20 August 1915 – Ted to Gertrude

20 Aug



Dear Mother

Thanks awfully for your letter, written in the train en route for Camberley. I got a note from Ben, saying my bedding has been sent, so I will go in & call for it tomorrow.

Lovely here, & life not very strenuous at present. Very hot and a lot of wasps, so you can imagine what a funk I’m in.

Awful nice to see Kathleen Bowhill again, I was awful pleased, & am going there on Sunday. I thought she had changed a bit, I mean I would’nt have known her just meeting casual (it’s 13 years I think since we last met) but she has one or two funny little mannerisms which are unmistakable, a funny jerky way she moves her head about.

I hope Jane has written to the Neills, as Cheltenham is so absurdly close & I could get over there any day.

Hope the change to Camberley did you good; I’m sure it’s time you had one.

I’m afraid it’s much too far to think of weekends from here; but I can always manage to find something to do I expect of a weekend.

I don’t think I’m going to be very hard worked, nothing very strenuous so far anyhow.

My servant’s name is Griffiths, same as Jim’s; I was going to have one called Nation, but I changed him.

Dinner time

So long    love to all

Yr loving son


Ted’s turn of phrase about his servants shows how much has changed in the last 100 years, or I assume it does. There’s no explanation of why Ted chose Griffiths rather than Nation; did Nation drink, did he answer back, was there a great big problem or almost none at all? More to the point, did this blight Nation’s chances of future work?  I find this one of the more disconcerting comments in the letters, possibly because Ted is my grandfather and I take his few lapses rather personally. It’s so fleeting that it shows how carefully one must read the letters.

What Ted found to do at the weekends was spend them with a local family, the Fieldings, who comprised five sisters and a brother. They were slightly younger than the Berrymans, ranging in age from their late teens to their early twenties. It’s tricky to tell from the letters exactly when in the summer or autumn of 1915 he first met them, but they were to be important to his future happiness.

Jane either moved down to Cheltenham or stayed for a while with the Neills because she was certainly there for a while when Ted was in Gloucester.

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