Leeds University Library

When shall I see you again?

Published Friday 14 February 2014

Photograph of soldiers (Liddle Collection)

WWI Valentine's love letter from a French woman to an English Tommy found in Liddle Collection

A love letter sent on Valentine's Day in 1916 is discovered in Special Collections as part of the Legacies of War research project.

The Times of Malta reports: 

"In a mixture of English and French, Eleornore Anneelle, a cafe owner's daughter from the Somme village of Berteaucourt-les-Dames, declared her love for Private James Ivan "Jimmy" Menzies, a member of the King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment), who had either been billeted at the cafe or was a regular visitor there.

Jimmy Menzies, who had signed up at the age of 18 not long after war broke out, was badly wounded in the Battle of the Somme in August 1916. He was discharged before the armistice was signed, then went on to become a singer and actor, famous for his comic baritone roles with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in the 1920s."

The letter is from the Liddle Collection, which comprises letters and diaries, official and personal papers, photographs, newspapers, artwork and recollections mainly from the First World War, with some Second World War material.

Read more about the romance and see the full letter in the Times of Malta article.