Ghost story: Winner in 15 and under category - The Last Post

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Zach Rumfitt is the winner in the 15 and under category of our Christmas ghost story competition.

Zach wants to write for a living - and he’s made a great start to a literary career by winning the 15 and under category in our Christmas ghost story competition.

HARD Life in the First World War trenches was tough at Christmas

HARD Life in the First World War trenches was tough at Christmas

The 14-year-old, a pupil at Admiral Lord Nelson School in Portsmouth, receives a £50 gift card to spend on books at Waterstone’s. He said: ‘Thanks, that’s good news.’

Talented Zach, who lives in Ripley Grove, Baffins, Portsmouth, is also writing a play, The God Machine, which is due to be performed at the Kings Theatre next year. The play is being staged by the Kings Youth Theatre and Zach will also play the part of a mad scientist.

Zach said he formulated his winning story on an inset day off school, tapping it out on the family computer.’

He explained: ‘When I was young I remembered reading a story about Christmas truths and it gave me an idea. It took me a day to write and then I had to edit it as there were a few plotholes.’

THE LAST POST BY ZACH RUMFITT

14th November, 1914

Dear Daniel,

It is so quiet without you here at home. Well it was, until the birth of our son! We named him Jack, after your dad. I’m so happy everything went as planned. The little rascal has your eyes! We all miss you greatly, but as long as you keep fighting the war is won! Come home soon, please!

Love,

Harriet

20th November, 1914

Dear Harriet,

I am so proud! Who would imagine it, me, a father? I can hardly believe myself! All my men are happy for me. Guess who I saw out here earlier this month? Old Jonny Filthy! I was so surprised I almost dropped my mug of tea.

He’s dead now, though. Should’ve kept his head down. That’s the way of things out here, in the trenches. You got to be careful at all times, or some Hun takes out your brain. But it’s not so bad. We get tea, as I’ve mentioned, a warm bed and the guns to keep us as safe as possible from Mr Fritz’s bullets. There are always going to be casualties.

So long for now, then. Write back soon!

Lots of love,

Daniel

3rd December, 1914

Dear Daniel,

It sounds ever so terrible out there! I must admit, I am very worried about you. From the way it sounds, you can get your head blown off if you are at all careless. I wouldn’t last a minute. But I’m sure it’s not as bad as all that.

Your son is getting along fine. It’s getting near his first Christmas and I’ve got him a little blanket to keep him warm in the cold. Every day I tell him about how brave his Daddy is. I think he wants to see you so much!

Love,

Harriet

12th December, 1914

Dear Harriet,

It is getting near Christmas, isn’t it? I’ll send you something as a present, though I don’t know what yet.

I may not be writing for a while, but I think they may spare us work on the 25th. Maybe they’ll give us a nice roast (though I doubt it’ll be turkey – more like a rat!). Went scouting along the lines earlier, but it was thankfully uneventful. I’ve known the best soldiers caught off guard by the blasted snipers while doing that. But let us not think of these gloomy things. It’s been snowing here and no-man’s land looks just like the fields back home. I’ve half a mind to go out and have a snowball fight with Fritz, but I’m not sure it’d end well for me.

Much love to you and Jack,

Daniel

18th December, 1914

Dear Daniel

I’ve enclosed your present, as this will be your last letter from me before Christmas Day.

It snowed out here yesterday! Little Jack loved it, though I’m not sure what he thought it was. We played on the lawn. Remember how my mother hated it when we did that? She used to scream at us for being so immature!

I can’t write much today, as I don’t have much paper.

A merry Christmas to you, Daniel!

Harriet

25th December, 1914

I don’t have much time to write, but I just had to. First and foremost, Merry Christmas! I’ve sent a present to you and Jack; hopefully they’ll arrive along with this letter.

The most amazing thing happened just now, the reason I am writing this so hurriedly. We heard a carol coming from Fritz’s trenches. It was sung in German, but I recognised the tune as Silent Night. We joined in English, and we were singing together, two sides of a bloody war!

They seemed to enjoy it. Some brave chap from our lot got up and walked over to give them a cigar! Soon we were all exchanging gifts with men we’d been trying to kill only a day before! We even had a game of football on no-man’s land, which we won (obviously!). I was given a bottle of some strong alcohol by a Fritz called Kristian. We are still holding the truce now; I only just got away from the merriment to write this.

An amazing day.

Merry Christmas again,

Daniel

30th December, 1914

Dear Daniel,

Wow! It sounds fascinating! The truce is all over the papers, something that the generals are not too happy about. They say all further ceasefires are banned, so please take care!

We received your presents, thank you so much! They’ll make me think of you every day, out there, fighting for us. I’m so proud of you. Oh, and happy new year!

Much love,

Harriet

7th January, 1915

Dear Daniel,

Why are you not replying? I sent you a letter on the 30th and you have not replied. Please reply, I’m so worried. Please reply!

Love,

Harriet

10th January, 1915

His Royal Highness’ War Office

We are writing to inform you of the death of your husband, Daniel J Hart on the 26th December, 1914. His body was recovered in no-man’s land after an assault on the enemy position. He will be buried in a cemetery near to where he was killed.

Our condolences to you and your family,

HRH War Office

12th January, 1915

Dear Daniel,

Why did you have to die? Why did they kill you?

Damn it all! Why? I told Jack you were a hero, and he should try to be like you. I think he knows somehow. He’s been terribly quiet lately.

It is pointless writing to your dead husband, but I just wanted it out there. Maybe your soul will receive this and take some comfort.

For the final time,

Harriet

15th January, 1915

Dear Harriet,

I’m always here for you.

Love,

Daniel

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