Author Archives: Richard Berryman

20 October 1918 – Richard to Gertrude



My dear Mother. Very many thanks for your letters, the referees & D. Sketch with Jane’s photograph in it & the Barts Journal. Fancy finding these papers at last, but there are 2 more like it somewhere. Anyhow I can claim some part of the money with these. The letters no 3 & 4 both arrived here by the same mail. You see I am using the block & pencil, both most welcome. I sent you a cable today saying “Quite Well” & I hope you’ve got my letter telling you what it means, otherwise you’ll be wondering.

Goodness knows when I shall be off, soon I hope. But after all winter at home won’t be so bad now that the war seems more or less “finish” & I expect there’ll be plenty of coal & light about.

I wonder if Topher has arrived in the country yet. I expect he was stopped when all our successes were known & there won’t be much doing out here now. Anyhow I suppose he will write me directly he arrives. I remember so well about Turner’s ponds seeming so small, but I should have thought Rosamond would have had a fairly accurate idea of the size of the drawing room at the Vicarage. Yet really I suppose she was quite a kid when we left.

I hope you went and saw “Seven days leave”, most exciting play I expect. I always meant to see it in London. How soon Topher got in the Gazette. I hope you find some more eyeglasses. I have now got a big pair of tortoiseshell spectacles like you. Lovely are’nt they? So light. We don’t give 6/- a gallon, but they say that’s what it costs to bring it up all that way in a pipe.

Wish I could have been there that week end when everyone was at home. I am so glad Evelyn came over. So glad your nose is alright. I expect Murray has been home by this time. You will be lucky if you are allowed 7 tons of coal won’t you, but if the war ends you won’t have to bother, we shall get it for nothing shan’t we?

I wangled a day’s leave the other day & went down to Jerusalem. No good being out here without going there is it? Most interesting, but it seems such a pity to build over all those sacred spots like cavalry & the Manger. I quite long to go to church again some Christmas time at home & sing “Hark the herald angels”, and “there’s a Greenhill”, & “while shepherds watch their sheep”.

The hill is’nt green, & there are a lot of houses built in the field where the shepherds were, but I’ll be able to think to myself I’ve seen them. There’s the place where Solomon’s Temple was originally built, & the only thing remaining there is a huge rock with a hole in it where the sacrifices were offered, & the blood & ashes all used to run through this hole into a tank beneath & so out. There’s a lovely view from the mount of Olives.

I went there about 7 in the morning, so as to get out to Bethlehem & back in time. It’s curious too, that the Holy sepulchre & the place where the Cross was, are only about 20 yards apart. Both quite close in the same church. I always imagined the sepulchre was a long way away.

I have sent to you a little mother of pearl cross & a Star of Bethlehem and a book marker from Bethlehem. Goodness knows when they will arrive. It is difficult to get anything useful. Anyhow you can wear the Cross sometimes & use the book marker, & look at the Star. The mother of pearl comes from the Red Sea & the people in Bethlehem make all these things. I wish you could see it all. Mr Kirwan has been out here has’nt he?

I got a letter from Jane & one from Dreda which I will answer soon. Please thank them. I expect you are all most awfully relieved that the news is so  good. I am sending some little napkin rings made out of olive wood from Jerusalem, & you can use them, also some beads made out of Mecca fruit, they call it, & olive wood. You have a bead necklace for a muff chain which you’ll promptly break on your bicycle handle! & the girls can have the others. I’ll try & say who is to have them when I write again.

I hope I shall meet old Topher. I can borrow some money perhaps.

Best love to all

yr loving son


There is a green hill far away

Vegetable ivory – erstwhile “Mecca fruit”

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Posted by on 20 October, '18 in About


6 October 1918 – Richard to Gertrude



Dear Mother

I must soon be sending a cable. Quite well. No good sending it now as I don’t think you will know what it means as you won’t have got my letter yet explaining.

Many thanks for your no 1 letter. I’ve forgotten to put the number on mine, but anyhow I can always tell if I get yours.

I enclose a cheque for £10 to pay all those bills.

It’s a pity you cannot find those papers. I can’t think where they can have got to. Please look in a leather pocket book of mine & send me the address of that firm of coffee growers in the Nilgiri Hills. You’ll see a price list of theirs in there.

I’ve written to Dreda this mail too. Nothing special in way of news.

Best love to all

yr loving son


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Posted by on 6 October, '18 in About


3 October 1918 – Richard to Gertrude


c/o Cox & Co



Dear Mother,

Many thanks for your letter written just before my buffday. I hear today I shall be off to India in time to get there by Nov 23rd, and I hope by then the war will be nearly over. Anyhow it’s done with here I think. I shall send you the cable later on, if I send it now, I doubt if you’d understand what it means. I must give you time to get my letter.

What a fine old muddle they seem to have made over the War Hospital, I wonder what they will do in the end.

I had a line from Topher. I am glad he has got his commission at last. I don’t suppose he will come out here, as I doubt if they’ll keep even the people they have got.

The bath room sounds lovely nowadays, I wonder what you are going to do with those two nice pictures up by the gas jet.

Sorry to hear Mrs Houghton is so ill.

I hope Paul haas been home & enjoyed his leave.

I’ve got no mufti if I do go to India!

Best love to all

yr loving son



That little chess board you sent me has been useful lately, I happen to have it with me & I’ve played such a lot in my spare time

Possible hospital in question

Five days earlier

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Posted by on 3 October, '18 in About


25 September 1918 – Richard to Gertrude

25.9.18                Field.


My dear Mother

I’ve just got a letter from XX D.H. also Ben’s. Yours had a lot of lavender in it. Cox sent me a letter for Ted too, awaiting his arrival. Pathetic eh. I’ve sent it on. If I cable my quite well stunt would you please post enclosed. I am communicating with Assam & hear there are plenty of jobs.

I got a letter from Jane written 26th August. Please thank her. I shall be sorry if I go & miss Topher. I must write to Mrs Tudor, I’ve been saving some stamps for her, but they are very common Egyptian ones.

Best love to all

yr loving son



If I cable please send this letter. If no cable don’t send it, tear it up

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Posted by on 25 September, '18 in About


21 September 1918 – Richard to Gertrude

21.9.18                Field E.E.F.


My dear Mother

Many thanks for your letters. A magazine “Lloyds”, so welcome & also a letter in another envelope forwarded from S. America. I wrote you a letter in answer to one from you when you were with the Morses. I find I never posted it! Of course all our success in the last few days will be stale news by the time you get this, what will happen will have happened, however we seem to have got Johnny Turk on the run. I of course am moved off, and am with a Field Amb

What a nuisance you cannot find those papers. I have asked for some more. Fancy you going over to Hartley Row, however I suppose you go sometimes to have a look around.

Ted is doing well then is’nt he. A Brigade Major now. How pleased Nell must be. I saw Swan very often before I came away. He’s such a nice man. I hope Paul & Nancy enjoy their leave & come home to see you. I never got Paul’s letter.

I am seriously thinking of going back to Assam if I can get away in November. Things must be nearly over here & if I stay on I’ll only be mucking about in India, nothing to do with the war, & I shall get stuck for another year for certain. After all I’ve done 4 years now, & there are plenty of black doctors to do my job. I will cable you where to write. This is what I will say so don’t lose this & I will keep a copy.

QUITE WELL = c/o Messrs Cox & Co Calcutta

So if you get a cable saying “quite well” you will know where to write, put “to be called for” on top. And will you write to Cox & Co (Ind dep) 16 Charing Cross & tell them to address letters there in future, at the same time asking them to send £50 to my account with their Calcutta agents. I am writing Cox London to that effect.

Still frightfully hot here & where I am now there’s no bathing & not even much water.

Ben seems very happy at Wimbledon. I don’t expect I’ll have time to write again for a bit. I’ve just seized this opportunity

Best love to all

yr loving son


Richard does have to say “black doctors” not “other doctors” doesn’t he. “Johnny Turk” sounds almost comedic, possibly because it is impossible to imagine anyone saying it now. 

It’s interesting that both Richard and Ted have a sense of the tide turning and increasing success if not imminent victory.

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Posted by on 21 September, '18 in About


15 September 1918 – Richard to Gertrude


My dear Mother

Very many thanks for your letter & that lavender. The first letters direct here, & today I am off (he’s bringing some ink) on some other stunt! Go on addressing here though, they will roll up some old time. It’s a nuisance being pushed off, as I am quite happy here, however “c’est la guerre”. How sad about E Hatch’s brother, he was such a nice boy I remember him (here’s the ink) quite well. I hope you don’t get another
attack of lumbago. Aspirin is the stuff to take.

What a pity they are turning Ruth’s hospital into a malaria place. Nothing else to do but give quinine. No dressings or anything. Did’nt she ever write about a transfer to Marseilles. I wrote to her when I was there, she never said anything & cannot have got my letter. The news is good nowadays, I only hope it’s a beginning of an end.

It’s a pity I have to leave the garden I started. Some seeds are coming up, but they appear to find some difficulty in the sand.

I have an amusing cameleon who is a great friend, & is great at catchng flies. Huge long tongues they have, that flips out in an extraordinary way & nab the fly. It’s no good giving you any other address, I don’t think.

Best love to all

yr loving son


I see quite a lot of Swan

Edgar Francis Hatch of Great Bookham,
Surrey, 28

Does Richard sound almost relaxed for once? The comment about the cameleon is charming. It’s also interesting that he has planted a second garden in Egypt after leaving his previous garden in France. None of the others mention gardens at all – Paul was too busy with sports and theatricals and Ted too busy with his men or writing to Nell, poor Topher was too busy fighting, and who knows what Jim was doing. 

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Posted by on 15 September, '18 in About


20 August 1918 – Richard to Gertrude

20 August


Dear Mother

Many thanks for your letter from the Isle of Wight. I do hope you had a good long time there & feel the better for the change. Poor Jim getting sand fly fever. Lots of it here too, but so far I think I have escaped. Tap wood. Arthur Morse must have been lucky not to have been wounded before. I wonder what his son & daughter are like. I remember his daughter quite well. Such a ripping little girl. I met her in Scotland about 10 years ago, & of course she must be quite grown up by now, and as tall as Arthur Morse I suppose. Give her my love when you write.

I cannot imagine what Janet Ryder must be like. I do wish I had gone to see the Morses when I was at home.

We’ve just had a convoy in & being registrar I have to receive them an’ all.

Did Ruth ever apply to go to Marseilles? I wrote and told her where to write to.

I’ve written to Evelyn this mail, I wonder if she has been to see you again.

Nancy’s brother is near here I hear. I must go over & see him tomorrow. I only heard yesterday he was in the offing & I’ve been wondering how we are related, & I have decided that we are no relation at all until Paul gets a baby, then we shall both be uncles to the same child, so must be related somehow.

A mail has come I believe, but my letters got to Alex first, so I have’nt got mine yet.

Best love to all

Yr loving son



Found my grey suit?


Nancy’s brother was Major Charles Francis Trollope Swan MC of the 3rd Battalion Rifle Brigade –

Sausthorpe roll of honour, immediately above Paul

MC award notice in Edinburgh Gazette, 29/6/15

Mentioned on pages 60 & 67 of The Rifle Brigade: A Memoir by Andrew Buxton (1918)

Search for information on forum by her daughter Clara

Nancy’s brother is 3rd from the left in this 1909 photograph:

Captain Somerville- Lt D Ovey - 2Lt C F T Swan - Lt T Baring - 3rd Bn RB -winners of the Officers' Challenege Cup and the Wellington Cup - Aldershot Command Rifle Meeting 1909

Captain Somerville- Lt D Ovey – 2Lt C F T Swan – Lt T Baring – 3rd Bn RB -winners of the Officers’ Challenege Cup and the Wellington Cup – Aldershot Command Rifle Meeting 1909

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Posted by on 20 August, '18 in About


18 August 1918 – Richard to Gertrude



Dear Mother. Just got a letter from you dated July 8th. Very many thanks. That crop & glasses turned up the other day, but some of those letters have been lost I am sure. I never got Paul’s for instance, you remember he said he had sent me an important letter, & you forwarded it to Cox Alexandria. My eye-glasses must have been sunk I think. I hope you have had a nice time at Totland Bay with the Morses, and the rest has done you good. Fancy Willie Wessel having been at Cordwalles. I am so glad Ben likes the little dog.

I have’nt tried to get back to Marseilles yet, doubt if I can manage it. Mrs Tudor sent me those photographs. Very good are’nt they, I must write & thank her. I had some to be developed & sent them to Cairo ages ago but they have not sent them back yet. Don’t let old Gabb fool around too much with the spot on your nose, he may burn your whole nose off. Tell him you’d like to see a skin specialist & ask him to recommend one. I know a young man who is very good, F.C. Macdonough, I think he’s in Harley Street, but I am not sure of his initial. Go to him if it does’nt get better & say, I sent you. He knows me.

I met Eric & Stella at lunch one day before I left England. He is an ass to have married her, he told me he was actually married then! I am sorry for Mrs Henderson.

It’s still very hot here. I’ve written for some bulbs & flowers to grow in the sand here! & the figs are just getting ripe. I eat them all day, you know how fond I am of them, don’t you.

The war news seems very good nowadays. I hear one of the Rgt oficers has been taken prisoner and one wounded. Good thing I am out of it eh? I got Dreda’s & Jane’s letters. I shall be writing to them soon. I want Dreda to send me a referee.

I had that racquet I told you of restrung out here. 16/- it cost, very dear eh, but much cheaper than buying a new one. I wish I was home in this lovely weather. I shall never take leave again unless it’s summer time.

Best love to all

yr loving son



Can you pay Kings’ bill?


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Posted by on 18 August, '18 in About


7 August 1918 – Richard to Gertrude



Dear Mother       Cannot wangle this exchange so I shall be going on some old time I expect. Not yet awhile. Don’t write here anymore anyhow. I shall be able to pick up the other letters later on. Getting hotter here every day. I must go & call for some more letters , I expect there are some

Best love to all

Yr loving son


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Posted by on 7 August, '18 in About


29 July 1918 – Richard to Gertrude



Dear Mother.

Many thanks for your letter (June 30). People seem to have their letters numbered out here. This one of mine is No 1, & I have noted it. So number & note yours & we can tell which is sunk!

You seem to have had a big house party the Sunday you wrote. I expect E Hatch has left Guildford by this time. How nice having Evelyn Drewe down, I expect you’ll like her the more you see of her.

The eyeglasses have’nt arrived, suppose they came by parcel post & got sunk.

They seem to have had strenuous times with the bath that Sunday. I wonder if you will ever find those papers of mine.

I am anxious to see the photograph Miss Tudor took, they must have all gone to Devonshire by now I suppose.

Still boiling hot here. I must go & look at the sights I think soon. Not far & it’s a pity to be in the Holy land & not see them all. I will take my camera & send you some pictures.

Best love to all

yr loving son



39 Indian General Hosp       EEF

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Posted by on 29 July, '18 in About