June 28, 1940

To my sweetest Songbird,

As I write this letter, my hands are trembling. I find it hard to put into words the many things I need to say to you, my Songbird. So many things have happened and I feel like I don’t have the time to tell you all of it. But I supposed you’ve heard by now. I’d think the news had already reached Jamaica at this time.

France has fallen.

The Germans have taken Paris and are planning to bring the war all the way to England. We don’t know when it will happen, but we know it will not be long before the darkness is knocking on our doors.

The men around the camp are tense, and we’ve been armed with more guns and ammunition in this past few weeks than the last several months that we’ve been here. Everyone seems to be on a tethering rope, and I fear that even the slightest breeze will be enough to force us tumbling into the abyss that lays below.

London is a ghost town. The entire air seems to be holding its breath – waiting for the next shoe to drop. The people have been forced to evacuate to the countrysides and bunkers, where they can hide as Germans, have increased their stranglehold on this war. They started to fly planes over the city. It seems like any day now, bombs will start raining from the skies in a shower of explosion and death.

It’s hard to stay, my Songbird. I want to come home

But I will fight where I can.

They say we are to be deployed soon. The Germans may be strong, but the Italians are weaker, and that’s where we’ll hit them hard. I can’t tell you much about what I will be doing, but they say I will be sent out to Italy with my regiment as support for the soldiers fighting there.

With Chamberlain ousted and Churchill at the helm, they are saying that we’ll be taking the fight to the Germans to protect ol’ Blighty.

The doctor is expected to arrive any day now, after that, we’ll be on the first ship out to Italy.

Stuart.

August 25, 1940

To my dearest Stuart,

Ma always said that a woman was to be strong – that it was a woman’s job to be the pillar behind a man’s strength. But now, I fear that my strength will not be enough. Not here.

Ma has died. She died in her sleep on a brisk Sunday morning. Marcilli has been inconsolable since and refuses to leave Ma’s room.

The doctors say they have no idea what had happened to her and have said she has died of natural causes. She had been so vivacious, but now…

I had hoped that you would never be involved in the horrors of war. That they would keep you safe, and away from the fighting. But now it seems all that hope has been wasted.

My love, I am afraid. I am not ashamed to admit it.

The war only seems to be getting worse by the minute, and now, even you, have been dragged into the darkness of war by old men too caught up in their own grandiosity and egos to see that they are ripping out the roots that would have grown to be a beautiful garden.

The Walters boy did it, you know. He volunteered. Apparently, he sneaked out in the dead of the night to join the ‘cause’ with nothing more than the clothes on his back.

Missus Walters got a yellow telegram a few weeks later… I need not know what it said to understand that the boy is dead. She collapsed in a fit of bawling so loud it woke the neighbours.

I fear one day I will receive one of those yellow telegrams.

Please, my love, keep safe and come back to me.

Ellis

 

November 3, 1940

To my sweet Songbird,

It has been almost a year since I last saw you, and been a few months since our last message. I feel, as I write, that I am a whole new different man than the one I was a few months ago.

My condolences are with you for your loss. Missus Hall had always been a woman of character and strength. I am devastated to hear she has passed. Send my regards to Marcilli as well. I know this death has been truly terrible for her.

This place is the heights of evil, and I feel I have been tainted with a brush of dark soaking red that I will never be able to wash off. They had planned to send us to Italy, but plans had changed and suddenly we found ourselves whisked off to Greece.

The fighting was brutal. Never have I experienced something so inhumane. I shall spare you the horrid details, my love, but know that in this no man’s land, I have seen hell on earth.

I killed a man. I have stolen the life of another and to this day, I am still haunted by his pleading eyes. We do not speak the same language, but at that moment, as he struggled for his last breaths, I understood him.

I stay up at night, thinking about him. How old was he? Did he have a family waiting for him on the other side of this war? Are they ignorant to the fact that their loved one is dead – killed by these hands?

I feel lost, my Songbird.

Stuart.

January 6, 1941

To Mr. Hall,

I am writing to you sir, as one man to another, and have come to you to ask for your blessing in a matter that I have thought about for these last few months.

As you know sir, I have deployed in Europe to help with the Allies’ fight against the Axis Powers. During my time sir, I have come to see the worst that this world has to offer. I have trudged through miles of mud and filth, I have been shot and injured and I have seen good men die young without too many regrets.

Throughout this, however, I have found a light that keeps me moving. A reason to keep fighting this dreadful fight.

Your daughter Ellis has been my beacon, and I intend to marry her as soon as I return to Jamaica.

I have yet to tell her the news of my plans, sir, as I feel it was most prudent to get your approval. She values your opinion as she should.

I know sir, that in the past, you have not had the best opinion of my relationship with your daughter. But I hope that this letter will convince you of my sincerity in my commitment to her. There is not a force on earth that I could not move, nor a mountain that I could not topple if it meant I get to spend eternity with your daughter by my side.

Certainly, if present circumstances were as they were, this would not have happened for some time. But the fragility of life has made me realized what your daughter means to me, and I hope, when the time comes, you will consent to let me have her as my lawfully wedded wife.

Regards,

Private Stuart Lincoln

Eighth Army.

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