Tuesday, 21 February 2012

WW1 letter uncovers soldier's heroism

A letter written in 1915 uncovers the hidden story of Captain Reggie Salomans’ heroism during the Gallipoli campaign. His ship, the HMS Hythe, tragically crashed into another Royal Naval vessel, and Salmomans died trying to save his men.

The author, one Major Alfred Ruston, an eyewitness, sent the letter to Salomans’ father detailing the heroic actions of his only son:

"At the beginning, the two vessels clung to each other for a few minutes and about 50 men and several officers scrambled across on to the other vessel…but though Captain Salomons was warned to get over also himself, he would not do so and I am sure that it was because he would see his beloved men off first."

Over 128 men died in the attack, all of whom were from Kent. Most of the men could not swim, and many did not have lifejackets. Captain Salomans gave his only lifejacket to one of his men.

A historian found the letter in a shop in Hastings, Sussex. The letter is going to be on display in a museum dedicated to the Salomans family, organised by Canterbury Christ Church University.

Mental note to self - must spend more time going to random antique shops.

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