MILITARY FAREWELL LETTERS - Help with research for a book

Dear All

I'm currently writing a book all about servicemen and women's farewell letters throughout history - starting with the French Revolutionary Wars in the 18th century and going right up to Iraq and Afghanistan.

I'm looking at consistencies and changes over that period, as well as themes of letters for the individual conflicts. With each featured letter, I am then building up a portrait of the person who wrote the letter, where possible the reaction of the family who received it, and the service-person's individual story. Sometimes farewell letters were written in advance of conflict, to be opened in the event of a tragic death, but most frequently they comprise sometimes only a few lines within a 'normal' letter home - along the lines of 'if anything happens to me, I want you to know I went willingly to meet my fate' - that sort of thing.

Clearly this is a poignant topic, and I can promise that the book is a sensitive treatment that really seeks to put a human face to the individual serviceperson and the realities of what they face when going into a combat situation. I hope that the book will be a fitting testament to all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice over the centuries.

I would very much like to make contact with families who lost loved ones in the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan who would be prepared to talk to me about any farewell letters they received. Even if you do not wish to share the contents for possible publication, I am very interested to talk through the importance of such letters and the emotions they can provoke when received.

In addition, I would love to talk to service personnel who have written a letter like this, and luckily never had to send it, about how they felt writing such a letter.

If anyone is able to help in any way, please could they contact me at or on 02920 315444 or write to me at 22, Cymmer Street, Cardiff, CF11 7AB.

With many thanks. Sian Price
As it's a history book and non-political, I'm hoping I don't need to! It's one of the obstacles with making contact with serving personnel I know, but am hoping people would be able to make contact who may have left the services? Any advice greatly appreciated. I've got a good relationship with the MOD and it's a fascinating human story I want to tell ....

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