Valentine’s Day Love Letter
The Memorial recently acquired a mysterious letter. It is beautifully written and decorated, but we don't know much about it. It seems it was written by a French woman to her sweetheart, and we assume he was Australian, as the letter ended up in Australia. We do not know who they were, but we do know that the letter was written on 25 August 1918 and was sent from Saint-Sulpice-les-Feuilles in France. The writer, Martha (or perhaps Marthe) Gylbert, obviously missed her soldier, and went to a great deal of trouble to decorate the letter. It seems that the two were engaged to be married, as the letter ends with the words (almost obscured with kisses) "wife to be very soon".
As can be seen from the images above, the letter is written in broken English and is difficult to read. Below is a transcript with some minor corrections:
My Darling Little Sweetheart, Just few lines hoping that my letter find you in the best of Health. I am very well myself at present and my family the same.
Well Lovey, you see I am faithfully thinking of you not too one else only to you. You know I love you very well my Little Husband. I am never love any body else. if you [illegible, probably 'get'] killed I stay every time with my little Baby. if you give me one. I hope to see you very soon. Darling I Dream about you last night I see you married with one else. I don't thing you [illegible - looks like 'daw date'.]
So will close now with the best Remembrance from all my family and me. Best Love and Kisses XXX from your ever Loving Little Sweetheart. Wife to be very soon.
We are hoping that someone will be able to identify a relative of the soldier or his French sweetheart before we open our Love and War exhibition in late 2009.
The exhibition will look at the effect of war on those who were married, or who met and fell in love, during wartime.
We have also set up a group on Flickr, the photo sharing website, called Australian War Memorial: Love and war for people to share their images and stories about the Australian experience of love in times of war.