The Letters of Arthur Martin-Leake January 1916

World War One letters from a double VC

Read by Nicholas Blatchley

Ognjen Odobasic - Creative Commons
Serbian Soldiers on Corfu WW1 - Ognjen Odobasic - Creative Commons

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15/1/16 – Brindisi

My dear Mammy

This letter is going to be sent by a new channel, so perhaps it will get to you. Have not heard from you for some time; the postal arrangements are very erratic.

I am still on the same job, that is to say, waiting for developments which do not come about. Everything at present points to be a possible finish to work, or rather the absence of work, & I may be home before very long.

I cannot tell you anything about the show because it is not allowed, & I think anything you may see about it in the papers will be very crooked & distorted truth.

All is very uninteresting here; the town is horrible & the country round has no attractions. If it was not for the navy we should have a very dull time. There is a ship commanded by a man named Law who knows Frank & several other members of the family. He wishes to be remembered to Frank when you next write (name of ship not allowed by censor). There is also a man named Hatcher who knows Frank & wishes to be remembered to him. The weather has been beautiful, sunshine nearly all the time, but the last two days have been stormy & wet. This is a very unhealthy place in the summer on account of the malaria; the country round is wet & produces lots of mosquitos. Even now there are plenty of mosquitos but they are of the harmless variety.

We hear many accounts of the Kaiser’s cancer, & the latest rumours, brought by a man who has just come from England, is that he is dead. Don’t believe this, and at any rate hope it is not true, as a long illness will be good for him.

Best love to all & hoping you are quite fit.

Y[ou]r affect[iona]te son
A.M. Leake

{HALS reference 87032}



My dear Mammy

Am at a place* where there is no post, but now have a chance of sending you a letter in a ship’s bag.

You probably know where I am, if you got my two last letters from Brindisi. The French have taken over this island, & we are trying to establish ourselves also. The whole question seems a complicated one & there is more in it than feeding the Servians [Serbians]. I shall probably return to my former place in a few days, & then don’t know what will happen. The only thing I can say at present is that it is unlikely for me to have a job, & I may be returned before long.

Don’t worry if you get no letters as these opportunities are scarce.

Best love & hoping you are all quite fit.

Y[ou]r affect[iona]te son
A.M. Leake

{HALS reference 87036}

* Corfu


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