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16 November 1918 – Paul to Gertrude

H.M.S. MALAYA.

c/o G.P.O.

Thursday 16th

 

Dearest Mother-

Very many thanks for your two letters – Rather funny as I got the one you wrote later before the first one.! I am pleased to hear about dear old Ted getting a D.S.O. – I have been wondering why he never got some decoration before – for all the things he has done- It is good news – Would you send me his cable address – I mean, how does one address a cable to him – same as a letter or is there anything shorter?

That was a very interesting account of his re the surrendering of the Turkish Army – I am sending it on to Nance.

My cold is much better now – though I am still rather nosy- I went to bed for one day – to see if that would do any good – but I don’t think it did really-

I am awfully sorry to hear about you having all those teeth out – such a blow to suddenly lose them like that – I do hope you won’t be kept long before your new ones are made-

It’s a pity Dreda cannot come up with Nance & stay with us. We are so hoping she would be able to – Nance’s arrangements are rather disjointed at present – but I am earnestly hoping she will be coming up here very soon.

We are giving a small dance on board on Saturday afternoon – it might be quite good fun. I’ve never seen such a place for dancing as Edinburgh – there seems to be one every afternoon and evening – I have only been to one up to date –

A most vile day – very cold & raining hard – a complete change as the last few days have been lovely – with this full moon.

My best love to you all – from your ever loving son

Paul

Don’t forget about Ted’s address – Oh – and thank you muchly for your congratulations-


Ted's Medals - the Humane Society Medal on the left, then the DSO, then his WW1 and WW2 service medals

Ted’s Medals – the Humane Society Medal on the left, then the DSO, then his WW1, inter-war and WW2 service medals

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distinguished_Service_Order

 
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Posted by on 16 November, '18 in About

 

15 November 1918 – Paul to Gertrude

H.M.S. MALAYA.

c/o G.P.O.

Friday- 15th Nov:

 

My dearest Mother-

Very many thanks for your letter – Well things seem more or less settled up now – and I think it is wonderful how we have defeated those beastly Huns – & made them grovel – It has been interesting these last few days – reading about it all – There were some very cheery orations & general flag wavings up here – must have been a wonderful sight in Town – the King & Queen driving through the streets an’ all.

We are still carrying on our war routine – I daresay you read the Admiralty message to the Navy – in the papers – Quite right I think the army should be demobilised first – after all they have had all the fighting and discomfort – so we shan’t be getting any leave yet awhile.

How lovely for Jane Murray having arrived home – I suppose they will start arranging a date for their wedding now.

Nance is back in Edinburgh again now – I think her change did her a lot of good – she is quite fit again & looks ever so much better.

We have had lovely weather up here lately – ever so calm – & lovely moonlight nights – but it always produces a fog & you can only see about 100 yds to-day.

So Dick has gone further afield again – going out to India early. I expect he will get a good job.

With very best love to you all & I hope you are very fit-

Your ever loving son

Paul

 
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Posted by on 15 November, '18 in About

 

13 November 1918 – Ted to his mother

Nov 13/18

 

Dear Mother

I’m afraid I’ve got very much behindhand with my correspondence lately, but we’ve been very busy all the last 4 weeks. I hope you got a line or two from me giving an account of our doings lately. Strenuous times indeed they were, 10 days’ hard marching with 3 battles in it, & very difficult country to go over, hills and rocks & ravines so different to the usual Mesopotamian dead-level plains. But it all ended wonderfully successfully, 11,000 Turks surrendered on the morning of Oct 30th, with over 50 guns, & 30 hours later an armistice was signed with Turkey.

So the old & battered Mesopotamia E.F. got in one more good blow before the finish, and I am so glad & proud I was there, & in such a fine brigade too, which did splendid work, & we were “well in at the death”, our regiments being in the front line & receiving the first surrenders. Genl: Wauchope is of course fearfully pleased, & he & I agree that we could’nt have wished for a better ending to our personal share in this great war.

Well, of course, THE only thing now is the wonderful news from Europe. So it’s all over at last. It is all too stupendous for the limited human mind to grasp at first, & it must take time for each and all of us to realise what it all means. We can just realise the one fact that there is peace at last, & happier times are ahead for all the world.

The great point is without any doubt that the anxiety of all you dear people at home is relieved now, after more than 4 years of terrible waiting and wonderful patience, courage, & sacrifice. I can’t tell you, Mother, how glad, supremely glad, I am for that reason only, & I know I am expressing the opinion of every one of us in saying so – it’s all, as I say, too big a subject to write on, but it is enough to know that it is all over now.

And is’nt it gorgeous to be on the winning side! Not that one ever doubted for one minute that it ever be otherwise in the end – but that wonderful end so long expected, & now reached – but there have been anxious moments; hours and days, even minutes when it was just touch and go – Well, we’ve got heaps & heaps to be thankful for, both nationally and individually – and that’s enough for the present.

Meanwhile we are sitting on some mud-flats by the river, in wet & rainy weather, making the best of things- Our recent advance up the Tigris landed us many many miles away from tents and railways & we were on short rations & no tents for nearly a month. Even now the men have no tents, and it’s been raining for four days. I managed to retrieve mine, so am all right. But in an advance like this over very difficult country the difficulties are almost insuperable, roads are either very bad, quite impassable, or non-existent. And such as do exist soon get cut up & churned into feet of dust by constant & heavy traffic. I am glad to say we have come back a bit, about 50 miles from our final battlefield, & right glad I am too, as there is no longer any ‘front’ – thank heavens! to be at, it is best to be back near railways & comparative comfort.

We arrived here 2 days ago, & a mail arrived at the same time. I got a line from you, very many thanks. It was dated Sep. 2nd. Thanks awfully for sending the woollie, but it has’nt arrived yet: tho’ doubtless it will in a day or so. The winter is on us now so it will come in very handy.

You ask about several men in the Queens. Of course I am not with them now, as I’m miles away from my old brigade and the regiment an’ all. In any case the regiment, I mean my rgt – left the country some weeks ago for Salonica I think, I suppose there’s no harm in saying these things now, though the censor may see fit to cross it out. I heard from Capt Fox “at sea” yesterday, & he posted his letter at Aden. But of course they could’nt have possibly arrived anywhere in time for anything, though I have no doubt they left the country with much pleasure – The rest of my old brigade is still in these parts, the Euphrates line somewhere I think, but I have’nt heard from them or of them for a long time- You see this is an entirely different brigade.

Jolly lucky was’nt I to get Bde Maj to this Bde, & see this last jolly good show. I’m most awfully pleased about it & it has more than made up for leaving the regiment. I envied them awfully when I heard they were off, as we thought they wd be sure to have some fun, & at the time it looked as if we should get little or none, but as it happens it has turned out just the reverse.

I wired to you the day after the surrender of old Haqqi and his merry men, but we got news that no cables were being sent ex Mesopotamia unless paid for at a post office. You see formerly you could send a wire to the base & they’d send it for you & deduct the cost from your pay, but they suddenly stopped this one day, so my cable never went. And as we were miles from any post office I could’nt send a wire till yesterday when we got to one – I sent one off to old Nell, & then found I had’nt enough to send one to you! & no one else had any money (just a fluke I had a few rupees) so I added “tell mother” to Nell’s wire which I thought was the best way, otherwise I wd have wired you too – I hope it arrived all right.

So sorry to hear about Cyril Manders, but I suppose he will be sent home soon. I had a wire from Jim saying he was fit & well. I have half an idea his rgt went on to Mosul, but I don’t know- I wish we had gone on, it wd have been an interesting trip & a good place to see-

Of course everyone is wondering “what’s going to happen to us out here!” Everyone’s eyes & thoughts turn towards home, but that’s about as far as it’s got at present. I have no idea what they will do with any or all of us. Someone must remain out here of course, but I should think they would clear as many troops out as they can as soon as they can get shipping- I can give you no idea of when I may expect leave, much less when I shall actually get it. But I shall try & wangle some just as soon as ever I can – I feel I want a rest & change somehow.

In your letter of 13th Aug you were at Lauriston Road with Ben & had had some letters from me. The letters were written when I was staying with Jim last hot weather, years ago it seems now.

Nell was 21 on the 11th, a great day all round was’nt it. Easy enough for me to remember now is’nt it with 2 events, Nell’s birthday & peace! Is’nt the child growing up fast! She was only 18 when I left & I shall be in an awful funk meeting her again! But you all say such gorgeous things about her that I expect it will be all right-

Hooray, here’s the sun, the first time for four days & we may be able to dry some of our very damp kit. Lunchtime too, I get infernally hungry these days. I do hope the food position and the coal one too improve rapidly now. But I fear things will take months to become normal again. But it’s worth it is’nt it. But I do want to come home so much.

Best love to all             yr loving son

Ted

 
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Posted by on 13 November, '18 in About

 

11 November 1918 – Armistice

Thank you for following the Berryman brothers for the four long years of the war.

To us, with hindsight, it seems strange that we don’t have a letter dated the 11th November 1918. It was Nell’s 21st birthday and she heard the news while doing the washing up, presumably for the Red Cross, since 11:00am is a strange time to wash up at home. But they were busy men, and it was only one day.

We won’t leave the Berrymans quite yet. 11th November 1918 was a truce and peace wasn’t confirmed until the Treaty of Versailles was agreed in June 1919 so we can follow the brothers’ letters for a few months more and find out a bit about what happens next.

But for now, let us pause and think of the grief of the four years of the war and the decades that followed. Diana Cooper said the longed-for peace came with the shocking realisation that everything wasn’t “all right” because the dead would always be dead, and Harry Smith said that ten year later people “wore their grief like jagged glass”. (@Harryslaststand)

The picture below and the audio which re-creates it illustrate the pivot-point of the 20th century more simply than any artifact I know.

Reproduction of recording tape (from November 11, 1918 @ 11:00 AM) recovered from an American sound ranging apparatus showing 1 minute before and 1 minute after the cease fire ending World War I.

The caption below the image reads: This is the reproduction of a piece of recording tape as it issued from an American sound-ranging apparatus when the hour of 11 o’clock on the morning of November 11, 1918 brought the general order to cease firing, and the great war came to an end. Six seconds of sound recording are shown The broken character of the records on the left indicates great artillery activity: the lack of irregularities on the right indicates almost complete cessation of firing. 

The audio was created by Coda to Coda for the Imperial War Museum

 
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Posted by on 11 November, '18 in About

 

23 November 1918 – Ted to Gertrude

This was written a couple of weeks after Armistice day, but is a detailed account of the announcement of the Armistice being shared in the Middle East

For ourselves, I was awakened on a wet miserable night – Nov 11 – by a signaller with a message just saying the Armistice had been signed & hostilities had ceased that morning – I donned a British warm & slippers & went & woke the General up & told him; he grunted, & next morning I apologised for having woken him but excused myself on the grounds that the news was rather epoch-making: & his only reply was “Did you wake me up? I don’t remember it!”


Nov 23/18

 

Dear Mother

A lovely mail turned up 2 days ago, & 3 letters from you came with it. Very many thanks for them, it’s the 2nd mail we’ve had within a week so we have been in luck’s way of late. Your letters were dated 11, 18 & 26th September, & took just 2 months to do the journey you see. I hope they’ll get a bit quicker now & possibly a bit more regular – I see they are starting aerial mails in many places now, but at present I imagine our mails are far too big to expect anything like that from home to here.

Lovely weather now, cold nights & nice warm days. We’ve had some rain & there’s more to come I think, & after that we should get frosty Christmas Card weather. But I’ve got a lovely woolly lined trench coat now, Ben sent it out & it arrived 2 days ago, so I’m quite alright. Fearful extravagance but it should last a lifetime with any luck. We have stopped work on the railway now & are doing “peaceful parades” again.

Turkish prisoners are working on the line, & I’m glad the Brigade has not got to do any more digging, either of trenches or railway embankments. Heaven knows they’ve had enough of both in the last 3 years. I see the King & the Army Council & India Office have all sent us nice messages about these last operations – We are awfully pleased they are so appreciative, & we like to think our little battles out here don’t go quite unnoticed in the welter of fighting on the western front. It was good honest fighting & good hard marching: just the old bullet & bayonet (& the men behind them) no gas or tanks or other modern horrors!

We’ve had two good days out shooting, a party of 6 of us. 30 partridges yesterday. 37 & 16 grouse today. Delightful weather, good sport & cheery company; one would be greedy to ask for more.

I had long letters from Rosamond Jane & Dreda in the mail. It seems you all wrote thinking it was the Christmas mail; apparently the post office advised you to do so. But as you see the letters have arrived in plenty of time. I’m wondering what news you’ve had of me by cable, if any, either official or otherwise. The former is doubtful, but my having had a cable from Nell dated 7th Nov: makes me wonder a bit- There was such a muddle on that day it was difficult to know what to do quite-

You had got my letters of June 10th & 16th, what years ago! Yes, I had a great time with Jim then. I have’nt seen him since our battlefighting – So you had sons advancing up both banks of the old Tigris in that show. I had a line from him a day or two ago telling me his experiences. I’m so glad he got into a fight as he always wanted to “strike a blow for freedom” as he put it. I met some officers of his regiment working on the railway a day or two ago & they said he was going strong. Making roads I think they said.

Delaford seems to have witnessed some cheery weekends of late, & Paul at the top of his form- I suppose he’s busily engaged now in taking over Hun ships – And perhaps the “Great Silent” is a wee bit more talkative now, now that the naval censorship has been removed.

Things seem to be going well all round considering, but I suppose for 6 months or a year yet we must expect muddles and wranglings over extricating them- Elections coming off soon too I see. Presumably Lloyd George & his Coalition party will get in by a largish majority. I hope so, as it means the nation is still determined to pull together in the dangerous & critical years immediately following the war in which it has shown how it can pull together if it likes. Labour looms large on the horizon, though it is a problem & a situation that must be faced someday. They will probably form a powerful & influential party in the next election after this.

From all accounts the wildest scenes took place in London on several successive nights after Peace night, & Reuter gives us glimpses of revels & streets rendered impassable owing to dancers, “many of whom were in fancy dress.” For ourselves, I was awakened on a wet miserable night – Nov 11 – by a signaller with a message just saying the Armistice had been signed & hostilities had ceased that morning – I donned a British warm & slippers & went & woke the General up & told him; he grunted, & next morning I apologised for having woken him but excused myself on the grounds that the news was rather epoch-making: & his only reply was “Did you wake me up? I don’t remember it!”

My cold reception there made me wonder if anyone else would like to hear the news- I decided they would, so slopped off in the mud & rain to the West Kent Rgt next door, & after much difficulty woke their C.O. & 2nd in cmd, who took rather more interest than the General had; they got up & came out of their tents & we watched the next brigade to us- some 2 miles off- entirely losing their heads and sending off Very lights & S-O-S. rockets & various other coloured signals-

Meantime the rain came down harder, & I decided the rest of the brigade must await the news till next morning- I waded back to my tent – wet & muddy & cold, but happy, anyhow! – & wrote out messages for the others & turned in – Next morning at 6 I sent off the messages & a few rounds of cheering told me they had arrived at any rate. We had a bonfire or two that week, & used up all our signal rockets & S-O-S- signals, & since then we have been solemnly digesting the wonderful fact of Peace-

Yes, the coal problem seems critical, & certainly 7 tons does’nt seem a vast amount to last till July! But you were as usual – wonderfully cheery about it & resourceful, & seemed quite content- But as the navy won’t be steaming 8 million miles a month now, p’raps the situation may be eased a bit though it’s bound to be tightish for several months I’m afraid-

In your letter of Sept 11th you say the news is good, & next year will see the end, you really think- It’s incredible to think that that was written just 2 months before the actual end is’nt it. What a rapid finish it was, was’nt it-

So Topher has sailed for Egypt, a good place to winter in anyhow! I’m most awfully glad he got on so well, & all the girls speak so awfully well of him, & they are severe critics enough! What awful bad luck they could’nt go and see him off on account of that rotten strike, so frightfully disappointing all round-

Yes, these last few months fighting in France have recalled many familiar names, Neuve Chapelle & Estaires & Merville & Paradis – I’m so glad we got them all back, as they will ever be associated with the Indian Army, & the inhabitants were always so awfully good to us- Many thanks indeed for the Spectator article on the 39th; I’m longing for it to come. If you can, would you get one or two more copies, I presume from your letter it was in the Spectator of Sep 21st. I should like to send one to the depôt in India for our regimental records, & of course have a copy for myself. I wish it would come along, as I’m longing to read it

I sent you a Christmaas Card a day or two ago. I hope it arrived safely; latish I’m afraid but we only got them a day or two ago. At anyrate it seems as if happier Christmasses & New Year are in store for the world at large- Wonder when I shall be at home for a Christmas day! Remember I left on 24th in 1915 & we had our Christmas at Delaford on 22nd I think- What ages ago!

Best love to all

yr loving son

Ted


Scenes on Armistice day in London & elsewhere

 
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Posted by on 10 November, '18 in About

 

10 November 1918 – Ted to Gertrude

Nov 10/18

 

Dear Mother

A lovely parcel arrived from you today, containing a gorgeous new Shetland woollie and some soap & scent & a wee sponge & some baths salts & cocoa & 2 lavender bags- Most acceptable my dear Mother, each and all of them, and very very many thanks indeed. The soap has arrived in the nick of time, and the bath salts & scent are very welcome, as also is the sponge – it’s very cold o’nights nowadays & sleeping in a tent one wants a woollie & really the grey one you sent me before is rather worn out now- I see the note inside is dated Aug 31st, so the parcel’s not been so very long on the road-

A lovely day today. Being so near the river & down rather low we get thick mists each morning with a watery sun trying to shine through- But later in the day it gets really lovely, warm & sunny but thank goodness the real heat is out of the sun for 4 or 5 months at any rate- The general & I have been riding about all the morning looking at people building railways. I met some officers of Jim’s regiment who were at work on the line. He is up the river a bit, making a road they tell me, & is quite fit & well. His regiment came under a good deal of shell fire in this last show it seems, but did not have much actual infantry fighting-

I enclose a key to some photographs I sent Ben- I am sending you the same set, but the censor rules won’t let us send photographs & the key in the same letter. Of course it does’nt matter now I suppose, but no orders have come round relaxing the censor rules so till then I suppose we must stick to them-

I had a cable from Nell, dated Nov 7th, so now I am wondering why she sent it whether (1) My original cables did go after all, (the ones I sent after the battle of 30th Oct & the Turkish surrender saying I was alright & you were not to worry;) or (2) You have some official news of me : very silly of them if they did send you a wire as there was no earthly need to- You see I sent my 2nd cable to Nell long after the 7th (the one telling her I was alright & she was to tell you, as I had no more money left!) so her cable must be in answer to something, mine or official, before that. What a muddle! Anyhow I’m quite alright & fit as a fiddle.

Lots of love & again many thanks for lovely parcel

yr loving son

Ted

 
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Posted by on 10 November, '18 in About

 

9 November 1918 – Richard to Gertrude

Richard Berryman, sketch by Vall

Richard Berryman, sketch by Vall

39 I.G.H.

9.11.18

 

Dear Mother

I have got two letters of yours Oct 4 and 8 in which you say you have not heard from me. I hope by this time you have, & got my letter directing you what to do when the cable arrives. I am back again with 39 Hospital, hoping I am on my way to India. But there is a hitch somewhere & goodness knows when I shall get away.

Snice to be back here. Much colder than when I was here last, but the sea is nice & it all seems so much healthier. I am sorry to leave Topher behind. He came to see me off, & he will always be able to go over to our camp & see a change of face. Goodness knows when I shall see him again. He is quite fit & happy only like everyone wonders what’s going to happen to him.

Many thanks for all those papers & the photograph of Evelyn. The papers are most welcome. Funny Dreda should meet Rowland’s people! I have’nt heard from Evelyn for ages, but I must write as it’s my turn. Topher seems to have cut me out there altogether.

I imagine I am going to India for 3 years. Save save save & then come home for good & do a small practice there. But the quicker I go the sooner I’ll be back. I posted some beads & table napkin rings to you, you ought to be able to use them for Christmas, but they should get there ages before. The mail only takes a month really. We hourly expect to hear the Hun has given in. It’s all good news is’nt it. James & Ben must be sick of house hunting.

No eyeglasses ever arrived. Did you ever get a letter asking you to have some coloured prints of that picture of me?

Best love to all

yr loving son

Richard.

a Happy Christmas to all.

 
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Posted by on 9 November, '18 in About

 

3 November 1918 – Ted to Gertrude

Nov 3/18

 

Dear Mother

I am sending along a very rough and ready description of our doings of the last few days which may be of interest to you. It’s all rather a confused memory, as we were so hurried & pushed & there were times of such utter wearines that I can’t quite remember exactly what happened- It is however a fairly coherent account I think, & I hope you will like it.

It is lovely weather here now, very fortunately for us, as of course we have no kit to speak of- We have bagged a Turkish tent for meals, but otherwise are leading a very primitive existence-

We are still clearing up all the mess and booty left by the Turk on the battlefield. There’s an awful lot of rubbish, but a lot of valuable stuff like guns & machine guns which all has to be laboriously gathered together-

We have heard no terms of the Armistice yet, except that all Turks out here have got to surrender, & that we are to occupy strategical points. That means someone going on to Mosul of course, but I don’t fancy it will be our brigade. I expect we shall go back a bit. It does’nt much matter now going back, as everything is over, & there is certainly more comfort down the line. All the same I’d like to see Mosul very much, being so close to it an’ all.

Austria & Hungary seem on the verge of an armistice now, but news is scanty here just at present.

As usual, our friend Turk has left us a large legacy of flies which are very trying. I ate a whole tin of malted milk tablets one hungry day during the show, a tin you sent years ago, & they came in awful handy. I have no news of Jim or his regt, they are across the river somewhere. My hand & arm are quite all right now & healing up nicely, two tiny little holes which I don’t suppose will show up when they’ve healed up; I got off very lightly – I posted a letter yesterday & will get this off as soon as I can- I’m very fit & well. Lots of love from yr loving son Ted

Nov 6th later just heard news of Austria being out of it- splendid is’nt it…..

 
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Posted by on 3 November, '18 in About

 

2 November 1918 – Ted to Gertrude

Nov 2/18

 

Dear Mother

I have’nt written for ever such a long time, nearly a fortnight now, as you will understand why. We have had a very busy time indeed, as you will probably have seen by the accounts in the papers, but it all ended up successfully with the surrender of the whole Turkish army opposed to us, followed next day by the announcement that an armistice had been declared with Turkey-

So we only got our show finished with one day to spare! But we worked awful hard for it. In 9 days we marched hard, & the last 4 days of those 9 we were fighting most of the time. A fight in the morning, a pursuit in the afternoon, just a short rest for food at nightfall & on again at 1 o’clock in the morning, hard on the heels of the Turk- The men were splendid. We had our first battle on 26th, & fought all that day & did’nt make much progress, & hung on to such ground as we had won by nightfall.

During the night the Turk retired & we followed him up at 12 noon on the 28th & fought him & drove him from a strong position & bivouaced that night on the groud captured. All very tired & hungry & thirsty, but we had to press on again at 6 am on 29th & ran into the Turk once more about noon, & went for him at 3 in the afternoon, but he had a splendid position & our men were frightfully tired, but managed to get right up to the position under very heavy fire, & also got round his flank a bit & then night fell.

The men were digging all night & on the morning of the 30th the Turk surrendered, as we had driven him into the arms of a cavalry force which had crossed the river higher up & got behind him – about 9000 surrendered & 40 guns, a splendid haul & reward for all our efforts- Our casualties were not very heavy but the time was one of the most strenuous I ever spent- I am so glad I took part in it all & saw the best of the fighting, as now I feel I have done something at last to help things on. My brigade had its full share of the fighting, & it was all so interesting to me in my job as Bde Major so of course I had tons of work to do & I was so tired & sleepy at times.

Jim’s regiment was across the other side of the river but I have heard nothing of him- The Turks fought very hard & well & we had a tough job driving him along & we were right glad he surrendered when he did! We began on 21st & finished up on 30th, so had a good long continuous spell. Rather curious I went into the trenches in France for the first time on 29th Oct 1914, & this I expect is my last battle in this war and that was on 29th October, as the Turk surrendered on morning of 30th. We have been busy clearing up the mess on the battlefield since then, asn collecting all the booty & guns & prisoners- It’s the first action my brigade has been in & they did awfully well, & the general is most fearfully pleased of course.

So that’s the end of Turkey, and the end of the War out here & let’s hope elsewhere too. It’s gorgeous to know we were able to give the absolute last blow to Turkey, the very day before the Armistice was signed. I expect you’ve been wondering whether I was in the show or not. I sent you a cable saying I had been very slightly hit, as I found I had been reported wounded officially & I thought they’d be sending alarming wires home, so I thought it best to cable- a shell burst close to me & I got some splinters in my hand & arm, nothing at all serious, but they bled a lot & looked ghastly in consequence! But beyond making my arm & hand rather stiff & painful for a day or two there was no harm done & I only went to hospital to have them dressed but did not stay there. I’m afraid I shan’t even have any marks to show they are so small, less than I was hit before even & they were absurd enough. Anyhow I’m absolutely all right-

We are within about 50 miles of Mosul & hoped to go on there, but now this Armistice is on I suppose that’s off. I wonder what they’ll do with us now, as the Palestine & Mesopotamia armies are now freed- Austria seems tottering & really things are looking much more hopeful & bright all round- we’ve come over some awful rough country, awful hills & fearfully windy roads, very steep in places, in & out of deep dark valleys quite impossible for carts, only men & horses & mules could get along, though in some marvellous way they did manage to get some guns along- We are on very light kit, but fortunately the weather is fine & warm with cold nights. I dunno when we shall see our kit again, not yet awhile I’m afraid. Our post office is 50 miles or more behind so I dunno when I can post this, but I’ll try.

Well, I must end up- Sorry I’ve given such a vague description of things, but it’s all been such a rush & hurry itself for the last 10 days that really I’m not quite clear when or where or how we marched & fought, except that it was long & hard & often & we were absolutely dog tired at times & wondered how on earth we should ever crawl another yard- It’s been a great show & we are all fearfully pleased with ourselves. Best love to all

yr loving son

Ted

 
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Posted by on 2 November, '18 in About

 

1 November 1918 – Richard to Gertrude

1.11.18.

 

My dear Mother.

I might get a mail from you any day now I fancy. A referee & a Sunday Herald arrived posted Sept 29th for which many thanks. I sent a letter saying Topher & I are quite near each other at present. I discovered him by chance. All private cables are stopped or I would have sent one to say we had met, but the one saying quite well went just before the order came out. I have’nt gone yet and am rather sick about it as I do not see how I can get to Assam now by the 23rd. Anyhow I expect to be sent any day.

Funny sending a cable quite well, ‘cos just after I for some reason got a bad throat & for the first time for many years was made to stay in bed. Could’nt swallow or smoke & generally felt rotten. However I made a rapid recovery & did not reckon on being fit even by today, but thank goodness I am.

Topher is seedy now. Rotten country eh? He’s got diarrhoea, but I went & fetched him this evening & have put him in a tent next me & got him a couple of days’ ex duty, so he will soon be alright. He’s been to Jerusalem & I expect will write to you all about it.

As I thought there is very little in the papers about our big push here, which is of course bigger than any, but perhaps not so important. However the news is so good everywhere nowadays, people must be very cheery at home.

I am trying to shed off those twopenny halfpenny olive wood table napkin rings this week, you will perhaps be able to use them on the table at Christmas time. Still very hot here, but we’ve had some rain. I must go over to Jaffa again & have a bathe, it freshens one up so, & there’s nothing like a change even for one day. Bored stiff with this place and am longing to get away.

I am waiting for No 5 letter now. Wonder if I can run across Jim or Ted in India!

I’ll keep this open & see if any letters come tomorrow.

Good night love to all   yr loving son

Richard


 
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Posted by on 1 November, '18 in About