Chief Stoker Walter Grainger's letters

Walter Grainger was a Chief Stoker who joined the Navy in 1883 and served until 1916.

He spent 3 years serving on HMS Daphne on the China Station at the very end of the 19th Century.

Before he left, he got engaged to Edith Townsend and then sent a series of hundreds of beautifully illustrated love letters to her. They married on his return.

The letters reveal the pain of separation and the importance of keeping in touch.

The letters are on display in our new HMS Hear My Story galleries in an area that focuses on the changing experience of naval families right up to the present day.

The following is a quote from one of Walter's letters:

"… Now tonight is one of the most beautiful moonlight nights I ever remember seeing I am sure I never saw such splendour there is not a cloud in the heavens not a ripple on the great water but overhead the moon is like a great disc of burnished silver set in a great canopy of Light blue velvet & the water is like a vast sheet of silvered glass" 

HMS Hermes returning from the Falklands