Daily Archives: 27 July, '16

27 July 1916 – Paul to Gertrude


c/o G.P.O.

27th July.


Dear Mother-

Thanks very much for your letter- I wrote to Ben to 10 Elsworthy – but I suppose they will forward it on, won’t they. I don’t know – but I think I rather agree with you about her going down to Brighton – but I suppose she did what she thought best- So glad to hear Jane & Chubbie were so splendid with her.

The Bishop of London came onboard us yesterday – in his purple cassock an’ all – He came round & shook hands with us all – and made a very pleasant sort of address to the men.

I did not know Chubbie had gone to Scotland already – pity we are’nt anywhere near where she is, though we have been there quite a lot. I heard from Sheina from the “shop” this morning – thoroughly scared at being left alone for a minute-

I saw one of the Wigglesworth boys – Goofey – was killed the other day. He was in the R.A.C. Sorry to hear about Jack Houghton. Worse & worse these casualty lists.

Digby is giving a lecture to-night on his experiences in France – but I can’t go as I have someone dining with me – I dined with Drew last night.

with my very best love to you all

your ever loving son


Paul is referring to the death of Benedicta’s fiance Ivan Bennett, Paul’s letter of condolence apparently went to the wrong address.

Paul and Gertrude did not approve of Ivan, and from what he says in this letter there was a family discussion about whether or not Ben should visit Ivan’s cousins in Hove, a mile or so along the south coast from Brighton. From what Paul says, it looks as if Ben did visit them but Paul and Gertrude would rather he hadn’t, but it could be the other way round.

Read more about Ivan and his romance with Ben.

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Posted by on 27 July, '16 in HMS Malaya, Rosyth


27 July 1916 – Ted to Gertrude


July 27/16

Dear Mother

Very many thanks for your letter which I got yesterday dated July 5th. Yes I had a huge long letter from Paul, as I think I told you, most awfully interesting in spite of the censor. We have’nt seen the text of Jellicoe’s despatch yet, only extracts in telegrams.

A pouring wet day, & not much of it clearing either. I got soaked through on parade this morning, but as it’s our usual condition nowadays it does’nt matter very much.

Yes there is some fighting going on now, & I know how anxious you must feel about it all. We seem to be successful on the whole, but it must wait some time yet I’m afraid before we can advance at all quickly. However all is undoubtedly well so far, & full of promise. I managed to get a few hours in with Dick as I wrote & told you; it was awful good fun, & I’m awful glad I went.

The girls seem to have had a good weekend at home; Mr Stanton is new, is’nt he?

I suppose they find Jim’s services of more value as an instructor in bombing etc at home & that’s why they won’t let him go. I expect he would like to go, after all the long time at home, but perhaps now he’s not worrying much about it. I did’nt know Betty Neville was married; who to? I remember Roberts of the “Mallow” was an old flame of hers. I hope they promote Jim a captain soon, but I wish our promotion was as quick!

No news since I wrote yesterday; the show at the Club yesterday was quite amazing & I’m glad I went & met a few people. I wish the rain would stop. I heard from Jinny yesterday but I must answer her letter next mail; no time just now. I have also written to Jane today.

Love to all from your loving son


Ted’s doubtfulness about Jim is interesting in the light of Jim’s army records which of course Ted would not have been privy to. Ill-health prevented Jim from contributing well to the army. His CO was unsympathetic, saying Jim had “a curvature of the spine which gives him an excuse for avoiding anything he does not care for”. Harsh sarcasm indeed. 

Jim’s CO had prevented him from going to France, saying  “I do not consider him likely to do well on active service” and “this officer should be transferred to another formation, and his promotion should be delayed”. 

At this distance of time, it is impossible to tell whether the CO’s dislike of Jim’s physical problems prejudiced him against Jim, or whether his harsh judgement was fair.  

Jim’s physical difficulties and Topher’s frayed nerves contrast with the three brothers whose letters we have. Paul had an athletic enthusiasm for sport, Richard exudes a work-hard, play-hard glamour and Ted always declares himself “awfully fit and well” in the face of trench foot, wounds and shipwreck.


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Posted by on 27 July, '16 in About