Poignant World War One letters penned by schoolgirl found in Bolton

Poignant World War One letters penned by schoolgirl found in Bolton

Peter Ward holds his aunt's poignant letter

Dora Williams wrote the letters

First published in News
Last updated
The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , news feature writer

POIGNANT letters between a school girl and a soldier fighting in World War One have been discovered almost 100 years after they were exchanged.

In 1915, 15-year-old Dora Williams felt she had to wish a member of the forces “good luck and god speed” despite being advised not to by her school.

The youngster sent the elegantly handwritten note in a pair of socks she darned herself, so the soldier who received it would have something warm to wear.

Despite fighting for his country Private Jack Gilroy found time to reply to his pen friend, thanking her for the gift she enclosed.

Her nephew Peter Ward, of Summerdale Avenue, Heaton, looks fondly at the letters.

The 81-year-old said: “She first told me about these letters many years ago, so when I found them after she died I felt had to keep them.

“She told me she hid the letter in the socks because the teachers at the school were very protective of the girls and probably wouldn’t have been too happy if they found out she’d sent it.

“I think it would have meant a lot for the soldier who received it and it would have been such a terrible time for him being away from his loved ones.”

After the war in 1920, Miss Williams, originally from Liverpool, moved to Bolton and became Mrs Hall after marrying husband Ben, who worked at Hick Hargreaves.

Mrs Hall, known by friends as Dorrie, lived in Tonge Moor and worked as a dinner lady at Castle Hill School.

Mr Ward said: “She was such a special aunty. She moved to Bolton in 1920 and lived in Tonge Moor Road for more than 60 years. Everybody loved her.

“Sadly she lost the ability to have her own children after a minor operation after she married, but she was always everybody’s favourite aunty — including mine.”

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