”We are on our way to the trenches again...so write soon”

Robert Templeton would set off for the war from Newton Stewart Railway Station.
Photo credit - Stephen McDowall
Robert Templeton would set off for the war from Newton Stewart Railway Station. Photo credit - Stephen McDowall

This week we reprint the last letters home from Private Robert Templeton from Wigtown to his mother Maggie.

“Dear Mother

I had your letter the other day. Glad to hear of things going so well with you. We have been in another attack. We took part of a German trench. It was a hot time for three days holding it until it was sorted up as it was badly smashed with shells. We are badly in need of a rest. There is only the one officer left now in the company, the rest are wounded. I was very lucky indeed as there was a lot of sniping and it is mostly a finish up if he gets you.

It is very hot just now and I am feeling it a bit. I would like you to send me a shirt, a light one with no lining will do fine. I am not wearing drawers now.

I received the parcel with the roast fowl in it and it was in splendid condition and had not been long on the road. I had the best tea since I came out here and a good bit left for today. I must thank you very much for it.

I had two parcels from Jessie (sister) and the plums were fine I must say. I was very pleased to get them and they were in fine condition. You needn’t trouble sending me any more salmon as it must cost you more than it is worth. I had the paper also and I am glad you are getting better weather now. You seem to be getting on so well with the new binder, such a success. The old one never was the plan. It was too heavy. Many a sore back I had at it. I see plenty of the same make out here and they work well.

“We have been getting it pretty hard this last day or two and will soon be on the move again.”

“Dear Mother

“We have been on the move for three days and have not had an opportunity of getting any letters away. We did a very big march yesterday, but did not come far today and I expect there will be a post today. I had a letter two days ago and I was glad to hear of you getting on so well, and I hope by the time this reaches you that you will have a good lot of the corn in as it has been fine weather for harvesting for a number of days back and I only hope you are able to take advantage of it.

“We are on our way to the trenches now, and as it is a good deal colder now, a pair of socks won’t go wrong, but I am not in a great hurry. The ones I have are rather thin and the marching is sore on them.

“Well, I hope this finds you well and getting on all right. Write soon......With love, your affectionate son Bob.”

That was Bob’s last letter home to his mother, dated September 17th. He was killed on September 26th, 1917, aged 26.

He is one of thousands of World War One servicemen who have no known grave but whose name is engraved and forever remembered on memorials at Tyne Cot in Flanders and here at Kirkinner.

Next week, we will bring our tribute to Private Templeton to a close with his mother’s letters. Read more of Private Templeton’s letters online at www.gallowaygazette.com