Wall Dens

Wall Dens

Until that time I contented myself playing my own games largely, I had several walls that were nice places to pretend. The front garden wall had a flat sandstone top, and if I rubbed my fingers or palms about on this, a slight powdery patch developed and my skin became wondrously soft and smooth – I never quite wore it away. If I wanted to produce a heap of sand instead of a thin skinned finger, I rubbed another piece of stone to and fro on the wall, and soon had al little pile to scoop up. Along the back lane there was an angle of the wall round a little field which had started to fall apart, and there was a sort of little cavern about my head height and a shelf like stone below the gap: there I used to go to try talking like the older people did. I ‘did things’ on the shelf, perhaps baking , writing, washing up, all the things so important to adult like, making talking noises to myself.



Frank Townsend Born 17 January 1899

Kept inside this wallet of his, are documents relating to Franks Service in World War 1 as a private in the 13 Durham Light Infantry. He enlisted at when he was 18 Halifax, on 28 March 1917, and was stationed at Boulogne in Northern France where the nearby hospital at Etaples was bombed on the night of 19 May 1918, until, after two years, 110 days, injuries led to his discharge from service.

I have added some links in the sidebar to websites related to the Durham Light Infantry, and the hospital at Etaples.

Frank’s Wallet

Postcard of Hospital at Etaples, no message

The Hospital at Etaples, after it had been bombed by German aircraft, on the night of 18/19 May 1918. The script below reads”The large red cross painted on the rofs, to warn aircraft of the nature of the buildings may be noted.” This is interesting, because, during my internet searches for information about his raid, I found a transcript of what seemed to be a hearing in which an official was accused of not having displayed the red cross on the roofs.

Postcard from Etaples showing ‘Les Matelottes a la Procession’

Back of Postcard dated January 5 1919, which reads “Dear Mother, I am keeping in the best of health, Here is another one, some Paris Fashions. Hope you are all keeping well. Will write later, love to all Frank.

Christmas Card form the Workers of the Walton Hut 1918

The card is dated 10 January 1919, and reads – Dear Mother, I am keeping in the best of health, and we are at present having decent weather. Have had a letter from Charlie, and he seems to be perking up fine. I think at the speed they are at present demobilising, that I shall soon be home. Love to all, Frank.

Franks Discharge Certificate