Letter in the Attic

Letter to Sergeant Victor Ross and postcards from Annie Ross, 1917

About this contribution:


Collection consists of one letter from Colonel George H Coats to Sergeant Victor Lawrence Ross and two postcards from Annie Ross in Brighton to her mother Mrs Kidson at Tick Hill Castle in Yorkshire. VLR and AR were married in July 1917. VLR had been convalescing in the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, which operated as a military hospital during the First World War.

Biographical information

Sergeant Victor Lawrence Ross was a regular soldier in The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry during the First World War. He sustained terrible injuries during the Battle of the Somme and lost his right leg, he was sent back to England to recover in The Pavilion Military Hospital in Brighton. VLR and AR were married in St Peters Church, Brighton on 6 July 1917, the groom was thirty years old and the bride 19 although she gave her age as 21. VLR and AR had met in 1916 when other injuries had caused VLR to be sent to recuperate at a hospital set up in Derbyshire in a large house where AR was working as kitchen maid . Apart from letters to each other when VLR was back at the Front and one meeting soon after VLR had been wounded they did not meet again until just before their wedding day. There were two witnesses at the their wedding; Tom Harvey and Ernest Johnson whose injuries in France had resulted in them each having an arm amputated. They had all served on the Recreational Sports Committe of which VLR was Secretary and GHC was President. VLR was also involved in the Blue and White concerts at The Royal Pavilion Hospital, singing solos accompanied on the piano by GHC's daughter 'Miss Winnie'. GHC was editor of the monthly magazine at the Royal Pavilion Hospital, 'The Pavilion Blues', copies of which can be seen in Brighton's Jubilee Library. GHC had two daughters, the aforementioned Miss Winnie Coats and Miss V Coats.The 'limbless men', as they were called, were entertained by the people of Brighton and Hove with locals making up sports teams to play the men at cricket, bowls, football, stoolball and croquet. They also provided wonderful teas. Free seats were available at the Royal and Grand Theatres, on the Piers and in the Picture Halls. The Corporation of Brighton and Hove gave free use of deck chairs on the front and several thousand patients were taken for drives each year during the war in motors provided by the Mayor of Hove's Fund. AR and VLR made full use of the deckchairs and a postcard sent by AR to her mother mentions their enjoyment of listening to the Band on the Pier. They must also have taken advantage of the motor drives as years later AR spoke about VLR's distress at hearing the heavy guns across the Channel in France from the Downs. Apparently VLR longed to be back with his men in the trenches but that was never to be as he was invalided out of the army not long afterwards.

Name of creator(s)

Coats, George H, Colonel; Ross (nee Kidson), Annie 'Nan' (born ?1898)

Dates covered by the material


Extent and form of the material

Scans of 1 letter (2 pages); scans of 2 postcards

Access conditions



Digital copies of extracts of the letter and postcards have been donated to the East Sussex Record Office and are listed here; the originals remain with the contributor, Pauline Raymond.


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