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The Letters of Lieutenant Loftus Reade of Castletown, Co. Fermanagh, 1881–1914

by Familia Ulster Genealogical Review: No. 27, 2011


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by David Ian Hamilton

"In 1996 a box containing 538 letters written between 1895 and 1914 by Lieutenant John Henry Loftus Reade was presented to the Manchester Regiment’s 1st Battalion, then serving in Belfast. The donor was his kinswoman Mrs Rosemary Wilkinson, daughter of Dr Richard Brandon of Castletown in Devenish Parish, County Fermanagh.

After some intensive sorting by two members of the Regimental Association, the letters were deposited in their archive which is held in the Local Studies Library of Tameside Council, Ashton-under-Lyne. Loftus Reade was killed in action during the third month of the First World War while serving with the regiment’s 2nd Battalion. I have attempted to catalogue these twenty years of his writing as part of my voluntary work at the Library, where all the letters and their summaries year-by-year can be viewed.

This article aims to distill the archive to tell the story of the personal and military career of a brave man, and one of the early casualties of the Great War."