A recent arrival into the Library’s collections gives us a rare insight into soldiers’ experiences in the First World War. ‘When the Office Went to War’ contains letters between colleagues from the Great Western Railway Audit Office. It is suggested that these letters between colleagues are often more honest and open than those which were sent to reassure parents and spouses.
The letters from the Front are often warm and witty and create a vivid picture of life at the time. Views of training, life in the trenches, injuries and losses, are all described in these personal letters. There are even concerns raised over the fact that women had temporarily filled the men’s posts back home. They clearly care about their jobs and are anxious to keep ties with the office.
The letters were important to the remaining staff in the Audit Office and were made up into newsletters every month. Correspondences between men from all levels of work in the Great Western Railway was included in the newsletters reflecting views from all classes.
A fantastic set of plates including photos of the men from the front, images of some of the postcards which were sent and commentary from the men, give us a further insight into the characters and close friendships within this group.
A picture is given of a very close-knit group of people, in extraordinary times, keeping each other going and, in the majority of cases hoping for an end to fighting and a return to normal life working with their colleagues again.
You can find further details of When the Office Went to War : War Letters from the Men of the Great Western Railway on our main catalogue.