Signed Hand Written: The First Day of the Somme
WORLD WAR ONE: Private later Acting Sergeant Walter Keeble
Category: First World War
No Place No Publisher. 1916.
Autograph signed letter; two pages on Northampton General Hospital head note paper, dated 12th July 1916. Together with photographs of Keeble and his wife and a small number of documents including Demobilization Certificate. 62033 Private later Acting Sergeant Walter Keeble 2nd Battalion Middlesex Regiment went over the top on July the 1st 1916, taking part in perhaps the worst days action ever undertaken by the British Army. Advancing over Mash Valley near Ovilliers he was caught between two German lines, wounded on the 2nd he is left lying out with no food and little water until his rescue on the 7th. His account contained in what appears to be an uncensored letter to his wife describes his experiences "No food or water only rain water that I caught in my helmet" "The best bit of luck was I had no rifle or else I should not have been here now". "I think my poor old Batt. was wiped out" In fact the 2nd Battalion had around 650 casualties on the 1st July 1916. Together with small framed photographs of Walter, contemporary group postcard photo of his unit, note to him from a Lieutenant J.Kenneth Grayson and a photographic medallion with a small colour tinted photograph him in uniform and his wife on the reverse. The photograph of him and his wife, probably taken towards the end of the war shows her wearing the medallion. Surely an almost unique record of endurance, particularly unusual in being recorded first hand just a week later. All items contained in a specially made archive box.