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Mystery war message: "I hope your kilt will fit you well"

A mystery message has been found in the folds of a kilt, which dates back to the First World War.

As economic historian Dr Helen Paul was removing the packing stitches from the kilt, which has been passed down her family over many years, she discovered the note.

The World War One kilt
A specialist at the University of Southampton is impressed with the condition of the kilt, considering how old it is Credit: University of Southampton

The University of Southampton academic hopes to trace the descendants of the seamstress who left the note of the kilt which was destined for a soldier heading to the frontline. The note reads:

"I hope your kilt will fit you well & in it you will look a swell If married never mind If single drop a line Wish you bags of luck & a speedy return back to Blighty"

The world war one mystery message
The mystery message found in the kilt is in good condition Credit: University of Southampton

The kilt would have been made for a soldier sent to fight in the war, but some some unknown reason, it was never unpacked or worn.

Helen says, “This garment has been in our family for a number of decades, and until recently, we were completely unaware there was such an intriguing secret hidden in its folds. It was a real surprise when the note fell out.

“My father tried to trace any relatives of the note’s author a few years ago, but his efforts failed and I’m hoping to pick up where he left off.

“There are many unanswered questions. We don't know how many of these poems this lady sent. Was this a one off, or were there many more lost to the battlefield, or even still existing undiscovered? If there were more, did anyone ever answer her message and indeed did she ever meet and marry a soldier returning from the war?"

Memorial service for thousands who died on ships during First World War

Thousands who died on passenger ships during the First World War have been remembered at a special memorial service.

Scores of ships belonging to Southampton and Liverpool based Cunard and P&O were sunk during the conflict with many crew and passengers on board being killed.

The memorial in Ireland - where one of the worst attacks took place - was attended by hundreds of crew and passengers.


Memorial service for First World War Indian soldiers

The Chattri Memorial Service Credit: ITV Meridian

The Chattri Memorial Service remembering Indian soldiers in the First World War has taken place in Sussex. Injured Indian soldiers were hospitalised in the Dome in Brighton. The Hindus and Sikhs who died were cremated on the Downs and, in 1921, the Chattri Memorial was constructed on the site.

Reading street to be named after WW1 hero

A street in Reading is to be named after Trooper Fred Potts Credit: ITV Meridian

A street in Berkshire will be named after a World War One hero. Trooper - Fred Potts is the only person from Reading to be awarded the Victoria Cross. Known as the hero with the shovel, he won the medal in 1915 for rescuing a comrade in Turkey.

Trooper Potts Way - will be unveiled opposite Reading Railway Station, next month.

Remains of WW1 battlefield discovered in Gosport

The remains of an entire practice battlefield, the size of nearly seventeen football pitches has been found on heathland in Gosport. It was used for training troops before they were sent to the frontline in the First World War.

Remains of the battlefield are recorded Credit: MOD

The discovery marks the start of Home Front Legacy 1914-18, a project on which English Heritage and the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) are working together to record the physical remains of the war on home territory.

Remains of the battlefield are recorded Credit: MOD

Dan Snow, President of the Council for British Archaeology, is calling for volunteers to help find and record vulnerable sites,– camps, drill halls, factories and observation posts for example, before they and the stories they bear witness to are lost forever.

Remains of the battlefield are recorded Credit: MOD

MP for Gosport Caroline Dinenage said, “If confirmed through research, this remarkable discovery will further entrench the hugely important role that Gosport played in supporting Britain’s Armed Forces throughout World War One.

I have always been proud of Gosport’s historic ties to the military and it is hugely exciting to hear that our area has inspired the launch of a nationwide hunt for First World War sites.”



Diaries 'allow us to hear voices of WW1 soldiers'

The publication of thousands of diaries from servicemen who fought in the First World War will enable their voices to heard, Culture Secretary Maria Miller said.

Read: First World War diaries digitised for 'citizen historians'

Speaking ahead of the publication of the extracts today, she said:

The National Archives' digitised First World War unit diaries will allow us to hear the voices of those that sacrificed their lives and is even more poignant now there are no living veterans who can speak directly about the events of the war.

This new online vehicle gives a very public voice to some of these soldiers, through which we will be able to hear their thoughts and feelings.

Read the diaries on the National Archive site here


First World War diaries 'to humanise' historical battle

The online publication of thousands of pages of diary entries from the First World War will allow "allows people across the world to discover daily activities, stories and battles of each unit for themselves", author and military records specialist William Spencer said.

Read: First World War diaries digitised for 'citizen historians'

The dairies are the most popular records held from the National Archives First World War collection. Credit: Press Association

The diaries are the most popular records from The National Archives' First World War collection and are being digitised as part of the organisation's centenary programme.

Mr Spencer said he hopes the publication of the diaries will enable people to learn more about the First World War, and shed some light on the thoughts and feelings of the men who fought it. He said:

"It's interesting because it's humanising it. War is a de-humanising thing."

Read the diaries on the National Archive website here


First World War diaries digitised for 'citizen historians'

Hundreds of thousands of pages of diaries from units from the First World War have been digitised and will be available to read online today.

The National Archives is publishing the first batch of unit diaries from France and Flanders as part of the organisations centenary programme.

Around 300,000 pages of First World War unit Credit: Press Association

The organisation is hoping that "citizen historians" will read the diaries to unearth new discoveries about life at war.

War Graves museum opened by Duke of Kent

The Duke of Kent today officially opened a new museum in memory of the servicemen and women who died in the two world wars.

The museum is based at the headquarters of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Berkshire and houses a collection of war memorabilia.

Our reporter Mel Bloor spoke to CWGC Director General Alan Pateman-Jones and the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Cllr Andrew Jenner.

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