Letters written to my late Aunt, Margaret (Peggy) Atkins, from Sgt. (later 2nd Lt.) Robert Alexander (Alex) Hennel of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders during 1917 are reproduced in part under the "Stories" tab. Theirs was a brief and poignant relationship, no doubt just one of many similar scenarios played out among the countless personal tragedies of the First World War. Peggy was a nursing VAD at St. George's Hospital on the island of Malta where she met Alex who was convalescing after serving at the front in the Eastern Mediterranean, where he had been "mentioned in despatches".
Forced apart by the circumstances of war, their dream of marriage and a future together was denied them. Peggy's letters to Alex do not survive - possibly he had them about his person when he was killed by a shell in the closing stages of the War on the Western Front, his body never found. His letters to her were treasured by Peggy her whole life. She never married but kept his photograph at her bedside until she died in 1970. Their romantic story has always touched my heart, even more so after I read the letters in detail and discovered Alex was an accomplished musician, that he organised concerts and was also friendly with a group of pioneering lady doctors on Malta, who are only now drawing the attention of historians. His music book bought at Malta is in my possession. It includes a piece entitled "Vision" and its words are particularly moving in light of the couple's sad destiny. (Scroll right to the end of the document on "Stories" page to see all the images.)