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Author Archives: Paul Berryman

11 February 1919 – Paul to Gertrude

R.N. Sick Qrs

Invergordon

 

Tuesday. 11th

Dearest Mother-

Very many thanks for your letter- You will see by my address that I am still in hospital – although my knee is quite allright – but the gash they made is just healing up and I am not allowed to walk about on it yet – till it heals – so it looks as if I should be here for another 4 or 5 days – the idea of which rather bores me – when I am feeling so well & all – but still I suppose it has to be.

I remember you having a housemaid’s knee – They wanted to put my leg in a splint!! They eventually called my disease “Cellulitis” – well perhaps it was for all I know.

Such lovely weather we are having up here – hot sun all day & practically no wind – but it’s a little cold especially in the evenings-

Yes Nance told me she was going up to Town for a bit. Someone wrote to me who had seen her the other day in Town & said she had never seen her looking so wonderfully well & fit- She seems to be thoroughly enjoying herself at Delaford – & she and Nell get on so awfully well together.

There now! I never realised Capon had been away all this time – for the minute I could’nt think what you meant about him coming back soon.- now I remember he went to see some Home did’nt he?

I had a letter from Bee Dudman this morning – congratulating me on my promotion & rise of pay.

Thank you for sending Dick’s address- what extraordinary places he gets to!

Very best love to you all

from your ever loving son

Paul


 
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Posted by on 11 February, '19 in About

 

6 February 1919 – Paul to Gertrude

R.N. Sick Quarters

Invergordon

 

Feb 6th

Dearest Mother-

Ever so many thanks for your letter – & I am so sorry to hear you have such a nasty cold & hope it is quite allright by now-

My knee never seemed to get much better on board & it was most uncomfortable there in heaps of ways – so I have been sent up to the local sick quarters – much better for me – as it is quiet here – & no hammering & noise of repairing ships etc. I knew my knee wanted cutting open again – & sure enough as soon as the P.M.O. saw it here – he dug a knife into it – ooh – but it’s done it a whole heap of good & he says I will be allright in 2 days’ time – so for correspondence you can still address me “Malaya” as I shall be back there again perhaps by the time you get this-

We hardly got any snow up here – but it is intensely cold – but really lovely days with bright sun an’ all- I’ve got a lovely fire in  my room here- & no one to come & huddle round it-

I got Nell’s letter allright – but again you forgot to put “Malaya” on – so it came very late – I am presuming she is at Delaford now – & sent my letter to her there – quite a gathering of daughters-in-law you will have.

So Dick has arrived in Assam – of course it’s just like him to take all those animals & birds with him – must be rather fun though having them-

I can’t remember whether you sent his address or not – but I suppose Cox & Co Calcutta – will find him allright –

Rosamond sent me an awfully nice photograph of herself the other day – she looks a bit solemn-

My best love to you all & I hope you are quite fit again & thank you awfully Mother for looking after my Nance-

Your loving son

Paul

 
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Posted by on 6 February, '19 in About

 

2 February 1919 – Paul to Gertrude

H.M.S. MALAYA.

c/o G.P.O.

Sunday. 2nd Feb:

Dearest Mother-

Very many thanks for your letter. I am ever so long in answering it I’m afraid – but I have been thoroughly rattled all last week – what with all our plans etc being changed so.

It is most disappointing that we are refitting at Invergordon – instead of Rosyth- Nance & I thought we were going to have rather a cheery time there & now everything is O.P.H. & the fellows who have gone on leave are having 3 weeks & we only had 2- but I daresay we shall get another week after they come back.

I have been in bed all yesterday & most of to-day – I suddenly got a boil on my knee – which inflamed & became most painful & I could’nt walk – & I am certain the doctor cut it too soon & all yesterday it hurt like anything – It’s much better to day – so I got up after lunch & sat in a chair- I must be up for tomorrow because we go into dock & there’s lots of work to be done-

You forgot to put H.M.S. Malaya on the envelope of your letter – it rather amused me as you seemed so pleased with the new address Nance gave you & then it was wrong- Yes we are quite close to Inverness – so if I go up there any day I must look the Horsfords up – I remember her slightly – but what is their address?

Nance seems to be thoroughly enjoying herself with you & it is ripping of you to have her there. Poor dear I am afraid she is awfully disappointed about not coming up to me-

I wonder what happened to Jim – perhaps his shifting down to Salonika has made your cable pass him – but I hope he is coming home – but then he would have cabled surely? So Dick is fixed for another 3 years out in Assam – such a pity he is such miles away.

I suppose you’ve seen our temporary rise of pay – really rather good though I think they are still nibbling with the lower deck branch. But it does make one feel more secure I must say.

Had a letter from Mrs Conway Gordon asking me to lunch to-day – but I could’nt go – still there will be lots of opportunities during the 3 weeks up here.

You seem to be having heaps of snow down south – up here it’s all slush & mud-

My best love to you all & you will take care of Nance won’t you

from your ever loving son

Paul


Boils and indeed anything which could become infected are a real threat to health and life in times and places without antibiotics. 

 
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Posted by on 1 February, '19 in About

 

16 November 1918 – Paul to Gertrude

H.M.S. MALAYA.

c/o G.P.O.

Thursday 16th

 

Dearest Mother-

Very many thanks for your two letters – Rather funny as I got the one you wrote later before the first one.! I am pleased to hear about dear old Ted getting a D.S.O. – I have been wondering why he never got some decoration before – for all the things he has done- It is good news – Would you send me his cable address – I mean, how does one address a cable to him – same as a letter or is there anything shorter?

That was a very interesting account of his re the surrendering of the Turkish Army – I am sending it on to Nance.

My cold is much better now – though I am still rather nosy- I went to bed for one day – to see if that would do any good – but I don’t think it did really-

I am awfully sorry to hear about you having all those teeth out – such a blow to suddenly lose them like that – I do hope you won’t be kept long before your new ones are made-

It’s a pity Dreda cannot come up with Nance & stay with us. We are so hoping she would be able to – Nance’s arrangements are rather disjointed at present – but I am earnestly hoping she will be coming up here very soon.

We are giving a small dance on board on Saturday afternoon – it might be quite good fun. I’ve never seen such a place for dancing as Edinburgh – there seems to be one every afternoon and evening – I have only been to one up to date –

A most vile day – very cold & raining hard – a complete change as the last few days have been lovely – with this full moon.

My best love to you all – from your ever loving son

Paul

Don’t forget about Ted’s address – Oh – and thank you muchly for your congratulations-


Ted's Medals - the Humane Society Medal on the left, then the DSO, then his WW1 and WW2 service medals

Ted’s Medals – the Humane Society Medal on the left, then the DSO, then his WW1, inter-war and WW2 service medals

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distinguished_Service_Order

 
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Posted by on 16 November, '18 in About

 

15 November 1918 – Paul to Gertrude

H.M.S. MALAYA.

c/o G.P.O.

Friday- 15th Nov:

 

My dearest Mother-

Very many thanks for your letter – Well things seem more or less settled up now – and I think it is wonderful how we have defeated those beastly Huns – & made them grovel – It has been interesting these last few days – reading about it all – There were some very cheery orations & general flag wavings up here – must have been a wonderful sight in Town – the King & Queen driving through the streets an’ all.

We are still carrying on our war routine – I daresay you read the Admiralty message to the Navy – in the papers – Quite right I think the army should be demobilised first – after all they have had all the fighting and discomfort – so we shan’t be getting any leave yet awhile.

How lovely for Jane Murray having arrived home – I suppose they will start arranging a date for their wedding now.

Nance is back in Edinburgh again now – I think her change did her a lot of good – she is quite fit again & looks ever so much better.

We have had lovely weather up here lately – ever so calm – & lovely moonlight nights – but it always produces a fog & you can only see about 100 yds to-day.

So Dick has gone further afield again – going out to India early. I expect he will get a good job.

With very best love to you all & I hope you are very fit-

Your ever loving son

Paul

 
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Posted by on 15 November, '18 in About

 

1 August 1917 – Paul to Gertrude

H.M.S. MALAYA.
c/o G.P.O.

Aug. 1st

 

Dear Mother-

V. many thanks for your letter, and also for forwarding on all those others. Nance & I have had simply heaps – all about society papers asking for our photographs etc – awful waste of paper!. I’ve had several other letters from various friends which I am gradually answering. I have had a talk with Nance re Mr Kirwan – you see it’s going to be a very quiet wedding at Sawsthorpe and the date will be so uncertain – and Nance says she has 2 pet parsons whom she wants, but if Mr Kirwan likes to come – by all means but it’s a fairly expensive journey up there and back & also the uncertainty of the exact day – we hardly think, in a way, it’s fair to ask him- because perhaps he would’nt like to say no – But I’ll write to him and explain things – but will you see him too, about it.

Nance will probably be going south about the 29th – and I want her to stay a few days with you before she goes up home – but it is all rather uncertain as yet. Wish we could get some decent weather up here – it rains every day still.

I’ve just heard from Dick who says he will be home on the 25th for 10 days – I suppose Topher is coming too.

My best love to you from your ever very loving son

Paul

Sorry to hear Capon is’nt much better!-


And that’s almost the last of Paul’s letters which we still have which he wrote during the war. We hear of him from the others and there are a couple from him in 1918 and a dozen or so from him when he was posted on the China Station in the 1920s but that’s it. 

The fact that this last letter was written just before Paul and Nancy’s wedding must be significant. I suspect Nancy asked for Paul’s letters but Gertrude only gave her the ones dating from after the wedding. 

There’s the allied question of why we have only a couple of letters from Jim and Topher. Perhaps they asked for their letters themselves or perhaps we are seeing Gertrude’s partiality: she adored her eldest child Richard, and Paul and Ted were undeniably heroic, while Jim was out of the action for most of the War and poor Topher was not a great letter-writer and lacked glamour as a Tommy. I prefer to think that her favouritism wasn’t that blatant and it’s simply happenstance that we don’t have their letters too.

So let’s cry a little because the bride is so young and the groom is so handsome, throw rice over the happy couple as they leave the church, and wish them well.

 
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Posted by on 1 August, '17 in About

 

4 July 1917 – Paul to Gertrude

H.M.S. MALAYA.
c/o G.P.O.

Wednesday. July 4th

 

My dear Mother-

Many thanks for your letter- I wrote to you about receiving the clothes – lovely they are.

Ever since H[is].M[ajesty]. left we have had the most gorgeous weather – ever so hot – Tis a pity we did’nt have it like that for H.M.

I had a letter from Col Conway Gordon last night – he was invested with his C.B. when the King went there. Did you see that Gordon Campbell was promoted to Captain, extraordinary is’nt it. I suppose he must have done some more “mysterious” things – He’s only been a Commander a year. Comparing it with some promotions in the Army I suppose it looks nothing – but the average fellow in the Navy does’nt get a chance

You must buy the July Blackwoods magazine – there is a long account by Gen Willcox of “The Indian Army in France” – very interesting & nice to keep. It mentions the 2/39th.

Are you having a “Baby Week” in Guildford- Nance writes & says they are having big processions etc up at Spilsby – wheeling perambulators about an’ all.

Yes that Mesopotamian Scandal is perfectly awful I think. I am sure all the people concerned ought to be publically held up for people to throw things at & then locked up in solitary confinement to have a thorough good think over their misdeeds.

We had 2 promotions in this ship on June 30th – so we did rather well.

I sent Topher some Chocolate for his birthday – I hope he’ll get it allright. Do you know whereabouts they are now.

My very best love to you all-

from your ever loving son

Paul.


Nancy’s father was Colonel Charles Arthur Swan C.M.G., M.A., J.P., and Nancy’s mother was Ethel, only daughter of Colonel F.I. Conway-Gordon. Thier son, Nancy’s brother was Major Charles Francis Trollope Swan MC who was born in 1887 and her sister Marjorie was born in 1886. The links below suggest that there may have been two connections between the Swans and the Conway-Gordons.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackwood%27s_Magazine

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sausthorpe nr Spilsby

Roll of Honour in Sausthorpe village hall – Nance’s grandfather is second, Paul third

http://www.roll-of-honour.com/Lincolnshire/Sausthorpe.html

Col Francis Ingram Cosmo Conway-Gordon – Nance’s dad’s father-in-law

http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/ENG-LINCSGEN/2002-04/1018040061

The Conway-Gordons in The House of Gordon (1902)

https://archive.org/stream/houseofgordon00news#page/388/mode/2up

 
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Posted by on 4 July, '17 in About

 

1 July 1917 – Paul to Gertrude

H.M.S. MALAYA.
c/o G.P.O.

Sunday

 

My dear Mother-

Very many thanks for the parcels of clothes – lovely & very useful-

I have nearly fixed up all properties now – except a few shoes & stockings –

Oh- can you send me a very stiff & hard clothes brush – one with a handle I like – but it must be a good hard bristly one – mine is getting so soft – & I also want a shoe horn – any sort of one will do.

I’ve got Tommy Drew coming over to supper to-night.

My best love to you all & ever so many thanks for those clothes – I’ll look after them carefully-

from your ever loving son

Paul

 
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Posted by on 1 July, '17 in About

 

27 June 1917 – Paul to Gertrude

H.M.S. MALAYA.
c/o G.P.O.

Wednesday. 27th

 

My dear Mother- Very many thanks for your letter & I am awfully pleased to hear your rest at Totland Bay has done you such a lot of good.-

Last week we had great excitement up here – the King came to visit the fleet & there was a round of ceremonies – but you’ve never seen such filthy weather as we had – such a shame as nearly every programme had to be altered – postponed & generally changed round. One day we had quite the worst thunderstorm I’ve seen – & it was quite a cold week end for him.

The “press” & movie people were up here so I expect you’ll see a lot of photographs taken at various times in the papers. He came on board here on Sunday afternoon & we were all introduced to him & shook hands – then he went round the ship – & stayed to tea with the Captain – of course he came to us because P.A. is here – & I expect he wanted to see where he lived etc. I’ll send you our photographs along when I can get some prints.

We hear our regatta is July 9th & 10th – we have’nt been able to do any practices lately – so we must buck up & get into training – not much time eh?-

I see all the Indian – Mesopotamian – Malay States etc mails despatched from London on May 31st have been lost at sea – I saw it in the paper to-day – So sickening I think – I expect there were several there for Jim & Ted.

Quite a lot of people at home for the week end – I met the Meyers at the Shop I think- I remember a Rene awfully well. Lovely for Ben & Jane going to Sea View with the Darwens.

Rosamond sent me a most lovely box of green peas the other day – they were good- & the first I’ve tasted this year.

I had a letter from Dick the other day – he seems quite fit-

My best love to you all – from your ever loving son

Paul


To modern eyes it seems quaint that Rosamund sent peas to Orkney or that Gertrude should send eggs to France but we forget that both peas and eggs are seasonal and the summer was lovely not just because of the weather but because of plentiful, fresh food.

George V visit to Scapa Flow, June 1917

http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1060023100

 
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Posted by on 27 June, '17 in About

 

14 June 1917 – Paul to Gertrude

H.M.S. MALAYA.
c/o G.P.O.

Thursday. 14th.

 

My dear Mother-

V. many thanks for your letter – and the photographs too – though I don’t think it is awfully good of you – perhaps it is because I have’nt seen you in that headgear before – you look awfully well & so fat!-. I am ever so pleased to hear you are – or rather have had a holiday – it will certainly do you a whole heap of good to get some sea air & I do so hope you have enjoyed yourself Mother – lovely weather for it an’ all.

Nance simply hates going away from Delaford & did’nt want to go home a bit – so dull up there she says – but of course she’s got her hospital work to do for which I am very pleased – keeps her mind employed.

Just heard about that awful air raid in London – such a heap of casualties – & mostly kids at a school – dreadful I think don’t you.

Dreda’s farm work sounds awfully nice – & I really do think she ought to lead an open air life for a bit – don’t you – after being 2 years in that bank – a marvellous record I consider that- such dull work really – but necessary, & she certainly deserves all praise for staying there all that time.

Fearfully windy weather we seem to be getting these days – but it’s quite warm really. We still play football & the Officers team is top of our ship’s league – fearful keenness over it.

Not much news these days – my very best love to you all-

from your ever loving son

Paul


Paul’s dislike of any kind of indoor or desk work comes through very strongly in his comments about Dreda’s new job.

Bombing of Upper North St School, Poplar, 13/6/17
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGn3TKefuCY

 
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Posted by on 14 June, '17 in About