Unasked questions

I came across an archive of correspondence sent to an historian called Colin Hughes in 1974. He posted an advert in the local papers of Wales asking for information from any survivors or any material on a book he planned to write on the 38th Welsh Divisional attack on Mametz Wood in July 1916.

Some of the documents were scanned and uploaded. The responses came from the men who had survived those hazardous days of the attack on Mametz Wood and in particular the former fiancé of a man who did not survive that attack.

But it was the simple phrase on one of the responses which caught my eye:

I was there July 10th 1917.

It was the simplicity of the statement. I was there. Sixty years afterwards, the memories had not clouded from the survivors’ minds. They remained in crisp, proud and sombre existence.

Now in 2017, I’m just pleased that Colin Hughes asked the question.

The book he wrote was published: Mametz: Lloyd George’s Welsh Army at the Battle of the Somme. It is a book I will go and search out.