Monthly Archives: January 2016

31 January 1916 – Ted to Gertrude

Jan 31. 1916.


Dear Mother

(Just upset some soda all over this!)  I hear the English mail goes out on Wednesday so I am writing tonight to catch it. Also an English mail comes in tomorrow, so I shall have some more letters to answer I expect and hope. I’ve been busy all day today writing to all sorts of people who have written to me; I am trying to answer them all as soon as I get them otherwise I find one gets so behindhand.

I have had only 3 letters from Nell since I left, but letters seem all over the place in this country. So I wired to her last Sunday to send all letters to


as they get out here just as soon as if they are sent to any I.E.F and it does’nt matter where the rgt: goes they reach me just the same, so it saves changing the address. Still I should just write & ask the India office when they should reach there so as to catch the weekly mail. I asked Nell to send on the address to you so I expect you have already started sending them there.

Awful fun last week: Dick came over on Friday to stay the night, bringing June with him. She was in great form, and was a great favourite in the mess. I think Dick enjoyed the visit though of course there is absolutely nothing to do here, but I’m glad he had a chance to meet some of my pals in the regiment. He missed the boat back to Suez on Saturday so had to stay another night here, for which I was very glad. Just after he had gone a letter came for him from you, addressed from Cox Alexandria; they always mix us two up, so I expect we shall do a good deal of getting each other’s letters.

Gorgeous weather here nowadays, ripping and warm all day and still very cold at nights. Don’t worry about sending me anything; I should like a cigarette case, but it does’nt matter just at present; thanks awfully for offering to send one, but I’m so sick with myself for being such an ass for losing the other one; I ought to have had it on me really.

I got a Godalming paper today with some trash about me in it; I was glad some publicity was given to the fact that you have five sons serving, but I do draw the line at photographs!

There is great talk of our going back to the country I started out for- (a roundabout way of putting it, but there are censors about) And I think we shall fairly soon; but not back to L., probably to some outlandish place; I don’t think we’ve done with real live soldiering yet awhile.

Yes is’nt that a ripping little picture of Nell. I got one last week and I like it most awfully. Will you please get 3 copies of me from Adrian H. and send 1 to Mrs Stack (150 Sutherland Avenue Maida Vale) one to Bunchie & I forget who the other’s for, but will try & let you know soon! Glad Aunt Edward approved.

Jack Lodwick poor fellow was next me on deck, wearing a life belt, directly after the torpedo struck. We were trying to shore our lifeboat over to port & ours was a starboard lifeboat of course it was useless, & I never saw him again. But I know he was seen throwing chairs & tables overboard, to help people in the water, & doubtless several people owe their lives to him accordingly. What happened to him I don’t know, as she went down so soon afterwards, & I know no one who saw him in the water. In any case he was the coolest and bravest of men & died as game as anyone, & I’m sure none of those drowned suffered very much. I think he must have been taken down with the ship. Poor old Lodwick, a great friend of mine whose loss I shall ever deplore, and one of the very best that ever lived, both as a soldier & a gentleman.   Best love to all yr loving son


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Posted by on 31 January, '16 in About


29 January 1916 – Paul to Gertude

H.M.S. Malaya

c/o G.P.O.


Dear Mother –   Excuse pencil – but can’t get any ink at present. I arrived up here safely – yesterday morning – beastly journey – & I was very tired – & it’s fairly strenuous at present – & will be for some time.

Will you see if you can find my old-ish uniform monkey jacket. I think it must be in my room somewhere – you can tell it by the  right arm’s gold lace which is fairly wobbly – & one of the rings on the sleeve is sort of unstitched & bent back a bit. It must be at home I think- if you find it please send it as soon as possible-

Hope everyone at home is flourishing – bestest love to you all – your ever loving son



Posted by on 29 January, '16 in HMS Malaya, Rosyth


24 January 1916 – Richard to Gertrude

Go on writing to Cox.

Jan 24.

Dear Mother. Many thanks for your letter. Ted brought it over on Sunday, those ones Cox had sent my letters to him in spite of all the explanations I had given. Was’nt it nice our being able to meet. You got the cable I expect. He is very fit & seems none the worse. He seems to have had a good long swim, & dragged that woman too along with him. We are in Camp & not doing much. It’s awfully hot during the day, but very cold at nights. Ted & I made all sorts of purchases in the town such as it is on Sunday & Monday. He has’nt a camp bed & slept on mine & enjoyed a very good sleep he said. I wish I had my chair, I was a fool to forget it in the rush. The bath is awfully useful. No one knows if we stay here or not.

It was good Ben selling that puppy. June is very fit & rushes around the camp & enjoys life in general.

That concert seems to have been a great success. Whoever wrote all that about Ted & us in the S.A. Quite good eh?

I am glad Topher is fit, it was sporting of Kirwan to send him the whiskey. I wonder how Paul likes his new appointment. It’s a fine ship he’s got is’nt it? Ben wrote to me on her way to Gloucester. I expect Wiggs has been home by this time & she enjoyed herself. What about the bag? Huge surprise I expect & did she mistake it for Nell’s. Is’nt Eric the limit! Of course Ethel Ford is a fool.

We sent you a cable on Sunday, and I sent one to Paul too. We can send what they call weekend cables at 3d a word on Sundays. Rather good.

I am going over to see Ted tomorrow & stay the night. We are all getting very sunburnt here & if we stay it will be awful in the summer.

Must go to bed best love to all.

Your loving son   Richard.

 Paul had been transferred from HMS Gloucester to HMS Malaya



Posted by on 24 January, '16 in About


24 January 1916 – Ted to Gertrude

Jan 24./16


Dear Mother

I hear there is an English mail going out tomorrow at 9 o’clock so I am just scribbling a line to tell you I’m all right & going strong. I went over to Suez & saw Dick on Saturday, & stayed the night with him & came back yesterday. He was awfully fit & well & I was awfully glad to see him. June was in great form & was very fit. Dick I hope is coming over to see me tomorrow & stay the night & goes back the next day.

Can you send me a dozen rolls of films for a “Vest Pocket Kodak, autograph pattern”, as I have bought one off a chap here but can’t get any films for love or money in Egypt. Bunchie has my other camera still, but I fancy Dick has that or has asked her to send it to him.

It’s been raining hard today & is really quite cold here.

Please send me:

a packet of china tea, (we get such muck here) some chocolates (Nobby Clarke suggested these!) & a cake is never unwelcome. In fact I have’nt seen one since I left home! Also a tube or 2 of Swan Fountain Pen ink tabloids

The English mail is late again this week, not due in till Wednesday. What a difference from France! Where we got letters every day, and everything is far different here in every way, & it’s not an improvement either. But we mus’nt grumble or we’ll never finish off the show.

Best love to all

yr loving son



Vest Pocket Kodak

Swan Fountain Pens

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Posted by on 24 January, '16 in About


19 January 1916 – Ted to Gertrude

Jan 19/16.


Dear Mother

I got two letters from you this evening, one dated Jan 3 & one Jan 6th. I’m most frightfully sorry I was the cause of so much anxiety, it must have been awful for you. How often have I worked it out & worked it out, & finally come to the conclusion that no news could have reached you till Sunday, & that my cable must have reached you before, as it was sent off about 4 p.m. on the Saturday. Then yesterday we got the “observer” of Jan 2, with a very scanty lot of news about it, (but what there was was very pessimistic & alarming) but that on the whole bucked me up, because I deduced from that that as there was so little news in the Sunday paper – there must have been less or none at all in Saturdays, so my cable must have got home in time. Then your letters came today & the first I have had since I left home – & settled the whole show. I am sorry about it all, I wish I could have wired earlier in the day but I’m afraid it was impossible.

How nice & kind everyone seems to have been, & I hear dear little Babs came and sat with you all Saturday. Do thank her from me most awfully & say how frightfully I appreciate her ripping thoughtfulness; it was just sweet of her, & just what she would do: she’s a real dear.

Poor Nell; but I’ve had no letters from her yet. I suppose everything will go wrong for a bit & I shall get them all eventually. I am writing this after dinner in our mess, which is a Bedouin Sheikh’s house. Rather curious you should say Dick was coming out, as only today I got a wire from him saying he was at Suez, so I shall try & get over for the weekend or else get him out here. I have written to him today.

I can’t get over your letters, it’s made me feel quite rotten in a way- it’s brought it all back so vividly & made me feel so fearfully sorry for you all at home. Don’t listen to anything I say though about making me feel it all again, I was more delighted at getting your letters than over anything for years. You must have got my account of it all from old Nell now; I do wish I could get a letter from her, but perhaps I shall in a day or two.

Really people seem to have been awfully sweet in wiring & writing. They are most awfully good to us I must say. Yes I know you would thank God in Church about me, & thank you for doing so. I’m afraid churches are at a premium out here, though of course one does’nt need one on such occasions really.

I heard from Ben & Mrs Stack too this mail, but I expect there are heaps of letters knocking about somewhere.

I’m most awful fit & well now, & have suffered no ill effects.

How splendid old Nell seems to have been; is’nt she a little dear, so gorgeously self possessed & calm; I am proud of her.

Goodnight mother, lots & lots of love & apologies for all the anxiety

Best love to all

from your loving son


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Posted by on 19 January, '16 in About


18 January 1916 – Richard to Gertrude


Tuesday 18th.

Shoals of letters I suppose you’ll
get by this mail. It leaves today.


Dear Mother.

Still stuck here & likely to be as far as I can see. We are trying to move to Suez. All our equipment is on the quay but we cannot get a transport train to move it down. No letters have arrived, but perhaps they may come before we leave Egypt. It’s nice here, warm & sun shining. June is very fit & I bought her a collar & some ribbon yesterday. All shopping is done in French. Would you please send me a round collar for her, I am sure I cannot get one out East. Write next to c/o Cox & Co. Bombay to be called for. That’s the safest I fancy.

I see Ted was here on the 11th & I have written to him. Everything in an awful muddle. Best love to all.

Yr loving Dick


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Posted by on 18 January, '16 in About


16 January 1916 – Richard to Gertrude

Monday. 16th Alex.


Dear Mother.

We are supposed to be off tomorrow to Suez & then India, but I don’t believe a word till we are actually where we are going. I find Ted has gone off somewhere, Port Said I suppose. No letters have arrived as yet at Coxs. I will post this as a mail goes tomorrow.

Best love


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Posted by on 16 January, '16 in About


16 January 1916 – Ted to Gertrude

Jan 16/16.

Dear Mother

Just a scribble to say I have arrived safely with regiment at last. We had to ride out on Camels & horses & reached camp about 6 last night. Everyone very nice, & pleased to see us again, & various congratulations on our escape.

We are in a sort of grove of palm trees, an old Bedouin settlement, with a few old mud huts belonging to Sheikhs, one of which we are using as a mess. Close by is the reputed spot where Moses struck the rock; at any rate there is a constant supply of water there, which strange to say bubbles up in the highest part of the ground. Otherwise there is a sandy waste on all sides, & two miles behind us lies the Gulf of Suez, a brilliant blue streak, up & down which we see the tramp & liners going. A P. & O. outward bound passed by today, so I expect she had landed some mails at Port Said, so I may get some letters from home tomorrow; I’m longing to hear, as I have’nt had any letters since I left!

Quite nice & warm here by day, not a bit too hot, but it’s most awfully cold at nights; however please don’t go sending out any warm clothes as it will probably be 130 in the shade by the time it arrives! I have quite enough warm things to carry on-

Must end up now. I have taken up the job of adjutant again so shall be pretty busy. All the officers here are in great form & the men too, & I think the whole regiment is in splendid condition. Best love to all. I’m awful fit & well.      Your loving son



Photograph from among Ted’s WW1 Photos


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Posted by on 16 January, '16 in About


15 January 1916 – Richard to Gertrude

Saturday 15.


Dear Mother.

Tomorrow we should be in Alex. Rotten voyage, dull & rough. I wonder if I shall see Ted, but I expect he will have gone by now.

I will cable you when we arrive, if I can afford it!

The dog is very fit & very popular on board. I call her “June”.

I hope my money matters have worked out alright & that there was enough at Coxs.

Best love to all, I’ll let you know when I can our ultimate destination.

Yr loving son Richard.


After spending 1915 working in the Indian military hospital in Bournemouth, Richard was on his way to a new posting.


Posted by on 15 January, '16 in About


14 January 1916 – Ted to Gertrude


Jan 14/16

of course don’t put any names of places
on the envelope, only rgt: bde & division
as usual


Dear Mother

Just a scribble before going to bed. Dolly Lyell & I arrived here today from Alexandria. We have practically completed our kit & join the regiment at AYUN MUSA tomorrow, in the Sinai peninsular, across the canal, about 8 miles out. It is the biblical spot where Moses struck the rock, & to this day there is always a good well there and a plentiful supply of water. All well here; I’m simply longing to hear from you; have had no letters yet of course; could’nt possibly reach me under the circumstances. It’s quite pleasant I believe out there just now, & even cold at nights, but it will doubtless warm up later on. Tired after a long journey, left Alex : at 9 this morning & only reached here at 8! Love to all from

Yr loving son


Ted knew that is mother, a committed Christian and the widow of a clergyman, would be thrilled to know he was in the lands of the Bible

Ayun Musa 

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Posted by on 14 January, '16 in About