Monthly Archives: May 2016

31 May 1916 – The Battle of Jutland

Paul’s ship the HMS Malaya was stationed in Rosyth in the Firth of Forth from 22 May onwards and they saw action in the Battle of Jutland.

The Battle of Jutland

Jutland is a difficult battle to interpret as both sides claimed victory. It took place in the North Sea off Denmark over the 31st May and 1st June 1916.

The Germans inflicted more damage to more ships and were quick to publicise this. The dangerous way the British stored and handled cordite contributed to the German successes because there were dreadful explosions following hits which might not otherwise have inflicted serious damage to the structure of a ship; a bad fire broke out on the Malaya and other ships just blew up and sank.

It took time for the scale of the British strategic victory to become apparent: the British Grand Fleeet controlled the North Sea after Jutland and the German High Seas Fleet did not put to sea again during the War. However, by that time the damage to the Navy’s reputation had been done becuase the British press and public criticised the Navy in response to the news from Germany. The British wanted an outright victory like Trafalgar where Nelson had wiped out the French Navy 111 years before.

The Battle of Jutland – Gains and Losses

The Forth Bridge from the deck of HMS Malaya

The Forth Bridge from the deck of HMS Malaya


HMS Malaya at Jutland

The Malaya was badly hit during the battle and several people were dreadfully burned.


HMS Malaya after Jutland

After the battle, HMS Malaya was repaired in the sea dock in Invergordon

HMS Malaya in dock in Invergordon after Jutland

HMS Malaya in dock in Invergordon after Jutland


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Posted by on 31 May, '16 in Jutland


30 May 1916 – Paul to Gertrude


c/o G.P.O.

May. 30th


Dear Mother       Very many thanks for your letter – Yes – you will get mine sooner now as we have shifted billets to a more civilized part of the world, which is rather nice; & the weather is too lovely for words – so hot. I hope to be playing some tennis & cricket shortly-

I had 2 parsons to dinner with me last night – one Carey by name – a war parson, a most priceless fellow – he took on Father Stanton’s job at Holborn – the straightest talker I’ve ever heard – I have come rather pally with him – the other was the parson in the Light cruisers – the Gloucester man – & they were fearfully keen to meet one another – so I said the best thing is to both come & dine with me –

They seemed to both thoroughly enjoy themselves. So I am slightly “in” with the Church at present.

Rather nice for the girls to all go to Bognor – gorgeous down there now I should think-

Yes. I saw about McKinnon in the times – but was’nt certain. I am sorry.

With my best love to you all

Your ever loving son

Paul – Carey was a naval chaplain, present at the Battle of Jutland on the Warspite. He was also a rugby player, a mixture of things that was bound to appeal to Paul.

It’s hard to tell where the Malaya was before and after they “shifted billets”. I think Paul had certainly been at Scapa Flow in Orkney when he was on the Gloucester, and I tihnk the Malaya was now in Rosyth, but cannot be certain without researching the naval records, and few of the relevant ones are online.

It’s interesting that there is no hint that they were preparing for the battle of Jutland, which was to take place the next day.

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Posted by on 30 May, '16 in HMS Malaya, Jutland, Rosyth


26 May 1916 – Ted to Gertrude

May 26/16

Dear Mother

Very many thanks for 2 letters from you, one on Tuesday & one on Thursday. As usual two mails turned up next door to each other, a favourite trick these days, & then we go for about a fortnight without a mail at all. Your letters were dated April 26th & May 3rd, so one of them took best part of a month on the journey.

So glad dear old Nell had such good times at Delaford & that you all liked her so. I hear from you all & you all say such ripping things about her, that I don’t know how to thank you enough. She is rather a dear is’nt she. So she managed to get over to Godalming to have her photograph taken! She tells me they are quite good; I should think Adrian would make a very pretty picture of her. She told me all about her new clothes before she went; from all accounts they are very smart & becoming. Did Ruth go & stay with her I wonder? When’s she beginning at Guy’s by the way? I expect she’s started by now, but the holiday & rest at home must have done her a lot of good.

Poor old Topher, it is bad luck on him about his leave; it surely is time they gave everyone a whack of leave by now.

How’s specs these day? And how does he like conscription! I suppose he has been roped in with the rest of them. Few good things have been done by the government since the war began & this is certainly one of the best of them, though they’ve taken long enough this time about it. Yes, Kut was bad luck was’nt it & such bad management. However it’s no good criticising an effete and despicable system; I fancy the British public will not stand much more of this, & then the politicians will stew in their own juice.

Still very hot up here, though we get cool nights. Famine is rampant in Garhwal & Government is giving as much relief as possible, but I’m afraid the poor inhabitants are suffering terribly. I don’t know how the rest of India is faring but there has certainly been very little rain everywhere this year.

Fearful hurry to catch the mail, will write longer next time

Best love to all

from yr loving son


Tell Ben the bearer had a regatta in my room this morning. Just like old times, the whole place turned upside down!


I’ve not been able to find information about a famine in Garhwal in 1916. This suggests that famine is frequently under-recorded.

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Posted by on 26 May, '16 in About


25 May 1916 – Richard to Gertrude

Karachi   May 25.

Dear Mother.   Many thanks for 2 letters one about April 27, & one May 3. I can’t think why you had never got the watch, those people should have arrived by the time you wrote. I wonder if Jim has got to the front yet, anyhow it’s nice to know he’s a useful officer & can’t be spared.

So you have at last got the garden opposite. Are you going to keep the bees. Has Susan’s nose turned pink then, it was quite black. What a shame it is Topher getting no leave yet, I do hope he gets some soon. Was’nt that Irish business rotten, & now I hear (as a matter of fact from Ramsay, tell the girls he’s been invalided from the Gulf but quite fit) that we ought to have been in Kut if it had not been for some foolish mistake. But you never know.

I am so sorry the dove is dead, I shall miss it when I get home again. I never sent the photograph as it was so rotten.

I played cricket for the military the other day & quite distinguished myself, 12 not out & caught a catch, a good one. A Capt Tate who knows James well made 94 for us. We declared on 220, & all but got the Civilians out for 125, the last man was in & the last over was being bowled, when the very last ball we all appealed confidently for l.b.w. If only the umpire had said out, we’d have won.

I enclose some snaps for my book.

Best love to all. Send me my photographs of Nan, Cicely, Bunchie & Sybil.

Yr loving son


[written on envelope]

Many thanks for Bystander but the papers I like best are those weekly D. Sketches & Mirrors all bound in one. I do love the Serials so.


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Posted by on 25 May, '16 in About


25 May 1916 – Paul to Gertrude


c/o G.P.O.

25th May


Dear Mother.

V. many thanks for your letter from Chichester – could’nt think for the moment when I saw the post mark what you were doing there. So glad you like it. Sounds an awfully nice place.

Nothing much doing up our way now. We are having simply gorgeous weather – & I’ve been ashore & played golf & rugger once or twice. I sprained my little finger the other day playing rugger – & it swelled up so much, I had to have my ring cut off – rather painful before-

My rash I am glad to say has practically all gone – I have been dieting myself fairly carefully on fish & no meat – & I think that has done more good than anything else.

My best love to you all

Your ever loving son



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Posted by on 25 May, '16 in HMS Malaya, Rosyth


19 May 1916 – Richard to Gertrude


19th May.


Dear Mother.

The mails seem just as groggy here as at home. I’ve not had your last mail letters yet. The mail does’nt get in till Monday 22, & those are the letters that left England April 28th.

Nothing doing very exciting. We’ve had some of the people who were wounded & shut up in Kut. Very thin & delapidated poor things.

It gets hotter nowadays & if it were’nt for the breeze it would be as bad as Assam.

I wonder if poor Topher ever got any leave after all. I shall hope to hear how the Easter party went off in your next letter.

Best love to all. Too hot to write anymore.

Your loving son     Richard.

I am playing cricket tomorrow Military v Civil, I’m playing for the military of course.


Accounts of the Siege of Kut

Disturbing photographs of starving prisoners from the Siege of Kut

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Posted by on 19 May, '16 in About


18 May 1916 – Ted to Gertrude

May 18/16


Dear Mother

No mail in since I last wrote; one is due on Monday I believe, & this is only Thursday so we have some time to wait yet. Still very hot & muggy up here, the little rain we had last week does’nt seem to have done much good. I see the monsoon is expected at Colombo shortly so we ought to be getting it in about a month from now.

I am longing to get the next mail as it should tell me about Nell & her stay at Delaford. She was hugely delighted at the prospect when she last wrote, and was evidently going to enjoy herself thoroughly. I do think it’s bad luck on old Topher not being able to get away on leave; every letter you write seems to say he was on the point of starting but was stopped at the last minute. He certainly ought to come home for a bit now.

I think I’ve got all letters and parcels you’ve sent out, except the Sussex ones, which I’m afraid we must put down as irretrievably lost now. The submarine campaign seems frightfully spasmodic; I suppose they launch a whole lot of new ones periodically which do a lot of damage for a bit, and eventually get rounded up. It must be difficult to get views of them I should think, as I should imagine the chances of coming through on a German submarine are very small.

I believe there is a tennis tournament on here, and various other so called festivities, but I am not moving in society much myself as I have very little time to do so, & not, I must say, much inclination.

There is absolutely nothing of interest to tell you I’m afraid, so this must be just a very dull letter this week. I’m very fit & well but I feel this weather is vy relaxing; Lansdowne never really suits me, & it seems worse this year. Everyone is the same, we all feel slack & unenergetic.

Love to all

from your loving son


Nell met all of Ted’s sisters on her visit to Delaford, presumably the first of many such visits.

Rosamund Ben Dreda Nell Spring 1916

Rosamund, Ben, Dreda, Nell, Spring 1916

Nell Ruth Dreda Ben, Susan the dog, Spring 1916

Nell, Ruth, Dreda, Ben, Susan the dog,
Spring 1916

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Posted by on 18 May, '16 in About


17 May 1916 – Paul to Gertrude


c/o G.P.O.

17th May. 1916


Dear Mother. V. many thanks for your letter – I thought Jim told me his Aldershot stunt was off – I suppose it’s a sort of moving off place – so nice to have him near though.

I hear Ivan has 10 days leave – however does he manage it – lovely for he & Ben; such a rush last time you remember.

We’ve been having gorgeous weather up here lately – really hot during the day – so I have been ashore once or twice & played golf – on some links made by the Fleet – quite good ones really.

We had our regatta last week – two days of it – we won one of the officers races – most huge cheering – I entirely lost my voice for the two days after – because I shouted so – I’m alright again now though.

Sorry to hear about Colin Maud. I do hope he is allright- Tell him I asked after him & give him a Wouff Wouff-

I’m supposed to be dining with Tommy Drew & another Glo’ster tonight – but I don’t think I can get away. The Garden sounds lovely. I should much like some flowers when they come out.

My best love to you all

Your ever loving son


Here is Ben’s fiancé Ivan (with pipe) in a photograph taken in 1915. 

Ivan Bennett

Ivan Bennett, Ted and Richard Berryman (L-R at back),
Topher and Jim Berryman (L-R at front).



12 May 1916 – Richard to Gertrude

C/o Cox & Co


May 12.


My dear Mother

Many thanks for your letter. (April 19). I expect to hear next mail the gold watch has arrived. I expect that wretched book is in my despatch box which is locked & I have the key!

It is bad luck on Topher his leave was stopped. I hope the girls and all got home for that wkend.

I got the Cordwalles Chronicle alright. Most interesting & I also got a letter from Paul. Thank him when you write.

Jane also wrote saying she had seen Evelyn.

We are getting wounded in now & expect some from Kut soon.

Best love to all, sorry it’s so short a letter but I’ve left it so late

Yr loving son


Siege of Kut al Amara

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Posted by on 12 May, '16 in About


12 May 1916 – Paul to Gertrude


c/o G.P.O.

May. 12th 1916


Dear Mother

Very many thanks for your letter – it arrived the same time as usual in spite of Monday’s postage – funny things happen these days!!

We are having our regatta at present – 2 days’ show – yesterday & to-day – Lovely weather for it too. I stroked our officers’ crew yesterday in a race – but we only managed to come in fourth. I am in another race to-day.

Suppose I ought to write & congratulate Maggie on being engaged – Jane told me there were rumours of it – but that it was’nt public yet- I am sorry to hear about the dove – must have been about 12 years old I should think – however did the rat get in the cage.

I saw Digby acting in a play onboard his ship the other day – awfully good he was – I did’nt have time to talk to him as there was a slight rush at the end. We have got the jig-saw rage again – a fearful thing to have really, as it keeps you up so late- If you hear of anyone wanting to give away or lend you might remember me will you-

With best love to you all

Ever your loving son


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Posted by on 12 May, '16 in HMS Malaya, Rosyth