Book made up of letters honours First World War serviceman

THEY tell the tale of one man who served in and survived the First World War, enduring life helping the wounded.

Thursday, 30th March 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:39 pm
Karen Stocker with her book called My Dear Daisy

And now the letters sent home by Private William Stocker RAMC, who spent his last 35 years of life on Hayling Island, have been compiled in the newly-released book My Dear Daisy: Letters to Fulham from the Front.

Grandaughter Karen Stocker self-published the book complete with illustrations, poems, and family recollections.

Karen, a 57-year-old ex-army nurse from Denmead, said: ‘Daisy was my grandmother’s name.

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Private William Stocker RAMC

‘My grandfather wrote to her during the war and I’ve got about 340 of his letters.

‘Until we read them, our family didn’t really know what life was like for William in the war. It was too traumatic for him to speak about.

‘The letters are about a variety of things, and you can feel his love for the family.

‘I’ve tried to identify everyone, everything and everywhere he mentioned for readers, and this book will interest the everyday person, as well as specialists in military and social history.’

Private William Stocker RAMC

William, who had four children and five grandchildren, was born in Fulham and joined the army at 21. He worked in the medical corps.

In his role as a stretcher bearer he was responsible for assisting wounded casualties on battlefields, a job which Karen knows took its toll.

She added: ‘When my grandfather died aged 96 in 1989, he was still haunted by what he’d endured.

‘He had part of his foot blown off while out with a group of stretcher bearers.

‘I think my grandfather found Hayling Island peaceful.

‘He moved there after retiring with his family, having visited for holidays beforehand. My father and uncle went on to own a shop there called Stocker Brothers.

‘William’s voice deserves to be heard and this book is a way of honouring him and those who served with him.’

My Dear Daisy: Letters to Fulham from the Front is available on eBay or Amazon for £13.99.