16 January 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

16 Jan

Jan 16/19

Dear Mother

Very many thanks for 2 letters from you which I got on 13th; your letters were dated Nov 20 & 27- I’m so awfully sorry you succumbed to flu – so unlike you to “go sick”!- and I’m much releived to hear you got over it alright & that Ruth and the others were able to be at home to look after you- Really it is most alarming is’nt it, though I suppose it is getting less now. I told you we had it out here, & whole regiments of 800 or 900 men were reduced to 200 and under; and in these last operations 2 regiments of our bde had to be left behind on 2 occasions owing to flu- There were not many deaths, very few in fact, but for the time being those who got it were absolutely useless-

Eight of us had just had 2 days shooting: we camped about 15 miles upstream and had awful good fun. We did’nt do as well as we expected, but it was very cheery and a change from the rather dull routine of our life out here. We got a few duck, & got thoroughly wet in doing so- We had to wade a good deal, nearly waist deep, & old father Tigris is not by any means a hot bath at this time of year.

1 & 2 others came back at midday yesterday in a motor lorry, wet & cold, as we wanted to see the finals of a footer match. We had’nt time to change when we got back, so stood & got colder still watching the match. Enthusiasm at all! However a gorgeous hot bath in the evening put a different complexion on things & I’m none the worse today. It is a raw cloudy day today, but the 2 days we were out were lovely and sunny, though the sun is not by any means too hot & you can wear a small hat all day, no need for a helmet.

My orderly has just this very minute brought me a lovely English mail, with a line from you postmarked 2nd Dec- But I think I’d better get on with this for the present- I see great long accounts of Gordon Campbell’s doings in the V.C lists in one of my last mail’s “weekyl Times”. Truly he is a marvellous man & deserves his V.C. many times over. I can’t think why he ever came through alive! Poor Mr Kirwan seems to have been very seedy, I hope he’s all right again now. Yes rather I remember Emily Grant though I should’nt know here in the street I’m sure! But I do know who you mean-

Your letter of Nov 25 enclosed Mrs Lumb’s letter. Really old Fred Lumb lays it on a bit thick always: still I think it was very nice of Mrs Lumb to write. You remember I went and stayed with them in Norfolk in 1910 when I was home? I am trying to go & stay with Fred Lumb in Mosul, but the rgt: is away strafing Arabs or Kurds I believe, so I’m not going just at present- Jane’s lucky getting Murray home for a spell.

I can see Nell and me coming in a good last in the marriage stakes! I’ve just read your letter which arrived just now, & I see you rag me about getting the wind up about Nell & my wedding & the long wait. It’s not exactly that, I know she’s young and all that, & there’s lots of time- but still I should like to get married all the same, & I certainly hope this year will find me coming home some old time. Shes a dear child Nell, & she’s waited very bravely & patiently & I must get home somehow or other this year, even if I have to desert!

I hope old Ben is alright after her operation. James must be relieved too to get quit of his work & he’ll be able to start his bar work again now I s’pose- They seem to have got a very comfy little flat in Chelsea, & the next thing is a house in the country near London I imagine-

Yes, I suppose aeroplanes will be buzzing the mails out to India shortly now, & trips to Paris & the continent will be quite common. Expensive at present, but all these amusements are. You can hardly call motoring a cheap amusement & that’s been going some years. It will take many many years I’m afraid before the good old 3rd Class railway carriage loses its customers.

So glad Jane saw Reggie Nation. I was expecting a line from her this mail but I see none in my letters. So I s’pose there is’nt one. I wonder how his wound is. I hear from his sister occasionally.

Hope you’ve got my letters about our show out here. I’m afraid there was a big gap in October, but I simply had’nt a minute to write,  nor anywhere to post if I had written. Best love to all

yr loving son


I got a p.c. from Ruth today. Please thank her very much.

This of course is the “Spanish ‘Flu” pandemic which ended up killing more people than were killed as combatants during the war itself. We tend to know about our soldier ancestors, but not what killed those who died in their beds, so it was only a few years ago that I discovered it was the Spanish Flu that killed my other grandfather in 1919.

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