21 November 1918 – Richard to Gertrude

21 Nov



Dear Mother

Just a line to tell you I am leaving Egypt today for Bombay. I have got a nice ship & know the O.C. well & it ought to be a nice voyage. Luckily I have only been kept in Suez a day & much to the disgust of one or two others I am getting away first.

I have’nt heard from Topher once since I left Ludd. Tell Jane I met Slocock in the hotel here today. He came on board to see me this evening & I hope will lunch here tomorrow.

I hope I shall find some letters in Calcutta.

Best love to all

yr loving son


And so Richard sails off to India to take up his post as a doctor in Assam where later letters refer to him having a menagerie of pets, and where, three years after the war, he got married in Nagpur. Richard was 40 and his bride, Beryl Gladys French was 19 or 20 at the time. There is clearly a story there because they divorced after a few years and she married Edward Poyntz Whitlock Nicholl in 1928 and had Edward’s daughter in 1929. There is a suggestion that Beryl had a career as a Casting Director for the Paramount Film Company which seems improbable, but which I very much want to be true. She died in Chester in England in 1981. 

Richard died in 1936 at Barts Hospital where he had trained as a doctor over thirty years before. He was 56 and probably died of cancer. Richard was the first of the adult Berryman children to die but of all of them, he probably had the most fun. Richard was dashing, flirtatious and full of zest for life. In fairness, he probably had the grimmest war too: the doctors saw horrors every day that the soldiers only saw during and after battles. In his letters he’s impatient, demanding and petulant, but according to my mother he was much nicer in person than he was on the page. I am willing to believe her; he was clearly a charmer but I often feel he might have been a bit of a cad. If you can avoid the dangers, cads are the most tremendous fun. 

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Posted by on 21 November, '18 in About


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