Below are listed the contents of Aunt Mary's writing box in the possession of cousin Juliet. 

The letters from the trenches have generally been transcribed here as the originals are written on poor quality paper and in pencil and are somewhat illegible.

 

Wilmot Evans is six years junior to Mary Downing but they had grown up as next door neighbours in Hagley. The letters below show an increasing closeness between the two. Mary clearly chose to keep these letters above many others. The background to the first letter is that the South Staffordshires returned from Maritzburg in Sep 1914. Within two weeks Wilmot, a second lieutenant, was in the thick of fighting in the first battle of Ypres, where many of his battalion were wiped out, with an especially high toll of the officers of his rank. Wilmot was wounded on 16 May 1915 and returned first to England and then as the letters relate to Jersey. The planned offensive on the Somme did not in fact come until the 1 July 1916 - the day that he died alongside some other 60,000 fellow soldiers killed or wounded that day

 

Letters from Wilmot Evans

Lyndhurst, New Forest 1 Oct 1914

BEF Stafford Regiment 16 Feb 1915

BEF Stafford Regiment 9 Mar 1915

BEF Stafford Regiment 10 Apr 1915

St Peter's Barracks Jersey 4 Aug 1915

St Peter's Barracks Jersey 29 Dec 1915

 

Noel Downing was Mary's only brother and four years younger than her. He was good friends with Wiimot Evans from childhood.

 

Letters from Noel Downing

Elm Lodge, Hagley 14 Sep 1902

The Lodge, Llanbrymair 12 Apr 1904

Moretons Harrow 14 Feb 1905

Moretons Harrow 29 Nov 1905

Public School Battalion Ashtead, Sunday 1915

Woodcote Park, Epsom, Tuesday Mar 1915

Woodcote Park, Epsom, 3 Apr 1915

Chipstone Camp, Mansfield 24 Jun 1915

Trenches 17 Jan 1916

Welsh Guards BEF 23 Oct 1916

Military Hospital(?) 8 Feb 1917

 

Letter from nephew Glyn Williams – Grosmont {School} Bognor 25 Feb 1920

 

Letter from Aubrey Webster – BEF Calais 5 Apr 1916

 

Letter from W L Browne – Ashley House, Shrewsbury 20 Apr 1889 (“to Bobbie”)

 

Letter from Mr Callaghan – YMCA Sheerness Aug 1915 – a former patient

 

Collection of Letters concerning Award of Royal Red Cross Medal May 1918 

(all addressed to Mary Downing in Ilkeston, Derbyshire)

 

Letter of Congratulation from her father, 20 Dec 1917 

Telegram requesting to attend Buckingham Palace

Letter announcing reception to be held by Queen Alexandra at Marlborough House

Letter of Congratulation from Ida Downing, Stourton Hall

Letters of Congratulation from patients and others

 

 

Collection of Poems

Marriage Bells are Ringing – Archie Trow 1902 (On Suffragette headed paper shows Mary as Secretary of Stourbridge)

 Etc.

Diary for the year 1912

Containing a day-by-day account of the family's month long trip to Paris in 1912