Claro Times - 27th March 1915
Two Starbeck men, Private Norman J Blackburn, 2nd
West Yorkshire Regiment, and Private Arthur Wells, 1st West
Yorkshire Regiment, have been wounded in the battle of Neuve
Private Blackburn, whose home is at 55 Stonefall
Avenue, went to the Front a fortnight before Christmas. Several
letters have been received from him, and on Monday, the 15th of he
present month, an Army postcard was received stating that he had
been wounded. On the 23rd, a British Red Cross Society postcard, was
received at his home, stating that he had been wounded, and admitted
to the 2nd Northern General Hospital, Leeds.
The following letter, dated March 17th, was received
from Private E W Jackson, of the same regiment as Private Blackburn.
The latter became acquainted with Private Jackson shortly after he
had arrived at the Front, and they became "pals" :
"Wanstead Hospital, Margate,
Wednesday, March 17th.
Dear Friend, Just a few lines to let you know who I
am, and why I am writing to you. I want to know if you can give me
Norman's address. Your son and I were very great pals in the
trenches. You know, I have been wounded as well as your son, and he
does not know I was wounded the next day. I am the lad from
Hartlepool, and I believe your son mentioned me in one of his
letters. I got a piece of shell through my shoulder, but I am going
on all right, thank God! It was a terrible battle, but Norman and I
clung together until we got wounded. You see, I am anxious to know
where he is, and how he is going on. Your son was wounded in the
thigh, as he will have told you by now".
The writer then mentions that Corporal Crispin was
killed the day after he, the writer, was wounded. In closing the
letter, he says he is at Margaret, and going on well.
Mrs Blackburn replied to this letter, and received
the following one back, dated March 20th.
"Dear Friend, I am sorry you have not heard
from Norman yet, but you need not worry. I think it was only a flesh
wound, and he will pull through all right. He has plenty of pluck,
and that is what you want when you get wounded. We had to retire
from our trenches for a little while, and then we came back and took
them again. When we came back, that was when Norman was hit.
We had an officer shot through the head the same
time as Norman. But your son did not worry much. He bandaged himself
up, because we could not get to him until dark. But again I say,
your son is a brave soldier, so don't you worry yourself. He will be
all right soon.
Don't send anything, because we get plenty of
everything here, thanking you all the same. Would you like to know
where we are fighting? Well, we were in the thick of it round Neuve
Chapelle, but you see God spared the two of us, and so all is well,
Your son's chum".
On Wednesday a picture postcard of the hospital ship
"Asturias" was received from Private Blackburn. It stated
"2nd Northern General Hospital, Leeds.
Dear Mother, I arrived here on Monday night, and I
am going on well. This is the boat we came over on. I am wounded in
the thigh. It was on the 12th when they hit me, at Neuve Chapelle.
Send me some 'cigs', and a few envelopes and paper. They say I can
send you a pass, and some of you can come and see me,
A photograph of Private Blackburn will appear in our next issue.