THE CARD is small and faded, a little tattered around the edges.

The message is simple, typed in red – “wishing you a merry Christmas and a bright and happy new year”, with a few heartfelt words written in pencil at the end – “from Patrick, to all at home..”

This 100-year-old Christmas card, sent from Glasgow soldier Patrick Connelly to his family at home in the Gallowgate, lay forgotten in Rose McVey’s mother’s attic for many years.

“I only discovered it when I was clearing out my mum’s things, just after she died,” explains Rose, who is 85.

“It’s dated Christmas 2018 so must have been sent much earlier, distance and communications being what they were, or it was sent home after he died.”

Lance Corporal Patrick Connelly, from Annfield Street in the east end, was killed in action in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) in October 2018. He was just 21 years old, and left behind his parents, five brothers and sisters and his young sweetheart, Annie.

Rose’s mother, Catherine, was 19 when her brother died.

“My mum didn’t talk much about it – families didn’t really back then, it was just too painful,” recalls Rose.

“Patrick’s mother, my granny, stayed with us for a while so I did know about him but finding the Christmas card was a surprise. I didn’t know it was there. It was quite sad to see his message, sent to his family back in Glasgow.”

There is a verse in the card, Rose explains.

“We are feeling very weary/waiting for the war to end/but we manage to be cheery/when our thoughts do homeward wend/We shall never be downhearted/for we know it doesn’t pay/but we don’t like to be parted/from our friends on Christmas Day/So we will with deepest feelings/and with thoughts for you that day/send to you our Christmas greetings/hoping you’ll be bright and gay/Though we’re far from dear old Blighty/yet dear thoughts of you we’ve got/Have a Christmas bright and merry/Here’s the best from Mes-o-Pot,” she reads.

Rose, who lives in Bishopbriggs, also discovered a box with old photos of Patrick, and his medals, including the Military Medal he received in 1916 for bravery during the battle of the Somme in France.

He served in the First Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry. His grave is unknown, but a memorial in Basra includes his name.

“The Commonwealth War Graves Commission sent me a photo of the monument, which shows his name on a panel,” says Rose.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Basra Memorial to the Missing commemorates more than 40,000 soldiers who died in the operations in Mesopotamia from the Autumn of 1914 to the end of August 1921 and whose graves are not known.

Rose adds: “It’s very sad, and I know my mother was devastated – she must have been very upset to read this, and she kept it all those years without us knowing.

“When I saw all the coverage in the Evening Times, of the centenary of the war ending, I thought it would be nice to share the card with other people.

“Lots of young men went to the war from the east end of Glasgow, and many never came back – lots of families might have had Christmas cards like this one.”

AS the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day approaches, I watch the commemorations with a heavy heart.

At this time of year, I feel cheated on behalf of my family, who were apart for four years.

My great grandfather, Private William John Marsh of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, missed out on his two young daughters learning to walk, talk and head off to school.

He was among the first soldiers to leave for the war, a member of the Old Contemptibles.

This was a term coined by German Emperor Kaiser Wilhel, who dismissed the British Expeditionary Force as General French’s “contemptible little army.”

There was hope of the war being over by Christmas.

As we all know, that did not happen and it was four years before my Nana, Anne, her sister Katie and mum Catherine were to be reunited with Grandpa Bill.

He was injured by shrapnel, captured and imprisoned at Doberitz POW camp in Germany in 1915. Letters and cards were exchanged during captivity - the only contact they had.

Like many of his generation my great grandfather didn’t talk openly about his experience, apart from a conversation with his son-in-law Ken after the outbreak of the Second World War and the realisation that another generation were to be packed off to fight.

However, I recall my Nana telling me the story of his journey home when peace was declared.

Private Marsh was freed on Armistice Day 1918 - his birthday - when the gates of the camp were thrown open and they were told to go. He made his way on foot through Germany and Belgium to a ferry port in a bid to get home.

He walked in plimsoles, and was given clothing when the King of Belgium gifted jumpers to soldiers.

My Nana recalled how she was at home with her mum, my great-grandmother Catherine, when they heard unfamiliar heavy footsteps outside. Catherine flung open the door and standing there was her husband - there had been no news of him coming home, he just turned up.

On Sunday as the clock strikes 11am and our family falls silent, it will be as poignant as ever.

The gratitude I feel for my great grandfather’s personal sacrifice and that of his fellow soldiers is immense. In the words of Robert Laurence Binyon, “at the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them….”