I've just noticed a little scribbled note in my work diary . . . "blog about the postcard" . . . I almost forgot. So here's the story of a postcard that was passed on to my Mum from her cousin; earlier this year he'd found the card among some old papers belonging to his grandmother.
The post mark reads DOVER 11am 18 Sep 1918, the one penny stamp is stuck on upside down and written in pencil is the recipient's name, Mrs. A. J. Few "Grocer Etc."
Do you think the writer was in a hurry? Maybe young and not used to writing postcards? Or perhaps tired and nervous?
Here's the message . . .
Arrived here about 5 o'clock this morning am alright don't worry. Will write again as soon as possiable. Ern xxxx
This is Ern . . .
And 'here' was the Admiralty Pier at Dover, where thousands of young men boarded troop ships to take them to war.
Before they went, this group of young soldiers from the Northamptonshire Regiment posed for a group photo, there's Ern standing at the back – he's very tall and probably a bit shy. They'd spent the summer on the Isle of Sheppey learning how to dig trenches, now it was their turn to cross the English Channel to join the battle in Belgium.
Ern and his friend Harold (front right in the photo) were two of the lucky ones, they survived uninjured and came home.
I've written about Ern before in this post, he's my Grandad, here's his kit bag lock and cap badges – a standard one and special shiny brass one for parades, I'll keep the postcard and photo with them.
Cliff thought the upside down stamp could be a coded message, and with a little research we've found that it could mean "I love you" and is a convention often used by soldiers during wartime.