Soldiers in Love

February 8, 2018 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
University Centre Shrewsbury
The Guildhall Frankwell Quay
Shrewsbury SY3 8HB
Shrewsbury LGBT History
Soldiers in Love @ University Centre Shrewsbury | England | United Kingdom

he Presentation is based on numerous love letters between two servicemen, one of whom, Gilbert, (who later became a Bombardier), was stationed at Park Hall Camp near Oswestry during WW2.

The letters, found in a trunk in Brighton, after Gilbert’s death in 2008, were purchased, on behalf of Oswestry Town Museum, over a period of time since 2013. Initially it seemed they were to Gilbert from a girlfriend, with the initial ‘G’. The letters date from 1938.

On transcribing the letters, it became clear that they were between two men: from Infantryman, Gordon to Gilbert. The letters are very eloquent. They reveal the way in which their love was constrained by the moral and legal circumstances of the day. The resolution of this story raises further routes of enquiry in California, where Gordon went to live in the 1950s.

Both the discovery of these very rare letters, the enquiries to confirm authenticity and the journey toward publishing a book have been hugely enriching to the museum’s collection of materials relating to WW2.