Monthly Archives: March 2016

31 March 1916 – Paul to Gertrude


c/o G.P.O.

Sunday. 31st.


Dear Mother-   Thanks very much for your letter – I missed the mail out on Wednesday – & have’nt been able to write till now. I am laughing in a way over that old Helmet you sent me – because I KNOW I thanked you for it – I made so sure last time I wrote – as you & Dreda both told me – and now again comes “did you get that helmet I sent you?”-

I have not heard from Rosamund yet as regards making anything for our Church- Awfully nice of you to give them – & the Chaplain is awfully pleased with the idea.

Lovely about Topher’s leave – & I do wish I could be home when he is – but of course it’s impossible – How very amusing about Mrs Mitchell & May A-G-.

Those spots about which I told you have nearly all gone – but they still itch a good deal. The doctor eventually decided it was something that had escaped digestion & was wandering about in my blood – or words to that effect – & ought to soon disappear with the aid of some medicine – I wish they would go. I feel sort of unclean with them on me.

I know how much you have been wanting that bit of garden in front of Delaford – fancy after all this time there being an opportunity of getting it – Rather on the large side – the whole of it –

I should get old Kellie to take the other half-! I’m glad to hear they have at last found a house.

It’s not so cold to-day – but it still has been bitter-

With best love to you all-

Your ever loving son



Rosamund had trained to do embroidery for churches, hence Paul’s suggestion she should make something for the chapel on the Malaya

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Posted by on 31 March, '16 in HMS Malaya, Rosyth


31 March 1916 – Ted to Gertrude

March 31st 1916.

Dear Mother

Thanks most awfully for your letter this week. The mail was rather late this week, and ours later than most people’s. I suppose they are still not sure of our exact whereabouts in the post office, and we still get letters for fellows who have left a long time ago or been transferred to other regiments etc. I got a nice pile of letters this mail, but I’ve been so fearfully busy this week I really have’nt had much time to answer them; and I’m not quite sure if the mail goes out today or tomorrow; if today I’m afraid I’ll have to leave some for next week.

I am writing this in the early early morning before parade. It’s lovely up here, especially at this time, though we want some rain to freshen things up a bit. How awful the snow seems to have been at home this year, much worse than it’s ever been for years I hear. And Reuters wires yesterday mentioned that awful blizzard, very vaguely “in England”, all communications interrupted, villages isolated, & railways damaged. How awful it must have been. I’m not awfully anxious to hear more news about it, the wires are so sketchy, and I do hope it did’nt affect the south of England too much, and I’m anxiously awaiting more news today.

We had a great wedding here yesterday, my friend Mr Rogers in the regiment was married to a girl he met up here; he only met her a few weeks ago, so has’nt been long about it. I have’nt met her yet, except just after the wedding for ½ a second, but I believe she’s charming; anyhow I suppose old Roger thinks so, so nothing else matters very much.

I had a letter from Dick, he tells me he is at Karachi, & the hospital seems to be a permanency there, but I imagine he is trying to get out of it somehow for some more active work. Yes was’nt it rotten about that exchange, everyone was awfully sick about it round our way, as the man behaved in a rotten way.

I hope they have’nt been having too much of this awful weather in France, but I expect they got their share of it. How awful it must have been, & I do hope old Topher managed to get some leave sometime, it’s quite time he had a bit of a rest. I’ll finish this after parade & breakfast.


Just finished breakfast, the main portion of which was a really nice ham, left over from yesterday’s wedding. Mr Roger & his bride did’nt get any leave, so they just walked away after the wedding breakfast, she in her wedding dress, and walked down to his house; somewhat unsatisfactory somehow.

Leave has’nt been opened yet for the men; I can’t think why, and we are still mobilised. Praps they have another job for us shortly. Meanwhile the back work accumulated during our absence is appalling, & I am at it hard all day, including parades, from 7 till 5 or 6 in the evening, & I hardly ever get away for lunch. It’s all such drudgery, how I hate it all, but it’s simply got to be done. One feels, one knows it does’nt help to finish the war one bit, but what can one do? Sometimes I get absolutely fed up & feel that another hour or two’s work will make practically no difference, so yesterday for instance I chucked it at 4.30 & went & had a round of golf with Dolly Lyell; ripping that was. Must fly off to office now & start again. Enclosed is an account which may interest you. Lots of love & I do hope this awful blizzard is all over now & none of you  are any the worse.

from your loving son


Many thanks for cutting re I.A. promotions. I had seen it. But it does’nt affect me yet, I’ve only 11½ years’ service. In any case it’s a very very poor concession.

Image of Rogers’ wedding

Announcement in Times, 18/3

The bride’s mother

Article on blizzard


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Posted by on 31 March, '16 in About


30 March 1916 – Richard to Gertrude

March 30.



My dear Mother. Many thanks for your letter (March 2nd). That cable saying I had gone to Bombay arrived frightfully late. I sent it off on Feb 20th! Fancy Monks turning up, he’s a nice man, & a great friend of mine in Assam, & of course you remember how I went to Northampton to see his sister Evelyn! Jane had written to me & told me he had been in to see them, & had been awfully kind to them. They seem quite comfortable in their shop. Dreda wrote to me too, & it was forwarded in from Alex.

There is tons of fighting now is’nt there, but we don’t get much news. I hope Topher has some leave & is having a good time at home. You do seem to have had tons of snow at home. I wonder if Rosamond will like the farm as much as London, has she tried it before. Many thanks for paying Curry & Paxtons’ bill, I suppose I shall get the eyeglasses sometime.

I am glad all the puppies have good homes now. June is very well, and quite happy, & very popular with everyone. I think you ought to show Susan at a show, I see there are some coming off in England, she might get a prize. I have’nt got the pills yet, or the boots. You never told me before Chubbie’s brother had a puppy, if you did ever get the letter, but I’m sure I’ve got all yours so far. You seem to have had a muddle over Aquascutum! Did you look up the advertisement in the end!

It gets hotter here every day, but we have now turned some big barracks into a hospital & are waiting patients. I have written to the authorities & told them this is not at all what I want, & I am now exactly in a similar position to what I was in before the war, only drawing less pay! Would they kindly transfer me to a sphere of a more active nature. We get lots of tennis in the evenings, but I can’t say I find the place very interesting. I suppose if I go anywhere it will be the Gulf but so far my attempts at a change have come to nil. I am thinking of buying a motor bike! At present I have hired an old push bike.

Last night some of us went to a most rotten entertainment, a one-man show at the club. Such rot & I was so bored & I could’nt come away, as we had some ladies with us. All the time is wrong here. We keep a sort of “standard time” & we get up at 7 & it’s really 6, & dine at 9 & it’s really 8. The writing paper has’nt arrived yet.

You’ll soon be writing direct here I expect, but it’s not worth while cabling as if the letters go to Bombay they come straight no here. Did you tell Evelyn I had gone to Bombay, she says she had a line about the other cable.

Best love to all

yr loving son



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Posted by on 30 March, '16 in About


24 March 1916 – Paul to Gertrude


c/o G.P.O.


24th March.


Dear Mother-

Thanks very much for your letter – it was a bit late this week – the postmark shows the 20th tho’-. I’m glad to hear Ted has arrived safely at Bombay- Any news of Dick?

I had a Cordwalles Chronicle sent me the other day – awfully interesting it is – and a long article about old Boys- Our visit there the other day is mentioned – They are going to put up a Roll of Honour Board & a memorial in the Chapel – so I sent them 10/- as a small subscription.

Quite a crowd again for the week end – How nice of Bunchie & Budd Fox to come over – I wonder if I should recognise him if I saw him again.

I’ve got the most extraordinary rash over both my arms. It rather defeats the doctors – masses of spots there – all sort of hard – & it itches like anything – They say it is nothing infectious – or dangerous – all over my wrists too – beastly. Did’nt I thank you for the helmet – I feel sure I did – We have had lovely weather too lately – but to-day it has suddenly started snowing & hailing again.

I had a long letter from Joy Dolphin – she is married now – Mrs Reed – he’s in the R.F.C. & used to be out in B.A. at the Gardons’- Winnie Gardon – Dick’s friend – he apparently knows Dick quite well & has met me there – but I don’t remember him – I have told Joy to come over if she would like to see you – as they are at Farnborough-

Good for Topher old Stopford having a yarn with him. Is there any more chance of him getting a commission?

There is no more news – very best love to you all-

Your ever loving son



Cordwalles was the prep school the boys had attended between the ages of 7 and 14. It changed its name in the 1920s and is now known as St Pirans

Stopford was a friend of Gertrude’s and the general to whom she had written asking for a commission for Jim.

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Posted by on 24 March, '16 in HMS Malaya, Rosyth


23 March 1916 – Richard to Gertrude

March 23



Dear Mother.

No mail this week, but I daresay a letter will come Saturday. We are getting settled down here more or less, but it’s warming up. I had a long letter from Jane, she seems to be enjoying her new job & is happy. I have sent that gold watch home by a man who is sailing shortly, can’t think why I ever brought it out. Hope it arrives safe.

No more now.

Yr loving son


Tell Ben I have a dog-boy, & I have called him Dudley! He quite likes it

A dog-boy was a servant engaged to look after a dog, in this case June.

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Posted by on 23 March, '16 in About


20 March 1916 – Ted to Gertrude

March 20th 1916.



Dear Mother

Thanks most awfully for 2 letters from you, which I got yesterday. The mail turned up 2 days ago as a matter of fact but they had done up all our letters in little packets, & everyone was so busy here that they were chucked on one side, thinking they were papers etc for the men, till somebody opened one & out fell a lot of mail letters! I got 15 altogether, including 5 from Nell. You see it’s a 3 weeks’ supply. I also got the pink papers all safely, thanks awfully for them.

I must tell you about our various receptions. We had a great one at Agra,  all the civil & military population crowded on to the station, & the men were all drawn up on the line & a great speech was made, extolling our exploits & generally laying it on pretty thick. We were there 2 or 3 hours & it was frightfully hot, so we were all quite ready to drive off to the club afterwards where a huge lunch was served. Nice cool drinks & general festivities.

The place was gaily decorated and bands playing an’ all made things very gay all round. You see Agra is the first city we come to in the U.P. so they saw fit to give us the welcome. I must say it was very gratifying & I think a good thing, as it showed the men that at anyrate their efforts & sacrifices were very much appreciated.

We then got into the train again & came on here. At the station where we got out we had another reception, more speech making by the big bugs of Garhwal, and a jolly good firework display in the evening. The people were very enthusiastic and gave us a right royal welcome.

The general gaiety was somewhat marred by one of the men who shot himself during the night. He had been flogged early in the war for sleeping on his post when a sentry, and he evidently could’nt or would’nt face his friends & relations on his return home, so chose to commit suicide.

We marched up to Lansdowne next day & got another reception! All the station turned out, bands, breakfasts & everything en route, & an address on arrival & a big lunch in our mess afterwards. There are quite a lot of people here really, considering, so they made quite a good show.

It’s very sad to think how few of those who started have come back, & I’m afraid there are some big gaps in the officers ranks. Only 6 of us here came back out of about 26 who started; not all killed of course, some have got jobs or gone sick, but the majority will never return I’m afraid. I suppose these things must be, and indeed the name Garhwalis have made has been dearly paid for, so we who are left have a special mission in life to see that their name, & the name & fame they helped to bring Garhwal are never forgotten.

We are all fearfully busy now, as of course everything is in a real good old muddle after 18 months war. How everything is going to be put straight I can’t imagine; I suppose some things will never be really settled, but most things will adjust themselves in time I suppose.

I am living in Lyell’s bungalow, where Ben & I lived in 1914, & everything is brought back very vividly to me in consequence. We did have good times then, & I realise more than ever now what a perfect blessing it was having old Ben out here, and what perfect times those were. I don’t think I ever ½ thanked her enough for all she was and did then.

It’s quite cold up here but very pleasant all the same. We have been divided up into two battalions again but whether they have anything up their sleeve for us to do I don’t quite know. I rather think they have; I can’t imagine they will leave us alone for very long. They may of course, it’s impossible to say.

Your letter was dated Feb 23, so it has been some time coming. I think it will be quite all right to address letters straight here now, as we shall be here for a bit anyhow.

You speak of snow; ugh, how cold it must be. It’s quite different up here, really quite cold after Egypt & our hot journey up from Bombay.

I haven’t heard from Dick at all; I wonder where he’s got to.

I must deal with some more correspondence now; I’m so busy all day I only have time to write in the evenings. I’m very fit & flourishing.

Lots of love to all

from your ever loving son


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Posted by on 20 March, '16 in About


18 March 1916 – Paul to Gertrude


c/o G.P.O.


March. 18th 1916


Dear Mother –

I’m rather adrift writing to you this week – I am sorry – but it can’t be helped. Thanks very much for your letter. You always seem to have quite a few of the family down for weekends – which must be nice for you- So Dick & Ted have gone out to India – Sickening for them really & such miles away- Perhaps their eventual destination will be Mesopotamia!

Not much news our way either. We are beginning to train for a regatta which we hope to have in May sometime-

Rather amusing about Spec’s armlet- I never knew there was anything really wrong with him except his eyes!

We’ve just made quite a nice Church on board – very small of course – but an excellent thing to have. I must get Rosamund to make something for it.

Thank goodness all the snow seems to have disappeared – lovely to-day it was.

Best love to you all. Your ever loving son


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Posted by on 18 March, '16 in HMS Malaya, Rosyth


17 March 1916 – Richard to Gertrude

c/o Cox & Co



March 17.

Dear Mother.

I got a letter from when I got to Bombay dated Feb 3, & now another on from Suez dated Feb 9. We arrived up here on 8th and are opening a hospital for people from Mesapot. I expect we individuals may have to go up there to replace men who have been there sometime. I shan’t mind going, but I will never believe I’ve got to go until I am there.

Karachi does not seem ½ a bad place. We are allowed to wear mufti so I’ve had to buy some! Is’nt it rot with all that mass of stuff at home. I wish I had the car & so do lots of other men wish they had brought theirs, but as we were ordered to Egypt no one ever thought of bringing cars or mufti. No 1 hospital who are here as well, were originally ordered to India and have brought all their clothes & cars.

June is here with me. I have rooms in a hotel, it’s cheaper than living at the club. There’s a Gymkhana club here where we play tennis & Badminton & dance twice a week. I’ve had to hire a bike to get about on.

Ted did’nt tell me much about that woman he saved. She was crying out I’m dead I’m dead & Ted said no you are’nt & dragged her along. I am sure he ought to get a medal.

Yes it must be lonely at home. I expect you are glad of the dogs to keep you company! Do you remember how that cat used to annoy us, following around. Topher is allright still then. People say this Mesapot business may soon fizzle out. You do not say if Dutton has sent those boots yet. The air raids seem awful nowadays. I don’t think you’d better go & live near London. But I suppose no one is safe anywhere nowadays. They ought to turn out every light all over England.

I never saw Geoffrey or Wooldridge. We were only in Alex a day or so. Ted only said address him c/o India Office as then should he be shifted they know, & send letters direct. He should be out here now. I left a letter for him with Cox at Bombay. I am glad Paul is pleased with his ship.

The heat here is similar to Assam but there is a continual breeze blowing which makes it so much cooler. There are no rains they say. So they post those wk end cables do they. They are quite cheap from Egypt only 3d a word.

I did’nt know Cicely was being confirmed. Yes Ben told me Wiggs was Capt. I ought to be ought’nt I? I’ll see what I can do. Fancy Ben being so overcome when she found that bag. I thought she would be.

May Louth engaged is she? I believe there are some quite nice girls here, & I expect I shall get to know them soon but I rather go to Mesapot.

Best love to all

Yr loving son     Richard.

Dust blowing about so today. Grit all over this letter. Feel it? I’m writing at the hospital, no patients in yet we are busy getting ready

“Mesapot” is Mesopotamia, roughly equivalent to modern Iraq.

Mufti is non-uniform clothing. 



Posted by on 17 March, '16 in About, Ivan Bennett, Wiggs


15 March 1916 – Ted to Gertrude

March 15- 1916


Dear Mother

Here we are safely back in India again- I sent you a letter from the ship, but we did’nt know then where we were to go to. However shortly after I had posted your letter we got orders to return to Lansdowne; we disembarked on Sunday last & got straight into a train & arrived here today. This is Kohdwara, the end of the railway & from here we have 2 marches to get to Lansdowne-

We have had tremendous receptions everywhere- at Agra the whole civil & military population turned out, bands playing and speech making galore. We did feel fools having so much butter laid on in public. We had a big lunch at the Club and then came on here- We have been three days in the train, & are pretty sick & tired of travelling as you may imagine- We had a tremendous reception here today too, on our return to Garhwal; more speeches, mostly native this time & we’ve just had a tremendous firework display & a very good one too- And now I hear Lansdowne is preparing a tremendous show for us! Awful is’nt it. I must say people are most awfully good and they seem to think we have done wonders. Of course the regiment has made a tremendous name, & one realises it even more now we are back in India. It is gratifying to feel one’s efforts have been so appreciated.

Sorry I can’t go into more detail but I’m so frightfully busy I can’t write much. But I will tell you more next week.

I wonder how long they will keep us in Lansdowne. I fancy they won’t employ us any more just yet. I wish they would, as I feel an awful slacker, while all the others are fighting etc. Really I do, I feel I ought to be doing something, but one simply has to do what you are told. Being adjutant I must stick to the regiment as there is such heaps of work to do after a Campaign like this. I am glad for one thing, & that is that you & all at home need not have any anxiety for me for the present at anyrate; I am grateful for that- otherwise I’d much rather be on some show somewhere-

We get to Lansdowne on the 17th, so you can address letters there now. Bed time. I’m very fit and well. I’ve had no news for nearly 3 weeks of any of you, owing to the voyage etc. Hope everyone’s all right. I didn’t see Dick in Bombay, we were only there 4 hours. Lots of love to all

Yr loving son


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Posted by on 15 March, '16 in About


9 March 1916 – Richard to Gertrude


March 9.


Dear Mother

Arrived here yesterday. Hot as blazes. Very many thanks for your letter & 2 of Ben’s at Cox in Bombay. I got them after I posted those I sent when we arrived. I expect your next lot went to Suez after my cable. But I had arranged an exchange & was stopping on, when the blighter I had changed with cried off. I believe a mail goes tonight, more next week. Write me c/o Cox. Karachi

Best love to all

yr loving son


All papers welcome.

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Posted by on 9 March, '16 in About