A note on the letters. The transcripts may include abbreviations or spelling inconsistencies and errors. We have chosen to transcribe the letters as they appear so that they are an accurate reflection of John Oldfield’s style and personality. We have also included his original page numbering. Where language is used that we would deem offensive, those words have been replaced with XXX.
5th Bn. The Green Howards
My dear Mum and Daddy,
I want to get a line off to you before the post goes in 20 mins so that you will have something from me over the weekend. I have just come back from what we were told was going to be a Memorial Service for a Private in my Company who collapsed and died in the company office on Friday afternoon after a mess. country run. Actually, I think we went to the wrong church or someone had made a mistake as the service was an ordinary afternoon service. This boy was one of the stretcher bearers, in Corp.H.Q, a topping lad, young and very keen – he spared himself nothing to do well in these runs and this time must have literally run himself out, he collapsed only ten yards from the Finishing Post and must have died of Heart failure before we could carry him into the office.
2, We did I think, everything possible to save him but it was no good, and the M.O said, when he arrived, had he been there he could have done nothing. It has worried me, although I cannot blame myself, but it’s such a rotten thing to happen and seems a waste that such a game kid should go out like that. I wrote to his mother at once, and shall be pleased when all the familiarities of P.Ms and inquests are done with. There is nothing one can do about it .
Thank you Mums, so very much indeed for the wizard chocolates and some most extravagant cigarettes wh. I love. It is sweet of you, I cannot think how you manage it but is appreciated so much.
Would have written to you earlier in the day but only got back from a 48 hour scheme at lunchtime to-day. Will write that long letter I promised you to-night.
Godbless dears and all my love,