I got your letter today dated Please excuse a rotten letter, but we have just heard of the terrible tragedy of Kitchener’s death in the Hampshire with the whole of his staff. It seems to have completely knocked us all over here; personally I feel very much the same as I did when I first heard about the “Titanic”. Is’nt it ghastly? The one bright figure, the one proved patriot, gone. The creator of England’s mighty army now in the field that has done & is going to do so much; the wonderful organising brain, & the man who never for one moment lost the confidence of the whole Empire. Why could’nt he live just long enough to see his life’s work – for so I think we may call K 1 & K 2 & all the rest of them, however many there may be – crowned with success. But we must’nt be too depressed about it, though it’s hard not to be. And there are so many we could spare, & none to take his place!
What a full week this has been. The big naval fight of course occupied all our thoughts at the beginning of the week; [Ted is referring to the battle of Jutland] a magnificent show was’nt it, despite our heavy losses, for it seems we fought against tremendous odds at first. I can’t quite make out how long the Malaya was there or when she came up into the fight. At anyrate she seems to have had her baptism of fire & I do hope old Paul’s all right; but I don’t suppose you’ve been able to get much news out of him.
I had a long letter from Dick today, he wants me to go down & stay there sometime & I expect I’ll be able to go next month perhaps. He seems very fit & well.
I tore a small muscle in my left leg playing footer last week, & I am rather a crock now, & very lame. But I can manage to hobble about to work, though it’s very painful but will heal up in time I suppose. But it wants rather more rest than I can afford to give it to heal up quickly; but it’s nothing very exciting, quite a minor thing & will be all right in no time.
Nell sent me her photographs today, very good one or two of them; one of the side face ones is exactly like Dreda I think. She was awfully pleased with her stay in Guildford, & wrote glowing accounts of it.
I was so sorry to see the death of Mr Kirwan’s brother in the paper a day or two ago. Please tell him how sorry I am; I will try & write next mail. But I seem all knocked silly by the news today & I can’t help thinking about it.
Please thank Dreda & Jane awfully for their letters, I’ll try and answer them next week.
Best love to all
from your loving son
The original of this letter is in the Archive of the the Imperial War Museum: Private Papers of Lieutenant Colonel E R P Berryman DSO – http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1030021700
Ted was right to be concerned about Paul: here is an account of the Malaya at Jutland
Death of Kitchener
Rev R.M. Kirwan