Author Archives: Paul Berryman

23 May 1917 – Paul to Gertrude

c/o G.P.O.

Wednesday. 23rd


My dear Mother,

V. many thanks for your letter. I heard from Ted & Jim too last week – Ted had just heard about my engagement- but Jim had’nt had any mails since he left – so he would’nt have known.

Some Rhubarb would be awfully nice to have – we don’t get much fresh green stuff up here – and I am so fond of it – lettuces – or anything like that.

Oh yes I remember the Ramseys – Mr Ramsey anyway – he had a beard did’nt he. No I won’t say anything about it – It does’nt seem necessary either-

Did’nt I tell you Nance was coming to Aldershot in my last letter – I thought I had – She’d simply love to come over to Guidlford-

Such a lovely hot day to-day no wind (for a change) & a broiling sun – & we are playing a soccer match too-!!!-

Tonight I am dining with the Captain – a slight Royal dinner party – P.A. [Prince Albert, the future George VI] & his “bear leader” myself and a Captain from another ship-!!

Awfully sorry to hear about Harrow – she must be fairly old by now – as you say. Have you still got that black kitten that you found – must have one to keep Blanco company-

Beginning to collect a few clothes for my men’s theatricals now – I want some Fancy Dresses – periods – & such like – for both sexes – we’ve got heaps have’nt we – could I have some – Would you ask Specs if he can let me have a mufti suit or two – he’s sure to have some he does’nt want – For a female – I want a black blouse and skirt – and any spare shoes the girls may not want any more – any luck?-. I hope to give my show at the end of next month – I do hope it will be good.

My very best love to you all from

Your ever loving son


Prince Albert was the younger brother of the glamorous Prince of Wales and wasn’t expected to inherit the Crown, but he became George VI after Edward VIII’s abdication. When he became King he wrote nostalgic letters to old friends about their time in the Navy which had shaped so much of his character and his view of the world. Few of these friendships continued after he married Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1923, and fewer still survived his accession to the throne in 1936. But letters from Prince Albert / George VI and Berryman family stories attest to his friendship with Paul during and after their service on the Malaya.

Paul’s letters to his mother show patience, courtesy, tact and discretion. Paul was some seven years older than the Prince, but he had a younger younger brother, Topher, who also stammered and was easily intimidated or overwhelmed. So perhaps Paul brought a degree of insight and kindness to his interactions with the young Prince as well as his unquestionable loyalty, masculinity and sportiness. Certainly, Albert was to write to him with genuine fondness in later years.

JG Cliff-McCulloch with Prince Albert (supposedly on HMS Malaya)

JG Cliff-McCulloch with Prince Albert (L)(supposedly on HMS Malaya)

George VI on HMS Malaya, 1942

George VI on HMS Malaya, 1942. © IWM (A 18624)

Leave a comment

Posted by on 23 May, '17 in About


Tags: , ,

2 May 1917 – Paul to Gertrude

c/o G.P.O.

Wednesday. 2nd May


My dear Mother-

Thank you very much for your letters – glad you liked the photograph. Our weather is gradually getting better thank goodness – not nearly so cold – but still plenty of rain & wind.

I say how awful about your purse – I am sorry Mother – but awfully lucky you did’nt lose all your money.

Nothing much doing up here – except we’ve been fairly busy during the last 3 or 4 days & working a bit late – but we’ve managed to get a couple of rugger matches in. We are rather keen on it in this ship – but with not much success in our matches as yet.

An awful lot of casualties still are’nt there – a necessary sacrifice though I suppose- & really the amount of prisoners – 40-000 odd altogether now. They must eat up such a lot of our food I always think.

So Dollie Darwen’s baby has arrived – and a son too – good – They seem to have had rather a rotten time of it lately in that house – what with measles an’ all – I must write her a letter of congratulation. I heard from Ben the other day. I wonder if she & Sheina have had any luck over finding a flat yet-

Am very much looking forward to seeing Topher’s letter. I don’t suppose they have much time for writing these days.

With much love to you all-

from your ever loving son


Leave a comment

Posted by on 2 May, '17 in About


26 April 1917 – Paul to Gertrude

c/o G.P.O.

Thursday. 26th


My dear Mother-

Very many thanks for your letter – & I am ever so glad to hear your cold has gone & that you are quite fit again.

We only seemed to have a very few days of fine weather as to-day it’s gone back to its old habits again – very cold – windy and heaps of rain.

Yesterday we had a great rugger match ashore against another ship – but we were beaten.

So glad you’ve heard from Ted at last – I suppose by this time he is miles up in land somewhere. Dick’s given you a large order about a “tent”- I expect the people in the shop will know what sort of thing he wants.

Rather a fine show I thought that Dora raid – & I think our fellows did marvellously well – Really the casualties these days in the papers are sadly long are’nt they – seem to be hundreds of officers every day.

I am wondering how you like that book – really rather dreadful is’nt it – but of course it ends allright.

I enclose a snapshot of me taken the other day – just before a game of deck hockey.

Very best love to you all from

Your ever loving son


So Richard’s request for a tent does seem to have exasperated the inexhaustable Gertrude.

Leave a comment

Posted by on 26 April, '17 in About


18 April 1917 – Paul to Gertrude

c/o G.P.O.

Wednesday. 18th


My dear Mother,

Very many thanks for your letter. I am awfully sorry to hear you have had such a bad cold. I know so well how you lose your voice – but I am glad you are ever so much better again. You must take more care of yourself Mother; but you always will insist on going on working in the indefatigable way that you do – even when you are seedy – and that is why I am so pleased about Jane going home now & looking after you a bit & perhaps she won’t allow you to do too much. This weather is really appalling – the amount of snow an’ all- Every day it has snowed up here for the last 6 weeks – at sometime or other.

I can’t seem to realize that Babs Davids is engaged – she seems to me to still be in short skirts & about 15 – tho Dreda tells me that she is 19! Yes I will write to her & congratulate her. I wrote to Dolly Fox yesterday – awfully sad about old Mrs Fox.

We’ve started our mess on rations now – at least – we commence next month – up to date they have’nt restricted the services very much – but we are starting it more or less on our own to see what we can do- much the best thing I think.

Is’nt the western news priceless these days. I really do think we have got the Huns rattled and they seem bound to go back if we can follow them quick enough. So pleased to hear Dick & Topher are still allright. I had a short line from Jim the other day – dated March 1st – he said he was having a lovely time in Cape Town – they are all such heroes.

I am awfully fit and well and I do hope you are allright again Mother.

With best love to you all

from your ever loving son


Leave a comment

Posted by on 18 April, '17 in About


11 April 1917 – Paul to Gertrude

c/o G.P.O.

Wednesday. 11th


My dear Mother- Very many thanks for your letter & also for the lovely new handkerchief & card. I had 2 new things – your handkerchief & a pair of socks.

So glad to hear everyone was home for Easter – except Rosamond – but there seems to have been a very cheery crowd. Our Easter was undisturbed this year. We have generally been at sea.

It is still most awfully cold up here – & frequently snows – but in spite of it we have already started working up for our regatta – which I suppose will come off in June sometime.

Some of us have taken to going ashore after tea now it is so light and going for a sort of cross country run. Yesterday was our first effort. Captain Done we all were after about 5 miles – so muddy & filthy – but most excellent exercise.

We had the Bishop of Kensington onboard on Monday – he is staying up here with a parson friend in some ship & he knows our man too – & as we have a church we had a regular parson’s day onboard here. Quite a dozen of them I should say-

Glad you have heard from Dick & Topher, they seem to be getting a slight move on over there. Topher really deserves a commission after all his meritorious work, but I don’t see why he should’nt really – in spite of his stammering – I don’t know that it effects him when yelling out orders.

I wrote Jim a long letter yesterday – & sent it to Sheina for an address – because I don’t exactly know how.

Cannot think who the Petches are – never heard of them I’m sure – of course I remember Kathleen awfully well.

I had a letter from Gordon Campbell the other day in reply to mine – but he couldn’t tell me anything, as he was’nt allowed to.

My very best love to you all

from your ever loving son


Leave a comment

Posted by on 11 April, '17 in About


4 April 1917 – Paul to Gertrude

c/o G.P.O.

Wednesday. 4th


Dearest Mother. Very many thanks for your letter. So glad you have heard from Ted, I expect he is having quite an exciting time out in Mesopotamia.

I wonder what these Yankees are going to do now they have joined in! I expect we shall get a certain amount of financial support to start with – & they say there are at least 8 million Germans in U.S.A. – whatever will happen to them.

I saw all about the Tyndareus – & heaps of pictures – especially in the Sunday Papers – of her being towed into the Port. I think the Middlesex were really splendid the way they behaved – & so lucky they were mined so close to the shore.

Did’nt realize there was so much snow in the heavens-! awful the amount that has been coming down lately – even to-day it is lovely & fine & no wind – it was down that steady sort of stuff at intervals.

I thought perhaps you might cull some information from the Davids – but I suppose it must be super secret- I wrote to Gordon the other day & congratulated him.

Another quiet week end for you. I’m glad to hear Mr McCulloch is all right again. I must drop him a line. Nance is fearfully pleased with that bead butterfly – gorgeous she says it is. She still seems to have that cold of hers hanging about her – must be such a nuisance – olly hard to get rid of in this sort of weather though.

I do hope Ben & Jane will be able to get down to you for Easter – a pity if no one allowed to travel.

Nance sent me the prints of the family groups the other day – I’ve mounted them & pass partouted them all together- they look awfully nice. Slightly dispersed again now are’nt we?-

Awfully little news – I am ever so fit and well.

This will be an Easter letter – so I wish all at home a very Happy Easter Mother, and let us hope nd pray the next one may be happier still for all of us.

With much love to you all –

from ever your loving son


Leave a comment

Posted by on 4 April, '17 in About


28 March 1917 – Paul to Gertrude

c/o G.P.O.

Wednesday. 28th


My dear Mother.

Very many thanks for your letter – they seem to arrive much quicker these days – only two days in the post.

Nance has arrived home allright – I heard yesterday- but says she’s till got her cold hanging about. I don’t think London suited her very much & the sooner she can get that farm job the better, I say – Must take some arranging I should imagine

Dick & Topher have’nt got much time these days to write at all I should’nt think – the papers say the cavalry are incessantly on the move- how pleased they all must be to get on their horses again.

Nothing much in the way of news up here. I’ve started off the rehearsals for our new show – so most of my spare time is taken up with that now.

Measles again seems fairly rife – fashionable one might say-! I hear Jane’s pal – Ned McCulloch has got it now – sickening for him – what with one leg & measles.

Vile weather we are having at present- much colder than I’ve known it before up here. You seem to have had quite a week end last time-

Will you tell Oldfield to send me ½ dozen pairs of those ribbed socks – like the pair Ruth gave me for Xmas – she knows the kind – blue or black – I don’t mind which- also some more of those cotton gloves from Timothy Whites.  I enclose 2s/6d – I think they are 4d or 6d a pair – the short ones- not gauntlets-

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



Just remembered – have you found out how Gordon Campbell got his V.C. D.S.O. & promotion etc. I asked you last time. I happened to say I knew him quite well & our Captain said “oh well you can easily find out – I want to know”-

Leave a comment

Posted by on 28 March, '17 in About


21 March 1917 – Paul to Gertrude

c/o G.P.O.

21st Wednesday.


My dear Mother- Very many thanks for your letter. Yes. I heard about Jim & his ship being mined from Nance – How awful; really one would have thought they are safe enough out there. Oh but I am glad he is safe, and all his belongings too. A good thing to hear he was safe first – before hearing anything about the outrage – saves so much anxiety does’nt it.

Nance says she does’nt know what to say about how kind & sweet you have been to her last week end – she seems to have had a rotten cold – and a throat much the same as mine and Dreda’s. She seems much better now – and thank you so awfully Mother for looking after & taking care of her. She more than loves being at Delaford-

So I hear Ben is’nt going farming to start with the others – Nance seemed to have some doubt too about going – because she thought she would’nt be able to come & see me – if there was a chance the same as when I first met her – but she says now she is definitely determined to go – for which I am ever so pleased.

The world’s coldest day to-day -plenty of sun really- but consistent snow blizzards- & tons of wind.

I should imagine Ted is vastly pleased about going to Mesopotamia – I feel so sorry for them & their mails – when they have a huge change like that. Dick & Topher I expect are having a run for their money too on their horses at last. Should you say an exciting week’s news! Marvellous is’n it!

I hear Jane has been asked up to stay in Scotland with a great friend of mine to whom I introduced her when I was on leave – one McCulloch by name – his brother is in this ship and I know all the family. Priceless people they are & they are cousins of that fellow Stewart- you may remember his name – he was in the Gloucester with me & then he went down in the Hampshire. Dreda knows about him. I know his people too – so I am well in with the whole lot of them really. So if Jane asks you anything about going – I can absolutely vouch for her. Ned McCulloch – my pal wrote to me & asked if he could have her up there to stay – when he went home- He’s getting a new leg at present – poor fellow.

That Horlicks is lovely

Must end now – My bestest love to you all-

Your ever loving son


Jim was on the Tyndareus which had struck a mine off Cape Agulhas, South Africa, on the 6th of February.

Leave a comment

Posted by on 21 March, '17 in About


16 March 1917 – Paul to Gertrude

c/o G.P.O.

Friday 15th.
[Paul got the date wrong]


My dear Mother – I never got another chance yesterday to write to you – I had a lovely time ashore – really it was a topping day – spent most of the time turfing a new golf green we are making. We had a mess dinner in the evening – dined several of the Gun Room – also we had the “Somme Films” – excellent I thought but rather sordid in parts.

Of course re this farm idea of the girls – I must say – there is that to think about – re their good jobs when they come back in September-, but I should think in their cases – they would probably be taken back again – especially Dreda & Marjorie where they are known – Ben I’m sure could get a job similar to her present one if she wanted it – & Lance’s is’nt a paid job you see; so on the whole I don’t think they ought really to lose by it.

The thing is that I should’nt like Ben & Dreda to get too far away from you – you ought really to have someone with you at home; Jane wrote to me yesterday & said she was going to make her job into a daily one & so be with you in the evenings.

I see Gordon Campbell is excelling himself – really excellent work he’s done though we know very little about why he was promoted – D.S.O. & a V.C. We shall probably hear soon though. High excitement at Hillier House I should imagine. If you hear anything – why etc – do let me know will you – I saw Digby for about ½ a minute ashore yesterday – very Digby-ish as usual.

Rather – black cats are fearfully lucky they say – so don’t lose him now.

They seem to have had a great week end at No. 10  Elsworthy. James & Marjorie were there as well.

I had a long letter from Mrs Conway-G – old C.G. is not so bad apparently as was first thought – & must have a month’s complete rest. Very surprised about my engagement.

Bestest love to you all-

from your ever loving son


Paul had recently got engaged to Nancy Swan, whose aunt by marriage was Mrs Conway-Gordon. At this distance of time, it is impossible to know if “Marjorie” was Nancy’s sister. Nancy’s father was Colonel Charles Arthur Swan C.M.G., M.A., J.P., and her mother was Ethel, only daughter of Colonel F.I. Conway-Gordon. Her brother was brother was Major Charles Francis Trollope Swan MC who was born in 1887 and her sister Marjorie was born in 1886.

His writings

My Mystery Ships online

Pencil sketch of Gordon

Hillier House now flats for the elderly

Leave a comment

Posted by on 16 March, '17 in About


15 March 1917 – Paul to Gertrude

c/o G.P.O.

Thursday. 15th


Dearest Mother-

Just a hurried line to thank you for your letter & for the Horlicks – lovely it is – I am writing again to you – but I have’nt had time today yet- & I must go ashore as it’s such a ripping day & I shall miss the mail if I wait till I come off-

My bestest love to you all

from your ever loving son



Leave a comment

Posted by on 15 March, '17 in About