I generally buy postcards related to the Salonika campaign on the basis of the image depicted, whether it’s a landscape or pictures of soldiers. If there’s a message on the back, then that’s an added bonus – although those I have with spidery French writing are rather a challenge – and one with a nice clear message in English is a treat.
This is my latest purchase, with an image I haven’t seen before. It’s an Italian, hand-tinted card showing a ‘suburb of Salonika’ and two mounted gentlemen – I don’t know whether they are are Italian cavalry or Greek cavalry or gendarmes – riding down the road watched by a gaggle of children.
As an added bonus, it is one of those with a nice clear message although, having been ‘Passed by the Censor’, it doesn’t give much away.
30.9.17 On active service
You are getting quite a cleaver [sic] little girl, and will soon be big like Nell, now. Ask Jack if he would like a pair of red pants like the little boy on the P.C.
Of course, with names and an address there is some scope for research but that’s for another day. A quick glance at Google Maps shows that Park Road is now the A58 and the family home is long gone. A look at the excellent CWGC website identifies just one Middlehurst – of the Labour Corps and 12/King’s Own – who died in July 1918. His parents lived in Liverpool – so not far from St Helens – but the inscription by his parents suggests to me a younger man than the father of Flo, Nell and Jack; although maybe that’s just because I would like to imagine him returning safely to his family!
Consulting the National Archives WW1 Medal Index Cards gives us 78 men named Middlehurst. Quite a few served in regiments local to St Helens which were with the BSF – Lancashire Fusiliers, South Lancashire Regiment, Manchester Regiment, Liverpool regiment – but he may not have served in a local regiment or, for that matter, in the infantry at all. So, for now, the trail goes cold – but it’s nice to be able to remember another soldier of the Salonika Campaign and his family.