There are just over 400 personal letters in the ‘My Dearest’ archive. Most of these are from David Henry Taylor to May Muggridge (his ‘Dearest’) and May’s to David.

Although it is unusual enough to have both sides of correspondence of this nature, one of the astounding aspects of this one family’s archive is the wide range of WW1 letters that have been stored together in an old filing cabinet for decades. No additional research was done outside this archive to produce ‘My Dearest’.

There are letters from David’s mother, Fanny Taylor, to David’s sister Ethel (also known as Ginger) Linn who lived with her family in New Jersey USA, as well as letters from David to his sister. There are a few short letters from soldiers in David’s platoon to Mrs Linn thanking her for cigarettes and socks. Amazingly these letters to the USA returned to England at some point and were found with the other archive material in the house in Beckenham.

There are a couple of letters from Ethel (Ginger) Linn to David (also known as Kid), a couple of letters from W Rushbrooke (David’s old Headmaster at St Olave’s) to David, and a few letters from family friends and David’s commanding officer to Fanny Taylor or Ethel Linn or May Muggridge. There are two letters from Mrs Heberden to May about her son’s death, who was a soldier in David’s platoon, as well as a letter from Heberden’s Sergeant.

The letters are organised in chronological order, except for those that cover the period that David was missing. These letters together tell a moving story in themselves of a mother’s anguish, and are presented together as a separate sequence.

The letters along with a transcription can be viewed using the links on the right.

This website will, over the 100 year anniversary of the period of the letters, provide all the letters. But if you can’t wait that long, please buy a copy of ‘My Dearest’, either on this website, or on another on-line bookshop, or order it from your local bookshop.