Letters from the Crimea


2018 sees the culmination of a series of events to mark the centenary of the end of World War One.  With all the survivors now deceased; the conflict has passed from living memory. The commemorations have sought to ensure the stories of the war and lessons to be learnt are passed on to future generations.
When services of remembrance take place each November, the nation pays its respects to those who have served in the wars of the 20th and 21st Centuries.  Many of us know personal stories from family members, relatives or friends who have served. We may even have a relative whose name is inscribed on a war memorial.
Whilst there are no longer survivors of World War One around, their stories may be known to us from parents or grandparents. We might even have a treasured family photograph, of a relative who made the ultimate sacrifice.  A youthful face, looking out at us from the last century.
But if we go further back, things become a lot less clear.


The Crimean War is a conflict of which most of us have a cursory knowledge. We may have heard of Florence Nightingale ('the lady with the lamp') and have an understanding of the geography of the war zone, through recent events involving Russia and Ukraine.
But given that the war took place in the 1850s, none of us will have heard even a second-hand account from a participant, or seen a photograph. And yet, the reminders of the conflict are out there, if you know where to look.


In researching this film, we were fortunate to discover, in old copies of the Lancaster Gazette, a series of letters from soldiers serving at the front. These are of particular interest, as a number of the correspondents were from Lancaster. This has enabled us to present brief extracts which give an insight into the experiences of soldiers fighting in the Crimean War.
We hope that after seeing our film, the people of Lancaster (and beyond) will take a moment to remember those who served in this 19th Century conflict and that it will remind us all how easily we can forget, if we cease to commemorate the sacrifice of others.


Did you have a relative involved in the Crimean War?  A soldier, war correspondent or nurse in a field hospital?  We'd love to hear from you!  Contact us.

9 thoughts on “Letters from the Crimea

  1. Thank you once again.

  2. I enjoyed hearing the Letters from the Crimea , finding out about the atrocious conditions our troops endured. I hope the writers of the letters came home to their loved ones. I only found out about the Crimea Memorial recently on a walking tour of the cemetery and share the view of the Lancaster Gazette that it should have been sited in a prominent position in town . Sadly it’s tucked away at the back of the cemetery.

    • Post Author The LuneTube Team

      Thanks for your comment Claire – yes the memorial is really hidden away up there isn’t it? Sadly, Private Matthew Fell’s name is on the memorial – in his letter which is read towards the end of the film, he clearly had high hopes that despite the awful conditions, he would live to return home to his wife – it doesn’t look like he made it home.

  3. Another great film – and a little more local history learnt ! Thankyou

  4. Margaret Watkins

    Where is the War Memorial in Lancaster?

  5. This film is important. It’s a lesson in part of our country’s forgotten history. A lesson in the importance of remembrance; simple remembrance, not puffed up causing ongoing divisions. A lesson in how people cause history to “repeat itself”.

  6. Sorry to sound ignorant but where is Lancaster Cemetery? I grew up in the area close to Lancaster but now in my 70s, history is even more important.

  7. Stephen Faulkner

    A great little film and not least because the letters provided a ‘voice’ of those who were directly involved. What is so very striking is the misery of war, especially that experienced by the lower ranks. Waiting eight days for treatment after being wounded for example. The sheer wastefulness of war comes across so well, particularly in terms of the loss of so many younger people. And of course, as with nearly all wars, memory of them is sidelined (like the cenotaph in the graveyard instead of being in the town centre) to make way for more ‘glorious’ episodes. Hardly surprising, given that WWI loomed in the near distance. Thank you, and keep on rolling! My only criticism is that all of the films make me homesick. The Lune is a long way from Johannesburg!

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