Mere weeks into the start of WWI British Army Captain, Robert Campbell, was captured and imprisoned in a German POW camp. Two years later, in 1916, Campbell received the news that his mother back in England was dying and so he wrote a letter to Kaiser Wilhelm II requesting permission to visit her - and it was granted!
The only condition the Kaiser stipulated was that Campbell must return to the prison within two weeks and the only bond placed upon the deal was the soldier’s ‘word’, which was apparently good because after just one week with his cancer-stricken mother, Campbell returned to the prison and remained there until the end of the war.
This curious story was unearthed from the National Archives which mentions the ‘leave of absence of Capt. R C Campbell … to visit dying mother’, however, perhaps the strangest aspect of the tale is the fact that the British Army allowed Campbell to return to the prison, though historians suggest that had he not returned there would have been retribution on the other prisoners.
[Sources: Images: 1. Kaiser Wilhelm II | 2. Capt. Campbell | 3. One of the notes outlining the details of Campbell’s leave, more of which can be seen at the Source]
Posts tagged letters.
Translated extracts from the letters:
Small pear tree in blossom (1888), and letter to his brother Theo (images 3 and 4): ”…The small pear tree has a purple trunk and white flowers, a large yellow butterfly on one of the clumps.
On the left, in the corner, a little garden with a border of yellow reeds and green bushes and a flowerbed. A small pink house.
So there are the details of the decoration of orchards in blossom, which I was intending for you.
But the last 3 canvases exist only in a provisional state, and are supposed to represent a very large orchard with a border of cypresses and large pear trees and apple trees.”
Field with flowers near Arles (1888), and letter to his brother Theo (images 5 and 6): "…If they don’t mow the meadow I’d like to do this study again, because the subject matter was really beautiful and I had trouble finding the composition. A little town surrounded by countryside entirely covered in yellow and purple flowers. That would really be a Japanese dream, you know."
Detail from The Sower (1888) with van Gogh’s letter to his brother Theo (images 7 and 8): "…Here’s a croquis of the latest canvas I’m working on, another sower. Immense lemon yellow disc for the sun. Green-yellow sky with pink clouds. The field is violet, the sower and the tree Prussian Blue."
From The 50 Greatest Love Letters of All Time, edited by David H, Lowenherz
Things to Worry About, F. Scott Fitzgerald (letter to his 11 yr. old daughter away at camp, excerpt)
1961 letter from Groucho Marx to T.S. Eliot: “I had no idea you were so handsome.”
letters of Robert Falcon Scott (a Royal Navy officer and explorer who led two expeditions to the Antarctic)
A letter from Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra, cross written to save paper, February 8-9, 1807 (via NYRblog - Austenolatry).