Concerned soldier says ‘sorry’ to boss from the trenches

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Concerned soldier says ‘sorry’ to boss from the trenches

Laurence Dunne was so worried that his boss would think badly of him for leaving his job as a machinist to go to war - he sent him a letter of apology from the front line.

But, scared the missive would fall into enemy hands, he told the manager at Boltons, a building firm in Dublin, that he could not reveal exactly where he was.

Carmel O’Brien, 85, brought her uncle’s pencil-written letter in to the National Library of Ireland, Dublin, because she wanted it to be saved on the www.europeana1914-1918.eu website.

Accompanied by her daughter, Adrienne O’Connell, 51, Mrs O’Brien said she hoped having the note digitised would provide her with answers about her uncle’s short life.

“I found this letter in a box with some photos after my brother died - it was the first time I‘d ever seen it,” said Mrs O’Brien, of Dublin.

“It says: ‘You must excuse me for taking the liberty of writing this letter…’ He couldn’t see his boss because he’d been sick when he’d gone to war. He writes the letter from the trenches in France, and says: ‘I can’t tell you exactly where I am because it might fall into enemy hands’.”

Laurence Dunne was a private in the No. 12 platoon B company, Dublin, and part of the British Expeditionary Force.

Unfortunately, he died in 1935 aged only 39-years-old in the Grange Gorman mental institution in Dublin, following the death of his bride six weeks after they married, and the death of his mother.

Adrienne said: “I think my great-uncle was totally shell-shocked by the war, and then to have so much tragedy must have just finished him off.

“I’m working on my mother’s side of the family tree, so I’d love to find out more about Laurence.”

By Jackie Storer 

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