A Ballymoney man has launched his first podcast of the letters his grandfather sent to his mother during World War 1 - and here is September 1914!
Mark Adams from Kilraughts Road discovered the 100-year-old letters after his father, local historian John Adams, had them stored away safely.
Written between 1914-1919, the letters tell the harrowing story of life on the Western Front, being wounded twice and going back to fight in the Battle of Messines and the Ypres Salient (Passchendaele).
Now exactly 100 years on, Mark is celebrating his grandfather’s life and bravery by reading the letters along with his family and posting them online to the world including the Ballymoney and Moyle Times website.
Mark explained: “My grandfather, John Adams (1890-1971) (Army No. 13971) fought with the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers in the Great War, and he wrote letters home, to his mother, over the period 1914-1919.
“He started this period in a training camp in Newtownards, moved to Sussex for further training and was deployed to the Western Front. He was wounded two months before the Battle of the Somme, and spent Christmas in a camp in Tipperary. He went back to the Front in early 1917 and was involved in the Battle of Messines and further fighting in the Ypres Salient (Passchendaele). He was wounded in October 1918, a few weeks before the end of the War.
“He later went on to serve in the Ulster Special Constabulary in Co. Armagh from 1922 until retirement in 1952, and was awarded the MBE in 1952. In the 1960s, he was awarded eight medals, ranging in date from 1914 to 1952.
“Unfortunately my grandfather died a few months before I was born, so I never met him. However my father, an amateur historian, had the letters stored away and he probably wanted to do something with them but never had the opportunity. He died in 1997 and that’s when we unearthed the letters and decided to do something with them.”
As the letters start in September 1914, Mark and his family decided to broadcast the first podcast this month.
Mark continued: ““My two older brothers, John and Roger, who both live in England and Scotland, took the letters and transcribed them onto a webpage (johnadams.org.uk/letters) using the technology that was not available to my father.
“Since this was the 100 years since my grandfather joined up, the three of us took a trip to follow his footsteps in the western front (http://johnadams.org.uk/letters/category/flanders-2014). The letters were very useful in figuring out where my grandfather fought. I found it a very sombre experience.
“I had been podcasting on another topic for the past year or two, and decided that it would be a good use of the skills I learned to podcast the letters 100 years on from dates they were written. We will be using the grandchildren to voice the words that John Adams sent home, and his great grand children to narrate the history of the War.
“My two children, Charlotte (10) and Katherine (8), along with their cousins, Roger’s girls, Caitlin (18) and Riona (16) are all involved so it is a great family venture.”
To find out more: The letters are archived: johnadams.org.uk/letters
To the podcast: johnadams.org.uk/letters/category/podcast/
To iTunes: itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/john-adams-letters-from-front/id914295922
To my podcasts: marksmesspodcasts.blogspot.co.uk/