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MS 604

Reference code

MS 604

Title

Christopher Caslon archive

Level

Sub-fonds

Administrative / Biographical history

Chris Caslon was the eldest son of Albert H. Caslon, Managing Director of the Caslon Type Foundry Co. He had one sister, 'Mina' and two brothers, Tom and Eric. He joined the H.S.C. as a private and was commissioned into the Royal Field Artillery in December 1914, and was sent to France in May 1915, in the same Division (21st) as his brother Tom. Tom is killed on the 25th November and Chris is invalided home early 1916. He does not return to the Western Front, instead finding himself posted to Alexandria in November 1916, based in Mustapha as a gunnery instructor. In May 1917 he moves to Palestine, being promoted to Aide de Camp to General Shea Div. Commander, 60th Division, in August 1917. He remains in this role until the end of the war.

Date

1915-1919

Extent & medium

3 boxes, approx. 250 letters

Content description

The bulk of the archive is made up by letters by Chris Caslon sent home to his family. The majority are addressed to his parents, with some addressed to his sister, Mina. The letters track Caslon through three theatres of WWI, giving accounts of life in France in 1915, Egypt in 1916-17, and Palestine 1918-1919. They also track his career progression, from private, to junior officer, to aide-de-camp. Although there is some original ms. retained in the archive, it was common practice for families to type up the letters they received from the front, to circulate around friends and family. Most of the letters in this archive are the contemporary typed versions. Interestingly, on the ms. that does survive, corrections and edits have been made, possibly by Albert H. Caslon, before they have been typed up. The letters are interspersed with Caslon's own amateur photographs, and some newspaper clippings. To compliment the letters are some family photographs, seeming to cover a range of periods.

Provenance

Archive kept by the Caslon family.

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