1917 - Arthur's war at a glance

January–March 1917
Arthur’s last letter of 1916, dated 21st November, saw him in hopeful mood that he would be home on leave for Christmas. It seems he was, as 1917 begins with a letter mentioning his safe return to France. There’s mention of him writing a "little bit" for a magazine at home – a church magazine, perhaps. 

Arthur mentions his older brother, Charles, for the first time, asking for the name of the cemetery where he was buried. He passes a comment that whereas he writes letters to older brother Fred, he only receives field postcards from Fred in return! 

He looks forward to his 21st birthday on 16th March, saying “I become of age now. I can get a key of the old barn door “.


April 1917
There are no letters from Arthur for April.


May 1917
Half-sister Annie, aged 11, has written with news of Fred getting injured (it was a hand wound sustained during the Battle of Arras). Arthur is concerned and asks for more news.


June 1917
By 9th June, Arthur has received more news about Fred, and is reassured that he is "getting on alright”. But, the news is not good for Arthur Green – "Old Fritz was soon after his blood wasn’t he?”, writes Arthur.


July 1917
Fruit-picking and Grandmother’s rhubarb wine are in Arthur’s thoughts, as is the prospect of him having a field of his own next year.


August 1917
A single letter, with further thoughts about the harvest at home.


September–November 1917
There are no letters from Arthur for September to November.


December 1917
A gap of three months without a surviving letter is explained in Arthur’s letter of 11th December, written from St. Luke’s War Hospital, Bradford. "I think I told you where I got hit. I got hit at Passchindale,” he writes. 

The Battle of Passchendaele (or Third Battle of Ypres), fought over ten weeks in terrible weather from late July to November 1917, was the major battle on the Western Front in 1917. 

Wounded in the left leg, Arthur’s injury was serious enough for him to return to Britain and, as he says to his parents, “It will ease a lot off your mind to no that both your sons are in Blighty” (Fred was convalescing after his discharge from Whitecross Military Hospital, Warrington).

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