people and the vicar, who by the way is about eighty-four - all seemed to be part of some by-gone age.

               Monday we did the "block" in Camelford, Tuesday we went all around the country side, which is very nice even now. It must be lovely in the summer. And yesterday (Wed) we went to see some old slate quarries not far away. I don't know what is on today - at present it looks very like another fall of snow - but to-morrow I return to London, as I go back to France on Friday (2nd Feb)
The day before I left France we had just come out of action and expected to go to another part of the line, either somewhere near Thiepeval, or else right away from the Somme altogether, most likely to Armentiers, so we might take a day or two to find the battery again.

I was sorry to hear of your illness but hope you are better again now.
I have been keeping very well and have put on a lot of weight since coming here. I am somewhere about twelve stone now.

The war still continues but I hope we shall see the end this year. Germany will take some crushing, but I believe we are now in a position to do it. The coming summer will tell anyway.

Must close with love to all

A memory shared by Sally Edsall on Mar 31st, 2007. Send Sally Edsall a message

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