Monthly Archives: April 2014

Let’s do the Time Warp Again

One of the strangest things in this project was seeing a photograph of the family when they were in their 70s and 80s. I am so used to them as relatively young men and women, in their 20s and 30s, writing of war of course, but also of engagements and motor cars and pretty girls and dashing young men, that it was a jolt to see them as old people. Though it’s amusing to see that they still didn’t look straight at the camera.

Berryman Reunion

Berryman Reunion c1954

As children we used to refer to the older generation as the “old and bold” but I have been thinking almost exclusively of them when they were “young and brave”. Chris (who is transcribing the letters) and I talk about them by their first names and this disorientated my older sister who remembers the surviving members of the family that much better than I do. But I am used to them in their prime, whether that is Paul, messing about in boats when he was 25:

Paul 1910

Paul 1910

Ben, looking ridiculously glamorous:



Dick looking pleased with himself having just won a horse race:

Richard Berryman - After

Richard Berryman

or Ted (centre) with his comrades in arms in 1915

Ted (Centre) in 1915

Ted (Centre) in 1915

And this is the only one I have of the whole family during the war

Whole Family 1915 - Final

Whole Family 1915

When I am not thinking of them as young adults, I am thinking of them as children, so I shall round this post off with a photograph sent to me by a cousin a month ago. I think this must have been taken in 1892 or so, simply because there are nine of them. I love Gertrude’s boater but, sure enough, Paul is wearing a sailor suit.

Berryman Family 1892

Berryman Family c 1892
Gertrude, Jim and Richard (hard to tell which is which) Charles
Rosamund (on Gertrude’s lap), Ted (kneeling), Paul or Peter (on Charles’s lap)
Ben(edicta), Jane. (Ethel)Dreda, Peter or Paul

The letters start in July, each one published on the centenary of the day on which it was written. There are about 600 of them, and they show first hand accounts of many aspects of the First World War.

Leave a comment

Posted by on 18 April, '14 in About


More photo restoration work

I am fascinated by the process and the results of the photo restoration work done by Sandara at Naked Eye in South Queensferry.

The photo below seemed worth working on because it is exactly 100 years old, dating from just before war broke out. It shows Fred Lumb (standing, a fellow officer in the Garhwal Rifles) with Ted (seated) in Lansdowne, the hill station in the Himalayas where the Garhwal Rifles were and still are based. The women are Alix Mankelow (the sister of another officer in the regiment) and probably Ted’s sister Ben, though it is hard to tell which of them is which.  I very much like the checked skirt with the tabbed buttons.

Fred Lumb, Ted, Alix Mankelow and Ben

Fred Lumb, Ted, Alix Mankelow and Ben

Capt Lumb, Ted, Ben? and Alix

Fred Lumb, Ted, Alix Mankelow and Ben

The photograph below is the only one of the whole family taken during the First World War. So again it seemed worth having some work done to restore it. Unfortunately it’s a poor photograph in the first place and then my copy is damaged and very washed out.

Whole Family 1915  - Original

Whole Family 1915 – Original

In the first attempt at restoration, Jim (second left at the back) looks like a ghost, an eerily unpleasant effect in the circumstances.

Whole Family 1915 - First Restoration

Whole Family 1915 – First Restoration

The second version is much better, especially once it’s been cropped to correct the composition. But now we can see just how bad the original photograph was: Topher is moving his arm (is he saluting the camera?) most of the family are over-exposed and out of focus, and half the girls seem to have their eyes shut.

However, as I said, it is the only photograph I have of the whole family during the war, and I am grateful to Sandra and to the unknown photographer. Now I need to work out which of the girls is which.

Whole Family 1915 - Final

Whole Family 1915 – Final

Back row, left to right: Ted, Jim, Paul, (Chris)Topher
Middle row, left to right: (Ethel)Dreda?, Richard, Gertrude (their mother), Jane?
Front row, left to right: Rosamund?, Ruth, Ben?

Leave a comment

Posted by on 14 April, '14 in About, WWI



The brothers’ voices come out very strongly from the letters.

This is the end of a letter from Ted of May 1917, the transcript of which runs to two full pages of A4 covering everything at home and in the field, including his imminent return to the fight, with humour and compassion and spirit of adventure.

There seems to be a lot of fighting going on in France nowadays, & especially in the air. Germany is evidently very anxious about the Western Front, & seems to be doing her utmost to keep us from breaking through. The slaughter must be appalling, but we simply must kill them off & so end the war quicker.

I see Prince Albert [later King George VI] has been appointed to the Malaya, [the ship that Paul was serving on] so she’s evidently a star turn in the fleet.

Much love to all
Yr loving son

The following letter is from Richard, just behind the front in France.

Dear Mother

Many thanks for the parcel porridge cake etc. Most welcome. Put some lux in next time. I am longing to use the Emergency rations. The tent has arrived & is lovely, keeps the rain out too, Topher & I put it up. The watch too has come, Thanks so much for all. I want a pair of Jaeger putties, would you send me some please. Thin sort if possible, don’t know if they make two weights.

I saw Nell’s brother the other day. [Nell was engaged to Ted] Fancy meeting him just on the road.

Oh I know what I want, a pair of grey riding breeches in the big black tin box in the lumber room. They are in with that red coat & things I did’nt take to India. They are the same stuff as that suit of mine.

I am sending you £5 to pay postage etc for all these things. I see the cake & porridge always cost ¼ to send.

Send us some penny packets of seeds, mustard & cress, radishes, carrots sweet peas & taters, lettuce, vegetable marrow eh? Scarlet runners.

Best love to all
Yr loving son

Send me John Bull every week will you?

In the original letter, Jaeger is underlined three times (only the best for Dashing Dick). This is typical of Richard; in other letters he asks his mother for arm-bands for his stretcher bearers, for clothes, for food, and – as he mentions here – a tent. When Ted was in France he too asked his mother to send him things, ranging from lanterns to home made cake, but Richard’s sense of entitlement is extraordinary because it isn’t cushioned by Ted’s thoughtful discussion of family news and current events.

In fairness, as a doctor serving on the Western Front, Richard was dealing with the worst horrors of the appalling slaughter Ted describes, horrors he would not have wanted to share with his mother. And if he was focused on the job in hand, then I can see why he would ask her for things that would help him do it. But even in India before the war began, his letters to her are opaque and reveal little of what he thinks. Maybe he felt suffocated by her adoration (he was the eldest and her favourite). Maybe he was just used to it and had no idea how spoiled he was.

Leave a comment

Posted by on 10 April, '14 in About, WWI



Before and After – photographs

I’m truly impressed by the photographic skills of Naked Eye photography in South Queensferry.

I took almost 200 photographs and albums to Sandra there for scanning and she did a wonderful job. The most obviously impressive pieces are the restoration work, including this photograph of “dashing Dick” as she called him.

Richard Berryman - Before

Richard Berryman – Before

Richard Berryman - After

Richard Berryman – After

There is always question where you draw the line between restoration and reproduction, and to my mind it is important to retain both versions of the image.

The really impressive thing, though, is the detail that the scans bring out that simply isn’t visible in any other way. The original of this photograph for example, is three inches across. (The blurry photographs that are still here on the website are either out of focus originals or snaps that I took in 2010. Unfortunately that includes the group photograph of the whole family as children).

Tea and Tennis in the Raj

Tea and Tennis in the Raj

I’ve only looked at the family photographs, I’ve not yet looked at the scans of the photographs from the campaigns, so there is a lot more to come yet.

Leave a comment

Posted by on 4 April, '14 in About