Treasured letter home as South Shields soldier heads for war

Ralph Porter.
Ralph Porter.

It’s poignant to think that 100 years ago this week, a young soldier, waiting to go to France to fight in the First World War was sitting down to write a letter to his sister in South Tyneside – especially as just a few months later he was to die of his wounds.

Now the letter, written by Ralph Porter, is treasured by his family, as his great niece, Miss Jean Kelly explains.

A scroll of honour following Ralph's death.

A scroll of honour following Ralph's death.

“Ralph Porter was my great uncle and had two brothers and four sisters, my grandmother being one of them.

He was born in around 1892, and as the letter states, he enlisted in Durham. He was at Bordan waiting to go to France to fight for his country when he wrote the letter to my grandmother and grandfather.

“Sadly, when Ralph went to France he got wounded and was sent home, and in October 1918 he died of his wounds. He is now in a war grave in Jarrow cemetery.

“The letter was found about 12 years ago inside a book and now 100 years on it is good to remember him and to let people know what he did and how young he was when he died.

The letter sent home by Ralph Porter shortly before his death.

The letter sent home by Ralph Porter shortly before his death.

“Ralph was married with a daughter, his wife went on to marry again and had a son. Ralph’s grandson lives in South Shields, and we have met up.”

The second page of the letter.

The second page of the letter.