Monthly Archives: April 2015

29 April 1915 – Ted to Gertrude

April 29th 1915

Dear Mother

So sorry I have’nt written to you for so long, but we’ve been on the rush rather lately & owing to unforseen complications have had to come back into the trenches again after going back for a longish rest, which in reality only lasted one day. For no sooner had we got to our destination than we got orders to come back next day. So here we are back in the trenches once more! You have of course read all about the heavy fighting round Ypres lately, in fact you mention it in your letters; but we were’nt sent up there, though I believe some Indian troops were employed-

We are in the trenches, the same old game again, only the weather is of course much better now. The last 2 days have been simply gorgeous, absolutely cloudless sky and lovely and warm; such a change after all the bitter winds & rain we have had lately. I’m so glad the awful winter is over now. The trenches are really quite respectable now. Dry & clean, & dust has in every way taken the place of mud everywhere now. I don’t know which is the worst, I think it is just whatever you happen to be suffering from at the time, when it’s mud you long for dust, and vice versa.

I got a cake from you last night; thanks awfully for it. We have’nt tackled it yet, but it will be a most welcome addition to our simple fare-

I’m so glad your stay at Folkestone did you good, & I’m sure you are all the better for it. These are anxious times & I know you feel far more than anyone from your splendid behaviour & you look all your anxieties & troubles in the face like the brave woman and splendid mother that you are. It’s useless talking about it, but we all think you are wonderful.

But it’s some satisfaction, is’nt it, that, whatever happens, you know you and your sons & daughters are doing what they can for their country in this hour of trial; and even though it must be a terrible time for you, we know you would not in your heart of hearts, have it otherwise.

I’m afraid I have very little news. Things are fairly quiet here nowadays; all the excitement is up north, or else round the Dardanelles- Any news of Paul lately? I wonder where he can have got to-

Two German aeroplanes have been over our trenches this morning but they were driven away by our anti aircraft guns and two monoplanes of ours which chased them out of sight.

Is the family still split up, or have any returned to the fold yet? I’m so glad to hear Jim has got his commission, & I know it will buck him up as he was so heartily sick of being a Tommy, wasn’t he.

I am sitting in a trench basking in the gorgeous sun. I had a shave & a good wash this morning but am filthy again now as I have spent the morning going round the trenches and seeing what’s going on everywhere.

Must finish up now. Love to all from your loving son


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Posted by on 29 April, '15 in About


21 April 1915 – Ted to Jane



Dear Jinny

I wonder if you would do something for me- I have taken the liberty of sending your address to a friend of mine Mrs Stack (her husband was a pal of mine in Lansdowne in the 8th Gurkhas, and was killed out here last October, Ben knows her & knew him) because she wrote to me today and asked me if my doctor brother would sing some songs for some soldiers in outlying camps etc just to amuse them. So I have written to say that I thought perhaps you would help her if you could, only she is not to rely on you in any way as you may have lots else to do.

As regards Dick, if he could possibly manage to sing a song or two for her, it would be ripping, but I told her also to put no reliance on his help as he is a busy man etc etc; I mean I haven’t tied either of you down to help her & you can easily say no, but do go if you can.

No news; send along London opinion & a mail occasionally, Tons of love from Ted.

P.S. In case you are put to any expense over this show, I enclose £1. If you don’t go, spend it on what you like.

I feel a certain sympathy for Ted, asking his siblings to do something which he knows will be inconvenient and time consuming for someone they don’t know, for whom he feels sorry and whose situation is pretty grim.

His letters and Ben’s letters in November and December frequently refer to “Poor Mrs Stack”. She was Mary Bagot Stack, known as Mollie, the widow of Captain Edward Hugh Bagot Stack who was killed at the end of October 1914. They had two chilren the eldest of whom had died at birth in 1913 and the second, Prunella, had been born in July 1914 just before war was declared. Mary went to England but her husband was killed before Mary and Prunella landed in Portsmouth. This was dreadful time for the small family. Mary was a remarkable woman who went on to found The Women’s League of Health and Beauty.

While in India, Mary Stack noted the physical differences between the British Imperialists and the Indian women of all castes, who seemed to benefit from yoga, with better posture and greater flexibility. In London she started an exercise class for children and another for women, and in 1925 established the Bagot Stack Health School. Here she taught teachers – among them Prunella, who qualified in 1930, aged 16, already a veteran demonstrator of her mother’s techniques. Mary promoted a philosophy of exercise structured and graded to the needs of all ages and abilities, and taught by trained physicians, through huge public displays.

Although Mary’s health was deteriorating, in an attempt to reach more women she set up the Women’s League of Health and Beauty in 1930 in the YMCA premises on Regent Street in London.

See also

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Posted by on 21 April, '15 in About


17 April 1915 – Ted to Gertrude

Order of St John of Jerusalem

17th April 1915

Dear Mother

They have sent a lot of this paper up with the Rations today so I thought I’d use a bit just for fun. Many thanks for your letter from Folkestone today; I expect by now you have got my letter saying I had arrived safely. We have moved up nearer the firing line since & some of us go into the trenches on the 19th, but not all. Gorgeous weather here now, but still quite cold at nights.

So glad you have been away for a rest and change, I’m sure it’s done you heaps of good, especially after all the strenuous days of last week, with never less than 12 sitting down to meals! The memory of my pleasant 4 days at home will last me a long time. I have heard from all the others, and they all wrote such nice letters to me. I wish they would remember it was I who did all the enjoying & they who made my leave so absolutely perfect; you were all splendid.

Nothing much going on here. These fine days produce a good crop of aeroplanes always and we see them up every day over the German lines and they are fired at every time they go up, but so far none have come to any harm; tap wood!

I had a long letter from Ben this morning; I’m glad to say she has got all the letters I wrote her; I was rather afraid one I wrote just before I came home on leave might not have been posted. So Jane is getting on to Dick soon is she. I heard from him, he does’nt seem to get any orders, though I hear out here that his destination is probably Marseilles-

The no stamp dodge worked all right, but if there is no definite regulation it seems a shame to chizzle govt out of 1d every time you write; besides it might not always work. By the way you can address my letters “The Garhwal Rifles” now, not 2/39 as hitherto, as we are now called by the former title, at anyrate for the duration of the war; & accordingly I sincerely trust it won’t be for long! Tons of love to all

yr loving son



Posted by on 17 April, '15 in About


15 April 1915 – Paul to Gertrude

H.M.S. Gloucester
at Sea
15th April

Dear Mother-

We’ve been some distance since I last wrote – we were at Sierra Leone then – & have now been at sea for 3 weeks or so – no mails or anything & this is the first opportunity we’ve had for sending letters. I am still very fit & we’ve been in the hot weather all the time. We’ve crossed the equator off and on some dozen times- Our show is over now & there’s a chance of seeing you again in about a month’s time – but it’s only a rumour –

We captured a “prize” the other day, rather a fine ship – but I don’t think we make much out of it as they have done away with Prize Money – nothing doing in fact-.

Life’s been fairly monotonous during our month at sea – but still I don’t mind personally – cos as you know I like the hot weather. Food has been a bit short & we practically live on what is known as “bare navy” i.e. Salt Pork: pea soup & lime juice. Very good though.

We have had no news since we left either – so we are slightly behind hand in knowing what is going on.

I hope everybody is very well at home-

with ever so much love to you all

Your ever loving son


HMS Gloucester Log – 15 April 1915
Lavandeira Reef to Rocas Island
Lat -4.0, Long -34.3
6.30pm Colliers Djerissa and Gisella parted company
8.10pm Sighted fleet off stard bow
9.30pm Cos & speed as reqte for approaching anchorage West of Rocas Is
9.55pm Stopped. Came to with stard anchor
11.0pm Ships on company – Sydney (fla), Glasgow, Liverpool & Macedonia

4caf86d5cadfd34197017ef5: (

Sadly, this is the last of Paul’s letters where the logbook has been digitised.

Details of “prize” on 28th March

On patrol
Lat 0.0, Long -32.8
True Bearing and Distance: Rocas Is S15W 225′
12.05pm Sighted steamer bearing N10W 12′ steering SE :
12.10pm Steamer altered co to N. ward
12.15pm Proceeded co & speed as reqte to close steamer
1.20pm Boarded S.S. Hendrick flying Dutch colours. Proved to be German S.S. Macedonia with
coal & provisions. Put prize crew on board.
3:10pm Proceeded as reqte to close and communicate with Liverpool
3:45pm a/c as reqte to close prize.
4.0pm Discharged 29 ratings to Macedonia as prize crew with Lieut. H.O. Norman RNR  (in command) and Mr Allen R.N. Received on board German Captain Kunstler(?) with 2 officers and 19 men as prisoners of war.
7.15pm Proceeded as reqte to close Djerissa

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Posted by on 15 April, '15 in H M S Gloucester


14 April 1915 – Ted to Gertrude


Dear Mother

Just a line to thank you for your letter today. “Mrs No-Stamps” was a complete success, & it arrived quite all right together with a letter from Jinny, posted earlier in the day in Guildford, and with a stamp on. So it seems all right, but perhaps a bit risky unless you can get some definite news from the G.P.O. I hear you are going to Bournemouth, I do hope you do, as I am sure you will benefit by it-

You say you didn’t do enough for me. My dear Mother, you couldn’t have done more, you were all much too good to me and all helped to make my leave, as far as I was concerned, a complete success. I’m afraid I was away a good deal, but you know how hard it is to stay at home. Since coming back I have already heard from 2 people asking me why I did’nt go & see them! But I stayed amongst the family as much as I could I think. Anyhow it was lovely seeing you all again & I can never thank you all enough for being so frightfully good to me. I did love it all so.

Quite a nice day today, but it seems much colder than at home.

By the way tell Ben not to forget to write to Mussett, the Heraldic people, about the investigation they are making for me; tell them to send it to her at Delaford & not to me in India; Dick is very keen on it.

I wonder how those photographs came out. Do mind they are sent for me to see, as I am awfully keen to see them. As regards my professional ones, the family had better choose what they want; I don’t want to see them, so please don’t send em out here.

Must end up now- It was a gorgeous time at home; I shall never forget how ripping everyone was. Best love to all from your loving son


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Posted by on 14 April, '15 in About


12 April 1915 – Ted to Gertrude

April 12

My dear Mother

Just a line to thank you for giving me such a topping time at home- I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed my leave and what a lot of good I’m sure it’s done me- I simply hated coming away, especially back to this awful business; but I suppose it couldn’t be helped. Anyhow you were all splendid and made it as easy as possible on the surface- It was ripping seeing all the family like that, and I only wish old Paul could have been there. I thought of him often while I was enjoying the family life, which never seems to change or alter in the least- These flying visits are good for one I think, the change of scene & thought, & the extraordinary pleasure of seeing you all again all count tremendously, though the actual physical rest is perhaps nil-

Well, it’s over now, so I must pick up the threads where I dropped ‘em out here, & hope my turn for a few days’ leave will soon come again-

I did’nt have time to wire at Folkestone. We had an awfully nice trip up in the car, everyone was in great form; Jim turned up at Victoria, so I had a good crowd to see me off. I loved having them all there and they were all full of fun.

We had a lovely crossing – “absolute ponders” it would be called at Delaford I fancy! – and we left Boulogne at 10 that night, arriving here or hereabouts at about 6. We finally arrived in motor lorries about 9 o’clock this morning; quite a nice journey taking it all round-

Weather very cold here, so I’m glad I was persuaded to bring the inner lining of my ‘scutum [Aquascutum?]. I found letters from you all waiting for me, thanks very much for them all, I will try and answer them all sometime, though I have done so verbally with a vengeance.

We are in reserve just now, & go up into the trenches in a day or two I expect-

What awful fun Dick’s car was; I enjoyed my rides in that most awfully, & must get one when I come home on long leave next.

I wish my leave could have been a little longer; it was a crowded hour, but I shall never forget how frightfully nice everyone was to me- I will write a longer letter later; 2 cakes awaiting me here, & 1 with me, so I am well supplied! Best love to all, & again ten million thanks ever your loving son


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Posted by on 12 April, '15 in About


3 April 1915 – Ted to Gertrude

April 3rd

Dear Mother

Thanks most awfully for the lovely parcel of things you sent; it came a day or two ago and I’m afraid the contents have nearly all gone now! They were much appreciated in the mess and were most welcome. Also today came a torch refil & 2 lovely silk handkerchiefs, just what I wanted; thanks most awfully for them. Also an Easter card which came today.

Talking of Easter, the Bishop of London was round here yesterday & held a service in a huge field. He stood up in an old wagon & before he began he said he had a message for us all from the English people, who sent their love and wished us all the best of luck. Then he said he had another message which was the thanks of the English people for winning the battle at Neuve Chapelle; rather sweet of him was’nt it.

A good many officers were introduced to him, I among them, & he told us all to let him know at once if he knew any of our people, otherwise when he got back he would be taken severely to task by various mothers & sisters & wives for not meeting their sons & brothers & husbands! I couldn’t remember if you knew him or not, so didn’t risk it. We had a hymn or two & a friendly discourse from the bishop, looking very soldierly in Khaki, & then dispersed. I thought you might be interested to hear all this; the padres out here are all working at top pressure now, especially round about Easter.

The lovely weather has broken up now & today is wet & cold. I hope to get a little leave about the 8th or 9th just a day or two, but please don’t count on it as I have not got it yet by any means, though at present there seems nothing to stop it.

They have now done what we have all been fearing they would do, they have amalgamated the 2 Battalions of the 39th into one Battalion; so for the last 4 days since the amalgamation began I have been as busy as possible, & am still frightfully so. You see the 1st Batt; had so many officers knocked out in the last show that it was practically a new regiment as regards officers; & we both had a good many casualties among the men, so I suppose they thought the best thing to do was to make one Battalion out of the remnants. I have been made adjutant, merely by seniority, as I happen to be senior to Guy Mainwairing who was adjutant of the 1st Batt, & who also is wounded; so it’s a case of circumstances, “Greatness (if it is such!) thrust upon me”!

I’m afraid I’ve been awful slack writing lately, and answering everyone’s letters, but really I have’nt had a moment to spare. I should like a good long rest: a little leave would do me no end of good I think.

I wonder when Jim will get his commission; I can’t think why they won’t give him one. I think I must pay a personal visit to the War Office if I come home & try & ginger things up a bit. I thought they were only too keen to get fellers to take commissions.

I see a huge panorama of N.C. in one of the papers, really quite good, only it looks as if it was going on in the middle of the night, they’ve made it so dark.

I have got heaps of cigarettes now, so shan’t want any more just yet. Glad to hear my uniform rolled up; if I come home I shall get some new thinner stuff, sort of Burberry, for the summer, as I think we’ve fairly pushed winter, real winter, anyhow, behind us. It will be cold at times, but warm on the whole, & one can’t carry a change of clothes to suit all weathers in a 35 lb kit!

Must end up now. Will let you know if I get my leave & perhaps someone will meet me at Victoria.

Best love to all your loving son


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Posted by on 3 April, '15 in About


1 April 1915 – Ted to Gertrude

April 1st

Just a line to say I’m all right. Sorry I have’nt written lately, but I have been very busy these last 3 days; will write a letter & try & cope with some much delayed correspondence tomorrow. Lovely weather, nice bright sunny days, & warm- Tell Ben Fred Fox may look her up, as he has gone on leave today. Love to all


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Posted by on 1 April, '15 in About