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Daily Archives: 29 April, '19

Ted and Nell

In May 1919, Ted came home and a month or so later he married Nell.

They had met on the 7th September 1915 when she was a couple of months shy of her 18th birthday and he was in his early 30s. He proposed to her at the end of October, and received his marching orders at the end of November not quite 3 months after they first met.

Gladys Fielding, Ted Berryman, Nell Fielding, Jane Berryman, Belinda Fielding
Autumn 1915

They did not meet again until May 1919, almost four years after that whirlwind three month romance. They wrote to each other constantly, and their relationship intensified over the years.

Damaged by Immersion in Sea Water
Letter from Ted to Nell – Damaged by Immersion in Sea Water

Ted couldn’t look happier at their wedding though he is painfully thin considering his robust frame in other photographs.

Ted and Nell at their wedding in 1919

Nell is excited but nervous.

After their wedding, Ted spent some time in London with his bride.

Nell on the left and Ted in the centre

On one occasion, they met Paul and a Navy friend of his in London, and poor Nell stood up greet them scattering the contents of her handbag at their feet. Which is why the future King George VI came to be on his knees looking under chairs for her lipstick and hairpins.

Telegram from the Duke of York (later George VI) to Paul

Ted took Nell to India during the 1920s where he was one of the more senior regimental officers and she was one of the youngest wives. They had two children, Martin and Félicité, who spent their first six or seven years with Ted and Nell in India and were then sent home to be raised by their grandmothers alongside their cousins, Paul’s daughters, and to go to school. Ted retired in the mid-1930s as colonel of the regiment and he and Nell built a home in Guildford.

Martin joined the Garhwalis just in time for the Second World War and was killed in Malaya. Félicité worked at Blechley and met and married one of Martin’s brother-officers after the war.

During the 1950s and 60s, Ted and Nell lived with Félicité’s family. They were devoted to each other and at last they had family living with them they could be devoted to.

Ted holding me as an infant, while my sister looks on.
Ted holding me as an infant, while my sister looks on.

Ted died in the mid 1960s and Nell died a dozen years later, both surrounded by family.

In the 1980s Félicité took the letters and published them in a book “Socks, Cigarettes and Shipwrecks” and between 2014 and 2019 I published them here online.

I have said it several times already, but the unexpected joy of this project has been getting to know Ted and see something of Nell

 
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Posted by on 29 April, '19 in About