[The introduction below comprises the summary written by the magazine’s editor in July 1924 and the Foreword written by Stewart Blacker, which preceded the first letters.]
The long series of Letters which have been appearing from month to month in our columns since June, 1921, came to an end last month with the letter dated March 13th, 1917. These Letters, written almost daily from the Front, were sent by Lieutenant Colonel Blacker to Mrs. Blacker. We are greatly indebted to Colonel Blacker for so kindly allowing us to publish them. They form a unique record of the part played by our Ninth Battalion during the most stirring events which have ever occurred in the history of the world. They possess the additional advantage of having been penned by the Colonel of the Battalion, and they present us with a day-to-day picture of the life of our Battalion at the Front. Still further interest is imparted to them from a Parochial point of view because of the fact that they have been written by a member of a family who for at least 250 years, if not for a much longer period, has been associated very closely with Seagoe Parish. History records that in the year 1666 the Church of Seagoe, which had been destroyed in the Rebellion of 1641, was rebuilt by Valentine Blacker, who then resided at the Manor House, where Blacker’s Mill now stands, and who was a direct ancestor of the Carrick-Blacker family.
Those of our readers who have kept the copies of the Magazine containing Colonel Blacker’s Letters possess a splendid record of what Seagoe men did in the war—a record which will increase in interest and importance as time goes by. We hope in a short time from other sources to continue the record of the Ninth Battalion’s War Service up to the close of the war. Colonel Blacker returned home from active service in March, 1917, having commanded the Battalion with great efficiency and success from August, 1914. Colonel Blacker is at present residing in France with his family, but we hope that before long he will return to Carrick Blacker, the residence so long associated with his family.
I have been asked by the Rector to write something for the Seagoe Magazine on the doings of the ‘Ninth’ in France. I have come to the conclusion that Extracts from letters written home from day to day would be perhaps the best record of the doings of the Battalion.
These letters cover the period from October, 1915, till March, 1917, and are just a daily record of our life out there. They were written under various circumstances and conditions, and of course without any idea of publication.
Naturally there are many abbreviations and allusions which will puzzle the ordinary reader, but I think any of my old comrades in the 9th will be able to understand them, and I hope they may serve to call to their mind memories and recollections of our life in France and Flanders.
I would ask the indulgence of all in publishing these somewhat egotistical records, but would ask you to bear in mind the conditions under which they were written.