Letters by Joseph Hall
178 Tom Lane
11 June 1917
We are grateful for your heartfelt letter about Gilbert & our possible loss. We are hoping we may yet hear of him being a prisoner of war, & that we may have his dear presence amongst us again. He was a bright cheerful and modest lad and never gave me any trouble, tho' he lost his mother when he [was] but a little over 6 years old. As you say he was a hero - he left bright and promising prospects (had won his way to Oxford) to serve his King & Country - knew what possibilities lay ahead, but he never flinched. He was just about 20 years old when he got his Commission; January-February last.
Your family are indeed doing their bit - Father & 2 boys, & for so long too. I can quite sympathise with your feelings & thoughts about them, & trust they will go thro' as they have done so far.
With our kindest regards, to you and Hilda
This was followed by a second letter dated 15th June 1917:
We were very sorry to receive the sad news of your youngest son's death in action - 'tis a noble death & we honour such men deep down in our hearts - England needs to be proud of them - men of the "island breed" - ready (tho' one might not think it) & eager at the call of King & Country. And they to, realising well enough what their going may lead to. This to an extent assuages our grief at their loss, but still there is the feeling of heart-wrench & a terrible blank, only those know it who have lost a loved & dear one so suddenly. Others can only faintly guess at one's sorrow & sense of loss.
No news yet of Gilbert - will let you know when we hear. With our kindest regards & sympathy