5 July 1916 – Ted to Gertrude

05 Jul

July 5th/16


Dear Mother

Very many thanks for your letter last week. Fancy old Paul managing to get 4 days’ leave after that fight. I was thankful to get your letter with definite news of him; as of course we had seen long accounts in the papers in which the Malaya had figured very prominently & I felt sure she could’nt have come off scot free.

I was rather grieved at the depressing tone of all your letters from home this week. I cannot & never have been able to see anything but the bright side, especially lately. We can’t win this war in a day & we’ve got to suffer losses & make sacrifices before we can win, & we must educate ourselves up to tremendous losses in men & ships before we’ve finished, however terrible it is.

I know it’s ghastly to have to sit down & just wait, & you know how tremendously I admire all of you at home & your splendid pluck, and I know what a tremendous help your behaviour is to the men who are fighting; but all the same I think Kitchener’s death & the naval battle – it was nothing more or less than a splendid victory – seem to have cast an unwanted gloom over the whole country; “a black week” Rosamund called it.

Things seem to be moving on the Western Front don’t they, & every day now brings more news; but I’m afraid this will rather tin-hat poor old Topher’s leave if he has’nt had it already.

We’ve had our full share of rain lately & we’ve hardly had a fine day since the rains began. Very relaxing weather, & it makes one feel rather slack. Yes you & I would get on well strafing the government would’nt we! This war ought to be run by soldiers & sailors at the head of things; diplomacy is useless, it’s force we want to knock out force. What is the use of arguing with people like the Germans; all the time you are pleading & wasting words however diplomatic, they are inventing some new devil’s device which will set all your words at nought. No, I’ve no use at all for the government, & they will go down to history as a useless & rotten crowd, & well they deserve to.

Funny specs has not been roped in yet. Has he tried conscientious objection yet! I should’nt be surprised; really I should think the office might be shut up for the war now, & specs really might try & do something.

Of course I know it’s awful about Kitchener (I see you mention it again later in your letter) and the loss is absolutely irreparable; you know how I admired him; easily the greatest man of his age & the outstanding figure of the war; but I think his death ought to spur us on to further efforts & to carry on the war to a successful & lasting end, just as he would have us do if he were still alive. We all feel his loss almost personally, but time enough to mourn his loss to the full when we have finished the war which we shall be able to do, & thanks to him & to him alone for our ability to do so; for without his foresight & power & public confidence we would never have been able to put the huge armies in the field which we now have, & he is responsible for the one thing that Germany knew would knock her out in the long run, the entry of England into the war & the expansion of her armies beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. Poor old K, I am sorry about it all, but I refuse to be depressed; I’m not callous, please don’t think that; I’m only taking the line of thought I think it’s one’s duty to take these times.

Just going out for a short stroll before dinner. Major Billy Barlow is up here; he is going home again in a day or two; he is dining with us tonight in the mess, so I’ll tell him to be sure & look you up if he goes to Guildford again.

Well, keep smiling as much as you can won’t you all at Delaford; I know you will, because all you dear people at Delaford have been just splendid in this war, & you excite my wildest admiration & enthusiasm. And I love you all.

Tons of love from your ever loving son


Possible Major Barlow, Page 16





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