Otley WW1 soldier's letters of love and longing to be home

Wharfedale Observer: The envelopes of Cyril Longstaff's letters The envelopes of Cyril Longstaff's letters

It is signed “Your ever-loving son Cyril” and concludes with no fewer than 11 kisses.

Any mother would be happy to receive such a letter from her son, but for Mrs Longstaff, of 7 Hamilton Terrace, Otley, it would surely have been even more welcome as it was proof her son was still alive.

Dated October 19, 1918, and written while Cyril was on active service, from “somewhere in France”, it provides fascinating insight into life on the front-line during World War I.

Cyril tells her he is confident he will be home before long and asks his mother “What do people in England think about the war now?”

He goes on to say: “I think my next leave with be for good. I hope so, then I’ll make up for lost time.”

Cyril also talks to his mother about looking forward to her letters and asks her to send him a new sponge as someone has pinched his.

He talks about writing to a girl called Florrie and asks to be remembered to all his friends in Otley. But despite Cyril’s hopes of being home in Otley before too long, a second letter, dated after the end of the war in February 1919, reveals he is still “somewhere in France” and still on active service.

He tells his mother he is very busy but also “rather cold” and “nearly starved”.

But despite his hardship he still signs the letter “Your ever-loving son, Cyril”.

The letters have been handed to the Gazette and Observer by a local resident who has had them in her possession for a number of years.

She thinks they were probably inside a book bought in a charity shop, although she’s not sure.

  • Anyone who thinks they have a legitimate claim to the letters should contact the news editor Claire Lomax on (01943) 607022 or email claire.lomax@gazetteandobserver.co.uk

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