Account of the Battle of the Somme



Account of the Battle of the Somme


Daniel John Sweeney


Extracts from Daniel's letters


Daniel John Sweeney took the King’s Shilling at the age of 15, to join the Army. At the age of 27 WWI broke out so he went to fight. On 19th July 1915 Daniel started writing letters home to Ivy, a volunteer penpal, the first letter was from Machine Gun School, General Headquarters B.E.F (British Expeditionary Force) France. For 2½ years Daniel continued to write to Ivy – until on 20th December 1917 he wrote from 1st Australian General Hospital, Rouen, France saying “I am slightly wounded and in hospital at the base" – with a detailed description of the events that caused his wounds, which were bad enough for Daniel to be sent back to the UK. 24th December 1917 his letter says “I have reached this beautiful place VAD hospital Rhose Hill, Uplyme, Devon". 8th May he went for discharge but did not get it spending the rest of the war in UK working with German POW. In July 1916 Daniel wrote “I expect by now you have heard of the Great Battle the date was kept secret until the very last minute, I think I am allowed to tell you and it will be a truer story than you read in the papers, I must tell you what I know and saw of this murder”. This being the start of the Battle of the Somme. Daniel married Ivy in 1918 and they lived happily in Walthamstow, Essex until he died in 1960. The original is now in the Imperial War Museum Library – able to be read. The IWM thought they had found a “treasure trove” when they read them.




The Somme
Uplyme, Devon
Walthamstow, Essex
1st Australian General Hospital, Rouen


Derek Sweeney

Collection Day

20/05/2019 Crownhill Library

This item was submitted on June 11, 2019