Letters, postcards and medals belonging to Bombardier Frank Cooling from Suffolk (Picture: PA).
WWI

British Soldier's WWI Letters To Be Auctioned

Hundreds of letters sent by a British soldier to his family from the Western Front during the First World War will be sold at auction.

Letters, postcards and medals belonging to Bombardier Frank Cooling from Suffolk (Picture: PA).

Letters, postcards and medals belonging to Bombardier Frank Cooling from Suffolk will be sold at auction (Picture: PA). 

A British soldier's letters to his family sent during the First World War, including one written the day after peace broke out, will be sold at auction.

Bombardier Frank Cooling from Hopton, Suffolk, where his family ran a grocery shop, wrote from France and Belgium on the Western Front.

In one letter from France on 12 November 1918, the day after the Armistice that brought an end to the war, Bombardier Cooling wrote:

"The French people here seem awfully excited over the news [of the Armistice]".

He has no known surviving family, according to Keys Fine Art Auctioneers in Aylsham, Norfolk, where the correspondence will be sold.

The hundreds of letters are being sold by an anonymous private vendor - it is believed they could cost up to £1,200.

Bombardier Cooling fought in the Second Boer War, before serving in the First and then Second World War as a Home Guard.

Bombardier Frank Cooling (middle row, second left) with the Home Guard (Picture: PA).
Bombardier Frank Cooling (middle row, second left) with the Home Guard (Picture: PA).

His letters from the Western Front during the Great War ranged from heavily-censored "I am quite well" postcards to pages-long handwritten letters.

Andrew Lindsay-Bullock of Keys Fine Art Auctioneers, said: "This is an amazing record of one soldier's war, right from the very start through to the Armistice.

"I'm always pleased when I find out I have got a survivor - more soldiers lived through the whole war than most people realise.

"In any war, mail gets censored so that it doesn't reveal anything of military interest, and Cooling's letters would have been vetted in this way.

"Interestingly, in World War One officers censored their own mail, so you will often find material in their letters which would have led to a court martial if it had been included in the correspondence of an ordinary soldier."

Other items from his military service, including medals, uniforms, photographs and documents, will also be auctioned on 28 November.

Items owned by Bombardier Cooling's son, Norman, who served in the Royal Artillery during the Second World War, will also be auctioned.