The following extracts are from letters brothers Jack and Jim Stevens wrote home to their family at Dyer’s Crossing during WW1.
Easter Sunday 1916, Egypt. Jack to his sister May:
No one can understand what the letters from Australia mean to us over here. We are all in splendid health, and get as good treatment as one could expect. We’ve got lots of gifts from different funds, and they contain some amusing letters.1
6 October 1917, France. Jim to his parents:
A line to let you know I am well, hoping all at home is the same. We had a big battle two days ago, on the 4th, and I am thankful to be here today. I know, mother, it was your prayers that brought me through all right. Mother, I know how lonely you are with us boys away. But cheer up, and I hope next Xmas the empty chairs will be filled.2
13 October 1917, France. Jack to his brother Leo:
Jim had a narrow escape a few days ago. Two of his officers were killed beside him. We meet every day; we are only a mile apart. The last month was the roughest I’ve had since I’ve been in the army, but I have come out safely. We were packing ammunition up to our guns with mules, and Fritz spotted us, and eight of the party I was in got wounded, and a lot shell-shocked. So now, dear brother, I will say by-bye, hoping you will all have a happy Xmas… 3
Aug 1918, France. Jim to his mother:
‘I have left my souvenirs with a lady in England, as I thought they may not reach you if I forwarded them. If anything should happen, mother, they will be sent to you when this is over.’4
1 February 1919. Jim to his parents:
After being wounded I was lying for 24 hours without being treated. I will take my ‘souvenir’ home with me. I would feel happy if I had that piece of shell in my pocket instead of in my left lung.5 Thankfully both men survived.
Author: Joan Holmes (nee Stevens)
More Stevens’ stories:
James Hickey Stevens: https://midcoaststories.com/2018/09/james-hickey-stevens/
John Daniel Stevens: https://midcoaststories.com/2019/02/bombardier-john-daniel-stevens/
Eliza and George Stevens’ daughters: https://midcoaststories.com/2019/01/the-stevens-daughters/
Eliza and George Stevens’ Sons: https://midcoaststories.com/2019/01/the-stevens-sons/
1 Northern Champion, 19 August 1916, 6.
2 Northern Champion, 5 January 1918, 6.
4 Northern Champion, 14 September 1918, 4.
5 Northern Champion, 1 February 1919.