Monthly Archives: February 2016

28 February 1916 – Ted to Gertrude

Feb 28/16


Dear Mother

Just a line to say we got on board safely and sail sometime today I believe. Awful squash on board, & the men like sardines. This is a very old ship, about 20 years old I think! There are several other officers on board, including one      Bampton of the 8th Gurkhas who knows Dick & Ben.

I got a parcel last night, with tea, ink tabloids (using ‘em now) and some chocolate. Thanks awfully. The tea is a huge success as we get filth on board. I think a packet of China tea is always a good thing to have about the place.

Nothing much doing. All well here. I cabled Nell “Just off”; I wonder if she sent word to you.

Love to all

from your loving son



Lt-Col J.A.H. Bampton made honorary Colonel, 1946

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Posted by on 28 February, '16 in About


26 February 1916 – Paul to Gertrude

H.M.S. Malaya




Dear Mother-

Thanks very much for your letter – Yes I was adrift last week with my letter I am afraid – but I expect you have got it by now.

Not much news from this part of the world – I’ve just had a letter from Ben & Marjorie – Ben does’nt like being couped up all day at all- but otherwise seems happy enough.

I’ve “spoken” to that nephew of Mrs Black’s – he’s in my “division”, all same “company” – so I speak to him a good deal – quite a nice fellow – he was awfully surprised when I said I knew all the Blacks quite well-

I am glad to hear Ruth has fixed it up with Guy’s Hospital – seems a long way off though – Aug: 9th – but she deserves a good bit of leave first – does’nt she?

I get plenty of exercise these days – which is a good thing – as I was getting fearfully out of training with all that long leave.

Our quarter deck is huge – so we always play hockey every evening now & we also have a boat’s crew under way – in which I pull.

Miss Kellie seems to be installed as a Delafordian – I must say I liked her awfully – & everyone says something about her in their letters-

best love to all

your ever loving son



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Posted by on 26 February, '16 in HMS Malaya, Rosyth


26 February 1916 – Ted to Gertrude

Feb 26.1916

The ship we are sailing in is
called the MUTTRA


Dear Mother

Just a line to say thanks awfully for your letter today, of 16, only 10 days ago. I also got 2 letters from Nell & one from Jinny. I had a letter from Nell yesterday too, so am in luck’s way. I cabled to Nell “just off” yesterday & so we are. We go on board tomorrow, at last, after all these rumours something definite is going to happen. After this you will just catch the usual weekly mail as before I suppose, only I think it’s best to stick to the India office address, for the present at anyrate.

So glad Dick enjoyed himself. I hear he has sailed for India in a hospital ship, but have heard nothing definite from him. He bought me a bed in Cairo & sent it across but it was never found this side of the Canal, so I don’t know what happened to it. I had several searches & so did lots of people, but we never found it!

I got your letter from Dumps Morse & will answer it as soon as I can; but I have been so busy today making preparations for tomorrow that I have’nt had much time.

I seem to be getting my letters better now, but I’m afraid I shan’t get any for about 3 weeks now, & the same for you I suppose. The films arrived yesterday: thanks awfully for them. I shall get a camera when I land, as the one I was going to buy has been bought by someone else!

How nice of Bob & Mrs Bob to come & see you; I’ve never seen her have I? What’s he in, & is he going out soon? I’m so awfully glad to hear Jim is looking so fit, & I do hope he is now quite well again. Topher must have been having a rotten time lately poor chap, I can sympathise with him. I do hope & pray he came through this all right. There seems to be lots going on everywhere now & the Russians seem to be helping our Baghdad campaign a lot. What splendid fighters they must be. We owe them a lot in this war.

Yes I’m afraid taxes will be heavy after this war. I don’t think I’ve chosen a very good time to get engaged! Never mind, Nell is such a dear that I would do anything for her. I hope Dryden got my letter last mail; I always try and answer letters as soon as I can, otherwise one gets so fearfully behindhand.

Nothing much doing here, all quiet & likely to be so I fancy. I’m not really sorry to be going. One feels very much out of things here, & though I don’t really want to be in the thick of things, yet somehow one feels that’s where one ought to be.

Your idea of living near London is a good one I think and I hope it materialises, it would be so awfully nice for the girls. Jinny tells me Ruth had exciting times in the Broadstairs raid; I do hope she’s all right. Best love to all. I’m awfully fit & well.

From your loving son


Pic of SS Muttra

Details of ship & its career

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Posted by on 26 February, '16 in About


23 February 1916 – Ted to Gertrude

Feb 23/1916.


Dear Mother

Just a line late at night to thank you most awfully for the ripping parcel I got today. Everything in it was just lovely. The attaché case is too priceless and exactly right size & shape an’ all. Tommy’s cooker, kettle, & refils all arrived safely and are most welcome. The little packet of nail scissors etc just the thing, and the writing pad & pencils extremely welcome. Thanks most awfully mother for it all & it’s just arrived in time too, for we leave here tomorrow, for the destination I originally started for, and are sailing immediately. So don’t expect any more letters from me for at least a month; you see the journey out will take about 10-15 days & a letter going home will take that, so that makes a month. We should arrive about 10th March or so, & if we catch a mail home at once you might hear from me about the 25th March; so in any case don’t expect a letter before the end of March or so.

I don’t know the name of the ship we are going on or anything. We only got orders tonight at 5 o’clock to march tomorrow and embark next day. So I have been fearfully busy ever since & am just scribbling a line before we clear out to catch an English mail leaving tomorrow.

I haven’t heard from Nell yet, but I got a parcel from her today, with a letter dated 23rd Jan, but I have had no letters from her by the ordinary mail. A lovely parcel hers was, all sorts of nice things in it, so I have had a gorgeous day. Still, I wish letters would’nt go so wrong. And now we shan’t hear for years I suppose, being on the sea and all that. It was she who sent me the lovely watch; was’nt it ripping of her; too sweet I think; I am a lucky person to have so many nice people who are so ripping to me.

Must scribble to Nell now.

Best love to all

from yr loving son



Posted by on 23 February, '16 in About


22 February 1916 – Ted to Gertrude

Feb 22nd/1916


Dear Mother

Very many thanks for your letter today dated Feb 9th. Also for Weekly Times & Pink papers, much appreciated. But other chaps seem to get a weekly Times dated a week later than mine always, so could you manage to post it so as to catch the same week’s mail as it’s published in. I also got a ripping wrist watch today, done up in a G.O.S box but with nothing inside to say who it had come from. Anyhow whoever sent it, it’s a gorgeous watch. I am spoilt with all the ripping presents I get, really people are good to one.

Very warm here now, but not unpleasantly so. English mail in today, but I had no letters from Nell. Is’nt it weird, her letters always seem to go stray and they never seem to roll up till a day or so late.  It’s sickening to expect letters & then get none. However I got several others so can’t complain. No parcels have turned up yet, except the flask, the watch, & the stars & buttons. Heaven knows when the others will turn up, everything seems to be very funny in the postal line here.

I tried to go over to Suez last week end to see Dick, but missed the 4 p.m. boat because (as I found out late) it had gone at a ¼ past 3! awful rot, they never keep any time here: so I did’nt go over after all. I have’nt heard or seen anything of him for some time. Bee Dudman wrote me a nice letter today. Also from Jinny who seems mighty pleased with her new job & not very many customers as yet. But I suppose it will take time for the shop to get known. I should hate it myself I think, but she seems to enjoy it which is a good thing.

Fancy Wiggy being a temp: captain. Heavens how these new armies do get promotion. I’ve not doubt they deserve it but it’s rather bad luck on us regulars is’nt it. We have’nt had a single officer in the Indian Army promoted except in the ordinary course of events, as if it were peace – since the war began.

I say is’nt that Persia letter of mine going the rounds rather a lot? Bee D. seems to have shown it to ½ the people she’s met. I do hope it’s not being shown about all over the shop. Please don’t, I only wrote it just to let you people know at home; it’s a purely private letter. Yes I remember Col: Wynch, whom Bee met, quite well. But don’t call us the “Garhwals” will you; either “Garhwalis” or “Garhwal Rifles”; there’s no such word as Garhwals; Garhwal is the place, & Garhwalis are the people.

So Glad old Topher’s keeping fit & unhit through all this bombardment. Did he ever get his 2nd Christmas hamper I wonder. What a lot of people seem to have written to you about me. Only I don’t know a lot of them to speak to, and I assure you I’ve never ever heard of quite half of them! Such as Ethel Ford, Mrs Randolf, Dr Pierce, Mrs Berkley, Mrs Denny & several others!

Must end up now.

I’m very fit & well & going strong.

Best love to all

from your loving son


No more news of our moving yet. Everything seems held up for some unknown reason, though of course we may go at a day’s notice.



Posted by on 22 February, '16 in About


14 February 1916 – Ted to Gertrude

Feb 14.1916.


Dear Mother

Thanks most awfully for that ripping flask you sent. It arrived quite safely yesterday. I think it’s just ripping of you to have sent it and I value it amongst my most treasured possessions. It is very much admired, and envied, by all my friends. I also got the button & stars today, exactly what I wanted, the stars are just the kind I want; very many thanks for them. I had a good mail today, letters from you, Ben, Nell, Paul, Margery Fanner, Jos Lane & an aunt of Nell’s. Also from Reggie Nation who poor man is still on crutches and is pretty rotten all round.

Your letter is dated Feb 2nd, & addressed c/o India office. It arrived the same time as all the others so I think it’s best to stick to that address for the present at anyrate. I fancy we shall be moving from here sometime this week.

It’s warming up here now, and I think in another week or two it will be quite hot. But it’s by no means unpleasant yet & there must be many worse places than this. Dick was over here for an hour or two last week, trying to work an exchange into a field ambulance. I hear by roundabout ways that he has managed it, but I don’t think he has actually joined up yet. He came over to our camp for an hour or two.

Yes I hear Jinny has started her cigarette shop. I have’nt the foggiest idea where it is or what it is or what sort of show it is, but I am inclined to agree with you & Ben that it does’nt seem hardly the job for her. However, as I say I know nothing about it, & I only hope it is all right. So Topher’s been in some scrapping; I’m awful glad he’s all right, poor boy I expect he would like a bit of rest now. Yes I saw Zepps had been lively again; it seems strange we can’t give them a warmer reception. I see ‘planes have been over Ramsgate & Broadstairs too, I hope Ruth’s allright, but they don’t seem to have done much damage. I am going strong & am very fit & well & not so very busy.

Best love to all & again a thousand thanks for the flask,

yr loving son


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Posted by on 14 February, '16 in About


12 February 1916 – Richard to Gertrude

Feb 12.

My dear Mother.

Very many thanks for your letter, also forwarding that Tasmanian thing & Vivian’s letter. I am glad you got the cable alright. I hope Jane’s cigarette business will be a success, but I trust they are giving her & Chubbie a commission as well as 30/-, if not they should bargain for one. Paul seems to have arranged & scrutinized matters all right. The little dance seems to have been a success & how funny about the Mitchells. I fancy Ben will do bank work in the end from what she says. How funny about Susan being lost. June is exactly like her in every way. She is full of beans & very popular with us all, & seems awfully fit. I wonder if the other two puppies have gone by this time. I am probably leaving this hospital to a Field Ambulance. No 123 Indian Field Ambulance. It’s not absolutely settled yet but I will cable you about a new address. If I do change you must go on writing to Cox in Alex & I must send to Cox in B & tell them to send mine here. If I change my new address will be

I.F.A 123
10th Div.

How funny you getting a letter from the Privy Purse. What Mr Robbins is that? Our old friend, can’t be! I was over at Ted’s yesterday seeing about my Transfer. I saw Ted & his pals. Ted seems quite cheery & very fit, & hope to see him again soon. Please thank Ben for 2 letters, one from Selfridge & one from Hampstead. Funny but the Selfridge one written 2nd came a few days before the other. I thought you’d be pleased to hear by cable that Ted & I had met, it was ripping seeing him & we had great fun. I hope Jane & Chubbie have found a good place to live in London. I am glad Topher is alright. They say a mail goes today so I am writing now. Please tell Ben I will write her tomorrow.  We are playing hockey today against the H.M.S— sure to be censored if I put it in. The other day we played the E.T.C. here at football & got beaten 4-1.

It’s getting hotter & hotter here nowadays but I like it.

I heard from Evelyn the other day. She has been a success in her show at Wigan. She sent me some cuttings & the people there seem to have been dotty over her. When you get my cable or any news of a change tell Jane to write & tell her will you?

Well I must stop. Best love to all yr loving son Richard.

No coat or boots or pills yet!

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Posted by on 12 February, '16 in About


10 February 1916 – Ted to Gertrude

Feb 10./1916


Dear Mother

Just got news tonight (10.30 p.m.) that the English mail goes tomorrow at 10.30 a.m. – so I will just try and get a letter off to you. I’ve had no letters this mail except from you & Ben. I fancy the postal arrangements are fairly rocky out here just at present. You see everyone seems to be on the move. Rumour has it we embark (for some destination in the East, probably the same place I originally started for) on the 15th, so I may not be able to scribble you a line for some time yet, till we disembark again. I can’t possibly tell you & this is only just to warn you in case. I’ll try, but everything’s so uncertain, it’s impossible to say. No letters from Nell this week; is’nt it sickening. I suppose they’ve gone to Kamskatka or Timbuctoo. Hopeless.

I’m awful fit & well.

yr loving son


I had a line from Dick yesterday in Cairo.

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Posted by on 10 February, '16 in About


7 February 1916 – Ted to Gertrude – 2nd Letter



Dear Mother

I sent off one letter to you this morning but the mail is in and brought me another from you, so I am answering it in time to catch this mail which leaves here today. Your letter is dated 27th Jan. I got none from Nell, only one from you & one from Ben, but I suppose they will be turning up later. Yes I’ve got pink papers & weekly times very regularly really, none by the mail though; very many thanks. I have’nt got any parcels yet, but they are sure to take years.

Thanks awfully for the flask, I am looking forward to that turning up most awfully. I’ve had no Punches from Nell or J.B’s from Rosamund yet, but I expect they are on their way. I should like London opinion too if anyone wd care to send it to me; p’raps Nance would, she always used to.

2 letters from you to Dick, address Cox & Co, Alex:, & postmarked 16th & 20th, arrived here today. They really are fools & are constantly doing idiotic things like that. I wonder if he got any of mine today. No I don’t remember a Miss McDonald on board; I knew very few people really, as we had only been on board such a short time. Yes I.E.F “E” is all right; only better c/o India office, that will always find me.

Best love to all

from your loving son


I see the Zeps have been busy again. I do hope they don’t come anywhere near Guildford.

This is one of the earliest mentions of “Nance” in the letters – possibly Nancy Swan who was to become engaged to Paul early in 1917. If it is the same Nance, then she would have been about 21 early in 1916.

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Posted by on 7 February, '16 in About


7 February 1916 – Ted to Gertrude

Feb 7.16


Dear Mother

Very many thanks for your letter by last mail sent to Cox (Alex:) which I got yesterday. I say I hope that Persia account has’nt become too much public property. My dear Mother, I did nothing at all really in the water. You all say much too much. I enclose a letter from Calcutta which may interest you, but please don’t let it go outside the family will you. I would’nt send it, only I know it will please you to know that by a really very simple act I have apparently brought pleasure into someone’s life- but evidently she exaggerated her story a great deal or he would’nt be so enthusiastic. Please send it on to Nell will you, as I said I would let her have it; but please take the letter with a very large pinch of salt.

What a muddle I appear to have caused by all my various cables and letters! I cabled Nell rejoining “here”, meaning Egypt, not Alexandria as apparently everyone seems to have gathered from the cable; of course I could’nt say exactly where they were, though I know “in Egypt” would have done better than “here” & made things plainer. And then that sudden dash down here to Suez to go on to India upset thing a bit I expect. However I expect you know by now where I am!

There is another English mail in today sometime; I think there are 2 mails a week to Egypt so letters roll up at all sorts of odd times. Hector Campbell was over here yesterday, I saw him for 2 minutes. Col Boileau & I have had two or three fearful Camberley F.F.’s; he wants to be remembered to you; Etienne it is.

Did I ever tell you I met Archie Grey of Camberley, you know Lillian Grey’s brother, in Alexandria? He has been sick a good deal during the war, & was only convalescent then. He told me Lilian was making munitions somewhere, but he did’nt seem to take much interest in her. He’s rather a rotter I think.

Paul’s lucky getting such a nice whack of leave. I’m awfully glad though as he has really had so very little during the war & he certainly deserves some. His new ship seems to be the complete buzz.

The air is still full of rumours about our leaving here shortly, a matter of a week or 10 days they say, & I think we shall too. Destination unknown, but we are not coming any further west.

I wonder if old Topher managed to wangle some leave. He’d love this nice dry place after all he’s been through. I got a whole heap of letters from Cox (Bombay) last mail and the horseshoe too, but I think I told you this in my last letter. I am writing this in a nice warm sun before breakfast. Energy!

Best love to all

from your loving son


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Posted by on 7 February, '16 in About