31 October 1927 – Paul to Gertrude

21 Jul

HMS Widgeon


31st Oct

Dearest Mother

Very many thanks for your letter Sept 19th – quickish these days – when the conditions on the River are none too good – but there are various ways & means of getting mails – if you are lucky. Just at the moment there is another war going on further down the River from here & I quite expect shipping to stop for a while – but I really do hope that this little war is all for the good & help to settle things. I have had one of my gunboats with me up here – for a few days which has cheered things up somewhat – but unfortunately she leaves tomorrow.

Must have been really lovely for you down in Gloucester seeing all your grandchildren together – & they seem to have been all so happy – I do wish I could have been there – Sickening it was such a rainy day for your photograph – I sent a line to Ruth – thanking her for having my kids down there.

I’ve just got a kitten too – my dog “Bonzo” is very intrigued with it – but it is such fun teaching them to be friendly – as they both have to sleep in my cabin & be more or less together all day – I can see them having great fun later on.

What terrific gales you’ve been having last few days – the Wireless Press is full of it –  round Lancashire.

I am wondering awfully what is happening at home about Nance & the kids – I am afraid this is a terrible time for you Mater – I dare’nt tell you how worried I am – & how much trouble is being caused – through it all.

My very best love to you – fr your ever loving son


All Gertrude’s grandchildren at this point would have been Ted’s two (Martin and Félicité) and Paul’s two (Joan and Paddy). I am not sure when Rosamund’s son Tom was born. 

Félicité retained strong memories of sharing a bedroom with Joan and Paddy as a child, and also memories of an English day nursery shared by herself and her brother with their Indian Ayah, and her boy cousins (Nell’s nephews) and their Armenian(?) nurse maid, both nurses in what the families would have called “native dress”. It produces an extraordinary image of the domestic side of the Empire. 

This is is the first letter where we get a hint of real trouble between Nancy and Paul, and it’s only with hindsight that it tingles off the page. If it was hard for Ted and Nell to build up their relationship with 4- or 6-week mails, how hard it must have been for Paul and Nancy to manage their troubled one. 

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Posted by on 21 July, '19 in About


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