11 May 1916 – Ted to Gertrude

11 May

May 11/16


Dear Mother

Very many thanks for your letter which I got 2 days ago. How erratic the mails are these days to be sure, as after going a fortnight without one we get 2 again this week, another being due today. I suppose the boats get held up at Marseilles or Malta or somewhere, & then the next week’s mail nearly catches the other one up.

I had some nice long letters from Nell, who seems very fit & is working hard at the Gloucester VAD hospital 3 days a week; a very good thing too I think, & I’m most awfully glad she’s doing it. I wonder if she’ll be able to get up to Guildford for a spell. I think Bunchie was the other person to whom I wanted you to send a photograph. I must send you the money for the other ½ doz I asked you to get last week. I hope to hear today that Topher managed to get his leave all right, though I should think it was rather hard to get just now. He deserves a whack of leave if any one does.

Thank goodness we had some rain yesterday, badly needed but really too late to do any good. But it has washed the place down well, and made it nice & cool; it was very oppressive before & made one feel awful slack. I had a nice longer letter from Ben last mail, asking for Zoo tickets; rather funny, because the mail after she wrote she must have got some, because I sent some off to her a long time ago. She said the East called her a lot these days & seemed to be getting on well in her job of adding by machinery!

Yes it’s a sad place now in Lansdowne, a shadow of its former cheery self. So many gaps, & so many new faces, which one almost resents, they almost seem to be trespassing. The sadness is tempered somewhat by pride in having given so many of our best & bravest from so small a community, for indeed a heavy toll has been taken of our tiny population. Things are settling down more or less now, & I’ve not quite so much work, still I’m always pretty doggo by the end of the day.

Do go on sending pink papers, because we don’t get them in the mess, & they are much appreciated.

Yes do send old Nance a photograph, all the same I’m sure she’s had one since Sandhurst days. How ripping of old Vowles to send you a Cordwalles Chronicle; I shall love to get one, & I hope it turns up today. You might offer him our back numbers on loan, as he said he had no records of Cordwalles, & wanted to compile some, and I think it’s almost a public duty to supply them if we can. I have a vague remembrance of promising to send them.

No, so far – tap wood!- I think we’ve been lucky, only the Sussex mails lost. I hope you are getting mine regularly. Poor Willie’s gramophone records. Yes was’nt that Wittenberg camp awful? I’m glad to see they’ve rewarded those splendid doctors. The Boche is only piling on the agony for himself after the war now, & I don’t think even the most conscientious objector (what about specs these days of compulsion?) could stand by & watch much more of that sort of thing.

Best love to all

yr loving son


Very fit & well

If “Nance” is Nancy Swan who got engaged to Paul early in 1917, then she would have been about 21 at the time of Ted’s letter and about eight when Ted was at the Royal Military College in Sandhurst in 1903. She came from a military family with a long-term friendship with the Berrymans so it could be Nancy Swan, it could be another Nance, or “Sandhurst days” could refer to when the family lived in Camberley, we just don’t know.

Gloucester VAD

Wittenberg camp

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