Monthly Archives: February 2019

28 February 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

Feb 28/19

Dear Mother

The mail of Jan 23 has arrived, but mine has of course gone to 34th Bde, and as they are en route for Amara (they may have arrived there yesterday) I don’t suppose I shall get mine for a day or two. By the way don’t change my address, as heaps of things may have happened by the time you get this; everything will be forwarded on to me from the Bde. A warm sultry day today: yesterday it poured with rain & the whole place became a sea of mud. My general came to see me yesterday & was very nice and kind.

They are sending me down to a convalescent place at BAIT NAMA about 5 miles below Basra. They don’t quite know what to make of me here, beyond the fact that I am rather run down & this recurring fever has left me rather a worm, though I have had none since being in hospital here. They seem to think a river trip may do me good & a little rest down there. In my present rather limp state it would’nt be advisable to go back to work immediately. My general strongly advised me to go & says I’m not to hurry back. I’m feeling really very strong & well today, but I have heads & aches & pains at times which is rather foolish of me-

I’m scribbling this line to you as I don’t know when I’ll be able to write again. The journey down stream in a paddle ambulance steamer will probably take 3 days or so, & by then the mail may have gone-

Sorry for such a dull letter

Best love to all

yr loving son


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Posted by on 28 February, '19 in About


21 February 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

Feb 21/19

Dear Mother

I’ve got ever so many letters from you all of a sudden: the big 3 weeks mail arrived on the 17th, & yesterday another mail turned up with letters up to 15 Jan, so they are only taking just over a month to reach us now. By the first one I got 4 letters from you dated 17th & 28th Dec & 1st & 7th Jan; & yesterday I got one from you of 15th Jan- splendid is’nt it. Very many thanks for this fine batch of letters which I will more or less try & deal with now.

I’ve got heaps of papers too, so have lots to read now- I also had letters from Dreda (2) & Jane, & heaps from Nell, tho’ they have’nt all arrived yet, there are still 2 or 3 to come; & I heard from ‘Old Drew’ (I wrote to him some time ago) & a Christmas card from Paul & Nance. What splendid news about the expected infant; I’m most awfully pleased, & I’m sure it’s quite time you were a grandmother-

I am still in hospital. Last Monday & Tuesday, as usual, for the 5th time running, I went under, but strange to say I had no fever this time, only all the accompanying symptoms, aches & pains & generally feeling rotten all over. So I was’nt much good for diagnosis, they tested my blood & examined it under a microscope, but could find no trace of malaria or anything. So they have diagnosed it at present as ‘relapsing fever’ whatever that may be, & they kept me in bed.

Yesterday I got up & dressed & went for a drive & today I have been out in a launch. As usual I feel quite fit now & very cheery, though rather limp. They say I am run down & anaemic, so are giving me tonics & feeding me up on all sorts of good things. I must say I just loved lying in bed doing nothing, & just loafing, which I suppose shows I want a day or two off, as generally lying in bed is so very boring.

I have several visitors, including Genl Stewart (he is in the rgt: & I know him well of course) he is chief of the staff out here now, & he took me out yesterday in his car & today in his launch. Then Fred Lumb flew down from Mosul to Tekrit in a ‘plane to see me, and finding I had come on here, he came on as well. Was’nt it ripping of him; & this morning he flew back to Mosul, about 200 miles: awful fun for him- I think they will keep me here over next Monday & Tuesday, then if nothing happens they will get rid of me as an encumbrance-

We had very cold weather up to two days ago, & now it’s lovely again, nice sunny days and cold nights- It’s lovely sitting in the sun in the verandah, almost too hot sometimes. Was’nt it splendid Nell & her sisters sweeping the board at the fancy dress dance! & the judges not knowing they were giving the prizes to 3 sisters! I bet old Nell looked ripping in her kit- I’m glad you liked the photograph she sent you. Is it the one of her & Sandy? I think that’s the sweetest picture. But you say something about her hair being done differently, back off her forehead, so I’m thinking it must be the other one of her, not so good but still very very nice. I hope to hear of her going to or being at or having been to Delaford in a mail or two; she said you had asked her & she had promised to go-

The photograph of "Nell and Sandy"? - it's certainly Nell

The photograph of “Nell and Sandy”? – it’s certainly Nell

Many thanks for the cuttings about flying. Truly there are undreamt of possibilities in front of us, & I think we must expect rapid developments as soon as the world settles down a bit & big commercial firms can give their attention to flying. I expect before the end of the year they will be carrying some of the mails at anyrate, to India & elsewhere. I wish I could manage to fly home. Stewart tells me he is going to!

As far as I know Jim was going to Salonika when he stopped with me on the way down to Basra. He seemed to think it was a graceful way of withdrawing from the 1/9th, where he had come in senior to several people who had been in the regiment since it was raised. Besides I think he thought it was nearer home. I had a line from him in Cairo, on 1st Jan, but by now I expect he’s reached his destination. I should think he would be able to get some leave alright from there, probably long before I do!

No I never found my kitbag, so all my lovely British warms & Burberrys & boots etc have gone west. I must have lost £15 – £20 worth of stuff at present rates. I suppose I could get some compensation from Government, but I’ve no doubt they would say it was my own fault & not due to any ‘exigencies of the Service’ & not lost on active operations, so my claims would be dismissed. So I’ve left the whole thing alone. You see I lost it on the way up to Tekrit when I was joining the 34th Bde: I had too much to go in the car, so I gave this bag & some more kit (which rolled up) to a pal in a rgt: which was shortly coming to Tekrit, & they lost it in their move, & that’s why I don’t think Government would compensate me. The colonel offered to, but of course I could’nt accept any from them, as I asked them as a favour merely- Anyhow it’s lost, & there it is, a nuisance but it can’t be helped-

What a krewst all this is about various letters going wrong. But it seems only a few have, as I always get Nell’s sooner or later, & I don’t think any of yours have gone astray. I hear you wrote to the I.O. about it, & it seems best to put in “Indian Inf Bde”, & I should always put “Mesopotamia” in full I think-

You seem to have had some nice Christmas presents, & Nell tells me she had some lovely ones too;  how ripping of you all to send her things. Ben seems to have sent her the bag of the season, & Nell is delighted: I’m sure I should never have thought of such a lovely present for her. So you’ve kept all our ‘war letters’: I suppose they will be interesting someday, in fact I’d very much like to see some of mine written in the early days of France, for I can’t remember a single thing, except that it was rather unpleasant at times, & that the Boche seemed to have about a hundred guns to each one of ours-

I’m so glad my letters about the show reached you safely. I’ve nearly forgotten all about that too! So I’m glad I recorded my impressions fairly soon after the event. I hardly dared hope they would ever get home, as I posted them in such weird places. I had no writing paper, none of us had. You see we had to abandon most of our kit & go on just a few odds and ends carried on a mule, as the roads (?) were impassable for wheeled traffic. And I had such heaps of maps & papers to carry that I had no room even for a tiny writing pad, so had to use official stuff. Yes, rather Jim was under fire all right and had a most strenuous time, very long marches & very little grub it seems. So sorry you’ve had to have so many teeth out, & I do hope you’re none the worse, & your new teeth are all right-

How ripping Paul being made a Lieut Commander. I’m sure he ought to have got it long ago as he’s been right through the war & in some good shows, Jutland an’ all. I would cable to him only they have sent round so many notices about delays in cables & asking people not to send unnecessary ones that one does’nt like to send too many. However I’ll write to him of course.

Jim told me he was writing to you about the D.S.O. (Was that what your cable of congratulations was about?) Surely you did’nt expect me to write & tell Jim; hardly my job I think! However, I’m so awfully glad for your sake & Nell’s sake, you seem so frightfully pleased all of you, so that bucks me up a lot, but I feel I don’t deserve it in the least, & my general must have lied very hard indeed when sending my name in! Genl Cobbe pinned a bit of ribbon on to me at that big parade I told you about.

Edmund Candler himself sent me a copy of his Spectator article: I was the “young officer” who took him over the battlefield and shewed him what happened.

Yes those little pictures of Mesopotamia are’nt bad are they. I sent some to Nell & Ben, but I’ve not heard whether they got ’em or not. So many things get lost in the post nowadays- You say you went over to Camberley a day or two before writing one letter. Is that old Mrs Hicks (Vera’s grandmother) who died the other day? I’m glad Miss Maude got my letter. Old Yeatman dead : how sad, very sudden was’nt it? We have meals at such odd times here, they chuck you out of bed at 6:30; breakfast 8 or so, lunch 12.30, tea 3.30, dinner 6.30. I’m having a tonic, iron & arsenic, & lots of good things to eat, so I’ll be out and about again in no time.

Best love to all

yr loving son


Fred Lumb has just been given a D.S.O for these last operations. I heard today. Write to his Mother do, & tell Ben. She will be awfully pleased

£15 – £20 in 1910 estimated equivalent to £750 – £100 in 2019.

Fred Lumb’s belongings at the IWM again

His medal collection sold for £3,300 in 2012

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Posted by on 21 February, '19 in About


16 February 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

Feb 16/19    Sunday              Baghdad


Dear Mother

No mail in yet, at least it’s in, but as I’ve been buzzed into hospital of course I’ve missed it. I got my 4th successive go of fever on Monday last, rather a bad one, so as soon as I got over it they put me in hospital, in fact the General practically ordered me to go. I tried to persuade them it was nonsense sending me, as I’d soon be all right, but it was of no avail. So I went into Tekrit hospital last Wednesday & came down here to No 25 General Hospital next day. Such a journey! We left Tekrit in a Red X train at midday & I arrived at the hospital at midnight! Bitterly cold, & no one expecting us!

There were only 2 of us for admission, but they only had one empty bed in the officers’ ward: so they popped the other bloke into that (he being on a stretcher) & they soon rigged up another bed for me & I slept sound all night – of course my fever had all gone, but they have kept me in bed more or less, though I’m allowed to sit up in the verandah in the daytime. In fact I’m a great big fraud, & unless I can raise another go of fever tomorrow – it’s Monday you see! I’m afraid they’ll be quite angry with me!

As a matter of fact it would be a good thing in many ways to have another go, as then they’d be able to diagnose me properly. At present they are not certain it’s malaria, it may be relapsing fever of some kind, so the sooner it’s cleared up the better. I had some rather ominous aches & pains last night, so I live in hopes!

Since Wednesday, when we had heavy rain & wind, the weather has been bitterly cold, though bright & sunny. By far the coldest we’ve had this winter. Today is just as cold only without the sun, so I don’t think they’ll let me sit up in the verandah today-

A very disturbed night last night in our ward. A delirious patient yelled & shouted all night, blaspheming & repeating the 10 Commandments by turns all night long. At times he was violent, & such of us as could get out of bed had to hold him down till some orderlies arrived. The poor night sister was miserable at seeing several of her precious patients out of bed in the middle of a bitter cold night! But we soon got back, but not to sleep as the poor man was yelling all night at the top of his voice, & is still talking nonsense this morning, though he is mercifully quiet about it all.

Everyone is very nice & kind here & I am treated very well indeed – of course lots of sisters have gone home, but some of the poor dears have to stay out here for the summer. There used to be a special officers’ hospital here, but they’ve closed that down as there are so (comparatively) few officers left in the country now, & they have just a ward or two set aside in the big hospital here for us. This is a real hospital building, it being previously a Turkish hospital; & very nice it is too, a great big four sided place with a large open courtyard in the middle with trees & flowers. It is just outside the city, on the river bank.

The wards are all great big rooms, with enormous doors & windows, very nice in the hot weather no doubt, but a trifle parky in the winter. But then of course people had no business to be so silly as to get ill this time of the year had they-

I hope this catches a mail: it should do so. The big mail Dec 19th-Jan 9th has arrived in Baghdad but of course I’ve missed it, & don’t know when I shall get it. The Bde moves down to Amara today, so I’ll rejoin them there. Don’t worry about me, I’m quite all right & am being very well looked after & will soon be out & about again. Best love to all

yr loving


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Posted by on 16 February, '19 in About


11 February 1919 – Paul to Gertrude

R.N. Sick Qrs



Tuesday. 11th

Dearest Mother-

Very many thanks for your letter- You will see by my address that I am still in hospital – although my knee is quite allright – but the gash they made is just healing up and I am not allowed to walk about on it yet – till it heals – so it looks as if I should be here for another 4 or 5 days – the idea of which rather bores me – when I am feeling so well & all – but still I suppose it has to be.

I remember you having a housemaid’s knee – They wanted to put my leg in a splint!! They eventually called my disease “Cellulitis” – well perhaps it was for all I know.

Such lovely weather we are having up here – hot sun all day & practically no wind – but it’s a little cold especially in the evenings-

Yes Nance told me she was going up to Town for a bit. Someone wrote to me who had seen her the other day in Town & said she had never seen her looking so wonderfully well & fit- She seems to be thoroughly enjoying herself at Delaford – & she and Nell get on so awfully well together.

There now! I never realised Capon had been away all this time – for the minute I could’nt think what you meant about him coming back soon.- now I remember he went to see some Home did’nt he?

I had a letter from Bee Dudman this morning – congratulating me on my promotion & rise of pay.

Thank you for sending Dick’s address- what extraordinary places he gets to!

Very best love to you all

from your ever loving son


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Posted by on 11 February, '19 in About


8 February 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

Feb 8/19


Dear Mother

No more mail in, & we have been over a fortnight without one now. But I see a notice in the Baghdad times today saying that mails dated London Dec 19th to Jan 9th (3 weeks) are due at Basra tomorrow, so they ought to be up here about the 14th or so. It’s very nice in many ways getting a big mail like that, but on the whole I prefer a little more regularity. I suppose Christmas traffic rather threw the officials out of their stride-

Such appalling weather these last few days, a howling southerly gale with heavy rain. Tents blown in all directions and general discomfort everywhere. My tent collapsed after a night of wind & rain, but I was fortunately able to patch it up & mend the broken poles before much damage was done. I dread to think what a mess there would have been if it had come down in the middle of the night-

By the way, I spent the first 3 days of this week in bed with a 3rd successive go of malaria- Curious is’nt it, it came on exactly the same time of day as the other two goes, & the same day too, ½ past 10 on Monday morning. I’m absolutely fit again now, & I don’t suppose I shall have any more, three times running is enough for anybody- It’s a nuisance getting interested in next Monday morning now! I could’nt go to our Brigade Sports last Wednesday on account of it; I was very sorry as I’m told they were a great success, & they are always rather fun & one meets people-

My general ought to have returned from his trip to Mosul 3 days ago but the weather has made the roads quite impassable for motors, feet deep in mud & every little hitherto dry ‘wadi’ is now a raging torrent, so I don’t know when he will be back-

They asked me if I was willing to stay on in the Army of occupation out here & after due consideration I said Yes- Heaven knows what they might do with one otherwise, back to India possibly or any old where, & after all I ought to be able to get leave from this country this summer, and sooner or later we shall all clear out of it I suppose.

I hear the regiment is now garrisoning Gallipoli town, & that several of the officers are home on 28 days’ leave. So I might have been if I had stayed with them! But my turn will come all right and on the whole I think I have scored by coming on this job-

Many thanks for a cable just saying “congratulations” which I got 2 or 3 days ago. If it’s for what I suppose it is, I can’t think why I have’nt heard from old Nell as I presume she has similar information to you. Anyhow your cable was dated 27th Jan & reached me on the 4th Feb when I was in bed with this rotten fever-

I hope to have some letters of yours to answer next week, & I do hope the weekly mails get going soon, a big batch of letters though gorgeous to get & read is rather a handful to deal with-

Must scribble a line to old Nell now. Best love to all

yr loving son




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Posted by on 8 February, '19 in About


6 February 1919 – Paul to Gertrude

R.N. Sick Quarters



Feb 6th

Dearest Mother-

Ever so many thanks for your letter – & I am so sorry to hear you have such a nasty cold & hope it is quite allright by now-

My knee never seemed to get much better on board & it was most uncomfortable there in heaps of ways – so I have been sent up to the local sick quarters – much better for me – as it is quiet here – & no hammering & noise of repairing ships etc. I knew my knee wanted cutting open again – & sure enough as soon as the P.M.O. saw it here – he dug a knife into it – ooh – but it’s done it a whole heap of good & he says I will be allright in 2 days’ time – so for correspondence you can still address me “Malaya” as I shall be back there again perhaps by the time you get this-

We hardly got any snow up here – but it is intensely cold – but really lovely days with bright sun an’ all- I’ve got a lovely fire in  my room here- & no one to come & huddle round it-

I got Nell’s letter allright – but again you forgot to put “Malaya” on – so it came very late – I am presuming she is at Delaford now – & sent my letter to her there – quite a gathering of daughters-in-law you will have.

So Dick has arrived in Assam – of course it’s just like him to take all those animals & birds with him – must be rather fun though having them-

I can’t remember whether you sent his address or not – but I suppose Cox & Co Calcutta – will find him allright –

Rosamond sent me an awfully nice photograph of herself the other day – she looks a bit solemn-

My best love to you all & I hope you are quite fit again & thank you awfully Mother for looking after my Nance-

Your loving son


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Posted by on 6 February, '19 in About


2 February 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

Feb 2/19                       Tekrit


Dear Mother

Many thanks for a letter from you dated Dec 10th which I got on 25th Jan. There is supposed to be another mail on the way but there’s no sign of it yet.

I was silly enough to get another go of fever if you please last Monday! Just 7 days after the other. I was in bed 2 days but soon got all right & am quite fit again now. It’s becoming a perfect habit is’nt it, & I’m wondering if I’ll get it again tomorrow, as it’s Monday!

It was ripping & fine the beginning of this week, but these last 2 days have been wretched, wet & raw & cold, & this morning is very misty- exactly like England the climate is this time of year, & it does’nt suit a lot of old “Anglo-Indians”. I don’t mind it in the least, love it in fact, & bar the fever (which presumably would come whatever the weather) I feel awfully fit through it all. This is Sunday morning & I’m still in bed, the warmest place these days of wind & mist & rain. A mail goes out today so it seems a good opportunity to write-

I see there are going to be 5 Armies of occupation, one of them being the Home one! I should like to be that one- I suppose we are Middle East or India. They say they are going to give weekly bounties too, but whether that applies to the Indian army or not I don’t know. The world still seems very unsettled does’nt it, & there appears to be a good deal of nagging at the peace conference, though on the whole they seem to be getting a certain amount done.

I think I must have answered your 10th Dec letter last week: you mention poor Bob’s death in it, & I’m sure I wrote to you about that.

No news of any leave rules or arrangements yet: rumour says they will be very stingy, but I don’t believe it myself. They’ll have to be liberal with leave from a place like this with its infernal summer climate & everyone having been such a long way from their homes-

I had a line from Jim in Cairo on 1st Jan- I met some of the Middlesex the other day, & several pals of his in other regts: of his late Brigade, which is now in camp a mile or two from us (pity Jim is not still with them is’nt it) They were all asking about him & where he had got to and all that-

Really I must get up. The General is on a joy ride to Mosul; jolly weather for it! It poured all last night, so heaven knows what state the roads will be in today!

Best love to all

yr loving son


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Posted by on 2 February, '19 in About


2 February 1919 – Paul to Gertrude


c/o G.P.O.

Sunday. 2nd Feb:

Dearest Mother-

Very many thanks for your letter. I am ever so long in answering it I’m afraid – but I have been thoroughly rattled all last week – what with all our plans etc being changed so.

It is most disappointing that we are refitting at Invergordon – instead of Rosyth- Nance & I thought we were going to have rather a cheery time there & now everything is O.P.H. & the fellows who have gone on leave are having 3 weeks & we only had 2- but I daresay we shall get another week after they come back.

I have been in bed all yesterday & most of to-day – I suddenly got a boil on my knee – which inflamed & became most painful & I could’nt walk – & I am certain the doctor cut it too soon & all yesterday it hurt like anything – It’s much better to day – so I got up after lunch & sat in a chair- I must be up for tomorrow because we go into dock & there’s lots of work to be done-

You forgot to put H.M.S. Malaya on the envelope of your letter – it rather amused me as you seemed so pleased with the new address Nance gave you & then it was wrong- Yes we are quite close to Inverness – so if I go up there any day I must look the Horsfords up – I remember her slightly – but what is their address?

Nance seems to be thoroughly enjoying herself with you & it is ripping of you to have her there. Poor dear I am afraid she is awfully disappointed about not coming up to me-

I wonder what happened to Jim – perhaps his shifting down to Salonika has made your cable pass him – but I hope he is coming home – but then he would have cabled surely? So Dick is fixed for another 3 years out in Assam – such a pity he is such miles away.

I suppose you’ve seen our temporary rise of pay – really rather good though I think they are still nibbling with the lower deck branch. But it does make one feel more secure I must say.

Had a letter from Mrs Conway Gordon asking me to lunch to-day – but I could’nt go – still there will be lots of opportunities during the 3 weeks up here.

You seem to be having heaps of snow down south – up here it’s all slush & mud-

My best love to you all & you will take care of Nance won’t you

from your ever loving son


Boils and indeed anything which could become infected are a real threat to health and life in times and places without antibiotics. 

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Posted by on 1 February, '19 in About