FATHER-of-two Harry Lewis wrote a letter home to his two young daughters during his WWI service in Egypt.

Harry was a sergeant major serving with No 11 company East Lancashire Regiment as the first Christmas of the conflict approached in 1914.

His little girls Evyline and Nellie were home in Blackburn, with their mother, Marie-Ellen, nee Woods and his missive to them has been sent to Bygones by his grandson and namesake, Harry Houldsworth.

Addressed to his oldest daughter, and mentioning his brother ‘Dock’, who is also in Egypt, he says: “Dear Evyline, Thanks very much for your welcome letter. I was glad to hear that you had some fun on bonfire night.

“I was thinking about you, wondering if my little girls were enjoying themselves.

“It was not our Christmas Day that we had on October 30, it was the Egyptian Christmas. We shall have ours on December 25, the same as you.

“I do not think we shall be back for Christmas, but still we shall have some fun when I do come home.

“Egypt is a nice place, but I would sooner be in Blackburn with my little girls.

“I hope the war will soon be over and then we shall all be happy again.

“I am still in good health, so is Dock and I hope that you are the same at home.

“I have not had a ride on a camel yet, so I cannot tell you what it is like, “You must be a good girl and a help and comfort to your mama and do not forget to pray every night for the soldiers in France and your dada and Dock and that the war will soon be over.

“I think that is all this time.

“From dada who never forgets his little girls. Kiss mama for me, Lots of kisses for you and Nellie.”

Harry had also fought in the Boer War around 1900 and met his wife-to-be as he walked out of Blackburn railway station on his return home.

He was expecting to meet his girlfriend, but it was Marie-Ellen who approached him, kissed him on both cheeks and commented on how fat he had grown.

The mistake, however, had a happy ending and in 1964, Harry, then 82, and his 81-year-old wife, who lived in Queen’s Park Road, celebrated 60 years of marriage.

While in Egypt, Harry was sent home to Blackburn to train middle-aged men or, as he called them ‘the last gaspers’ for war service.

After the armistice, he returned to his job at Willen and Mills foundry near Eanam, where he worked for 50 years until he retired in 1947, manufacturing cotton looms.

He became works manager, following in the footsteps of his father who had held the post in the late 1800s.

Mrs Lewis was also a textile worker for many years.

Harry Houldsworth, who is Evyline’s son and his wife Brenda, were born in Blackburn – Brenda attended St Hilda’s and her husband St Peter’s Secondary School. They now live in Nottingham.