Stid, A.V.L. Hull, was my Great Uncle. That doesn’t make me particularly unique. He was one of nine in his family and with several generations of greats following, his nieces and nephews are hard to count.
We all knew of him. None of us knew him.
Had he survived World War I, Stid would have adored his nieces and nephews as he adored his brothers and sisters. The letters on this website were written to those little brothers and sisters and, of course, his parents. If he were alive today, I would like to think he would be writing his own blog. Stid’s Uncle lived to be 109. If Stid had done the same, I would have known him well. Nevertheless, in spite of the longevity in my family, he would not still be alive today even if there hadn’t been a war.
I have always known his story but until reading his letters and postcards, I didn’t realise what a writer he was. Making this website was like reading a book I couldn’t put down. There are lots of wonderful gems in his writing. Many brought me to tears. It’s awful knowing he didn’t make it home when he writes of believing he will.
I wish you a Merry Christmas and look forward to being home for the next.
Some of my favourite excerpts:
Did Lionel Kennedy get married to evade compulsory military service or just to pass the time away?
(To Ock) You probably haven’t been in a museum yet. They are places for putting everything in – birds, sheep, horses, fishes, snakes, pictures, engines, books from every part of the world.
One hopes that the families of some of the other soldiers mentioned in these letters will find them and are able to take comfort knowing that they had friends in Gallipoli and beyond. No doubt Stid chose to write mostly about the positives but it is comforting to know that there were some positives for a country boy sent across the world to fight for a war that really wasn’t his.
These letters were saved by the family. The ones from Palmerston were in a biscuit tin. When I saw that my mother had typed the words, I decided to whip up a website and share them with anyone who is interested.
A memory from one of his nieces, Alison Hine:
In the family, he was always called “Stid”. Apparently, as a small child, he had a toy team of horses to which he was always giving the command “steady, steady”, which came out as “stiddy, stiddy”. Hence the name “Stid”, by which we know him. All of his nieces and nephews were born well after his death, but we all knew about him. As a child, the picture of the flag-raising was there. My mother (Nona) was the youngest of the 9 children of Walter and Rose Hull, and Stid was her eldest brother (old enough to be her father), and she had a 6-year old’s recollection of how sad it was when the news came through of his death.