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Forever sweethearts

The archive of Will Martin and Emily Chitticks starts before their engagement and ends with Will’s death in France on 27 March 1917, while he was fighting with the  Devonshire Regiment. Emily’s love-letters to him were duly returned marked “Killed in action”. Then 20, Emily was devastated by her fiance's death and never married. and after her death, in 1974, the letters were found in her flat and offered to the Imperial War Museum, where they can now be found.
Although records reveal that William Martin was buried, his grave was never found. He is commemorated on the Fauborg d'Amiens memorial at Arras.

France, 24 March, 1917

My dearest Emily
Just a few lines dear to tell you I am still in the land of the living and keeping well, trusting you are the same dear, I have just received your letter dear and was very pleased to get it. It came rather more punctual this time for it only took five days. We are not in the same place dear, in fact we don't stay in the same place very long... we are having very nice weather at present dear and I hope it continues... Fondest love and kisses from your
loving Sweetheart

Will
xxxxxxxxxxx

Three days after this letter William Martin was killed in action. Emily Chitticks continued to write, ignorant of his death, but oddly she changed to writing in red pen the day after William died. Five of her letters were returned marked "killed in action".

29/3/17

Mr Dearest Will
I was so delighted to get your letter this morning and know you are quite alright. I am pleased to say I am alright myself and hope dear this will find you the same. I was so pleased to hear darling that you had such a nice enjoyable evening, It was quite a treat I am sure. I don't suppose you do get much amusement.
I am glad you are getting my letters dear, I am not waiting until I get your letters dear now before I write because it would make it so long for you to wait for a letter, and I guess you are pleased to get as many as possible.

I can understand darling your not being able to write as frequently. I shall get used to waiting for your letters soon I guess, but at first it seems so strange after being used to having them so regularly.

Well darling I don't know any more to say now and I am feeling sleepy. Oh I wish you were here darling, but its no good wishing. Fondest love and lots of kisses from

your everloving little girl Emily
xxxxxxxxxxxx


Emily's letters were returned marked 'killed in action'

you can see Will Martin's name
at the top of  page ten
 

the actress Joanna Lumley
compiled a book of letters
from sweethearts, called
Forces Sweethearts, which
contains some of Will and Emily's
letters. read an interview Ms Lumley
did with The Lady magazine, in 2004
and find out more, and the very odd
thing that occurred to her
 

where the complete collection
of the Will and Emily Letters
are held
 

with whom Will Martin was serving
at the time of his death
 

a really good resource site
the website aims to provide
an overview of the battlefields
and sites of educational
interest for the visitor today

The story of the British Army
in the First World War
a well laid out
very informative website
 

"My Dearest Emily....." [click for larger image]

World War 1 Remembered

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