Family link leads to letter’s publication

Writers' circle member Archie Darroch with a copy of the book.
Writers' circle member Archie Darroch with a copy of the book.

A member of Angus Writers’ Circle is celebrating the publication of his contribution to the book ‘Letter To An Unknown Soldier’.

The inspiration for the book, by Neil Barlett and Kate Pullinger, was a war memorial that stands in London’s Paddington Station. It features a life-size bronze statue of a soldier reading a letter and people were invited to imagine what the letter contains.

The result was 21,439 letters from all parts of the world with contributions by ordinary people, serving members of the armed forces, politicians and even the Prime Minister.

It t was decided to publish 150 of these letters in a book as part of the commemorations of the centenary of the First World War. The nationwide project was commissioned and supported financially by 14-18NOW WW1 CentenaryArt Commissions, and a proportion of the proceeds from the book will enable more public participation projects to be commissioned.

It was through an e-mail sent to the Angus Writers’ Circle that Mr Darroch heard about the project and decided to write his letter to the Unknown Soldier.

letter was based on research he had carried out on his family tree. He discovered that his paternal grandfather and his great-uncle had both seen active service in the First World War, and composed his letter on some of the information he had discovered.

A copy of the book, which is published by William Collins, a history imprint of Harper Collins, can be obtained from Waterstone’s Book Shop at

The Angus Writers’ Circle meets on the first and third Wednesday of every month from 7.30 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Rosely Hotel, Arbroath. Further information from Sandra Ireland on 01241 410346.