26 July 1916 – Ted to Gertrude

26 Jul


July 26/16

Dear Mother

Very many thanks for your letter of 28th June, which arrived last Saturday, but I don’t seem to have had much time to answer letters so far this week, but I must try & catch the mail now. It leaves tomorrow, but I generally try & post today to make sure. I believe there is another mail due in today, but whether I shall be able to answer any of that in time for this mail I cannot say.

What splendid news about Jim! I am glad & will certainly write him a line. But I can’t get hold of her Christian name at all; I don’t think I can ever have heard of it before, Sheina is it or Sheima; anyhow that does’nt matter very much. Yes rather I’ve often heard you speak of her as Miss Hellier in your letters, & Dryden often seems to have gone round to dinner there. I’m most awfully glad, for old Jim’s sake, the very best thing in the world that could have happened to him; & I’m so glad you’re glad. The war has proved prolific in family engagments has’nt it. Can you send me a snapshot of her, or anything, of course I’m longing to see what she’s like. I have’nt heard from Jim since I came out, & I must say the news came as a great surprise to me.

Thanks awfully for Action Front; the stories are splendid; I have been vastly entertained. Thanks awfully too for all the good wishes you sent along. Glad the £4 turned up safely, & thanks for the bills. I had forgotten all about Betser, but I will pay him at once; I’m setting up Tagney & Randall & one or two more town bills next month. Sorry you’ve been worried with them. Poor old Topher, no leave yet, & I don’t suppose he’ll be getting any just yet awhile either.

I had great fun at Ambala, & saw Dick for a few hours. I arrived one morning at 5.30 as I told you I think, ‘cos I wrote from the Club there. His train turned up punctually at 6 pm. & mine went off again at 2.30 so we had about 8 or 9 hours together. We talked hard the whole time of course, & rode about on his motor bike. He rode it & I sat on behind & took the salutes! We had dinner on his train, and after that went for a spin round Ambala, quite a long way out into the country; it was hottish, so very pleasant flying through the air like that.

We got well out into the country & then sat & talked on a bridge; the place was just like England in the moonlight, & might have been, except for the croaking of frogs & various other Indian night noises. Then we came back & sat & talked in his train till it was time to go. He was awfully fit & well, & I thoroughly enjoyed the trip, even though I was only away about 2 days. His train is quite comfy, electric fans an’ all, but I should think it was jolly hard to keep clean on those desert journeys.

The Lieut-governor of the U.P. turned up last Thursday. We paraded for him at 3 o’clock, all four regiments up here, & at 3 o’clock exactly it came on to pour, great sheets & streams of water, no ordinary shower. However as we were there we stayed there & of course, being only in thin drill kit, were soaked to the skin in less than 2 minutes. At 3.15 the L.G. turned up, mackintoshed an’ all, but as he stepped on to the parade ground, he said “I can’t stand this” & flung off his Burberry, & came on in his morning coat & beautifully creased trousers! Seeing us stand there in this awful downpour was too much for him, & of course in 3 minutes he was a drowned rat! Soaked through & through; jolly sporting of him, as his kit must have been ruined, whereas our khaki drill of course does’nt matter, being washable.

Well he inspected us all, & presented some medals to men who had won them in France, & we marched past him & then the parade was over, about 4.30, so we had been standing in this appalling downpour for 1½ hours! I’ve never been so wet, or seen anyone so wet as the L.G. was! However, we all went on to the club, where there was an at home for him, of course we changed for it, & you would never have guessed we were all the same people as had been on parade. He dined with us in the evening, a big official dinner, & went next day, but I should think it would be a long time before he forgets his visit to Lansdowne.

Thanks awfully for the Spectator, most interesting, & the other papers are turning up regularly & are much appreciated. Yes, specs is a rotter I’m afraid.

I hope Casement will have been strung up by the time you get this. I met a man here, one Barker, of the 8th Gurkhas who knows Jinny quite well at her shop. Love to all.

Your loving son



Action Front

One & only mention of Tagney & Randall Tailors, London



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