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All Well Yet
Letters home from the First World War by Major William Neilson Brown

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About William Neilson Brown

 Gordon Highlander Major William Nielson Brown

William Neilson Brown was born on the 3rd May, 1883, into a Scottish Borders family of textile mill owners.
At the age of 17 he joined the 4th Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers. He served as a volunteer from 1900 – 1908.

When the 1st World War broke out in 1914, he volunteered for service with the Army Service Corps in Japan, before returning home and joining the 2nd Battalion, Gordon Highlanders in 1915.

During his service, Major Brown was wounded twice; In October 1917 and January 1918, and won the Military Cross for gallantry and bravery in Italy, Belgium and France, as well as the 1914 Star, British War Medal, Allied Victory Medal and the Italian Generals Silver Medal for the Battle of Piave.

Normally, letters written in the field would be censored, however, the letters which you are about to read are particularly graphic and extraordinarily detailed, whilst laced with his wry humour and wisdom.

The letters were written between 1915 – 1918 from both France and Italy to his Aunt, Minnie McGilvroy, who lived in Galashiels, in the Scottish Borders.

William Neilson Brown died, age 70, in August 1953 and is buried with his wife, who survived him by
 30 years, in Wairds cemetery, Melrose, Scottish Borders.

Wholesale / Book Shop Bulk purchases - please contact us.
'Timothy Brown' (Grandson of William Neilson Brown) is also available for book signings / talks etc. Phone 07979321774

Folders and Books are also available to purchase throughout the Scottish Borders - please telephone 07979321774 for your nearest outlet

Gordon Highlanders Crest

Text from one of the letters from 'All Well Yet'...

It is impossible to describe the ‘no mans land’, it’s the greyness of it, the actual want of colour, the endless succession of holes and mounds, shattered timbers sticking up from mud, endless abandoned trenches, rows of trees halved, or stripped into poles, the extraordinary amount of abandoned equipment bombs, rifles, clothing, and the dead amongst it all, quiet, not repulsive, fitting into the drab scene, sometimes German sometimes English. In twos or threes as they were killed, or one by himself, lonely even in this lonely place. The pools of water in the shell holes are green or red, and over the endless stumps and twisted broken wires rises the sour smell of battlefield.
The Lewis guns having the time of their lives, and crying, their voices lost in the din of the shells and the savage yells of our men half mad with blood over the ruins of house and orchard, a machine gun, manned to the last, holds up the line, the bombers swing round it, rifle grenades add to the din and it stops. Then the objective, furious digging, rushing up and down, stores up, guns in position, and then comparative quiet.
When the smoke clears away, the bright sunlight reveals every sordid detail of a mechanical war. Stores lie in every direction, everything broken, and every here and there a man, twisted into dreadful attitudes, but with quiet faces they lie where they fell, the dust veiling the wounds, finished with it all...

No mans land original letter from World War one

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