During September The Galloway Gazette has published the enchanting letters home of a local soldier, Private Robert Templeton, who lived at Broadfield Farm, near Wigtown.
Private Templeton, who served with the Scottish Rifles, was killed on September 26th, 1917. But as his body was never found his family did not receive any confirmation of his fate. He would be reported missing and his loved ones back home left in limbo.
The following two letters are to Private Templeton from his mother, written when she was still unaware of her son’s death. They were eventually returned to her, unopened, by War Office.
October 9th, 1917
“My Dear Bobby
Just a line as I am beginning to get anxious about you as I have not had any letters for a fortnight now. Maybe there will be one today as there was no mail yesterday. Something must have happened, whether an air raid or what I don’t know.
“I had a letter the other day from Aunt Janet. What a fright they had got with the last one (air raid). The bombs were dropping about 300 yards from them and did a lot of damage. It is a serious time for us and we are no further forward on with the harvest. It has been raining every day and there is a big flood today. Surely it will stop now. The wind is in the north and drying it up a bit but the corn must be awfully wasted. But we will just have to do our best.
“Now, is there anything you will want? I told Jessie to send drawers and shirt and socks, so I expect she has sent them on by now. If there is anything else let me know.
“I hope you are all right and in the best of health.
With much love from Your Mother.”
October 13th, 1917
“My Dear Bobby
I still have had no letters, but I trust that you are safe and all right.
There was a parcel of clothing sent so I hope you get it all right as I know you will be feeling the cold now. The weather here is much colder with hard frost in the mornings.
“We have not got the corn all in yet. We have about ten stacks to put in and have 23 in. There is a great crop in the big field, it is just a pity the weather is so bad. We have not had two dry days this week. The cows are failing fast now but the cheese is still a good price. John (brother) and Watt (farm hand) were at the market yesterday. There were not near so many folk as usual. The cattle had been making great prices, up to £39 for stores and stirks to £25.
“It is a year yesterday since you went away. How I do wish you were safely back.
“I have not much time to write more just now as it is post time. Hope to hear from you soon.
Love from Mother.”