The Since writing you last project began as a desire to participate in World War One centenary commemorations. As the Invercargill City Libraries & Archives already held the war letters of John Hall, we felt this was the perfect opportunity to highlight his first-hand account of that moment in history.
We soon discovered that the Southland Museum and Art Gallery held the letters of the McIntyre brothers and by July 2014 a copy of Charlie McIntyre’s first letter was in the hands of a transcription volunteer. A project to transcribe, digitise and make available on the web the war letters of these three Southland men was underway.
As good fortune would have it, exactly one year after the project began the letters of Len Shepard came to light and became the fourth narrative in our Since writing you last story. Thanks to the generosity of his family, Len’s letters are now proudly held by the Invercargill City Libraries & Archives.
While there are many moments of sorrow and reflection throughout these letters, there are also many moments of amusement and enjoyment to be drawn from them. It is our hope that by making these men and their stories easily available on the web, their letters will be recognised as the amazing resource they are. Not only do their letters give you a glimpse of what they endured, but also of who they were and what they held dear.
Oh behalf of all of those involved, we sincerely hope you enjoy and find value in the results of this project. We most certainly have.
This website has been made possible through the efforts of numerous individuals who have contributed content, time and a wealth of enthusiasm. A heartfelt thank you goes to our eight volunteer transcribers who together have made their way through 307 letters and over 1700 pages.
The Southland Museum and Art Gallery has been very generous and obliging in allowing access to and use of the McIntyre brothers letters in this project. We are very grateful for the opportunity to share their stories.
I would also like to personally thank the Library & Archives staff who have helped curate this project. I thank you for your enthusiasm and the untold hours spent pulling this project together.
Last but certainly not least, sincere appreciation goes to the families of these men. The act of donating precious letters such as these to an Archive or Museum is no small deed. Please know that in doing so you have enabled everyone, especially those who have no letters of their own, to learn from and appreciate the sacrifice made by those who served in The Great War.
Rebecca Smith, Archivist
1st March 2017