This week’s war: 101

“…If Michael has been sent to certain hospitals…

I don’t know what to think. If one is to assume as all one’s friends assure me, that the absence of any word like “serious” or “grave” means that it is only an ordinary wound, which however slow or painful will not matter in the long run, then I shall be infinitely grateful: for to confess the truth I have been in dread every moment of this new push. Convinced that it would be desperate and murderous to our young men, whatever the ultimate result.

At any rate the telegram implies that Michael is in a hospital, here or in France, where he will receive every attention. It might be infinitely worse. The wire might have brought the worst news – I hardly dared open it. Or he might have been “missing”, which is almost worst of all. Or a prisoner in the hands of the Germans. Wherever he is now he will have a chance.

I will get further particulars from the War Office and let you know at once. I gather it will be difficult to get the hospital [?]; but we ought soon to know. Mick may even have been among those who reached London the other day. What worries me is that we have not heard from him personally as we did before; but if he is in France it may be impossible or difficult to get letters or wires through…

…I wonder what the dear boy was doing – whether he was in charge of a machine gun and where. I have asked Harvey [?] to try and find out about the place of the 8th K.R.R. – perhaps he may be able to.”

5th July 1916. Letter from John Sampson, University Librarian, to his wife [Sampson Archive SP8/1/2/11/56]. This week’s war: 101.