14 July 1917 – Richard to Gertrude

14 Jul

Gertrude clearly consulted Richard as the family’s doctor about Ted’s time in hospital with dysentery.




Dear Mother

Your wire & letter arrived by same post today. I am sorry to hear Ted is down with dysentery. What bad luck & just as he had a chance [of active service]. Anyhow let’s hope he’ll soon be well. He’s sure to get good attention nowadays, & no one ever pegs out with dysentery. “Seriously” only means rather bad, it’s not like “dangerously”. Very difficult to write much nowadays. More in a few days. Best love to all. Don’t worry.

Yr loving son


I’ve not been able to track down where Richard was in France at this time. However, this picture provides a dramatic counter-point to the little information he gives his mother about catching fish and harvesting their garden of beans, lettuces and vegetable marrows.

An Advanced Dressing Station in France, 1918 by Henry Tonks (Art.IWM ART 1922) image: A dressing station sited by a ruined church. The scene is crowded with casualties, many being brought in by stretcher-bearers. The men have bandaged limbs and some have head wounds. In the sky above there are dark grey clouds, possibly of smoke, in the left half of the composition, and patches of blue on the right. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:

An Advanced Dressing Station in France, 1918 Henry Tonks
(Art.IWM ART 1922)  Copyright: © IWM.
Original Source:

Text from the IWM Site: “Henry Tonks is perhaps better-known for being the drawing master at the Slade School of Art and teacher to the likes of Paul Nash, Stanley Spencer and CRW Nevinson. He also was a surgeon and during the First World War served with the Royal Army Medical Corps. Therefore, Tonks was an apt choice for a commission from the British War Memorials Committee to depict an advanced medical dressing station. The painting captures a scene amid a German offensive in 1918, within which Tonks makes full use of his medical expertise to showcase a wide range of injuries, treatments and field dressings. The finished painting was intended to be hung in a purpose built Hall of Remembrance, to celebrate national ideals of heroism and sacrifice. However, the Hall was never realised after the First World War and Tonks’s painting, along with other commissioned works, were transferred to the Imperial War Museum..”

I am greateful to @ArtIstWar for the image. If you are on Twitter, do follow them.

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Posted by on 14 July, '17 in About


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