Have a look at this month’s image from the archives, an illustrated letter sent from the Western Front during the First World War by Jack Churchill, who has already featured elsewhere on this blog (see August 2011).

This charming letter was written by Churchill’s younger brother Jack to his little boy Peregrine, from (we think) the Western Front in about 1916. Both the Churchill brothers had their share of artistic skills: Winston became a talented painter in later life, finding art a welcome relief from the stresses and strains of his political career (and actually took up painting during the First World War as a form of relaxation); though Jack did not take up painting seriously, his letters to his parents as a schoolboy are full of lively drawings much like the ones shown here.

Jack Churchill served as a staff officer during the First World War, initially in France, then with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in the Dardanelles, before returning to the Western Front in 1916. He has used Mediterranean Expeditionary Force paper for this letter, but later he also mentions that he is staying in an old castle which had belonged to a French king, so it seems likely that he was just using up old paper, and was actually writing from France.

Jack’s papers are preserved in the archive of his son Peregrine, one of the recent additions to the Archives Centre.

Peregrine Churchill Papers, PCHL 4/9