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Daily Archives: 4 April, '17

4 April 1917 – Paul to Gertrude

H.M.S. MALAYA.
c/o G.P.O.

Wednesday. 4th

 

Dearest Mother. Very many thanks for your letter. So glad you have heard from Ted, I expect he is having quite an exciting time out in Mesopotamia.

I wonder what these Yankees are going to do now they have joined in! I expect we shall get a certain amount of financial support to start with – & they say there are at least 8 million Germans in U.S.A. – whatever will happen to them.

I saw all about the Tyndareus – & heaps of pictures – especially in the Sunday Papers – of her being towed into the Port. I think the Middlesex were really splendid the way they behaved – & so lucky they were mined so close to the shore.

Did’nt realize there was so much snow in the heavens-! awful the amount that has been coming down lately – even to-day it is lovely & fine & no wind – it was down that steady sort of stuff at intervals.

I thought perhaps you might cull some information from the Davids – but I suppose it must be super secret- I wrote to Gordon the other day & congratulated him.

Another quiet week end for you. I’m glad to hear Mr McCulloch is all right again. I must drop him a line. Nance is fearfully pleased with that bead butterfly – gorgeous she says it is. She still seems to have that cold of hers hanging about her – must be such a nuisance – olly hard to get rid of in this sort of weather though.

I do hope Ben & Jane will be able to get down to you for Easter – a pity if no one allowed to travel.

Nance sent me the prints of the family groups the other day – I’ve mounted them & pass partouted them all together- they look awfully nice. Slightly dispersed again now are’nt we?-

Awfully little news – I am ever so fit and well.

This will be an Easter letter – so I wish all at home a very Happy Easter Mother, and let us hope nd pray the next one may be happier still for all of us.

With much love to you all –

from ever your loving son

Paul


 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passe-Partout_%28framing%29

 
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Posted by on 4 April, '17 in About

 

4 April 1917 – Ted to Gertrude

April 4/17

 

Dear Mother

I believe a mail of sorts goes out tomorrow so I must try and drop you a line in time to catch it. Not much news from here, we are still in camp down here at the base, & have orders to move anywhere. It’s beastly, this sitting down waiting, we did exactly the same in France in ’14. They always seem to hurry one out so, & then we hang about doing nothing. However we shall be moving sooner or later, I suppose.

We are being equipped with a few things specially required for campaigning in this country, coloured glasses, spine-pads & helmet-flaps & a few odds & ends like that. All our men are wearing pith helmets, as it is so hot later on they find the slouch hat is really not enough protection, even for a native. Of course Gurkhas & ourselves are the only regiments that wear the slouch hat, all other regiments wear turbans which are quite enough protection. We are filling up our time doing parades etc, & are ready to move whenever they tell us to.

Still lovely & cool at night here, but the days are warm, today particularly so as we did’nt get the breeze that usually blows.

Yesterday I met Bampton, a friend of Dick & Ben’s, also mine, as I met him on board the Muttra when we were coming back from Egypt last year and also in Lansdowne. He is here now building huge electric works to supply the whole base with fans & electric light, & is also fixing up plant to make ice, & is building a huge cold storage to hold 250 tons of ice. So you see everything possible is being done now to make the life of troops here more comfortable, and to improve conditions generally, & I must say there is a great air of permanency about everything that is being done here & we have evidently come to stay.

Of course Mesopotamia is an extraordinarily rich country and only requires scientific irrigation to make it one of the richest in the world. The water is here all right, tons of it from the Tigris & Euphrates, but they require to be induced to flow in the right directions & water the country properly. The current saying out here is that the British are going to make Mesopotamia pay for the entire war! And certainly it ought to repay any money spent on it ten thousand fold.

I saw all about the ‘Tyndareus’ in Reuters wires a day or two ago, the first I had heard of or seen about it. When I say ‘all’ I mean just the brief wire saying what had happened & that she had got safely into Simonstown. It was an awful shock when I read the first few lines, but a tremendous relief as I read on & saw that everything was all right. I do hope old Jim is all right & none the worse; what a terrible experience & how magnificently  they all behaved, well worthy, as I see the King said, of the ‘Birkenhead’ tradition.

Curious is’nt it that one of the Emperors of Germany (was it the man’s father?) when the Birkenhead sank, had the story of the gallant behaviour of the soldiers on board read out to the German troops on parade as a magnificent example of courage & discipline.  You know the picture of course, & I rather think this little story is printed under the title in most reproductions, at least that is I know where I read it. I wonder what will happen to them now.

I am anxiously waiting fuller accounts which will I suppose appear eventually in the papers & you will get the full story from Jim sometime I expect. No letters from you yet; I had some from Nell yesterday, dated 11th Feb! But none from you or any of the family. I have’nt the foggiest idea when we move from here, so I can’t possibly say whether I’ll be able to write again before next mail. But please don’t worry if you don’t hear, it will only mean I’m on a river journey & away from posts & things. Oh I say, a gorgeous Shetland woolly rolled up today, light & handy & ripping to have in one’s kit, especially as further north the cold weather is by no means over, & next cold weather anyhow it will be lovely. Thanks awfully for it.

Must change for dinner now. We are getting splendid rations here, frozen Argentine meat, sterilized milk, tinned fruits, green vegetables an’ all – Wish they’d send us up country all the same –

Best love to all

Yr loving son

Ted


 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Birkenhead_%281845%29

Ashburton Guardian article, 30/3 mentioning King William of Prussia having story read to troops

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&d=AG19170330.2.25.20&dliv=&e=——-10–1—-0–

 

 
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Posted by on 4 April, '17 in About