Welcome to our WWI Blog

Leicester City Arts & Museums Service, in collaboration with The Royal Leicestershire Regiment, is proud to present the First World War letters of Captain John David Hills of the 1/5th (Territorial) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment.

This blog presents, for the first time, the complete archive of letters written by Captain Hills between 1915 and 1918. We will post the letters on this blog 100 years to the day after they were written, starting on 26 February 2015 and ending on 26 November 2018.

One of the exercise books.
One of the exercise books.

Hills sent frequent letters home to his family, sometimes writing several a day, dashing off a few lines whenever the chance arose from wherever he happened to be. His Mother copied the letters into a series of 13 exercise books, sometimes saying where they were sent from and, on a few occasions, making comments about them.

Special thanks are given to museum volunteer Lilian Upton who tirelessly transcribed the original exercise books.

Please refer to the ‘Notes About the Letters’ page for a guide to reading them.

Follow us on this journey of discovery and intrigue as we experience the Great War through the eyes of a young man at the front. As these letters were written to family members rather than for public consumption they give a candid personal viewpoint on one of the most studied periods in human history.

We encourage readers to comment and give us their thoughts on the letters. Please also share through your social media profiles using the buttons at the bottom of the page.

8 thoughts on “Welcome to our WWI Blog

  1. Absolutely brilliant concept. Can’t wait to read the letters. Many congratulations to the transcriber, Lilian. It must have taken great dedication and hours of work. Captain Hills sound like a very interesting man and I am sure it will be fascinating to follow his progress from day to day.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is an amazing project, I can’t wait to read all of those letters – it’s going to be fascinating!


  3. This is a wondrous idea. Publishing the letters in this way helps me to imagine what it was like for families at home, having to wait for news to arrive in the post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is wonderful! My Grandfather Captain Godwin Banwell served with J D Hills (also went to school with him). I have a signed memorandum from him congratulating my grandfather for a good patrol? I look forward to letters post 1916 to see if my grandfather is mentioned.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hello Lilian the transcriber here – Yes Your Grandfather is mentioned Banwell was a familiar name when I was typing up the text

        Liked by 1 person

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