The Great War

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Letters in 1914

How did families keep in touch during the war?

In our series The Great War – Through a London Child’s Eye, we’re following “The Private Diary of Edward Hampton” to learn about life as a child in London at the outbreak of the First World War.

Back in 1914, there wasn’t such a thing as the internet, or mobile phones, or even TVs! So how did families keep in touch and how did they know what was going on in the war?

Letters and postcards

These were an important way to keep in touch with soldiers on the front-line.

They would also help to boost morale as the soldiers would be cheered up by learning about life back home!

The soldiers would write replies but tended to not mention much about the fighting as they didn’t want their families to know how terrible things were in the trenches.

Plus, all letters were read by censors who would remove parts they thought could give secret information away to the enemy!


Telegrams were a fast way to send important news for people without telephones.

An operator would tap the message out in code using a machine called a Morse key. The message travelled to another operator who decoded the long and short taps into words, and then passed the message on to be delivered.

Delivering telegrams was a very serious matter – delivery boys and girls cycled very fast to get the message to the address on the envelope and waited in case the person receiving the message wanted to reply.

Sometimes, the envelope had a special mark and the delivery boy or girl knew not to wait because it was bad news and there would be no reply.

Click here to find out more about telegrams on the BBC Schools website!

You can hear The Great War – Through a Child’s Eye on Fun Kids Radio or listen to the series below!

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english_landscape_blackThe Great War – Through a London Child’s Eye is supported by The National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Great War - Through a London Child's Eye!

Learn about life as a London child in 1914 at the outbreak of the First World War.


Watch the series for free!

Visit the Fun Kids History channel on YouTube to see more! 


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The Great War

The Great War - Life through a Child's Eye.

More From The Great War