Archives: Humour amid the horror of the First World War trenches

Nostalgia - from The Standard's archives
Nostalgia - from The Standard's archives

1915: A letter written home from a Boston soldier serving in the trenches of the First World War spoke of homour amid the horror and destruction.

Sapper J. P. Farmer, of the 23rd Company, was writing home to his uncle Mr H. S. Ward of Eastville.

“There are churches with absolutely nothing left standing, only a little bit of wall here and there,” he said. “ We go out to work on ‘No Man’s Land’ and we have to track through mud to get there - and you can’t help but laugh when someone gets stuck, and another one tries to get him out.

“I dropped in an old shell hole the other night - up to my knees in mud and water. No-one saw me, so there was no laugh. The ground around is a bit tasty as there has been a lot of fighting, and dead are lying about.

“My first experience of the trenches was a charge.

“We were up with the leading party and jumping over the dead, wounded and dying - with 50 sand bags each, building cover for the infantry. At three o’clock our relief came, and we tracked off home, amid bullets and shells galore.”

He said some fellow soldiers took ‘curios’ from the bodies of the dead, but he did not. He added: “There are scores of things you see lain on the dead - such as gold and silver watches, rings and spectacles - and German money, but one has enough to do looking after himself instead of getting that stuff.”

1975: Plans for a whippet racing track at Wyberton’s Chain Bridge Road were thrown out by Boston’s Development Control Committee.

The application was made by Oldrid and Co Ltd who owned the field in which racing had been taking place on Sundays. It was refused due to concerns for noise on nearby homes, and fears the traffic generated would create a road hazard at the junction of two busy roads and a railway crossing.

A bullock caused quite a stir when it showed up at Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital.

It wasn’t looking for treatment however, it was just enjoying a wander around the hospital grounds.

Police were called and they rounded the creature up before it was returned to its field.

Stock worth thousands of pounds was destroyed after a fire broke out at a supermarket in Boston.

An electrical fault in the store’s ice-cream refrigerator caused the blaze at Grandways in West Street.

All the store’s fresh food and much of the other stock was contaminated by smoke and had to be destroyed.

Area supervisor Brian Almond said: “The place was just full of dense, black smoke like a thick fog.”