Monthly Archives: October 2018

31 October 1918 – Report on surrender of the Turkish Army

Operations on TIGRIS 21st-30th Oct 1918 ending in
Surrender of Turkish Army under HAQQI BEY at 7 am
on 30th Oct


On 21st we marched as soon as it was dark and reached camp before dawn on 22nd, stayed in camp till nightfall and marched on again that night, reaching our next camp early morning on 23rd. This was about 6 miles from the first Turkish position, a formidable line of hills running roughly at right angles to the Tigris & guarding both banks, with many trenches and gun positions, and altogether a nasty looking place to tackle.

There was a certain amount of patrol work & artillery fire this day (23rd), but no fighting. Our bde had’nt much to do, as 2 other bdes were in front of us. Orders were out to attack the positions next day 24th, but on the morning of the 24th our patrols found the Turkish position empty. He had retired during the night, & so we pushed on hard behind him at once. We camped that night in the gorge formed by the river breaking through the hills, and another brigade went on ahead of us.

At 5 a.m. next morning (25th) we pushed on, along a most extraordinary road. It ran along the sides of the hills, just above the river, and the hills here are split up into innumerable ravines. Conseqeuntly the road wound in and out of these ravines and wandered up and down, in and out, the whole way. We could only take pack animals along it, so steep was it and tortuous, not a hundred yards straight in ten miles of it. Yet in some marvellous way the guns came along it later in the day, tho’ heaven knows how they managed it. But then gunners are always doing wonderful things.

I just mention the road as an example of the difficulties of the advance. The country we have been operating in is very much broken up with small hills and big dry “wadis”, broad stony river beds which rapidly become torrents in the rainy season. Consequently the Turk had a choice of innumerable positions where he could (and did!) hold us up and stop our advance-

Well, we reached camp that evening 25th, & were off again next morning at 5 a.m. & had our first fight that day 26th Oct. The bde in front of us had met the Turk in a very strong position and had not been able to turn him out. The Turk held all the cards; all approaches to the position were under close shell fire, and the ground in front of the position was an open plain-

We pushed in some of our troops, but did not attempt anything serious till we were able to work round his flank towards evening. All that day (26th) the 2 brigades hung on under shell fire, & all that night too, & next morning (27th) patrols found the Turk had once more slipped away in the night. So off we went at 7 am on 27th in hot pursuit, marched all day without  finding him, & camped that night for food & rest at 6 pm. By this time men & animals were pretty done, after hard & continuous marching over bad roads, & a day & night’s fighting. However we had to hurry on and catch up the Turk, who we knew must be tired too by now.

While all this had been going on, a cavalry brigade, after a wide detour of nearly 50 miles, had crossed the Tigris behind the Turk, i.e. between him and MOSUL, & so cut him off from his base. Of course HAQQI BEY, the Turkish commander, went for the cavalry & tried to knock him out, but they put up a splendid fight & held on & the Turk could find no escape there. Turkish reinforcements – 1000 of them – were sent down from MOSUL to destroy the cavalry, but instead were captured by them! Meantime however the cavalry were hard pressed, and it was imperative that we should push on up the river & join hands with them. So off we went again at 3 a.m. on 28th, marched till 12 noon & found the enemy in position. The Bde then attacked & by 2 o’clock had driven him from his position, & captured 200 prisoners & 10 machine guns.

We got into camp by 6, with orders to pursue hard as soon as the men had rested. More troops however came up – in the shape of already tired & battered brigades – & they took on the pursuit as well as they could, as we were absolutely done. But we were off at 5.30 am again on the 29th, & found our advanced troops in action by 9 a.m. We had a bit of a rest and at 1.30 pm were again on the move, this time to attack once more.

The men went forward splendidly under heavy shell fire and tremendous machine gun fire, but the position was too strong for our small force, & was held determinedly by the Turk, who knew he had our cavalry just behind him, so he had to fight or surrender, & he certainly fought alright. Night fell on the usual confusion of the battlefield, units and brigades mixed up, tired, and thirsty and the enemy still in his position. We had no troops near to throw into the fight, & we wondered what was going to happen next day. Another division was operating on the other bank of the river, & they had manged to send over a few troops to help the cavalry, but they could’nt do much to help us, as there was no bridge across. They helped with the long range guns a lot, but it was infantry we wanted.

It was an anxious night, the 29th Oct, & the early hours of 30th, as we thought the Turk would counter attack our thin & exhausted line. But we were to reap the reward of the perseverance and gallantry of our troops sooner than we expected, and at 7 am on 30th the Turk surrendered everywhere-He seemed to come from all corners of the field, & we were indeed glad he had decided not to try and drive us out!

Great long columns of them were collected & marched off to the prisoners’ camps, & we were left in possession of the battlefield and the way to MOSUL was open. That was at 7 am on 30th Oct, and next day we got orders through that hostilities were to cease as an armistice had been signed between the Allies and Turkey on the evening of the 30th. So we only just made our bag in time – a few hours later and they would not have been prisoners of war. We had marched hard and long and fought hard to catch them and it was a most satisfactory ending to the operations-

The prisoners number nine or ten thousand; over 40 guns have been captured & well over 100 machine guns besides much miscellaneous booty. This does not sound much good compared with the colossal captures in Palestine & elsewhere, but it is at anyrate, all there is to capture, & one can’t do more than that!

The men have been absolutely marvellous. They have been asked to do a very difficult job, hard marching when they were dog tired- hard fighting on little water & short rations and to overcome all sorts of difficulties incidental to campaigning in this country. But they have done all that was asked of them & have never failed, and it is splendid to know their efforts have been so tremendously successful.

Leave a comment

Posted by on 31 October, '18 in About


30 October 1918 – Ted to Nell

Nell was Ted’s fiancée whom he had not seen since the end of 1915 – almost three years before.  Ted had written to her almost daily during this time.  The conversational detail of this letter shows how they had maintained and developed their relationship even though at times it took up to four months to send a letter and then receive a reply. 

30th Oct/18

Darling Child   just a scribble as near “the day” as I can get it – Honestly old lady I simply have’nt had a minute since 21st of the month to write to you in- for 9 days we have been marching hard & long, & the last 5 have had fighting in addition- heavy fighting too, but the Brigade did splendid work- tho I say it as should’nt- and we had some hard fights with the Turk and some stern chases after him – into bivouac after dark at 7 or so, then on again at midnight, fighting early next morning, perhaps all day, that’s been our programme- But it has all ended very happily-

You will have seen by now how many prisoners were captured, I have’nt the vaguest idea, but I saw several thousands this morning- It’s been hard work & we are all pretty well done, but the final success is worth anything. My brigade was on the Right bank of the river & we had as much fighting as we wanted, & it was all most awfully interesting for me of course in my new job- and very frightening at times too! However no harm done, except some splinters of shell in my arm & hand, as one burst rather unpleasantly close one day, but beyond being rather painful for a day or two it was nothing-

Anyhow old lady here’s to yesterday – the great 29th October, the greatest day of my life in lots of ways- 29th Oct 1914 I first went into the trenches in France: 29-10-15 I spects you remember rather well don’t you dear!- & then 29th Oct 1918 I finish (I hope!) with the War, for there was no fighting today, just huge mobs of surrendering Turks-

I suppose Jim has been in the show too, anyhow his regiment has, but on the other bank of the river, but we’ve heard precious little about what’s been going on there-

Well I’ve got heaps to do dear heart- we have come miles & miles from our nearest post office, over very bad roads, so heaven knows when this will get posted- However so long as it does reach you it does’nt matter much when does it dear- I’ll write again just as soon as ever I can, but we are very busy still, finishing things off, & we have practically no kit, & are oh so dirty! I have’nt washed for a week, & I’ve got some sleep to make up too-

I am so glad we’ve done something out here at last, & you’ll be glad too, won’t you darling; I know you will. All my love for ever & ever


Leave a comment

Posted by on 30 October, '18 in About


25 October 1918 – Richard to Gertrude



Dear Mother

Topher & I are at present quite near each other. He is in a camp expecting to go off any moment, and I expect any moment to be sent to India. Wish they’d hurry up and let me know. We had some rain here first time for ages, & huge sand storms blowing. All the news is good nowadays is’nt it, the war is over here. I must send you a cable if I can afford it!

Best love to all

yr loving son


Leave a comment

Posted by on 25 October, '18 in About


20 October 1918 – Richard to Gertrude



My dear Mother. Very many thanks for your letters, the referees & D. Sketch with Jane’s photograph in it & the Barts Journal. Fancy finding these papers at last, but there are 2 more like it somewhere. Anyhow I can claim some part of the money with these. The letters no 3 & 4 both arrived here by the same mail. You see I am using the block & pencil, both most welcome. I sent you a cable today saying “Quite Well” & I hope you’ve got my letter telling you what it means, otherwise you’ll be wondering.

Goodness knows when I shall be off, soon I hope. But after all winter at home won’t be so bad now that the war seems more or less “finish” & I expect there’ll be plenty of coal & light about.

I wonder if Topher has arrived in the country yet. I expect he was stopped when all our successes were known & there won’t be much doing out here now. Anyhow I suppose he will write me directly he arrives. I remember so well about Turner’s ponds seeming so small, but I should have thought Rosamond would have had a fairly accurate idea of the size of the drawing room at the Vicarage. Yet really I suppose she was quite a kid when we left.

I hope you went and saw “Seven days leave”, most exciting play I expect. I always meant to see it in London. How soon Topher got in the Gazette. I hope you find some more eyeglasses. I have now got a big pair of tortoiseshell spectacles like you. Lovely are’nt they? So light. We don’t give 6/- a gallon, but they say that’s what it costs to bring it up all that way in a pipe.

Wish I could have been there that week end when everyone was at home. I am so glad Evelyn came over. So glad your nose is alright. I expect Murray has been home by this time. You will be lucky if you are allowed 7 tons of coal won’t you, but if the war ends you won’t have to bother, we shall get it for nothing shan’t we?

I wangled a day’s leave the other day & went down to Jerusalem. No good being out here without going there is it? Most interesting, but it seems such a pity to build over all those sacred spots like cavalry & the Manger. I quite long to go to church again some Christmas time at home & sing “Hark the herald angels”, and “there’s a Greenhill”, & “while shepherds watch their sheep”.

The hill is’nt green, & there are a lot of houses built in the field where the shepherds were, but I’ll be able to think to myself I’ve seen them. There’s the place where Solomon’s Temple was originally built, & the only thing remaining there is a huge rock with a hole in it where the sacrifices were offered, & the blood & ashes all used to run through this hole into a tank beneath & so out. There’s a lovely view from the mount of Olives.

I went there about 7 in the morning, so as to get out to Bethlehem & back in time. It’s curious too, that the Holy sepulchre & the place where the Cross was, are only about 20 yards apart. Both quite close in the same church. I always imagined the sepulchre was a long way away.

I have sent to you a little mother of pearl cross & a Star of Bethlehem and a book marker from Bethlehem. Goodness knows when they will arrive. It is difficult to get anything useful. Anyhow you can wear the Cross sometimes & use the book marker, & look at the Star. The mother of pearl comes from the Red Sea & the people in Bethlehem make all these things. I wish you could see it all. Mr Kirwan has been out here has’nt he?

I got a letter from Jane & one from Dreda which I will answer soon. Please thank them. I expect you are all most awfully relieved that the news is so  good. I am sending some little napkin rings made out of olive wood from Jerusalem, & you can use them, also some beads made out of Mecca fruit, they call it, & olive wood. You have a bead necklace for a muff chain which you’ll promptly break on your bicycle handle! & the girls can have the others. I’ll try & say who is to have them when I write again.

I hope I shall meet old Topher. I can borrow some money perhaps.

Best love to all

yr loving son


There is a green hill far away

Vegetable ivory – erstwhile “Mecca fruit”

Leave a comment

Posted by on 20 October, '18 in About


17 October 1918 – Ted to Gertrude

Oct 17/18


Dear Mother, very many thanks for two letters from you which I got 2 days ago, also several papers and things- The letters were dated 28th & 21st August, so I think there must be still one mail to come – These two I got were addressed direct 34th Bde- By the way while I’m on the subject, please address as under



or “Bde Major” instead of “H.Q.”



Don’t put the regiment & don’t put “Brigade-Major E.R.P.B.” It’s not done! I know my cable gave you that idea, I meant you to put Brigade-Major after my name: that’s all right, anything but “Brigade-Major Berryman”,  I got an awful shock when I saw your letters!

Some more papers have just come in from Cox, about mid-August, but no more letters yet- I wonder what’s happened to them, & I’ve got none from Nell at all, either today or with yours 2 days ago! I suppose she’s come a fearful toss over the address, & put the regiment, Cox, and 34th Bde on the envelope, so no wonder the post office is a wee bit confused.

I had rather a krewst 2 nights ago- I suddenly got a wire from Jim to say he was dining with Col Lumb in the 1st Bn! & would I go down & stay the night. Of course I had’nt the vaguest idea where anyone lived or was in camp, as they are nothing to do with us, but after much telephoning & enquiry I found out where they were & wangled a car, stuck a bed & some bedding & kit into it & dashed off.

I found them eventually after wading through seas and fogs of dust and we had a very cheery evening. I stayed the night with Lumb as he had more room in his tent than Jim had, Jim being in a little tiny thing as wide as Dick’s motor bike garage & about half as high! I saw Jim for a few minutes next morning, but he was rather busy & I had to get back to camp, so we did’nt have much time. He was looking very fit & well & seemed very happy. He said I was looking ever so much fitter than when he last saw me in June I think, & I certainly feel much fitter in myself.

It’s still unusually hot for some unknown reason, 96° or so by day – much cooler of course than it has been, but it should’nt be by rights even as warm as this-

The news continues wonderfully good, & we are all wondering of course what will be the outcome of all this peace talk. It seems we are going to be firm, & accept nothing but complete & absolute surrender, backed by guarantees that Germany will be powerless to continue hostilities. In either case it seems Turkey is likely to chuck up the sponge soon, & Austria evidently longs to end the struggle- So much will have happened by the time you get this that it seems idle to speculate, but it seems more than probable that Turkey & Austria will be out of it & Germany still fighting- She’s doing her cause no good is she, by such crimes as sinking the Leinster & by the wanton way she is destroying the fair land of France as she retires.

I did send a line to say you could get that watch that Aunt Edward’s left me, a most legal document, I remember writing it in Baghdad – However it may have been sunk, so I’ll send you another-

I know Nepean quite well, an awful nice fellow & got a D.S.O on the field for gallantry at Ramadie, badly wounded & stuck to his job like a man. But I think he’s laying it on a bit thick about me, & I don’t think you ought to have told me all that! However, no harm done, as most of it or all of it if you like is I’m sure quite untrue- At anyrate it’s nice to know people say they appreciate you, anyhow.

No, I never got your cable, I got one from Nell, (addressed Cox & Co & it came on from them by post!) but yours has never arrived.

I’m most awfully glad Topher has passed out & done so well, & I hope he’ll get a good job somewhere now. He seemed to be on the verge of going to Egypt in your letter.

I’m sure I paid Hacker’s Bill, I distinctly remember asking Cox to send him £3/3s, you might ask. I am sending along £1-7-6 for Savage; so sorry you’ve been worried with these Bills- Hacker’s is for a pair of riding breeches I lost with all my kit at sea, so I don’t score much there! Thanks awfully for the new woolly which you say you are sending, if it’s anything like as useful as the last one it will be tremendously so. Best love to all

Yr loving son               Ted

I think my legal wording of the enclosed document is rather good don’t you- I hope the solicitors don’t think I’m ragging them, tho’ of course I am really!


I, Edward Rolleston Palmer Berryman, Major, of His Majesty’s Indian Army, do hereby authorise my mother, Mrs C.P. Berryman, of Delaford, Guildford, in the county of Surrey, to receive on my behalf one WATCH, which I am informed was bequeathed to me by the late Mrs Edward Gibbs, of 25 Old Gravel Lane, London E, in her will-

Dated this seventeenth day of October, nineteen hundred and eighteen.

E.R.P. Berryman


Col Herbert DHY Nepean

Leave a comment

Posted by on 17 October, '18 in About


10 October 1918 – Ted to Gertrude

Oct 10/18


Dear Mother

Very many thanks for an unexpected letter from you yesterday dated July 23, it seems to have come a long way round somehow & been considerably delayed as I have letters up to Aug 12th from you & Nell. I got 2 letters from Nell yesterday too, & a London Magazine from you for which many thanks, most welcome.

So glad your rest and change at Totland were so pleasing & good for you, I knew they would be and you wanted and deserved a few days off- Coo – as Nell says – what would’nt I give for even one day’s real loaf on the sands. However that’ll all come someday, & meanwhile I suppose we must all get down to it & finish off this little matter we’ve got in hand. Not that we seem to be doing nuch towards it out here! But we are ordered to be here, so that’s that.

Meanwhile what wonderful things the Allies are doing in France, truly marvellous performances which we read of with tremendous admiration and envy out here. The troops are magnificent are’nt they and no obstacle seems to stop them. And now the Boche is beginning to squeal & this peace offensive is a sign of the times. Of course by the time you get this it will be a thing of the past – one way or the other. It sounds attractive in its way, but somehow I feel sure the allies will have nothing to do with it. Wilson is the big man now on the allies’ side, & he is all out to have the Hun out of France & Belgium by force of arms, & I don’t think he will listen to any peace proposals till the Allies are in a position to dictate terms.

And we can do that, true at the cost of more lives and money and still greater sacrifices than we have made already, but it’s worth it, & besides I’m sure it’s our duty to ourselves, to the world, & to posterity to finish this thing off for once & for all and not give the Hun a loop-hole or a chance to set the world ablaze again, and to make such an example of him that no nation will ever attempt world conquest again-

Wilson says you can’t trust the Boche, and he’s quite right too. Look how the exchange of prisoners fell through because the Boche did’nt fulfil his part of the bargain so the French dropped the negotiations at once. You simply cannot put any faith in his spoken & written word. It’s his own fault, & he must stand or fall by what his enemies think of him, opinions formed on his behaviour in this war, where he has shown such utter disregard for what we call “playing the game” for want of a better expression – and so my contention is don’t let’s listen to any of these specious proposals for peace conferences etc- Let’s go on till we can say what we want & with the power & victory behind us to enforce our wishes.

After all we’ve made tremendous sacrifices to get thus far, and we have got on so magnificently lately and really turned the corner at last, that it would be wrong I feel sure to stop now. It means more sorrow, more sadness I know to go on, but as I say I think it’s our duty to go on & finish the thing off properly- otherwise it only means a repetition of it all someday, and a thousand times more sorrow and sadness and sacrifice then than a completion of the job now will involve-

What a dissertation! But I do feel so strongly on these points, & I’m sure everyone feels the same. I say you got at Teddy Darwen all right, & quite right too I think – unless he can produce good sound reasons I don’t see why he should’nt shoulder a gun & go to the wars- And fancy not wanting to do something for old England, instead of making cardboard or something! However, p’raps he’s gone now. Anyway you are indeed in a position to criticise- Talk about your sons, my dear mother, you are doing splendid war work yourself, and anything we do or achieve we owe to you & you only just because you are our Mother-

The news is so consistently good nowadays that the crowd round Reuters’ daily wire & the war map in the mess is huge daily here! I’m afraid it’s costing us a lot, as you can’t break through these highly organised defences for nothing.

I am writing this before breakfast, a lovely fresh morning, & thank heavens the hot weather is done now. It hung on & hung on all through September in a most trying way, just at a time when you begin to think it’s all over & every extra hot day makes you feel more weary & faded than ever.

Best love to all

yr loving son


Ye gods, the irony. Of all Ted’s letters, this passage is probably the most painful to read 100 years on: 

“I’m sure it’s our duty to ourselves, to the world, & to posterity to finish this thing off for once & for all and not give the Hun a loop-hole or a chance to set the world ablaze again”

The Treaty of Versailles – so vindictive and punitive – gave us an even greater conflagration in WW2, whereas the Paris Peace Treaties of 1947 have given us over 70 years of peace in Europe. Yalta, of course, was another matter.

Leave a comment

Posted by on 10 October, '18 in About


7 October 1918 – Ted to Gertrude

Oct 7/14


Dear Mother

Very many thanks for a letter dated 7th Aug which arrived yesterday, quite quick considering it came via Cox Bombay.

I don’t think I’ve much news for you- We are of course all sharing the good news from France & Palestine, & how little we are doing out here to help. There is nothing to do, & one feels somehow there is lots going on that one ought to be giving a hand in – Bulgaria’s surrender & the Turkish defeat in Palestine must sooner or later materially affect our little corner of the stage-

Thank heavens September is over. It was a fearfully hot month, well over 100 every day, & for a fortnight or so in the middle was up to 112° or so daily [45 C]. Last year in September it was a good 10 degrees cooler. Even now it’s up to 99° & 100° in the day, covering everything in a thick layer & making everyone look like Pierrots! However the weather must change soon, & then it is not far off to the cold weather, the only possible time in this country.

I say what fearful lumbago you had- I am sorry, & I do hope it’s all right again. It sounds most alarming. I’ve had twinges at times but nothing so bad as you describe.

I had a line from Dick too. You seem to have been a long time without mails, but I fancy you must have got one soon after you wrote (Aug 6) as Nell said she had got some about the 10th or 12th, her last letter to me is dated 12th. I may be busy these next 2 weeks or so, so may not find much time or opportunity to write.

I had to take a letter for the Turkish C-in-C yesterday under a flag of truce- Awful squeamish marching boldly out beyond our outposts waving a towel on the end of a light tent pole, & hoping no one will have a shot at you! However all passed off well & a Turkish officer came out & I gave him the letter & then came home safely.

I’ve lost my British Warm, my Burberry, a pr boots & about 10 or 12 tins of baccy, & a waterproof sheet & a waterproof cape -! that’s a good bit is’nt it! They were all in a kit bag & somehow or other got mislaid on my way up here; sickening- I hope I’ll be getting a trench coat out soonish, I asked Ben to see about one, but it does take such ages to get things out from home-

Best love to all

yr loving son


Squeamish-making indeed


Leave a comment

Posted by on 7 October, '18 in About


6 October 1918 – Richard to Gertrude



Dear Mother

I must soon be sending a cable. Quite well. No good sending it now as I don’t think you will know what it means as you won’t have got my letter yet explaining.

Many thanks for your no 1 letter. I’ve forgotten to put the number on mine, but anyhow I can always tell if I get yours.

I enclose a cheque for £10 to pay all those bills.

It’s a pity you cannot find those papers. I can’t think where they can have got to. Please look in a leather pocket book of mine & send me the address of that firm of coffee growers in the Nilgiri Hills. You’ll see a price list of theirs in there.

I’ve written to Dreda this mail too. Nothing special in way of news.

Best love to all

yr loving son


Leave a comment

Posted by on 6 October, '18 in About


3 October 1918 – Richard to Gertrude


c/o Cox & Co



Dear Mother,

Many thanks for your letter written just before my buffday. I hear today I shall be off to India in time to get there by Nov 23rd, and I hope by then the war will be nearly over. Anyhow it’s done with here I think. I shall send you the cable later on, if I send it now, I doubt if you’d understand what it means. I must give you time to get my letter.

What a fine old muddle they seem to have made over the War Hospital, I wonder what they will do in the end.

I had a line from Topher. I am glad he has got his commission at last. I don’t suppose he will come out here, as I doubt if they’ll keep even the people they have got.

The bath room sounds lovely nowadays, I wonder what you are going to do with those two nice pictures up by the gas jet.

Sorry to hear Mrs Houghton is so ill.

I hope Paul haas been home & enjoyed his leave.

I’ve got no mufti if I do go to India!

Best love to all

yr loving son



That little chess board you sent me has been useful lately, I happen to have it with me & I’ve played such a lot in my spare time

Possible hospital in question

Five days earlier

Leave a comment

Posted by on 3 October, '18 in About