Author Archives: Ted Berryman

27 April 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

S.S. “Suevic”.

April 27 1919


Dear Mother

Just a line to say we are approaching Suez & they tell us we can post letters on board today & they will get home a day or two before us. At present we have no idea when or where we disembark. It may be either Plymouth, Southampton or London. In any case I shall go to London straight, to meet Nell & do some shopping. As far as one can see, we shall get home about 12th May, & more than that I can’t tell you.

I will try & wire if we land at Plymouth or Southampton, & tell you what time I arrive in London: but I don’t think it’s much good looking so far ahead, so all I can advise you to do is to look out for news of me about 12th May. I may possibly get home before this letter. We are going all round by sea, not overland. I’m rather glad, as it makes very little difference really & is much more comfortable. My present idea is to stop in town a day or two, then down to Delaford, & then on to Broadground-

A good steady old boat this. You remember her don’t you; she ran aground on the Lizard some years ago, & was cut in half, & had a new front half built on to her. A fine big boat, 12,000 tons, & very steady. I’m feeling much fitter already & I’m told I’m looking very well indeed. Rather a hot voyage so far, but an almost English day today.

I’ll cable Nell from Port Said & keep you informed as much as I can : but it seems you can’t send wireless off this boat in the Channel, it’s a prohibited area or something. Anyhow I hope to be in England round about 12th May, & after all, that’s good enough is’nt it!

Best love to all

yr loving son


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Posted by on 27 April, '19 in About


13 April 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

April 13/19.                 Bombay.


Dear Mother

Very many thanks for your letter dated Feb 18th, which I got a few days ago- the last mail I got. Mails up to March 20th have arrived in the country; tho’ I tried to stop mine still it seems they must have gone on to M.E.F., as I’ve had none later than this letter of yours of Feb 18. Jim had just arrived home & there were great goings on. It’s very nice of him to say nice things about me: it was so ripping to meet him in Mesopotamia & have some good old talk & hoots with him: he is one of the best & I wish I could see more of him.

Such hot stuffy weather here. Another man here & I took 2 V.A.D’s for a joy ride in a car on Thursday to a place called Santa Cruz, about 15 miles out. A lovely bay with gorgeous sands & cocoa nut palms all along the edge of the shore. I think they enjoyed it: poor dears they have to slave away in this rotten climate & they like going out, though of course it’s strictly forbidden to go out with patients! One day last week we took these same two out for a sail to an island about 4 miles off, & if you please got sort of becalmed on the way home! & finally landed at 10pm & reached hospital 10.30! Awful scandal is’nt it & we were fearfully ragged when we got back. As we have to be in by 8 o’clock, it was really very naughty of us: however, no one seemed to mind. They went home yesterday as their time is up.

There have been various riots in Bombay lately & a few broken heads; but the more serious trouble is up country, in the Punjab, where some white people have been murdered. But I don’t think it will spread, as there are plenty of troops out here.

You wrote when Nell was with you; I’m awfully glad she was there such a nice long time. I suppose my tit-bits of news is about my coming home. I am trying (with poor success!) not to show any wild excitement. I cabled to Nell yesterday, & she will have told you. By the way I had a cable from you, asking how I was. Ever so many thanks for it, I did’nt cable back, as by then you would have got my letter saying I was allright. I’m much fitter, but a nice rest & change will do a lot of good.

I can’t imagine I’m really coming home. I don’t know when I sail, sometime this week, but I should be home about the middle of May sometime. I don’t see what I can do except just arrive home, do you! I mean I can really make no arrangements about the wedding. I suppose a rough scheme will have been outlined by the time I arrive home. No mail is leaving till the 19th from here, so this will arrive just before I do, I expect, so taking things all round, I’ll be home to discuss matters almost as soon as a letter can arrive, & one gets very little forrader in a letter. I suggest June for the wedding. I’m not sure whether 4 months include the voyage home & out again; I rather think it means 4 months in England, excluding the voyages. But in any case, if it included a month’s voyage either way, I should still get 2 months at home which is more than I ever expected.

Anyway I’m most awfully happy & excited & I’ll be seeing you in no time now.

Best love to all

yr loving son


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Posted by on 13 April, '19 in About


5 April 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

April 5/19                     Bombay

Dear Mother

No mail in yet, except a few papers of about Feb 20th which arrived last night- They had been up to M.E.F, & returned here, so I may get some letters by tonight’s post-

It’s rather warm here, in spite of sea breezes: a very sticky muggy atmosphere which I simply hate & it makes you feel very limp & unenergetic. 45 patients sailed for home this morning in the Syria, so the hospital is quite empty now, only about 40 or so left, but I expect we shall get some more in every day. Otherwise there’s no news, absolutely none. And there’s very little to do here really so the time passes none too quickly. I thought I’d be up before a medical board yesterday, but I did’nt go, so I hope to get one on Monday & see what they decide to do with me.

I had a line from Topher this morning, he seems to think he’ll be kept on for some time yet- And he wants to start farming, either at home or E. Africa. I should think the latter would suit him best. His letter was marked “E.E.F aerial post” so I suppose it came by Aeroplane – they are expecting a certain amount of “passive resistance” here tomorrow, the same sort of thing they have been having in Delhi lately- D.B [Drake-Brockman?] by the way is commanding the Delhi Brigade, it’s an awful shame giving that man anything except the boot!

All those lovely pictures of the navy & the “Vindictive” which were on view in London sometime ago are on view here now, I went to see them and really I thought they were marvellous, & so fearfully interesting. I have met a man here who paints portraits & exhibits them & other pictures at the Academy: his name is W.E. Gladstone Solomon, so look out for his pictures in this year’s Academy- one is called “The Passing” – a picture of a man being shot while digging trenches, an allegorical picture: & another a portrait of “Joan Heffer”: & we have arranged to meet when I come home: I must bring him down to Delaford someday. It seems he has often exhibited at the Academy & won the Gold medal there once, so he must be some good as a painter.

Topher tells me Jim got home: wish I could get some letters: my last were dated Feb 13th

Best love to all

yr loving son


I went to the zoo here a day or 2 ago: quite a good show with some really lovely lions & tigers who seemed to be quite enjoying life.

If the D-B is Drake-Brockman, who was Ted’s commanding officer in France, then this is the only example in the letters that I can think of where Ted is waspish about anyone; we expect this kind of remark from Paul or Richard, but not from diplomatic, patient Ted. It’s not otherwise surprising; Drake-Brockman was a very different kind of soldier from Ted, and his own account of his time in France in 1914-1917 shows a fussy officer, more concerned about drills, discipline and his own status than the effectiveness or morale of his officers and men.

His father

Jeanne (exh. 1903-1940) sold for £2,750

The Bombay Revival of Indian Art (no date)

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Posted by on 5 April, '19 in About


28 March 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

Colaba War Hosp


28th March 19


Dear Mother

I posted a letter to you at Karachi I think, or was it here I wonder? Anyhow we arrived here on the 24th & are now installed in this hospital. Colaba is a sort of suburb of Bombay, about 4 miles out, on a tongue of land jutting out into the sea, so it gets a good breeze from both sides.

The hospital was formerly the ordinary military hospital for troops in the Bombay area, & of course during the war has always been full: though now it is fairly empty. There are about 50 of us here, & I know several of the other patients. We are very comfortable, but this is a much stricter hospital than any of the others I have been in & very military altogether! I think I am much the same as I was, nothing definitely wrong you know, but just run down & a bit war-worn. I don’t know what they will do to me, but some day I shall come up before a board and they will decide. It’s very hot & steamy here, just the sort of weather I loathe! So I hope they won’t keep me long.

We are allowed out into Bombay, & I have been in twice: Yesterday I went to tea with the Australian Sisters of the “Varela”, in their shore quarters down at the docks, very nice- But the doctors here say I am not to take too much walking exercise, which seems rather silly, but I suppose they know best. However there are lots of taxis to be had so that’s all right. I have been to one or two clubs in Bombay & met heaps of fellows I know,  mostly on their way home on leave or demobilisation.

There was a mail in yesterday, & I have tried to stop my letters going on to M.E.F. so perhaps I may get some today. I told you, I think, that I had’nt cabled, as really private cables are not worth the money, they take I’m told as long as a letter, as there is so much government work to be got through, & a great many of the lines are interrupted. I wonder if they’ve informed you officially of my admission to hospital & if so I hope they have not sent any very alarming wires.

Jellicoe’s ship, the New Zealand, is here just at present, & he himself came back from a trip up-country yesterday. They go to Karachi today & then come back here again. I must try & get aboard for a look round if I’m still here. People are simply flocking home to England, & every ship is full of women & children I believe and passage rates are exorbitant, though I think they are reducing them a bit now- I am sending you a ‘Basrah Times’ (Topher & Dick seem to be sending you Egyptian Gazettes so I thought I would too!) but this one has the extra interest of having a word to say about us at Ramadi, so I thought you might like it for your book-

Is’nt this wretched paper, it’s like writing on blotting paper. Nell writes long letters from Delaford, & obviously enjoyed herself tremendously. I wonder if Jim & Topher have arrived home yet; & Murray too. Despite labour troubles & strikes & difficulties of travel the one word ‘home’ seems to be on everyone’s lips!  What ever disillusionment- if any- awaits them there, the fact remains that nearly everyone wants to go there.

Being in hospital certainly has its advantages, one meets so many fellows from all sorts of odd corners. I have had most awfully interesting talks with a man who has been buying mules in China most of the war, being unfit for service owing to a jab in the tummy from a Prussian lance at the Marne in ’14: & while in China he was hung by some brigands but cut down just in time when they searched his pockets & found an Imperial passport or something which frightened them out of their lives. Fellows from Persia, where all sorts of things have been going on that have never reached the papers: & one man from there who was alone in a fort miles from anywhere with a man called Cumming, who shared a room with me at Sandhurst. He died of influenza there, poor chap, & this other fellow tells me he burnt his body & brought the ashes back 150 miles for burial, as the Persians would have desecrated any grave in those wild parts.

In fact you can get thrilling stories almost every 5 minutes of the day – and I don’t think they are liars, as they only speak under compulsion & with much questioning. There is one Gardner too here, who was on the ‘Persia’ with me; I have met nearly all of the officer survivors now in my wanderings, all except 2 in fact-

I must write to Ben & Nell sometime today. I am going out to tea at the Yacht Club this afternoon, it’s the star-turn club of Bombay & all the best people belong to it. One day I must overhaul my Kit which I left at Cox’s when I first went to Mesopotamia. I don’t suppose 2 years in this damp Bombay heat has done it any good.

Best love to all

yr loving son


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Posted by on 28 March, '19 in About


23 March 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

S.S. Varela                    March 23/19       Sunday


Dear Mother

We reach Bombay tomorrow, & go into hospital at Colába, a sort of suburb as it were of Bombay. There, I’m told, I come before a medical board, who decide what’s to be done with me- We left Basra last Monday, & reached Bushire in the Persian Gulf next morning, & stayed there all day, embarking patients & supplying the force there with a barge load – 600 tons – of fresh water: as there is no fresh water at Bushire & their own condensing plant was temporarily broken down (awful writing, but the ship is rolling & very shaky!) We reached Karachi yesterday, & stayed there a few hours. I met Nepean, of the 5th Gurkhas, you know, he knows Miss Loder(?) Ruth’s friend & was nursed by her I fancy in London- His regiment was disembarking on return from Mesopotamia.

We left again at midday & are now rolling about on the high seas again. I always associate Karachi with our embarkation there in Sept 1914, when it was fearfully hot, & Ben was there too, in the “Dilwara”; I don’t think she will ever forget it! It’s been quite a nice voyage, not too rough, & I think it’s done me good, though I don’t feel quite up to form yet.

An Indian patient fell over board today, so we had a little excitement. He was very difficult to see – such a tiny speck in a huge expanse of water – but we turned round at once & went back on our tracks, lowered a boat & he was back on board 20 minutes after falling in, really quite a smart piece of work. He swam vigorously all the time – he was in the water about ¼ hour I suppose- & missed the lifebuoy which was thrown to him; but seems none the worse now. Hardly the thing to do is it, to fall overboard if you’re being invalided to India! It’s the first time I’ve known it happen on a voyage, & it was quite exciting while it lasted-

I’ll post this at Bombay tomorrow. But I’m afraid it’s missed the mail, if it still goes out on Saturday as it used to. I’ll have to use stamps again now! I’ll write again as soon as I know my fate

Best love to all             yr loving son



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Posted by on 23 March, '19 in About


16 March 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

March 16/19


Dear Mother

Very many thanks for a letter from you today dated 12th Feb, only just a month ago; splendid is’nt it. I also had 5 letters from Nell, all written while the dear child was staying at Delaford. How awfully good to her you all were, & ever so many thanks for it all. She thoroughly enjoyed herself & loved being with you – and she appreciated so tremendously the little things you gave her, that purple & white shawl, & that stool with “Teddie” on it (in daisies is’nt it?) I know it so well. She writes ripping letters about her visit, & let’s hope I’ll be there next time.

How cold you have been, frost an’ all, and skating. Here it has been, as I’ve told you I expect, very mild all the winter. It is lovely just now, & just perfect on the banks of the river here. The orange blossom is just coming out & the air is quite heavy with the smell of it. They got a lovely crop of oranges here, & we have lovely home-made marmalade for breakfast every day. You can see all the trees in front of the building in this photograph-

Mr Robbins been to see you! Talk about raking up the past! And now you mention Michael I remember him being born & called after the church was’nt he? or rather after the Saint, via the church, would probably be more accurate. I wonder if he’s had any more news of him.

So you’ve got on to Jim at last, & you say you think he might have been home in a fortnight after writing your letter. Perhaps by this time he has come & gone again. It seems I’ll be the last to get home, if Topher gets home in April- Dick & I came out here more or less the same time in ’15 did’nt we, but he’s been back since of course, so I think it’s really time I came back for a bit-

Yes, England seems a sorry place at the moment, strikes an’ all, & I’m sure we never get one quarter of the news in the papers. One hears stories of street fighting, complete with casualties, in Glasgow, & various other disturbances everywhere. But let’s hope it’s only the work of a few scatterbrained agitators, & that soon the British workman – a good fellow at heart, I firmly believe, but easily led by attractive impossibilities & a glib tongue- will settle down to his normal life. I hope too he gets better housing & possibly shorter hours.

The relief from war-strain must be so great, that the masses – with their lesser education and new-found pocket money – naturally suffer from a strong reaction, & I don’t think there’s any fear of Bolshevism at home.  I may be quite wrong, as one gets so out of touch with things, & the papers hide the truth so & serve up strike pills in such liberal helpings of jam that it’s very hard to arrive at the real truth. Whatever it is, & however long it lasts, it must indeed be very inconvenient for you all-

How you made me laugh about Nell’s ration book being left at Tyler’s! She’s always leaving things about, remember she lost a bag in a train or taxi one day in London with me! I must come home & look after her, I can see that-

Sorry to hear old Drew has got so old. He’s certainly not spared himself in the war, & he’s had a good many anxieties I expect, so I’m afraid it’s inevitable that he should have aged a bit.

It’s lovely here on the river front, sitting in the shade of the orange trees, with lovely flowers all round, sweet peas, cornflowers, & great tall hollyhocks. And we can watch the big ships go by, coming up the river empty & going down a day or two later with cheering crowds of demobilized Tommies aboard. And the river is full of fussy little motor-boats too, containing joy-riders mostly I fancy but they make the scene a lively one.

Well, I start for India tomorrow, in the hospital ship VARELA- We get to Bombay in about 6 days I think, & then go into hospital there, & there we are “boarded” & they decide what to do with us, sick-leave, or back to duty, or whatever it is. I am, I hope, saying goodbye to Mesopotamia, at anyrate for the summer. Being invalided out of the country means, I suppose, that I lose my job. I’m sorry in a way, but it is made easier by the fact that the whole brigade is now – all the regiments whom we fought with in that last show have gone back to India, & all my friends have left.

And on the whole I want to get back to the regiment. I think I’ve been long enough away. I should like to get home for a bit this summer, & then bring Nell out to Lansdowne to a nice peaceful existence after the strenuous life of the last few years- But “Man proposes” etc, & I’m too old a plaything of Fate to make anything in the way of elaborate plans as far ahead as this.

So don’t expect a letter from me yet awhile, as these moves always interfere with one’s posts a bit. Write in future c/o Cox Bombay. I expect you will get a W.O. or I.O. wire saying I’ve been invalided; I’m not cabling as it takes nearly as long as a letter for a cable to reach home. I’m feeling alright, but not very strong, but am much better all round & only want a good rest to put me right.  I simply could’nt stand another hot weather here. There goes the tea gong – it’s like boardship life here, we live from meal to meal!

Best love to all

yr loving son



Goodbye Mesopotamia!!

Varela (half-way down)

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Posted by on 16 March, '19 in About


3 March 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

March 12/19

Beit Nama



Dear Mother

Very many thanks for 2 letters from you which I got yesterday, dated 29th Jan & 5th Feb- We got 2 mails quite close together, & another is expected shortly I think. I had heaps of letters from Nell, & lots of papers from you, for all of which many thanks.

I arrived here about 5 days ago- It is an officers’ hospital and convalescent home & there is room for 200 officers here, & it was generally pretty full when a large force was maintained out here, but now there are only about 30 of us here. It is a large house about 5 miles South of Basra, & is most awfully comfortable. Nice big rooms & wards, nice sisters -and very pretty! – & nice doctors. I am in the hands of a man called Felling, a consulting physician in peacetime with a house in Harley St. A Barts man who knew Uncle Will very well- However he can make nothing much of my case, bar that I am unfit to serve out here another hot weather. He thinks I’m worn out & have been too long at it without leave.

I am therefore being invalided to India in a day or two. They won’t send me home from here, as I am Indian Army, & I have to go to India- Is’nt it sickening, as I don’t know what will happen now & my chance of leave home seems to be dwindling away once more. I have’nt had a day off for 3 years & it’s rather a blow to have to come to hospital & be invalided.

But if I stayed here in my present condition it would do me no good, I should only become a worse – possibly a permanent – crock, as I am sure to get touched up with dysentery again- I don’t feel it’s my duty to you or Nell – now that the war’s over – to run unnecessary risks of health now that what one may call “the Imperial need to stick it” is not so strong: I feel my duty is to myself & my relations now and I should only ‘go sick’ sooner or later if I stayed on out here, & so become useless to the Empire & a nuisance to everyone else.

That is how I have sized up things, & my general & all my friends & the doctors too tell me it’s no good staying on if it means running a risk of getting really ill; in fact they tell me it’s not right that I should, now. So I have thrown myself on the mercy of the doctors, & they are sending me to India. What happened there I don’t know, nor can I find out. Whether I shall be able to get home from there or not I can’t possibly say- I have by no means lost hope, but the uncertainty is rather trying-

I am feeling much better now, & the aches & pains have gone & I’ve had no more fever. But I am rather a crock still & not up to anything very strenuous. Today I am going in to Basra by launch & shall have tea with Mrs Macfarlane, you remember, the Matron at Amara who was so kind to me in ’17, & to whom you very kindly wrote & sent some Red X things. She has a job as Matron in a hospital in Basra now, so I must try & see her if I can- I expect I shall sail for India in a day or two. I’m not sending any cables at present, but shall wait till I get there & see what happens. My letters are all being stopped at the base, so you can stick to the same address, unless before then I cable any instructions – or 2nd thoughts though, as I am definitely going to India, perhaps Cox & Co is best, so will you do that, in default of other instructions?

So that’s that, & I suppose I have to chuck my job – but one must give up something. I’m sorry in a way, though I think I’ve had long enough away from the rgt & I feel I want to get back. The wrench is not very great, leaving the Bde I mean, as all the old regiments have gone & it is entirely new altogether. I lose pay of course- but… que faire?

Your letter of Jan 29 was a lovely long one & very many thanks for it. What a tremendous lot of trouble you’ve had to find Jim! But you seem to have run him to earth at Salonika at last, & I expect he’s home by now, or at anyrate on his way. (The “Sicilia” has just gone by with 21 lucky ones invalided home from here: they only embarked this morning)

So glad you have retrieved my gold watch at last. I wonder if you managed to get a leather travelling case for it & gave it to Nell? I think I asked you to do this in one of my letters. It sounds a lovely one. I see, by the way it’s a hunter, so it won’t do for a stand-on-the-table one will it after all. But it will do very nice for evening dress if it is a nice thin one as you say. Indeed you had a lot of daughters-in-law staying with you at the time. Nell writes very cheery letters of her visit to Delaford, I am so awfully glad she has been again & she loves being there. I’m so glad she is fit & well, & you all tell me how pretty she is- “It appears” she’s much thinner than she was, but that’s just her growing up I suppose, & she seems very fit & well, so I’m not alarmed-

England seems in a bad way over strikes and things. Really the times are out of joint & I’m thinking India will be quite attractive by compariason for the next 3 or 4 years- It takes such a lot to change the East or to have the slightest effect on age-long customs & traditions, that even a war like this has hardly touched India or its ways & means-

There is a lovely garden here, just along the river front & full of hollyhocks cornflowers & sweetpeas, lovely they are just now. And then there are a whole heap of orange trees, with the orange blossom just coming out, & soon they will be thick with lovely yellow fruit, a wonderful sight. We have lovely home-made marmalade here, made from these oranges. Patients like me who are up and about are roped in every morning to help sisters pick flowers for the wards-

Yes, I got that parcel of good things from Lazenby’s, years ago, & I know I wrote and told you, but perhaps the letter was lost. Anyhow they were awfully good & tremendously appreciated in the mess, & thanks most awfully for them- Rather curious in your letter of Feb 5 you say you are glad I’m so fit, “and mind you keep so” you add. Very sorry, but I’m afraid I failed to carry out your instructions. I’m much fitter than I was when I first came into hospital, but I think a week’s work would bowl me over again. They have not yet managed to give a definite name to my fever!

How I laughed at Dick’s collection of beasts he took to Assam with him! No one but he would dream of doing such a thing & how he explained to everyone in the train I can’t imagine! How he dare! as we used to say. A “Minah” (Rhymes with liner) is a small bird about the size of a starling, & they can be trained to talk just like parrots & are generally supposed to be more amusing-

How I hate all the uncertainty- I mean about being able to get home this year. It’s no good denying it, & I’ve simply got to face facts it is uncertain whether I’ll be able to manage now. Poor old Nell, I am frightfully anxious about it all, & she’s such a dear & so splendidly patient. However it’s good to be alive and well, there’s always that to put in the balance on the other side, & someday things will straighten out I suppose-

Best love to all

Yr loving son


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Posted by on 3 March, '19 in About


28 February 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

Feb 28/19

Dear Mother

The mail of Jan 23 has arrived, but mine has of course gone to 34th Bde, and as they are en route for Amara (they may have arrived there yesterday) I don’t suppose I shall get mine for a day or two. By the way don’t change my address, as heaps of things may have happened by the time you get this; everything will be forwarded on to me from the Bde. A warm sultry day today: yesterday it poured with rain & the whole place became a sea of mud. My general came to see me yesterday & was very nice and kind.

They are sending me down to a convalescent place at BAIT NAMA about 5 miles below Basra. They don’t quite know what to make of me here, beyond the fact that I am rather run down & this recurring fever has left me rather a worm, though I have had none since being in hospital here. They seem to think a river trip may do me good & a little rest down there. In my present rather limp state it would’nt be advisable to go back to work immediately. My general strongly advised me to go & says I’m not to hurry back. I’m feeling really very strong & well today, but I have heads & aches & pains at times which is rather foolish of me-

I’m scribbling this line to you as I don’t know when I’ll be able to write again. The journey down stream in a paddle ambulance steamer will probably take 3 days or so, & by then the mail may have gone-

Sorry for such a dull letter

Best love to all

yr loving son


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Posted by on 28 February, '19 in About


21 February 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

Feb 21/19

Dear Mother

I’ve got ever so many letters from you all of a sudden: the big 3 weeks mail arrived on the 17th, & yesterday another mail turned up with letters up to 15 Jan, so they are only taking just over a month to reach us now. By the first one I got 4 letters from you dated 17th & 28th Dec & 1st & 7th Jan; & yesterday I got one from you of 15th Jan- splendid is’nt it. Very many thanks for this fine batch of letters which I will more or less try & deal with now.

I’ve got heaps of papers too, so have lots to read now- I also had letters from Dreda (2) & Jane, & heaps from Nell, tho’ they have’nt all arrived yet, there are still 2 or 3 to come; & I heard from ‘Old Drew’ (I wrote to him some time ago) & a Christmas card from Paul & Nance. What splendid news about the expected infant; I’m most awfully pleased, & I’m sure it’s quite time you were a grandmother-

I am still in hospital. Last Monday & Tuesday, as usual, for the 5th time running, I went under, but strange to say I had no fever this time, only all the accompanying symptoms, aches & pains & generally feeling rotten all over. So I was’nt much good for diagnosis, they tested my blood & examined it under a microscope, but could find no trace of malaria or anything. So they have diagnosed it at present as ‘relapsing fever’ whatever that may be, & they kept me in bed.

Yesterday I got up & dressed & went for a drive & today I have been out in a launch. As usual I feel quite fit now & very cheery, though rather limp. They say I am run down & anaemic, so are giving me tonics & feeding me up on all sorts of good things. I must say I just loved lying in bed doing nothing, & just loafing, which I suppose shows I want a day or two off, as generally lying in bed is so very boring.

I have several visitors, including Genl Stewart (he is in the rgt: & I know him well of course) he is chief of the staff out here now, & he took me out yesterday in his car & today in his launch. Then Fred Lumb flew down from Mosul to Tekrit in a ‘plane to see me, and finding I had come on here, he came on as well. Was’nt it ripping of him; & this morning he flew back to Mosul, about 200 miles: awful fun for him- I think they will keep me here over next Monday & Tuesday, then if nothing happens they will get rid of me as an encumbrance-

We had very cold weather up to two days ago, & now it’s lovely again, nice sunny days and cold nights- It’s lovely sitting in the sun in the verandah, almost too hot sometimes. Was’nt it splendid Nell & her sisters sweeping the board at the fancy dress dance! & the judges not knowing they were giving the prizes to 3 sisters! I bet old Nell looked ripping in her kit- I’m glad you liked the photograph she sent you. Is it the one of her & Sandy? I think that’s the sweetest picture. But you say something about her hair being done differently, back off her forehead, so I’m thinking it must be the other one of her, not so good but still very very nice. I hope to hear of her going to or being at or having been to Delaford in a mail or two; she said you had asked her & she had promised to go-

The photograph of "Nell and Sandy"? - it's certainly Nell

The photograph of “Nell and Sandy”? – it’s certainly Nell

Many thanks for the cuttings about flying. Truly there are undreamt of possibilities in front of us, & I think we must expect rapid developments as soon as the world settles down a bit & big commercial firms can give their attention to flying. I expect before the end of the year they will be carrying some of the mails at anyrate, to India & elsewhere. I wish I could manage to fly home. Stewart tells me he is going to!

As far as I know Jim was going to Salonika when he stopped with me on the way down to Basra. He seemed to think it was a graceful way of withdrawing from the 1/9th, where he had come in senior to several people who had been in the regiment since it was raised. Besides I think he thought it was nearer home. I had a line from him in Cairo, on 1st Jan, but by now I expect he’s reached his destination. I should think he would be able to get some leave alright from there, probably long before I do!

No I never found my kitbag, so all my lovely British warms & Burberrys & boots etc have gone west. I must have lost £15 – £20 worth of stuff at present rates. I suppose I could get some compensation from Government, but I’ve no doubt they would say it was my own fault & not due to any ‘exigencies of the Service’ & not lost on active operations, so my claims would be dismissed. So I’ve left the whole thing alone. You see I lost it on the way up to Tekrit when I was joining the 34th Bde: I had too much to go in the car, so I gave this bag & some more kit (which rolled up) to a pal in a rgt: which was shortly coming to Tekrit, & they lost it in their move, & that’s why I don’t think Government would compensate me. The colonel offered to, but of course I could’nt accept any from them, as I asked them as a favour merely- Anyhow it’s lost, & there it is, a nuisance but it can’t be helped-

What a krewst all this is about various letters going wrong. But it seems only a few have, as I always get Nell’s sooner or later, & I don’t think any of yours have gone astray. I hear you wrote to the I.O. about it, & it seems best to put in “Indian Inf Bde”, & I should always put “Mesopotamia” in full I think-

You seem to have had some nice Christmas presents, & Nell tells me she had some lovely ones too;  how ripping of you all to send her things. Ben seems to have sent her the bag of the season, & Nell is delighted: I’m sure I should never have thought of such a lovely present for her. So you’ve kept all our ‘war letters’: I suppose they will be interesting someday, in fact I’d very much like to see some of mine written in the early days of France, for I can’t remember a single thing, except that it was rather unpleasant at times, & that the Boche seemed to have about a hundred guns to each one of ours-

I’m so glad my letters about the show reached you safely. I’ve nearly forgotten all about that too! So I’m glad I recorded my impressions fairly soon after the event. I hardly dared hope they would ever get home, as I posted them in such weird places. I had no writing paper, none of us had. You see we had to abandon most of our kit & go on just a few odds and ends carried on a mule, as the roads (?) were impassable for wheeled traffic. And I had such heaps of maps & papers to carry that I had no room even for a tiny writing pad, so had to use official stuff. Yes, rather Jim was under fire all right and had a most strenuous time, very long marches & very little grub it seems. So sorry you’ve had to have so many teeth out, & I do hope you’re none the worse, & your new teeth are all right-

How ripping Paul being made a Lieut Commander. I’m sure he ought to have got it long ago as he’s been right through the war & in some good shows, Jutland an’ all. I would cable to him only they have sent round so many notices about delays in cables & asking people not to send unnecessary ones that one does’nt like to send too many. However I’ll write to him of course.

Jim told me he was writing to you about the D.S.O. (Was that what your cable of congratulations was about?) Surely you did’nt expect me to write & tell Jim; hardly my job I think! However, I’m so awfully glad for your sake & Nell’s sake, you seem so frightfully pleased all of you, so that bucks me up a lot, but I feel I don’t deserve it in the least, & my general must have lied very hard indeed when sending my name in! Genl Cobbe pinned a bit of ribbon on to me at that big parade I told you about.

Edmund Candler himself sent me a copy of his Spectator article: I was the “young officer” who took him over the battlefield and shewed him what happened.

Yes those little pictures of Mesopotamia are’nt bad are they. I sent some to Nell & Ben, but I’ve not heard whether they got ’em or not. So many things get lost in the post nowadays- You say you went over to Camberley a day or two before writing one letter. Is that old Mrs Hicks (Vera’s grandmother) who died the other day? I’m glad Miss Maude got my letter. Old Yeatman dead : how sad, very sudden was’nt it? We have meals at such odd times here, they chuck you out of bed at 6:30; breakfast 8 or so, lunch 12.30, tea 3.30, dinner 6.30. I’m having a tonic, iron & arsenic, & lots of good things to eat, so I’ll be out and about again in no time.

Best love to all

yr loving son


Fred Lumb has just been given a D.S.O for these last operations. I heard today. Write to his Mother do, & tell Ben. She will be awfully pleased

£15 – £20 in 1910 estimated equivalent to £750 – £100 in 2019.

Fred Lumb’s belongings at the IWM again

His medal collection sold for £3,300 in 2012

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Posted by on 21 February, '19 in About


16 February 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

Feb 16/19    Sunday              Baghdad


Dear Mother

No mail in yet, at least it’s in, but as I’ve been buzzed into hospital of course I’ve missed it. I got my 4th successive go of fever on Monday last, rather a bad one, so as soon as I got over it they put me in hospital, in fact the General practically ordered me to go. I tried to persuade them it was nonsense sending me, as I’d soon be all right, but it was of no avail. So I went into Tekrit hospital last Wednesday & came down here to No 25 General Hospital next day. Such a journey! We left Tekrit in a Red X train at midday & I arrived at the hospital at midnight! Bitterly cold, & no one expecting us!

There were only 2 of us for admission, but they only had one empty bed in the officers’ ward: so they popped the other bloke into that (he being on a stretcher) & they soon rigged up another bed for me & I slept sound all night – of course my fever had all gone, but they have kept me in bed more or less, though I’m allowed to sit up in the verandah in the daytime. In fact I’m a great big fraud, & unless I can raise another go of fever tomorrow – it’s Monday you see! I’m afraid they’ll be quite angry with me!

As a matter of fact it would be a good thing in many ways to have another go, as then they’d be able to diagnose me properly. At present they are not certain it’s malaria, it may be relapsing fever of some kind, so the sooner it’s cleared up the better. I had some rather ominous aches & pains last night, so I live in hopes!

Since Wednesday, when we had heavy rain & wind, the weather has been bitterly cold, though bright & sunny. By far the coldest we’ve had this winter. Today is just as cold only without the sun, so I don’t think they’ll let me sit up in the verandah today-

A very disturbed night last night in our ward. A delirious patient yelled & shouted all night, blaspheming & repeating the 10 Commandments by turns all night long. At times he was violent, & such of us as could get out of bed had to hold him down till some orderlies arrived. The poor night sister was miserable at seeing several of her precious patients out of bed in the middle of a bitter cold night! But we soon got back, but not to sleep as the poor man was yelling all night at the top of his voice, & is still talking nonsense this morning, though he is mercifully quiet about it all.

Everyone is very nice & kind here & I am treated very well indeed – of course lots of sisters have gone home, but some of the poor dears have to stay out here for the summer. There used to be a special officers’ hospital here, but they’ve closed that down as there are so (comparatively) few officers left in the country now, & they have just a ward or two set aside in the big hospital here for us. This is a real hospital building, it being previously a Turkish hospital; & very nice it is too, a great big four sided place with a large open courtyard in the middle with trees & flowers. It is just outside the city, on the river bank.

The wards are all great big rooms, with enormous doors & windows, very nice in the hot weather no doubt, but a trifle parky in the winter. But then of course people had no business to be so silly as to get ill this time of the year had they-

I hope this catches a mail: it should do so. The big mail Dec 19th-Jan 9th has arrived in Baghdad but of course I’ve missed it, & don’t know when I shall get it. The Bde moves down to Amara today, so I’ll rejoin them there. Don’t worry about me, I’m quite all right & am being very well looked after & will soon be out & about again. Best love to all

yr loving


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Posted by on 16 February, '19 in About