The excerpts came from Love Letters of the Great War (Macmillan, Lon, 1914) edited by Mandy Kirkby. All the WWI letters showed the tenderness of the feelings for loved ones of soldiers who were being called upon to suffer the appalling physical conditions of living in war zones – from a soldier in the trenches of France to another about to board a ferry in North Africa or another leaving his family in Penza, Russia, perhaps never to see them again.
The excerpts included an erotic love letter from the French poet Apollinaire and a ‘Dear John’ letter addressed to Ernest Hemingway, part of the basis for his later novel A Farewell to Arms. In one letter the wife of an Australian soldier pledged that if he died she would never love anyone else, she’d just look after their baby.
Our readings were performed to honour those who died or were injured in war, as well as innocent victims who always suffer when their lives are overturned by horror. Ours was a call to peace, a plea to an end to all wars by means of education and negotiation.
Photo credit Chris Waters. Readings by Jeremy Gilling, Meg Mooney, Chris and Geetha Waters, Christine Williams.
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