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Author Archives: Ted Berryman

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

Ted

 
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Posted by on 16 February, '19 in About

 

8 February 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

Feb 8/19

 

Dear Mother

No more mail in, & we have been over a fortnight without one now. But I see a notice in the Baghdad times today saying that mails dated London Dec 19th to Jan 9th (3 weeks) are due at Basra tomorrow, so they ought to be up here about the 14th or so. It’s very nice in many ways getting a big mail like that, but on the whole I prefer a little more regularity. I suppose Christmas traffic rather threw the officials out of their stride-

Such appalling weather these last few days, a howling southerly gale with heavy rain. Tents blown in all directions and general discomfort everywhere. My tent collapsed after a night of wind & rain, but I was fortunately able to patch it up & mend the broken poles before much damage was done. I dread to think what a mess there would have been if it had come down in the middle of the night-

By the way, I spent the first 3 days of this week in bed with a 3rd successive go of malaria- Curious is’nt it, it came on exactly the same time of day as the other two goes, & the same day too, ½ past 10 on Monday morning. I’m absolutely fit again now, & I don’t suppose I shall have any more, three times running is enough for anybody- It’s a nuisance getting interested in next Monday morning now! I could’nt go to our Brigade Sports last Wednesday on account of it; I was very sorry as I’m told they were a great success, & they are always rather fun & one meets people-

My general ought to have returned from his trip to Mosul 3 days ago but the weather has made the roads quite impassable for motors, feet deep in mud & every little hitherto dry ‘wadi’ is now a raging torrent, so I don’t know when he will be back-

They asked me if I was willing to stay on in the Army of occupation out here & after due consideration I said Yes- Heaven knows what they might do with one otherwise, back to India possibly or any old where, & after all I ought to be able to get leave from this country this summer, and sooner or later we shall all clear out of it I suppose.

I hear the regiment is now garrisoning Gallipoli town, & that several of the officers are home on 28 days’ leave. So I might have been if I had stayed with them! But my turn will come all right and on the whole I think I have scored by coming on this job-

Many thanks for a cable just saying “congratulations” which I got 2 or 3 days ago. If it’s for what I suppose it is, I can’t think why I have’nt heard from old Nell as I presume she has similar information to you. Anyhow your cable was dated 27th Jan & reached me on the 4th Feb when I was in bed with this rotten fever-

I hope to have some letters of yours to answer next week, & I do hope the weekly mails get going soon, a big batch of letters though gorgeous to get & read is rather a handful to deal with-

Must scribble a line to old Nell now. Best love to all

yr loving son

Ted

 

 

 
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Posted by on 8 February, '19 in About

 

2 February 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

Feb 2/19                       Tekrit

 

Dear Mother

Many thanks for a letter from you dated Dec 10th which I got on 25th Jan. There is supposed to be another mail on the way but there’s no sign of it yet.

I was silly enough to get another go of fever if you please last Monday! Just 7 days after the other. I was in bed 2 days but soon got all right & am quite fit again now. It’s becoming a perfect habit is’nt it, & I’m wondering if I’ll get it again tomorrow, as it’s Monday!

It was ripping & fine the beginning of this week, but these last 2 days have been wretched, wet & raw & cold, & this morning is very misty- exactly like England the climate is this time of year, & it does’nt suit a lot of old “Anglo-Indians”. I don’t mind it in the least, love it in fact, & bar the fever (which presumably would come whatever the weather) I feel awfully fit through it all. This is Sunday morning & I’m still in bed, the warmest place these days of wind & mist & rain. A mail goes out today so it seems a good opportunity to write-

I see there are going to be 5 Armies of occupation, one of them being the Home one! I should like to be that one- I suppose we are Middle East or India. They say they are going to give weekly bounties too, but whether that applies to the Indian army or not I don’t know. The world still seems very unsettled does’nt it, & there appears to be a good deal of nagging at the peace conference, though on the whole they seem to be getting a certain amount done.

I think I must have answered your 10th Dec letter last week: you mention poor Bob’s death in it, & I’m sure I wrote to you about that.

No news of any leave rules or arrangements yet: rumour says they will be very stingy, but I don’t believe it myself. They’ll have to be liberal with leave from a place like this with its infernal summer climate & everyone having been such a long way from their homes-

I had a line from Jim in Cairo on 1st Jan- I met some of the Middlesex the other day, & several pals of his in other regts: of his late Brigade, which is now in camp a mile or two from us (pity Jim is not still with them is’nt it) They were all asking about him & where he had got to and all that-

Really I must get up. The General is on a joy ride to Mosul; jolly weather for it! It poured all last night, so heaven knows what state the roads will be in today!

Best love to all

yr loving son

Ted

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupation_of_the_Rhineland

 
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Posted by on 2 February, '19 in About

 

25 January 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

Jan 25/19

 

Dear Mother

Very many thanks for a letter dated Dec 10th which arrived rather unexpectedly today. We were expecting a mail certainly, but it was reported to be up to 18th Dec, & also not due till the 27th, so this seems as if it must be an extra somehow.

Such wet weather we are having and cold and raw too. To-day started off fine enough, but we have one or two heavy showers this afternoon. On the whole though I think it looks brighter all round. I’ve just been eating some of those lovely nuts Rosamond sent: they really are extraordinarily good and have kept so fresh and nice.

No news, everything going on as usual. People leave every day en route home on demobilisation. Leave prospects are unknown, but rumoured to be not over-bright, for regular officers at anyrate: but I expect it’ll all come in good time. I see the peace conferences have begun in Paris & there seems to have been a good deal of preliminary squabbling in a good-natured sort of way. Let’s hope they all agree on the vital issues at anyrate.

You say you had letters from me up to 10th Oct, & Nell says she has them up to 20th. She has been very busy lately looking after invalids, & also making a new frock which sounds very beautiful from her descriptions. And she’s been going to dances and all sorts of frivolities- I’m so glad, & I’m sure it’s very good for her.

I don’t suppose you had many more letters from me after the 10th, as we left here so soon after that and I’m afraid a long time went by without my writing at all; but by now I hope you are getting letters regularly every week, & we shall be too I suppose, especially when we get to Amara. Yes, sickening losing all those warm things in that Kit bag was’nt it: no, I’ve never seen a sign of them since, but have managed to get along somehow, with my trench coat and your woolley and some judicious borrowing.

I wish I could get 10 days’ Xmas leave & then some demobilisation leave. But it’s harder to get leave from this country now- especially if you are a regular – than ever it seems- I had to retire to bed for 2 days at the beginning of the week with malaria, feeling an awful worm. I think that getting wet out duck shooting the previous week & then not changing must have brought it on. However they gave me quinine and told me to stay in bed and I soon got alright, but it was unpleasant while it lasted. Never shall I forget my first efforts in that line when you & Jinny & Bridget all sat up in turns with me! I did feel rotten.

I’m most awfully sorry to hear about poor Bob. Ben told me in one of her letters I got last mail & it came as a tremendous shock to me. Jim told me he and his wife had done so well, & both got mentions, & he was always a good chap with lots to say and a large heart. We shall miss him a lot-

I must scribble a line to Nell now: weekly mail in full swing. Though I don’t really pay much attention to them in these barbaric spots. I wish we could get a 4 day aeroplane mail started: would’nt it be lovely. Awful sad about Prince John is’nt it: he seems to have been ill for years & no one knew it, at least it was’nt public property-

Best love to all

Yr loving son

Ted

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Peace_Conference,_1919

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_John_of_the_United_Kingdom

 
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Posted by on 25 January, '19 in About

 

19 January 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

Jan 19/19

 

Dear Mother

Just a line to tell you that our brigade has been detailed as part of the “post-bellum” garrison of this country, which means we’re stuck out here for another year at least.

All the regiments of the brigade are changing, and going back to India as they have been out here so long, so we shall be the old 34th Bde in name only, & quite different in composition. We are going to be stationed in Amara, and move there sometime within the next month I suppose.

The next question is what’s going to happen to us? The general does’nt think he’ll stay on in command, because there must be any amount of generals who will want jobs when peace is signed & the army reduced. Then again there must be lots of fellows senior to me, on the staff, who’ll want staff jobs, so I don’t know that I am by any means certain to stay on; I may go back to India or rejoin the rgt- it’s impossible to say: but I don’t mind much what happens so long as they give me leave home. So, as far as one can see, I shall be out here for a year or so yet, but shall move heaven and earth to get leave to England during that time.

Demobilisation is going on fast, & officers & men are being sent off in large numbers every week. I fancy they want to get as many white troops as possible out of the country before the hot weather begins. Rather curious going back to Amara, is’nt it, though I expect it’s altered a good bit. I expect Bde Hd Qrs will be in a house on the river front, so we ought to be fairly comfortable-

Yesterday it poured with rain all day, and there was a gale of wind. And this morning I went along to breakfast & found the mess tent flat on the ground, blown down during the night. I dread to think of the state of it inside after all last night’s wind & rain! However they are putting it up again now, so I suppose we shall get breakfast shortly- This is supposed to catch India’s weekly homeward mail, but I don’t know if it will.

Best love to all   yr loving son      Ted

 
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Posted by on 19 January, '19 in About

 

16 January 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

Jan 16/19

Dear Mother

Very many thanks for 2 letters from you which I got on 13th; your letters were dated Nov 20 & 27- I’m so awfully sorry you succumbed to flu – so unlike you to “go sick”!- and I’m much releived to hear you got over it alright & that Ruth and the others were able to be at home to look after you- Really it is most alarming is’nt it, though I suppose it is getting less now. I told you we had it out here, & whole regiments of 800 or 900 men were reduced to 200 and under; and in these last operations 2 regiments of our bde had to be left behind on 2 occasions owing to flu- There were not many deaths, very few in fact, but for the time being those who got it were absolutely useless-

Eight of us had just had 2 days shooting: we camped about 15 miles upstream and had awful good fun. We did’nt do as well as we expected, but it was very cheery and a change from the rather dull routine of our life out here. We got a few duck, & got thoroughly wet in doing so- We had to wade a good deal, nearly waist deep, & old father Tigris is not by any means a hot bath at this time of year.

1 & 2 others came back at midday yesterday in a motor lorry, wet & cold, as we wanted to see the finals of a footer match. We had’nt time to change when we got back, so stood & got colder still watching the match. Enthusiasm at all! However a gorgeous hot bath in the evening put a different complexion on things & I’m none the worse today. It is a raw cloudy day today, but the 2 days we were out were lovely and sunny, though the sun is not by any means too hot & you can wear a small hat all day, no need for a helmet.

My orderly has just this very minute brought me a lovely English mail, with a line from you postmarked 2nd Dec- But I think I’d better get on with this for the present- I see great long accounts of Gordon Campbell’s doings in the V.C lists in one of my last mail’s “weekyl Times”. Truly he is a marvellous man & deserves his V.C. many times over. I can’t think why he ever came through alive! Poor Mr Kirwan seems to have been very seedy, I hope he’s all right again now. Yes rather I remember Emily Grant though I should’nt know here in the street I’m sure! But I do know who you mean-

Your letter of Nov 25 enclosed Mrs Lumb’s letter. Really old Fred Lumb lays it on a bit thick always: still I think it was very nice of Mrs Lumb to write. You remember I went and stayed with them in Norfolk in 1910 when I was home? I am trying to go & stay with Fred Lumb in Mosul, but the rgt: is away strafing Arabs or Kurds I believe, so I’m not going just at present- Jane’s lucky getting Murray home for a spell.

I can see Nell and me coming in a good last in the marriage stakes! I’ve just read your letter which arrived just now, & I see you rag me about getting the wind up about Nell & my wedding & the long wait. It’s not exactly that, I know she’s young and all that, & there’s lots of time- but still I should like to get married all the same, & I certainly hope this year will find me coming home some old time. Shes a dear child Nell, & she’s waited very bravely & patiently & I must get home somehow or other this year, even if I have to desert!

I hope old Ben is alright after her operation. James must be relieved too to get quit of his work & he’ll be able to start his bar work again now I s’pose- They seem to have got a very comfy little flat in Chelsea, & the next thing is a house in the country near London I imagine-

Yes, I suppose aeroplanes will be buzzing the mails out to India shortly now, & trips to Paris & the continent will be quite common. Expensive at present, but all these amusements are. You can hardly call motoring a cheap amusement & that’s been going some years. It will take many many years I’m afraid before the good old 3rd Class railway carriage loses its customers.

So glad Jane saw Reggie Nation. I was expecting a line from her this mail but I see none in my letters. So I s’pose there is’nt one. I wonder how his wound is. I hear from his sister occasionally.

Hope you’ve got my letters about our show out here. I’m afraid there was a big gap in October, but I simply had’nt a minute to write,  nor anywhere to post if I had written. Best love to all

yr loving son

Ted

I got a p.c. from Ruth today. Please thank her very much.


This of course is the “Spanish ‘Flu” pandemic which ended up killing more people than were killed as combatants during the war itself. We tend to know about our soldier ancestors, but not what killed those who died in their beds, so it was only a few years ago that I discovered it was the Spanish Flu that killed my other grandfather in 1919.

 
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Posted by on 16 January, '19 in About

 

12 Jan 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

Jan 12/19

 

Dear Mother

We were expecting a mail today but it has’nt turned up after all. Letters up to Dec 4th are due by it & 3 days later letters up to Dec 18, so we ought to be in luck’s way for mails when these two arrive. I see a regular weekly mail home from Bombay has begun, the first boat leaving Bombay yesterday, so p’raps you’ll be getting our letters a little less erratically now.

Such wet weather this last week, & yesterday it simply poured all day & last night too. Today has been finer but it looks very black again this evening. We were going out shooting for 2 days today, but have been obliged to put it off-

Such lots of men are being demobilised now, chiefly coal-miners & students, and a great many officers too. I fancy they will get as many troops out of this country as they possibly can before the hot weather begins, as it must be an expensive time keeping a big force out here in the summer- How silly of me, I’ve turned over 2 pages, so I’ll carry on here.

We are having any amount of sport & footer & hockey tournaments to keep the men amused, & we have laid out a golf course, I have’nt played yet but I believe it’s quite good. My bath has just been poured out, so I’ll stop for a bit & have it otherwise it gets so cold-  There, now I feel nice and clean. It’s wonderfully mild still, & not a bit cold, so different to last year with all those bitter winds-

I have no news I’m afraid. I am scribbling this to you tonight as under some new arrangement an English mail goes out tomorrow- Nell writes cheery letters, rather anxious poor child in her last lot as she had just had that wire about me. I hope by now you are in possession of all facts of that krewst! I’ve got a lovely tin of nuts from Rosamond, most welcome for after dinner, but we have no nutcrackers! so have to bang them with spoons & knives and things. Here comes the rain again- Must scribble to Nell now. Best love to all

yr loving son

Ted

 
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Posted by on 12 January, '19 in About

 

7 January 1919 – Ted to Gertrude

Indian Comforts for the Troops Fund.

Recreation Hut.

 

Jan 7/19

 

Dear Mother

No more mails in lately but I’m told there’s one out tomorrow so we’ll have a dart at it, though I often wonder if it matters much when one writes so far away as this- We are still in Tekrit & no signs of moving yet- My trip to Mosul was put off- I was going on Sunday – but Lumb wired & said he would be away for 3 weeks, so I shan’t be going up till the beginning of Feb-

My General took an imperial toss yesterday, his pony came down heavily & of course the General was thrown, & landed on his head & was knocked out for a minute or two. However he came round soon, & found no bones broken though he was badly bruised & shaken- He always goes full speed across all sorts of country rough & smooth, followed by me vainly endeavouring to keep up with him! & I felt sure one day he’d come a cropper- He’s not feeling at all well today & no wonder-

So the election ended as everyone thought I suppose- a sweeping majority for Lloyd George & his crowd- The best result I think from the Empire point of view, & let’s hope they made a good show of the peace business- I see Wilson has been having great times in England: what a wonderful man he is- If we could only get at those Bolsheviks & settle them, the world might resume its former peaceful & progressive existence very soon. But I’m afraid they will have to be dealt with first, though with the forces at the disposal of the allies now it should not be difficult. I see Jim’s old Battn: has been doing wonders in Siberia! All old crocks too, unfit for active service!

We had a good day’s shooting on Sunday, 50 birds & lots of exercise- I seem to be very busy still & there does’nt seem to be much knocking off work. I suppose as long as the fellow above you has ink & paper, so long will he continue to write to you! So it seems, anyhow.

A good many men of British regiments are being demobilised, students, miners & suchlike; several officers have gone home too. I have’nt the vaguest idea what my own prospects are, either as regards leave, or leaving the country, or returning to India or anything. I don’t suppose leave will be over-easy to get, as we regulars must stop on while all the tempys: clear off back to their civil jobs- but I fancy they will get as many people out of this country before the hot weather as they can. Anyhow, I do hope to get some leave sometime. Poor old Nell, but she’s a wonderfully brave little person, & she’s worth waiting for- I hope she’s been to stay lately, has she? She wants dragging out of that home of hers!

Best love to all

yr loving son

Ted

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siberian_Intervention

 
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Posted by on 7 January, '19 in About

 

31 December 1918 – Ted to Gertrude

Indian Comforts for the Troops Fund.

Recreation Hut.

Dec 31/18

 

Dear Mother

Very many thanks for 3 letters from you, dated 22nd Oct Nov 5th & 18th. So they did wire home officially about me. I was so afraid they might & yet I hoped so much they would’nt. I’m so awfully sorry to have given you such a shock, just when everything seemed so safe and certain too. By now you will have got my letters telling you all about the show, but I’m glad the India Office got news of my being only slightly hit. It was nothing really, only some shell splinters & they only caused a little inconvenience for a day or two-

Of course the letters we have been getting from home lately have been gorgeous, so happy & optimistic, and now we have your ‘peace’ letters, written after Nov 11th. Many thanks for the Evening Standard of the 11th, I expect all the morning papers next day quite lost their heads with excitement. Well, there was a good excuse for them at anyrate. I see they are resuming a weekly mail steamer home from Bombay now, & letters will travel by the normal Marseilles route, so you may get a regular mail now. It does’nt seem to matter much when we post out here still.

So glad my Babylon letters arrived safely. Yes, it was an awfully interesting trip, & I’m glad I went though it was frightfully hot and a great rush. I have’nt been able to get any more prints of Babylon done yet, but I hope to someday & will send them along to you-

Nell was delighted with the scarf you sent her on her 21st birthday, it was most awfully good of you to send her such a ripping present. And what a lovely present Peace was was’nt it! She was tremendously pleased too with all the things the rest of the family sent, how awfully good you all were to the dear child: thanks so much. She of course is tremendously pleased about peace, but is keeping her head splendidly, & does not expect me to come “clattering home”  -as Ben calls it! at once. But I certainly do hope to manage to put a few weeks in at home during 1919-

Many thanks for sending along Ben’s new address. I had a short line from her last mail- We got 2 mails in two days! One belated mail of mid-October that was very much overdue, & 2 days later one of mid-November which took about the normal time to arrive-

What a lovely parcel you sent me at Christmas, ever so many thanks for it. The things were all most welcome & a great change in the usual mess diet. The Bath oliver biscuits were much appreciated, but everything was tremendously acceptable. I am to thank you in the name of the Brigade mess-

We had a great day out shooting yesterday & got 50 black partridge & one or two other odds & ends like quail & pigeon. They are lovely days those – an early start & we generally cross the Tigris in pontoons – great fun- & shoot from about 9 till 1 – then lunch in the open, & very hungry we are too- Shoot again from 2 till 4, row back home, tea, bath & change, & then a slack till dinner. It’s such lovely weather, cold brisk days & champagne air as good as anywhere in the world. One gets gorgeously tired after a long day like that, for it’s hard work trampling over scrub & plough- But alas! Such days are few & far between, but all the more enjoyable when they do come-

Today was the first day of the Babylonian Race meeting, as they have styled the Tekrit Races – quite good fun, & some quite exciting races- I came off the course 10/- to the good, so did’nt do so badly. Immensely proud of myself because I chose my horses which I thought likely winners when they were on show in the paddock. A bit of a judge of horseflesh I think! There is another day’s racing day after tomorrow, & things are very cheery as one meets so many fellows, because people crowd in from all parts to these meetings. This one is awfully well run, nice railed off paddocks & rails, a grandstand made of sandbags (no fear of that collapsing anyhow!) and all the paraphernalia of a real race course.

I love all the crowd & noise & excitement & ripping horses all nicely groomed & prancing about & the jockeys in their bright colours- shocking is’nt it! But it is fascinating all the same to watch, though I don’t as a rule care for your racing man. Anyhow I’ve promised to take Nell to the 1919 Derby; remember how we boys used to go with the Drews in the days of old?

It has been blowy & cold today, with a little rain, & I think we are in for some more rain- My bath is ready so I must stop- Best love to all & all good things in 1919 for all at Delaford, & may I be there to share some of them!

So sorry about the wire re me: but, as I told Nell, you’ve had your 3 shocks (they generally come in 3’s) about me, my voyage out & its excitements, my Amara foolishness in going to hospital, & now this latest little matter – so let’s hope the next Cable will contain far more acceptable news!

Yr loving son

Ted

I played cricket on boxing day & made 7 & 0! Have’nt touched a bat for 6 or 7 years, but I am awful glad to get a game, as you know I am rather fond of it- I hope to get some more games soon- Christmas passed off quietly enough here

 

 

 

 

Christmas Card from 34th BRIGADE MESOPOTAMIA

a bit late I’m afraid

Ted

 

(card showing British residency Baghdad & map)

You will recognise lots of places on this map

I expect. I’m close to Tekrit now, but heaven

knows where we will be when you get this-


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_Oliver

 
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Posted by on 31 December, '18 in About

 

24 December 1918 – Ted to Gertrude

Indian Comforts for the Troops Fund.

Recreation Hut

 

Dec 24/18

Dear Mother       The missing mail turned up yesterday- I think I told you we had got letters up to the middle of October, then there was a gap and the next ones were about the 28 Oct- But now the middle lot have arrived safely, they somehow got put on board a later steamer- I had a letter from you yesterday dated 22 Oct. Many thanks for it. You had got letters from me of August 6th 11th & 16th, what a lot I seem to have wrtten about then! But I had lots to say it seems as I had just been on that Babylon trip & was on my way up here too. Yes, I was only 10st 3 at the end of last hot weather, but I’ve got all my weight back now & am feeling most awfully fit (tap wood!)

Still very mild weather here, no frost to speak of yet, but last year at this time we were having it bitterly cold. It’s very raw & cloudy today & I’m sure it’s going to rain all tomorrow, so jolly for Christmas! We are’nt doing much for Christmas, I suppose the general & I will go round the men’s Dinners, & make a few seasonable remarks, but otherwise I don’t think there’s much on. I do hope the rain keeps off.

I have been rather busy lately, I don’t know exactly what about, but I seem to have a good deal of work to do. Several lucky officers & men have already gone home, as they are specially required for demobilization purposes, a few seem to be sent for almost daily.

I see Wilson has been having great receptions in Paris & rightly too. We are fortunate having such a strong & far-seeing man to act as sort of dictator to the world. Would you believe it, here we are on Christmas Eve & we have’nt heard one single word about the election results yet! We presume Lloyd George & his coalitionists have got in alright, but people are beginning to wonder now what has really happened-

I had a line from Topher yesterday in Egypt: he seemed very cheery & had been to Jerusalem on leave, which sounds really rather comic somehow! We are rather badly hit by Spanish flu, & had one Indian regiment so reduced in numbers that it was left behind in these last operations & had to come on later. Our British troops all had it too, & it ran through the regiments like wild fire once it got a good hold. I think I had a slight touch after I had been scratched by those shell splinters, & I think that gingered things up a bit, anyhow I felt rotten for 2 or 3 days, & had fever at night.

It’s just got much cloudier & colder and it looks very black all round. It’s miserable weather for camp life, but up till today it’s been really wonderful, cold but sunny & mild, ideal weather in fact, & you can wear a small hat all day- We had a very good day’s shooting on Sunday, & got 47 partridges, some of which we are having tomorrow, as we could’nt get a Turkey or a goose.

Our big parade went off  very well and the aeroplane “flew past” General Cobbe, a most novel performance. Afterwards they gave a display of dives & loops and wonderful things, really most thrilling to watch. It was a colossal parade, miles & miles of troops it seemed, horse, foot, & guns, & big tractor caterpillar engines drawing the guns. We had no tanks, as there are’nt any out here, but it was a good show of modern arms taking it all round.

I wonder if you ever retrieved that watch from Aunt Edward’s executors? You said in one of your letters you were going to try & get it next time you went to town. So glad Jinny got over her flu alright. It has been bad has’nt it everywhere, & I see in S- Africa the insurance companies have paid out more over that than over war casualties. I can’t quite connect Geraldine Kelway and sanitation somehow (sounds as if I thought she was insanitary!) but I mean I thought a sanitary inspector’s job would hardly suit a pretty girl like that. I always connected it with very dull & uninteresting men.

Mail goes out tomorrow, so they say, & I must scribble a line to Nell. Best love to all

yr loving son

Ted


Article referencing the Indian soldiers’ Comfort Fund

Geraldine of the Langport Kelways, after whom a peony is named

 

 
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Posted by on 24 December, '18 in About