This Week: Post From The Western Front

This week we return to Sergeant Rudolf Kessler from Ettlingen Town, who fought on the Western Front at Champagne,Verdun and the Somme.

Rudolf wrote home regularly to his family in Ettlingen and his letters included a great number of photos from the front. The landscapes of the western front battlefields contained large amounts of chalk. Rudolf made chalk carvings while serving at the front, memorials of the Champagne offensives and the battles at La Boisselle and Loretto, which can be seen here in our Memorabilia section.

Rudolf sent home this photo of a 21 cm Mörser in artillery position on the Western Front

In February 1917, a friend of Rudolf's, Georg Roth, wrote a postcard to the Kessler family in Ettlingen. Georg was in the Baden Field Artillery Regiment No. 76 and the regiment had been stationed at the Somme throughout the fierce trench warfare battles that took place at the end of 1916 and the beginning of 1917.

The postcard that Georg sends is a photo of his trench at the Somme:

He writes: "After a very long stay with varied experiences, we have now left the Somme and currently all is quiet. This picture is a souvenir of our command post at the Somme. You will have heard that our dear Robert has passed away, it is not clear whether this was due to injuries or illness. Please forgive me that I have not written for so long. I hope you are all well, as am I."

Georg Roth is referring in his letter to Robert Schuler of Ettlingen, born on June 7, 1897, who fell in the Battle of the Somme, sourthern Serre, on November 23, 1916. Robert had trained as a commercial clerk and both he and Georg worked for Rudolf Kessler's father.

Georg's letter of February 24, 1917 in Sütterlin (old German script)

A photo sent home by Rudolf of captured French prisoners at the Western Front

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