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Private Bernard Hollins


Harrogate Herald 10th January 1917

Bernard Hollins writes : 

Dear Mr Breare, First of all let me wish you - what shall I say? "A prosperous New Year". One cannot really say a happy New Year, as under the present state of things, one cannot really say one is happy with a horrid war staring them in the face daily. Anyhow, let's hope 1918 new year we shall be able to say a happy one for that year, for all those that can have one, but I am afraid that when the boys come home there will be many whose lives will never be happy again, when their loved one is not with those that return. So for 1917 I repeat my wishes, and may all of you at home have as prosperous a time as is possible. The paper still arrives every Sunday morning without a miss. What a page of honours the last edition had. Doesn't it make one feel proud of "Our Boys"? One could hardly believe there were such gallant lads, but now we know; they have had their chance to show what they could do and they've done it, and they were (or a good many of them were when I was a Volunteer in the good old days) mostly old Volunteers, but now (instead of being the penny-a-box Saturday night soldiers of those days) they are all heroes. It is hard to believe that so many of them are DCM winners - let alone other honours, and I don't think many people dare say now (when they return) England's last hopes! There's many a true word spoken in jest. The last hope this time being first in the field and won the greatest honours, haven't they? What a meeting it will be when all is over and the boys are back again, and in the Valley gardens telling the various tales about when they were in the trenches - somewhere in France - on Xmas Day, 1915, etc., I know. Where I am now, this Xmas our boys were talking about where they were last Xmas, and talking about whizz bangs and other small pills, until we actually thought we were there, in the mud, etc. In fact, we got so interested that things began to get a bit lively until one of our chaps dropped a big biscuit tin on the floor, and you can understand what the feeling was like and the shock when we had all got worked up to a high pitch, and our friend who was describing the battle shouts out, "Duck!". They are lads. I never met a more jolly lot than those who have lived the life of rabbits, shall I say. There will be some tales to tell all those at home, and I know there will be some proud parents. As for myself, thank God I have been fortunate enough, or fate perhaps has had it, that I should be where I am; anyhow, all I can say is it good luck to the lads who are up amongst the dirty work, and may we all meet again before long. Many thanks for the parcel of books, etc., they reached me safely and I acknowledged them direct to Mr Coleman. It was very kind of him to send them, and I also must thank you for packing them off to me. I gave them to the boys on the hospital ship and they were very pleased to get something to read for a few hours whilst crossing. I was very pleased to see the photos of a few of the ladies who have had honours bestowed upon them. I refer to the Sisters. Speaking from experience of these gallant nurses (having been in hospital myself for a little while suffering from a slight attack of dysentery), they are most attentive and kind, one couldn't wish for better treatment, and they deserve all the praise they get. They are terribly hard-worked, but just simply carry on, and always smiling. You almost get better by their cheerfulness, and they don't half work. Start from 4 o'clock in the morning and more or less at it all day, but never a murmur. All they think about is are you comfortable and is there anything you want, in fact, I often feigned being asleep to save them trouble of asking me if there was anything I wanted. Had I had a large card, I felt like putting on it, "No, thank you, Sister". You are so well treated that when you are able to get up, you get scolded for trying to do any little job there is to do as a repayment for what they have done for you, and when you are discharged to duty, it is as bad as leaving home. To tell you the honest truth, it's a long time since I enjoyed being sick! Well, Mr Breare, I am afraid I have taken up a lot of your valuable time, I know you are a very busy man. If I have done so, please don't shorten your letter to the boys, but put a bit of overtime in and make that Dictaphone of yours rattle more. I think your letter to us is generally the first thing we look for. Give my kind regards to all, and thanking you and all your workers for sending the papers.


Harrogate Herald - 13th June 1917

W H Breare letter

I have several good friends at the Front who are always willing to look out for wounded soldiers and send me news of them. I want, now, through the medium of this letter, to thank them sincerely. As I am so busy and private letters accumulate, will they continue to watch this column and do what they can for the boys I name. For instance, Bernard Hollins, when he saw Mawson and Jenkinson mentioned as in hospital, he went to see them, but it was too late, they had gone. I thank him all the same.


Harrogate Herald - 20th June 1917

W H Breare letter

To Bernard Hollins : Thanks for the address.


Harrogate Herald - 14th November 1917

W H Breare letter

Yesterday Private B Hollins, who is in the Army Pay Office at the base, and whom you will remember as son of Mr & Mrs J T Hollins, 4 Franklin Mount, looked in to see me accompanied by his wife. It seems when he first went out he had to go to hospital with illness, but has since been well and looked so yesterday. He occasionally sees a Harrogate boy and had met Wilkinson, the cricketer, two months ago, when Wilkinson was in hospital at Wimereaux. Hollins has been out eighteen months, and this is his first leave. Horace Rymer was buried in his village, and he often takes flowers to the grave. Miss Tomlinson, of Tanfield, is a VAD, in a hospital there.


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