WW1 Centenary Site

Found this great WW1 Centenary Site by Paul Reed at http://www.somme1916.com/

There’s a moving letter by Second Lieutenant Eric Rupert Heaton, of the 16th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment.  He was killed in action on the first day of the Somme, and is buried in Hawthorne Ridge No. 1 Cemetery.

On the night before the battle, he wrote a last letter home:

‘I am writing this on the eve of my first action. Tomorrow we go to the attack in the greatest battle the British Army has ever fought. I cannot quite express my feelings on this night and I cannot tell you if it is God’s will that I shall come through but if I fall in battle then I have no regrets save for my loved ones I leave behind. It is a great cause and I came out willingly to serve my King and Country. My greatest concern is that I may have the courage and determination necessary to lead my platoon well. No-one had such parents as you have been to me giving me such splendid opportunities and always thinking of my welfare at great self sacrifice to yourselves. My life has been full of faults, but I have tried at all times to live as a man and thus follow the example of my father. This life abroad has taught me many things chiefly the fine character of the British race to put up with hardships with wonderful cheerfulness. How I have learnt to love my men; my great aim has been to win their respect which I trust I have accomplished and hope that when the time comes I shall not fail them. If I fall do not let things be black for you, be cheerful and you will be living then always to my memory.’