Monthly Archives: July 2016

10 July 1916 – Richard to Gertrude

No 4 Ambulance train-

in the train. July 10.


Dear Mother.

Excuse this pencil, but it’s easier to write with. Many thanks for your letter June 14. I sent you a line last mail just after I had started a journey & now I am off on another. Lor the dust & the heat. Ben knows what it’s like as she had to do the same journey to get to Karachi, but it was cool then. The temp last time was 112 in the carriage & the water (you won’t believe it) which you have your bath in gets so hot from the sun, that I can only just sit down in it.

I am wondering if I shall see Ted this time. We go to Ambala & it’s not far away from him. I’ve wired him & he might possibly come down & have a                    We stay a day. There are 120 wounded natives on board. Of course they don’t mind the heat, but some Tommies just from home the other day had a rotten time of it. You ask Ben, she did the journey in a cool & clean part of the year!

Paul must have enjoyed his leave & I would have loved to have been with them all in town. I long to see that shop. I dunno’ who Miss Billie (is that it) is.

I hope Dreda enjoyed her holiday after all, anyhow the rest must have done her good. She tells me she can’t imagine she’s been only a year at the bank.

Really it is a shame about Topher’s leave. He does deserve some. I am so glad your flu is alright : Take care of yourself now, & don’t go rushing about too much. Any news of  Miss Sparrow?

I shall post this tomorrow. My lines are for a small block. Hence big margin. Thank Jane & Dreda for their letters. I will write when I have time. Best love to all

Yr loving son


“My lines are for a small block. Hence big margin.” – Richard had placed a sheet of paper with solid black lines on it under the top sheet of the block of thin writing paper he was using. This enabled him to write straight lines. in this case, the lined sheet was smaller than the writing paper.

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Posted by on 10 July, '16 in About


7 July 1916 – Richard to Gertrude

No 4 Ambulance train

at Rohri


Dear Mother.  Many thanks for your letter. I arrived just too late for me to answer this last time & now I have’nt much chance of writing. I am on this ambulance train for the next fortnight to relieve the man in charge & while he goes on leave. Oh the heat in this wretched Sind desert this time of year’s terrific. Ask Ben, I believe she’s had a taste of it, when it was a little cooler. I am so glad the watch has arrived at last, I had begun to despair of you ever getting it.

It must have been nice seeing Paul & what a surprise visit. I never thought the Malaya had so many casualties. I am so glad Paul escaped. I thought Cyril Manders was at the front.

The camera has not arrived yet, I suppose it will soon & then I shan’t be able to get any films I know.

I wonder if you’ve heard from Miss Sparrow yet.

I have left June behind. She will be quite happy with the other men in the bungalow.

Best love to all.

Yr loving son



[on envelope flap]

Thank Dreda for her letter. Richard

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Posted by on 7 July, '16 in About


7 July 1916 – Ted to Gertrude


July 7th/16


Dear Mother

Very many thanks for your letter of the 14th June, which turned up yesterday, so I have just time to answer it this mail. We did’nt really expect the mail in today, & the post office had a notice up that it was due today too, but it managed to turn up successfully yesterday. I had letters from Nell of course, & Mrs Fielding & Jinny also; the latter seems most awfully fit & cheery, & she apparently has great times at the shop. What a meeting place it has become, & I quite agree in wondering where we all used to meet in the old days!

Great doings in France nowadays are’nt there; & we have fearful discussions all day as to whether this is the big push or only a demonstration to relieve pressure elsewhere. Opinion is very divided, & I think it’s impossible to say yet, in any case it’s bound to be a very slow business. Poor old Topher, I am sorry about his leave, I think he’s been rather badly treated, tho’ I suppose it’s impossible to give everyone leave these strenuous times.

Paul seems to have had a good strenuous time on his short leave. I’m awfully glad he was looking so well & as cheery as ever. I hope I get a line from him with a few words about the show; I cabled to him when I heard about it, but I don’t think he ever could have got it somehow. What a                  they had to end up with.

Yes, rather, I had letters from Nell weeks ago saying what a gorgeous time she had at Delaford, & how ripping you all were to her. Thanks awfully for it all, I know she enjoyed it immensely. Jack Fielding is up at the front line now with his battery so has begun soldiering in earnest. Yes I remember Major Dawson very slightly on the Persia, & chiefly before I think, in the train going across France. As far as I remember (if I’m thinking of the right man) he had malaria very badly & used to walk about in a big great coat most of the time, I’m afraid I have’nt the faintest idea. I must go on parade now; I’ll finish this afterwards. A gorgeous morning after days of rain.

Later   Just come off parade & shall finish this before breakfast. Jinny told me in her letter too that Reggie often visits the shop; I’m so sorry he has to hobble about still on 2 sticks, I’m afraid his leg will never be quite right. I had a wire from Dick saying he was going away for a fortnight so putting me off going down to Karachi, but I have heard nothing further so I don’t know where he’s gone. He said he wd write. In any case I should have found it rather hard to get away just now, so perhaps it’s just as well.

So sorry you’ve had flu & I do hope you’re all right again now. I remember my goes of flu well, I always get it if there’s any going. Lucky you had Ruth at home to take care of you. I must answer the others’ letters next week; I’m afraid I have’nt time this week, unless they delay the boat one day, as they sometimes do.

Much love to all

from your loving son


Major William Orford Charles Dawson,%20W%20O%27C


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Posted by on 7 July, '16 in About


5 July 1916 – Ted to Gertrude

July 5th/16


Dear Mother

Very many thanks for your letter last week. Fancy old Paul managing to get 4 days’ leave after that fight. I was thankful to get your letter with definite news of him; as of course we had seen long accounts in the papers in which the Malaya had figured very prominently & I felt sure she could’nt have come off scot free.

I was rather grieved at the depressing tone of all your letters from home this week. I cannot & never have been able to see anything but the bright side, especially lately. We can’t win this war in a day & we’ve got to suffer losses & make sacrifices before we can win, & we must educate ourselves up to tremendous losses in men & ships before we’ve finished, however terrible it is.

I know it’s ghastly to have to sit down & just wait, & you know how tremendously I admire all of you at home & your splendid pluck, and I know what a tremendous help your behaviour is to the men who are fighting; but all the same I think Kitchener’s death & the naval battle – it was nothing more or less than a splendid victory – seem to have cast an unwanted gloom over the whole country; “a black week” Rosamund called it.

Things seem to be moving on the Western Front don’t they, & every day now brings more news; but I’m afraid this will rather tin-hat poor old Topher’s leave if he has’nt had it already.

We’ve had our full share of rain lately & we’ve hardly had a fine day since the rains began. Very relaxing weather, & it makes one feel rather slack. Yes you & I would get on well strafing the government would’nt we! This war ought to be run by soldiers & sailors at the head of things; diplomacy is useless, it’s force we want to knock out force. What is the use of arguing with people like the Germans; all the time you are pleading & wasting words however diplomatic, they are inventing some new devil’s device which will set all your words at nought. No, I’ve no use at all for the government, & they will go down to history as a useless & rotten crowd, & well they deserve to.

Funny specs has not been roped in yet. Has he tried conscientious objection yet! I should’nt be surprised; really I should think the office might be shut up for the war now, & specs really might try & do something.

Of course I know it’s awful about Kitchener (I see you mention it again later in your letter) and the loss is absolutely irreparable; you know how I admired him; easily the greatest man of his age & the outstanding figure of the war; but I think his death ought to spur us on to further efforts & to carry on the war to a successful & lasting end, just as he would have us do if he were still alive. We all feel his loss almost personally, but time enough to mourn his loss to the full when we have finished the war which we shall be able to do, & thanks to him & to him alone for our ability to do so; for without his foresight & power & public confidence we would never have been able to put the huge armies in the field which we now have, & he is responsible for the one thing that Germany knew would knock her out in the long run, the entry of England into the war & the expansion of her armies beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. Poor old K, I am sorry about it all, but I refuse to be depressed; I’m not callous, please don’t think that; I’m only taking the line of thought I think it’s one’s duty to take these times.

Just going out for a short stroll before dinner. Major Billy Barlow is up here; he is going home again in a day or two; he is dining with us tonight in the mess, so I’ll tell him to be sure & look you up if he goes to Guildford again.

Well, keep smiling as much as you can won’t you all at Delaford; I know you will, because all you dear people at Delaford have been just splendid in this war, & you excite my wildest admiration & enthusiasm. And I love you all.

Tons of love from your ever loving son


Possible Major Barlow, Page 16





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Posted by on 5 July, '16 in About


4 July 1916 – Paul to Gertrude


c/o G.P.O.

July. 4th 1916


My dear Mother-

Thanks very much for your letter – you must have forgotten to stick it down – as there was a sort of official post office thing on the back – saying “Found open & officially closed”. I don’t think I shall get another opportunity of seeing Mrs C-G- it does’nt seem like at present. Poor old Ben- I hope she has heard good news of Wiggie by now. Topher will have to wait some time now I should imagine – The papers don’t impress one yet that it as present is an enormous push do they – We imagine here that it’s only a nibble. Jim has’nt written to me yet about his engagement – ought I to write to him first – I think I shall.

So sorry to hear about Mrs Prior. She must have been fairly old was’nt she.

Hope the “woundeds” tea was a success. That’s a new thing is’nt it at Guildford-

I remember Dreda telling me about Betty Neville’s engagement – I did not know they were to be married so soon-

Best love to you all

Your ever loving son


Victorian “Found open” label (Fiji)

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Posted by on 4 July, '16 in HMS Malaya, Rosyth


1 July 1916 – Richard to Gertrude

c/o Cox & Co



June 31.


My dear Mother.

The mail is late this week & expected today, but I’ll have to post this before I get your letter

I wonder if Topher has had any leave yet. I am writing him & you might send him on my letter. Much the same going on here. Not many wounded nowadays, but lots of sick from Mesopotamia. 1 friend of mine turned up yesterday from up there, an Assam doctor, he had been up there the last year, and had had enough for a bit.

I am going up in charge of an ambulance train for a fortnight. The train goes up by Lahore, Delhi, Amballa etc, Ben’ll know the way I expect. It will be fairly hot but quite a nice change. Ted may be coming down this month, but he will have to wait a bit now. I must wire him.

We had a burglary in the bungalow last night. 2 big brass pots were stolen & all our hats! I sleep in the verandah downstairs & June did get up & bark in the night, but I thought it was one of the others coming back from dining out! They had’nt taken mine topee as it was in my room!

There is some play here tonight we are going to, I dunno if it will be good or not.

Best love to all

Yr loving son


There is no 31st June, presumably Dick was writing on the 1st July

Photo of an ambulance train in the Middle East


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Posted by on 1 July, '16 in About


1 July 1916 – Paul to Gertrude


c/o G.P.O.

Saturday evening.


Dear Mother. Thanks muchly for your letter & for the parcel of clothes – yes all mine.

A slight surprise that – I could’nt realize it when I got Sheina’s letter telling me about Jim & herself. But how too lovely is’nt it. I have not heard from Jim as yet. It seems to me to have been a surprise to you all has’nt it.

Yes- I will write to Rosamund in a minute or two.

I saw Digby for a few minutes yesterday. He seems very well & enjoyed his trip to France very much. He has his wife & family up here – so I must try & go & see them.

They tell me I have got shingles now – too sickening is’nt it – It does’nt affect me at all- I mean I still feel perfectly fit – but it sort of hurts & itches alternately – nothing to worry about.

Funny your meeting Dorothie Critchley – at the shop I suppose. She is an awfully nice girl I think – & a great friend of mine.

We had a cricket match on Thursday against some soldiers here- the Scottish Rifles- & were ever so pleased to beat them as it’s the first time a “Malaya” team has played.

Much love to you all-

Your ever loving son


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Posted by on 1 July, '16 in HMS Malaya, Rosyth