This first letter was written by John Roberts and was sent to Goronway, his son, while he was sailing to the Middle East; it seems to be the only one that Goronway kept with him.
“I am writing this letter in the hope that it will find you somewhere, and that you will be alive, and well, and cheerful.” (J. Roberts July 27th)
John Roberts was a Baptist minister in South Wales and was married to Margaret, Goronway’s mother. Because of his role as a minister, he was known as “John the God”.
He tells Goronway that he is current back on holiday at the old family home in Ruabon, North Wales staying with Nain (Grandma) and that everything is good. He of course was aware of Goronway’s travels across the Mediterranean and he asks Goronway to use use very chance he has to write. John is thrilled about the sights that his son will get to see and suggests that he should keep a record of his travels but of course soldiers could only write letters and not keep diaries. John is glad to have the correct address to which to send letters and that his son’s letters and a photo taken during training in Bedford had been received in good shape.
“I hope that you are keeping well, and that you did not suffer over much with sea sickness during the voyage. I am taking it for granted that you have arrived safe, and that God has answered my prayer as he done a great many times, more than I can count. You have gone into a very classical portion of this globe. I have had a desire to visited the Mediterranean sea and its shores for many years. It would be very interesting and instructive if you kept a diary. Put down every day, what you have seen, and what you have done.” (J. Roberts July 27th)
His letter to his son does show his understanding of the conditions that his son will endure, and that he gives comfort by telling him of his prayers and his hopes for him.
“Your duty will lead you know doubt and many difficult places. Mind for the right thing that you put your trust completely in God, do that alright, it will help you not forgot your training and use your common sense. Two essentials for a soldier are caution and courage. Oliver Cromwell told his men, ‘Trust in god and keep your powder dry’. Look after your health, don’t neglect the little things. You know what I like you to do.”
(J. Roberts July 27th)
John lets his son know that everyone at home is joined together in their hopes, wishes, and loving regards for him.
(John the God)