FEARS have been raised that pieces of history could be lost forever.

Scribblings on bricks in the underpass of a Llangollen railway bridge by soldiers before they were sent to the Western Front during the First World War, provide an insight into their private lives.

Video and images by Geoff Abbott

But historians face a battle to save the remaining writings with them slowly being erased by general damp and rain.

The notes, written on the bricks under the bridge close to Berwyn station, were discovered in 2007 and are thought to have been written by soldiers as they waited to be taken to Flanders - but it is feared many have already been erased by algae and rain dripping through the railway.

Concerns have been uttered that all of them could be lost until action is taken.

One soldier, Alfred James Candy, wrote of the hope of seeing his unborn baby upon his return. But a checking of Llangollen's War Memorial would show that he never got the chance, as he was killed in action during World War One.

Video by Craig Colville

Other messages give an insight to optimism at the start of the War compared to the sentiments felt by soldiers on their return. One message left read 'Next stop Berlin', while another said 'Balls to Belgium'.

But such insights into the lives of those who fought in the First World War are being removed as decades of rain and damp have started to erase the names on the wall, which local historians believe were written in 'trench pencil', given to them as part of their kit.

Peter Jones, local historian and Llangollen museum trustee, is not optimistic about the chances of saving the writings.

He said: ''What can be done to save them? Whenever I'm down there there is a puddle on the pathway, showing how damp it is down there.

''You can only think that the brickwork itself is heavily saturated by now. The messages give some feeling to the general atmosphere of the time, with most being very upbeat and confident of being home by Christmas at first, as opposed to the reality of the War which some wrote about on their return.''

Iwan Hughes, a teacher at Ysgol Maes Garmon in Mold and who currently lives in Flint, has a local connection with Llangollen having grown up in the nearby village of Pentrefoelas.

Iwan had formed an interest in the historic scribblings, and decided to visit the underpass while walking the area with friend. He said: "It's a very strange place. It's just a very narrow underpass under the bridge. It's very dark and you're through it in a couple of seconds. We could notice the green algae coming down from the ceiling, and you could see those signatures on individual tiles gradually becoming obliterated.

"You look at it and look at the signatures, and it suddenly blows you over when you think about what they really experienced.

"There's a tourist poster board on the opposite side of the river, and it gradually sinks in that those poor men were going off and leaving home for the final time. They listed their names on the tiles with special trench pencils. The ones they were given were quite unique and were to be used on trenches, which is why they lasted here for so long - the tiles takes the 'ink.'

"There's a signature from R. Roberts in 1913, and another one as Corporal R Roberts on Christmas Day 2014. He must've been on leave and promoted but the irony of it is people kept saying 'the boys will be home by Christmas'."

Little information could be found by Iwan, who took to the internet to discover the fate of the soldiers who signed the stones of their home turf. He did come across the work of David Gepp, a professional photographer, who researched and created an exhibition on this historic site.

Iwan said Gepp discovered that of the 11 names that can be made out on the stones, four were killed and did not survive the war. He added: "It's getting more difficult to read those now."