At last night’s concert to celebrate the 70th anniversary of VE Day, Absolutely Fabulous actress Jane Horrocks was moved to tears while reading a letter written by a soldier during World War Two.
The concert featured musical performances from a host of stars, including Katherine Jenkins, Status Quo, Blue, Chas & Dave, Alfie Boe and Elaine Paige. But between the acts there were readings by Horrocks and fellow actors including Robert Lindsay, Laurence Fox and Julia Sawalha.
Lindsay read extracts from famous speeches by wartime prime minister Winston Churchill, while Fox and Foyle’s War actress Honeysuckle Weeks read letters written by a British Army sergeant and his new wife just three days before he was killed at war.
Horrocks, meanwhile, read a letter written by Lieutenant George F Morrison of the 7th Battalion of the Royal Highlanders to be sent to his mother in the event of his death. It was written in October 1942 and was the last letter his mother Norah would ever receive from him. Before the month was out, Morrison was dead. He was one of five officers killed on the second day of battle.
“You have always been the best of mothers to me,” wrote Morrison.
“Since reaching mature years I’ve tried to make up to you for all the trouble you must have had when I was smaller.
“My family is the best ever — and I know you’ll all go on and keep the colours flying, even though I’m not there to bother you any more by phone calls from obscure spots, or mad crazes after motorbikes, or any of these things which afflict the normal youth.”
He added: “This is a queer letter to write — because I’ll be dead then and if you get it, I feel excessively cheery and optimistic right now and this death business doesn’t worry me in the least.
“So, if I do get one — don’t be too sad — it’s too late to be sad and I wouldn’t like it.”
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