On this day in 1901 Elizabeth Rowland, of Prince Albert Street, Eastney, Portsmouth, received this letter from 22-year-old George Hill, whom she had been seeing while her soldier husband was serving in India.
Hill was a marine at Eastney Barracks until he was convicted of stealing there.
He was later arrested for murdering a man on a train during an armed robbery.
It makes my heart bleed, as I am writing these few lines, to think I shall never see you again, and that you will be alone and miserable now...I always loved you dearly...I am truly sorry and penitent for having, in an evil moment, allowed myself to be carried away into committing murder.
I went and purchased a revolver so that when I came down to Portsmouth I could end both our lives if I had not been successful in obtaining money from my father.
I know you were not happy at home, nor I either, for I have been very unhappy of late, mostly on account of the false charges brought against me at the barracks.
I shall get hung now. I believe I was mad; I know I was drunk.
God help me!
My days are numbered, but I will bear it unflinchingly.
Your broken-hearted sweetheart,
Geo H Hill
Hill was hanged at Wandsworth Prison on March 19, 1901 – from John Sadden’s The Portsmouth Book of Days.