Monthly Archives: January 2019

25 January 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

Jan 25/19


Dear Mother

Very many thanks for a letter dated Dec 10th which arrived rather unexpectedly today. We were expecting a mail certainly, but it was reported to be up to 18th Dec, & also not due till the 27th, so this seems as if it must be an extra somehow.

Such wet weather we are having and cold and raw too. To-day started off fine enough, but we have one or two heavy showers this afternoon. On the whole though I think it looks brighter all round. I’ve just been eating some of those lovely nuts Rosamond sent: they really are extraordinarily good and have kept so fresh and nice.

No news, everything going on as usual. People leave every day en route home on demobilisation. Leave prospects are unknown, but rumoured to be not over-bright, for regular officers at anyrate: but I expect it’ll all come in good time. I see the peace conferences have begun in Paris & there seems to have been a good deal of preliminary squabbling in a good-natured sort of way. Let’s hope they all agree on the vital issues at anyrate.

You say you had letters from me up to 10th Oct, & Nell says she has them up to 20th. She has been very busy lately looking after invalids, & also making a new frock which sounds very beautiful from her descriptions. And she’s been going to dances and all sorts of frivolities- I’m so glad, & I’m sure it’s very good for her.

I don’t suppose you had many more letters from me after the 10th, as we left here so soon after that and I’m afraid a long time went by without my writing at all; but by now I hope you are getting letters regularly every week, & we shall be too I suppose, especially when we get to Amara. Yes, sickening losing all those warm things in that Kit bag was’nt it: no, I’ve never seen a sign of them since, but have managed to get along somehow, with my trench coat and your woolley and some judicious borrowing.

I wish I could get 10 days’ Xmas leave & then some demobilisation leave. But it’s harder to get leave from this country now- especially if you are a regular – than ever it seems- I had to retire to bed for 2 days at the beginning of the week with malaria, feeling an awful worm. I think that getting wet out duck shooting the previous week & then not changing must have brought it on. However they gave me quinine and told me to stay in bed and I soon got alright, but it was unpleasant while it lasted. Never shall I forget my first efforts in that line when you & Jinny & Bridget all sat up in turns with me! I did feel rotten.

I’m most awfully sorry to hear about poor Bob. Ben told me in one of her letters I got last mail & it came as a tremendous shock to me. Jim told me he and his wife had done so well, & both got mentions, & he was always a good chap with lots to say and a large heart. We shall miss him a lot-

I must scribble a line to Nell now: weekly mail in full swing. Though I don’t really pay much attention to them in these barbaric spots. I wish we could get a 4 day aeroplane mail started: would’nt it be lovely. Awful sad about Prince John is’nt it: he seems to have been ill for years & no one knew it, at least it was’nt public property-

Best love to all

Yr loving son


Leave a comment

Posted by on 25 January, '19 in About


19 January 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

Jan 19/19


Dear Mother

Just a line to tell you that our brigade has been detailed as part of the “post-bellum” garrison of this country, which means we’re stuck out here for another year at least.

All the regiments of the brigade are changing, and going back to India as they have been out here so long, so we shall be the old 34th Bde in name only, & quite different in composition. We are going to be stationed in Amara, and move there sometime within the next month I suppose.

The next question is what’s going to happen to us? The general does’nt think he’ll stay on in command, because there must be any amount of generals who will want jobs when peace is signed & the army reduced. Then again there must be lots of fellows senior to me, on the staff, who’ll want staff jobs, so I don’t know that I am by any means certain to stay on; I may go back to India or rejoin the rgt- it’s impossible to say: but I don’t mind much what happens so long as they give me leave home. So, as far as one can see, I shall be out here for a year or so yet, but shall move heaven and earth to get leave to England during that time.

Demobilisation is going on fast, & officers & men are being sent off in large numbers every week. I fancy they want to get as many white troops as possible out of the country before the hot weather begins. Rather curious going back to Amara, is’nt it, though I expect it’s altered a good bit. I expect Bde Hd Qrs will be in a house on the river front, so we ought to be fairly comfortable-

Yesterday it poured with rain all day, and there was a gale of wind. And this morning I went along to breakfast & found the mess tent flat on the ground, blown down during the night. I dread to think of the state of it inside after all last night’s wind & rain! However they are putting it up again now, so I suppose we shall get breakfast shortly- This is supposed to catch India’s weekly homeward mail, but I don’t know if it will.

Best love to all   yr loving son      Ted

Leave a comment

Posted by on 19 January, '19 in About


16 January 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

Jan 16/19

Dear Mother

Very many thanks for 2 letters from you which I got on 13th; your letters were dated Nov 20 & 27- I’m so awfully sorry you succumbed to flu – so unlike you to “go sick”!- and I’m much releived to hear you got over it alright & that Ruth and the others were able to be at home to look after you- Really it is most alarming is’nt it, though I suppose it is getting less now. I told you we had it out here, & whole regiments of 800 or 900 men were reduced to 200 and under; and in these last operations 2 regiments of our bde had to be left behind on 2 occasions owing to flu- There were not many deaths, very few in fact, but for the time being those who got it were absolutely useless-

Eight of us had just had 2 days shooting: we camped about 15 miles upstream and had awful good fun. We did’nt do as well as we expected, but it was very cheery and a change from the rather dull routine of our life out here. We got a few duck, & got thoroughly wet in doing so- We had to wade a good deal, nearly waist deep, & old father Tigris is not by any means a hot bath at this time of year.

1 & 2 others came back at midday yesterday in a motor lorry, wet & cold, as we wanted to see the finals of a footer match. We had’nt time to change when we got back, so stood & got colder still watching the match. Enthusiasm at all! However a gorgeous hot bath in the evening put a different complexion on things & I’m none the worse today. It is a raw cloudy day today, but the 2 days we were out were lovely and sunny, though the sun is not by any means too hot & you can wear a small hat all day, no need for a helmet.

My orderly has just this very minute brought me a lovely English mail, with a line from you postmarked 2nd Dec- But I think I’d better get on with this for the present- I see great long accounts of Gordon Campbell’s doings in the V.C lists in one of my last mail’s “weekyl Times”. Truly he is a marvellous man & deserves his V.C. many times over. I can’t think why he ever came through alive! Poor Mr Kirwan seems to have been very seedy, I hope he’s all right again now. Yes rather I remember Emily Grant though I should’nt know here in the street I’m sure! But I do know who you mean-

Your letter of Nov 25 enclosed Mrs Lumb’s letter. Really old Fred Lumb lays it on a bit thick always: still I think it was very nice of Mrs Lumb to write. You remember I went and stayed with them in Norfolk in 1910 when I was home? I am trying to go & stay with Fred Lumb in Mosul, but the rgt: is away strafing Arabs or Kurds I believe, so I’m not going just at present- Jane’s lucky getting Murray home for a spell.

I can see Nell and me coming in a good last in the marriage stakes! I’ve just read your letter which arrived just now, & I see you rag me about getting the wind up about Nell & my wedding & the long wait. It’s not exactly that, I know she’s young and all that, & there’s lots of time- but still I should like to get married all the same, & I certainly hope this year will find me coming home some old time. Shes a dear child Nell, & she’s waited very bravely & patiently & I must get home somehow or other this year, even if I have to desert!

I hope old Ben is alright after her operation. James must be relieved too to get quit of his work & he’ll be able to start his bar work again now I s’pose- They seem to have got a very comfy little flat in Chelsea, & the next thing is a house in the country near London I imagine-

Yes, I suppose aeroplanes will be buzzing the mails out to India shortly now, & trips to Paris & the continent will be quite common. Expensive at present, but all these amusements are. You can hardly call motoring a cheap amusement & that’s been going some years. It will take many many years I’m afraid before the good old 3rd Class railway carriage loses its customers.

So glad Jane saw Reggie Nation. I was expecting a line from her this mail but I see none in my letters. So I s’pose there is’nt one. I wonder how his wound is. I hear from his sister occasionally.

Hope you’ve got my letters about our show out here. I’m afraid there was a big gap in October, but I simply had’nt a minute to write,  nor anywhere to post if I had written. Best love to all

yr loving son


I got a p.c. from Ruth today. Please thank her very much.

This of course is the “Spanish ‘Flu” pandemic which ended up killing more people than were killed as combatants during the war itself. We tend to know about our soldier ancestors, but not what killed those who died in their beds, so it was only a few years ago that I discovered it was the Spanish Flu that killed my other grandfather in 1919.

Leave a comment

Posted by on 16 January, '19 in About


12 Jan 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

Jan 12/19


Dear Mother

We were expecting a mail today but it has’nt turned up after all. Letters up to Dec 4th are due by it & 3 days later letters up to Dec 18, so we ought to be in luck’s way for mails when these two arrive. I see a regular weekly mail home from Bombay has begun, the first boat leaving Bombay yesterday, so p’raps you’ll be getting our letters a little less erratically now.

Such wet weather this last week, & yesterday it simply poured all day & last night too. Today has been finer but it looks very black again this evening. We were going out shooting for 2 days today, but have been obliged to put it off-

Such lots of men are being demobilised now, chiefly coal-miners & students, and a great many officers too. I fancy they will get as many troops out of this country as they possibly can before the hot weather begins, as it must be an expensive time keeping a big force out here in the summer- How silly of me, I’ve turned over 2 pages, so I’ll carry on here.

We are having any amount of sport & footer & hockey tournaments to keep the men amused, & we have laid out a golf course, I have’nt played yet but I believe it’s quite good. My bath has just been poured out, so I’ll stop for a bit & have it otherwise it gets so cold-  There, now I feel nice and clean. It’s wonderfully mild still, & not a bit cold, so different to last year with all those bitter winds-

I have no news I’m afraid. I am scribbling this to you tonight as under some new arrangement an English mail goes out tomorrow- Nell writes cheery letters, rather anxious poor child in her last lot as she had just had that wire about me. I hope by now you are in possession of all facts of that krewst! I’ve got a lovely tin of nuts from Rosamond, most welcome for after dinner, but we have no nutcrackers! so have to bang them with spoons & knives and things. Here comes the rain again- Must scribble to Nell now. Best love to all

yr loving son


Leave a comment

Posted by on 12 January, '19 in About


7 January 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

Indian Comforts for the Troops Fund.

Recreation Hut.


Jan 7/19


Dear Mother

No more mails in lately but I’m told there’s one out tomorrow so we’ll have a dart at it, though I often wonder if it matters much when one writes so far away as this- We are still in Tekrit & no signs of moving yet- My trip to Mosul was put off- I was going on Sunday – but Lumb wired & said he would be away for 3 weeks, so I shan’t be going up till the beginning of Feb-

My General took an imperial toss yesterday, his pony came down heavily & of course the General was thrown, & landed on his head & was knocked out for a minute or two. However he came round soon, & found no bones broken though he was badly bruised & shaken- He always goes full speed across all sorts of country rough & smooth, followed by me vainly endeavouring to keep up with him! & I felt sure one day he’d come a cropper- He’s not feeling at all well today & no wonder-

So the election ended as everyone thought I suppose- a sweeping majority for Lloyd George & his crowd- The best result I think from the Empire point of view, & let’s hope they made a good show of the peace business- I see Wilson has been having great times in England: what a wonderful man he is- If we could only get at those Bolsheviks & settle them, the world might resume its former peaceful & progressive existence very soon. But I’m afraid they will have to be dealt with first, though with the forces at the disposal of the allies now it should not be difficult. I see Jim’s old Battn: has been doing wonders in Siberia! All old crocks too, unfit for active service!

We had a good day’s shooting on Sunday, 50 birds & lots of exercise- I seem to be very busy still & there does’nt seem to be much knocking off work. I suppose as long as the fellow above you has ink & paper, so long will he continue to write to you! So it seems, anyhow.

A good many men of British regiments are being demobilised, students, miners & suchlike; several officers have gone home too. I have’nt the vaguest idea what my own prospects are, either as regards leave, or leaving the country, or returning to India or anything. I don’t suppose leave will be over-easy to get, as we regulars must stop on while all the tempys: clear off back to their civil jobs- but I fancy they will get as many people out of this country before the hot weather as they can. Anyhow, I do hope to get some leave sometime. Poor old Nell, but she’s a wonderfully brave little person, & she’s worth waiting for- I hope she’s been to stay lately, has she? She wants dragging out of that home of hers!

Best love to all

yr loving son


Leave a comment

Posted by on 7 January, '19 in About