Monthly Archives: September 2016

28 September 1916 – Ted to Gertrude


28th Sept

Dear Mother

Just a scribble to ask you to send my sword, as we shall want them at Delhi. It’s in a brown scabbard, & has a black sword knot on the hilt. It has a rifle pattern hilt, i.e with a bugle device in it, something (only something!) as per picture. It is made by Hawkes, you’ll see his name on the blade. I think it must be up in your room somewhere, as I know I left it at home when I came on leave from France one time.

You’d better insure it perhaps, & take the number on the blade in case it’s lost. P’raps Cox would send it out for you.

Lots of love





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Posted by on 28 September, '16 in About



26 September 1916 – Ted to Gertrude


Sept 26/16

Dear Mother

I’ve just got 8 days’ leave & Guy Mainwaring and I are going off to loaf primarily & just to shoot a few birds when we feel inclined. We go off tomorrow Thursday & come back on Monday, so I thought I’d just write a line tonight to catch the mail.

We’ve had 3 wretched days of rain, but it looks clearer tonight & I do hope it clears up a bit and at least lets us reach our camp dry. Yes, Jim wrote to me about his coming to India scare, but I’ve heard nothing more, so presume it has gone the way of most scares. Dick’s cable must indeed have made you think a bit, but by now I suppose you probably heard from him; they kept him out here long enough in all conscience did’nt they, after telling him to fly off at once. He must have stayed 3 weeks or more in Bombay before he sailed. How typical of Jim all the wedding arrangements seem to have been, so mysterious an’ all at first, & then asking a lot of people!

So sorry Dryden was seedy that day & I s’pose she’s quite all right now. Yes, I expect that parcel you mention was one I sent her. What exciting times England is having now, & 2 Zepps being brought down is good news, but it’s horrible to read of all those poor innocent people being killed. I wish they’d let us know more of the actual damage done. What are the Greeks doing! They are fools indeed, & the laughing stock of the world, & they’ve fairly let themselves in now by their silly vacillating policy hitherto, and serve ’em jolly well right.

I hope Jane managed to get a pal to help her when Chubbie was away. Very sad about Basil Hallam being killed, he was a distinct type, & do you remember how everyone used to write to the papers & say why does’nt he go? They must feel rather sorry now, because after all he went quite soon enough & was doing a lot to keep the spirits of the nation up before he went.

But where pray is the Dudmans’ property which you say was smashed up? I presume you mean in London, though I did’nt know they had any there.

Lots of love to all from your loving son


“Gilbert the Filbert” from The Passing Show 1915

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Posted by on 26 September, '16 in About


25 September 1916 – Paul to Gertrude

H.M.S. Malaya

C/o G.P.O.


Wednesday, 25.


My dear Mother.   Very many thanks for your letter – rather a quiet weekend you seem to have had – with no one at home.

I did’nt know Dick was in France. I knew he had arrived at Marseilles – rather a good job – a Field ambulance is’nt it – & I expect he is rather pleased – and attached to the cavalry an’ all. Thanks for his address – I will write to him presently.

I’ve never known such a series of rotten days – always raining & blowing hard – & makes things so miserable-

Yes I saw about old Ommaney’s son – but I thought he was going into the Navy; so I was’nt absolutely certain – so sad for him. You might tell him when you see him next how sorry I am will you.

Yes quite a show I believe those Gloucester fellows had down there with the Flag-hanging – I knew all the men in that picture.

I am glad to hear Chubbie is fit again – I hope to hear from Jane soon – as I’ve just sent them another customer- That Maisie Hill girl – the friends of mine up this way, whom I go and see. They are in Town now for the winter.

Awfully nice idea I think to let the Wounded men use the dining room. I’ll see if I can send some papers along for you-

with much love to you all

ever your loving son


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Posted by on 25 September, '16 in About, HMS Malaya, Rosyth


21 September 1916 – Ted to Gertrude


Sept 21/16

Dear Mother

I got no letters from home last week, only one from Ben at Seaview, & I’m afraid our next mail is’nt in till Saturday (this is Thursday) so I shan’t be able to answer any letters, having none to answer!

Such hot weather all this last week but today was perfect this morning & a magnificent view of the snows; it’s clouding over again now though, & looks like more rain; I am so sick of the rain.

The regiment goes to Delhi in November sometimes, for the cold weather, sort of guard over the Viceroy, same like our detachment at Simla is doing now. It will be a lovely change from here, but a trifle expensive, as we shall indeed be among the nuts. It ought to be rather fun, as our work will be chiefly social & doing guards etc. I heard from Dick a day or two ago, he said he was sailing on the 18th but did not seem to know for certain.

Not much news from here, some old hard grind. The 3rd Batt: is going strong now, but the 1st Batt: have’nt left for Quetta yet, so we are rather squashed up here.

The news from France is good is’nt it, our men are wonderful, & what a wonderful thing this new armoured caterpillar car of ours seems to be, & what splendid work it has done. I see Capt H.P. Gabb in today’s casualty list, R. West Surreys, wounded, so I suppose that’s Harold, & it must be in Mesopotamia somewhere. I hope he’s all right.

My lady friend of the “Persia” & the C.O. & one or two others made a great fuss about that show, & today to my surprise I get the bronze medal of the Royal Humane Society, but I’m sure it’s far too much for what I did. I have written to her & told her about it.

Best love to all

yr loving son


NZ Marlborough Express, 23/09/16

“Caterpillar” Tractors Very Powerful Machines

“Captain H. P. Gabb and Captain A. S. Gabb, sons of Dr. Gabb, of Guildford, who have also two other brothers iu the Army, have both won the Military Cross.”

Auction of his medals in 1999

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Posted by on 21 September, '16 in About


20 September 1916 – Paul to Gertrude


c/o G.P.O.

20th Sept.


Dear Mother- Thank you for your letter. How too lovely Topher arriving home – and for 10 days leave – I was so surprised when I got his wire on Monday. I sent him one, and also a letter yesterday. It is a pity I can’t get home and see him – but I am afraid there is absolutely no chance.

Extraordinary how Rosamond met him at Waterloo – and I can see so well the reception he got when the girls came in – and the noise & laughing -! Well he deserves his leave does’nt he and I hope he has a jolly good time.

How sickening about Dick – and so disappointing for us all – he’ll get my letter now anyway – so Jim’s off to France – someone told me last week – Dreda I think, that they thought he was going to India!!!

I had a signal from Mr Lyon yesterday asking me to go to dinner – but I could’nt go. Don’t know when I shall see him now! – and I should like to see him so much & hear all the news – so to speak.

We have had filthy weather these last 3 days – blowing a gale – but it’s much better today-

My best love to you all-

Your ever loving son


Thank you for the lavender Bag – I always like them so much-

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Posted by on 20 September, '16 in About, HMS Malaya, Rosyth


19 September 1916 – Paul to Gertrude


c/o G.P.O.



Dear Mother-

Very many thanks for your letter. We are away from Mrs C.G. now and my good times are over for a bit – but I thoroughly enjoyed myself while it lasted. A niece of Mrs Conway’s turned up while we were there – and as it’s a dull place – I think she (Mrs Cy) was pleased that we helped to amuse her & show her about- I took several fellows with me at different times – Oh yes she told me the story about your tea & being all dressed up & how she had gone out for the day – & saw nobody else but you – would have come again the next day – as she asked you.

We have had some beastly weather lately- a sort of continuous gale blowing but to-day it’s lovely again-

So Dick is at Marseilles – I do hope he will get home soon now. I want him to come up & stay – he’s only got to go and ask I believe at the Admiralty – we have had several Canadians already – they stay about 4 or 5 days. It would be lovely if he could would’nt it.

Rosamund wrote to me about the linen cloth & I sent her the measurements. I heard from Mrs Jim –  yesterday & all about their lodgings an’ all at Aldershot- she told me about going to Guildford for 4 days.

Any more luck about that mantle?

I must end now-

With my best love to you all-

ever your loving son


Paul was increasingly close to Nancy Swan during the summer of 1916 and early 1917, possibly via an existing friendship with her aunt by marriage, Mrs Conway-Gordon.

Nancy’s father was Colonel Charles Arthur Swan C.M.G., M.A., J.P., and her mother was Ethel, only daughter of Colonel F.I. Conway-Gordon. Her brother was brother was Major Charles Francis Trollope Swan MC who was born in 1887 and her sister Marjorie was born in 1886.

Nancy herself was born in 1895, making Nancy 22 in 1917 to Paul’s 28.

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Posted by on 19 September, '16 in About, HMS Malaya, Rosyth


18 September 1916 – Richard to Gertrude



Dear Mother

There’s a mail going out tomorrow so I may as well catch it. I am to sail on H.T. Kurfanus Castle tomorrow to Suez, & then overland to Alex & so on.

I may be able to get your letters tomorrow but I have to be on board by 10 & box won’t be open I’m afraid. I will write on the way home, but it will probably arrive same time as this.

Best love to all.

Yr loving son


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Posted by on 18 September, '16 in About


14 September 1916 – Paul to Gertrude


c/o G.P.O.

14th Sept.


Dear Mother-   V. many thanks for your letter and the Surrey Advt. I’m so glad the wedding went off allright – I have heard from Jim & Sheina – and they seem to be quite enjoying themselves down at Bexhill playing golf.

It’s suddenly turned most beastly cold up here, and we have started fires in the Ward Room already- “out with yer woollies”-

Nothing at all exciting has been happening up here – we hope for a change soon though. I wonder if Dick would come up & stay onboard for a bit – when he comes home – soldiers very often do – I must write and ask him; he might enjoy it rather.

Another fellow has got shingles now – a Lieut – but he’s been in bed with it for the last 4 days – so I was apparently rather lucky and only had it very slightly.

Our guest night tonight, I hope Mr Drew is coming to dine with me – as we have a “Movie” show as well.

My best love to you all

Your ever loving son


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Posted by on 14 September, '16 in About, HMS Malaya, Rosyth


14 September 1916 – Ted to Gertrude


Sept 14/16

Dear Mother

English mail in today, but no letters from Delaford. Funny, as I always get some; but these days I suppose anything may happen, and I expect they’ll turn up tomorrow all right. I heard from old Ben at Seaview, and also from Nell, so I suppose your letters have been mislaid somewhere. I got some papers from you today; many thanks, much appreciated.

I am sending along some very cheap & not very pretty felt rugs, 2 white with a pattern, & one really horrid green one, heaven knows why I bought it! Anyhow I expect it will do for the parlour, where it’s fairly dark & can be hidden easily. I’m told they last better if you back them with canvas. I must send you some nicer ones one day; & I’m also sending you quite a nice carpet, smallish but nice; I don’t quite know where you will put it, but I expect it will come in useful for somewhere. It’s not persian, only Indian I think.

Such a wet day, the rains’ last effort I suppose. But it’s cleared up this evening so I shall go out & try & get a blow of air for an hour as I’ve been busy in office all day. We’ve had the general up inspecting these last 2 or 3 days, but he was very gentlemanly & did’nt worry us much.

Ben’s comments on Eric were truly amusing, he does indeed seem to go further back as the line advances! Has he any shame? And she said Topher had told her that he had built himself a house! so he evidently intends never to get forward at all. He seems a useless sort of fellow, so perhaps he’s better where he is.

Nothing doing here; we are all still very busy; no news of any immediate move though the 3rd Batt: are sort of still semi-under orders for Quetta.

Must end up; hope I get some letters from you tomorrow. I had a line from Dick in Bombay, bored with waiting about but quite pleased at the prospect of going to France.

Love to all   yr loving son


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Posted by on 14 September, '16 in About


10 September 1916 – Richard to Gertrude


Sept 10 1916


Dear Mother

Many thanks for your letter & as I said when I took it out, “what a topping handkerchief”. That lavender was lovely & was so useful to smell on board yesterday when coming down from Karachi & feeling a bit squirmy. Of course you need never now have bothered about my clothes. Such a pity, but Cox have instructions to send them back to you when they do arrive, & how annoying forgetting that coat. I would have liked tails as well anyhow.

Jim & Sheina were married yesterday then, of course I won’t dare meet his father in law, as he’s the old IMS col isn’t he who said I dressed up so. Bit awkward meeting Sheina, (spose I can call her by her Christian name) too. She used to skoff did’nt she? No little book arrived, something about Daddy long legs you said.

I am sure Susan will like the change at Seaview. I was so sorry to have to leave June behind, I have given her to rather a pet of a girl. I am sorry Jane Yeatman’s boy has been wounded.

I arrived here this morning, but I won’t believe I am really off till the ship sails from here. You see they stopped us the other day & we had to wait a fortnight. How nice of the people to let Binkie in to see his master.

Please thank Ruth for her message at the end of your letter. I dunno’ what I shall do here all tomorrow. Spend money I suppose.

I hope I’ll find some letters in Marseilles.

Best love to all.

Yr loving son   Richard.

Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster


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Posted by on 10 September, '16 in About