• Michael Ritchie

February 24, 1918

Updated: Mar 14, 2019


Dear Mother and Father,

Well here goes a try at writing. I have been scribbling for a couple of days and this is the result. I do hope, Mother, that you are feeling your own dear self again. I am glad to see that you are improving by your last letter from home.

I am at present at a large military hospital in Manchester after a long journey. I was terribly sick in mid channel but am feeling my best now. It was mighty rough and I wasn’t a good sailor. We were on a little tub of a boat but very fast. I am able to get up in the ward now and as soon as I get my kit, expect to be able to walk out. I have been out in a bath chair.

My wounds have very nearly all closed except the one in the front of the shoulder which is also nearly healed but requires attention yet. My arm is immovable at the shoulder and a little play at the elbow while my wrist and hand is normal again, only a little awkward. Massage is loosening up the other joints OK though.

I received I think all your parcels. The birthday box was fine and the cake wonderful. The knitted jacket you sent me I had on when I was hit. The stretcher bearer cut through tunic, jacket and everything to get the shoulder clear to dress. In fact he stripped me to the waist and I came out that way to C.C.O. with a coat over my left shoulder.

It was certainly a real live war-like, place with the shells scraping against each other to get a smack at you.

Jack’s engagement was certainly rather suddenly sprung on me. I was thinking that perhaps business was keeping him from home so many Sundays judging from you letters, but I am very glad to hear it.

I have spent many anxious moments wondering to what extent the fire in Peterborough had got to. I saw a short paragraph in the Daily Mail (London) to the effect that half the business section was destroyed.

Well I will draw rather precipitately to a close. My fingers are getting numb and cramped, but will write again. With love and kisses to all. Believe me, I am heading straight for home soon as I can get a medical board.

Your affectionate son,

Vincent

This is another one of Vincent's letters from a sick bed in a hospital. Luckily it seems that he is back to writing his own letters without the help of a nurse. He is currently at the H.S. 2nd Western General Hospital in Manchester, England, after what seems to be a pretty rough voyage across the channel. From his records, it seems that he arrived at the Manchester Hospital on February 21, 1918, and left on April 5 or 6, 1918. There is a bit of information about the hospital here if you are interested. You can also see Vincent's military files which include all of his hospital files related to this injury here.

There are a couple of notable topics within this letter. The first is the engagement of his brother Jack, whom he writes home to the odd time. This is apparently a shock for Vincent, which isn't overly surprising as he has been away from home for about a year and a half, in which time a lot can happen. Another bit of information that becomes clear is the mention of the fire in Peterborough, in which Vincent has been pleading in his letters home to know more about, and he seems to have been able to track down some information on it. If anyone has information about what this fire was and what might have caused it I would definitely be interested in knowing about it.

During his letters home so far after the injury occurred he has not mentioned much about how the injury happened and what happened after. In this letter he opens up about it a little more as he talks about his clothes being cut off to clear the wound, and he also mentions how the shells were landing all around him, which is how he most likely received his injury.

The letter is below, you will see that in the date he has it written as 1917, I believe this is just a slip of the pen as many of us do when a new year comes around, as he was definitely not in the Manchester Hospital in 1917 with an injury that makes it hurt for him to write.

Thank you all for continuing to read these and share them and provide your input, it makes this experience a very special one indeed!

Thank you.

Michael Ritchie

#2ndWesternGeneralHospitalManchester #1918 #history #injury #hospital #WorldWar1 #WWI #peterborough #LettersFromVincent

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