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Author Archives: Ted Berryman

18 December 1918 – Ted to Gertrude

Dec 18/18

 

Dear Mother

Very many thanks for several letters which have arrived from you, one which was dated Oct 16, & which you thought would’nt catch the post but somehow did, though some bright person had scratched out “34th Inf Bde” & put “not known here”! I suppose it got into a Salonika bag or something & there is no 34th Bde there presumably. Anyhow it turned up quite safely. You have the address absolutely right now: I often wonder if M.E.F. is enough or if it’s better to put it out in full. But it seems sufficient-

I got 2 letters from you 3 days ago, one dated 16th Oct again & one of Oct 30th– all letters between these two dates- at any rate from 18th-28th Oct – are missing so far, no one has got any of them, but I imagine they will turn up eventually- I got long letters from Ben & Rosamond this mail, & I owe Jane & Dreda letters too, but I seem to have been so busy lately that I have’nt had much time-

We have had a lot of rain these last few days, & it rained hard all last night. We have rather a good camp here from that point of view, as it dries very quickly and is not muddy. & certainly this rain keeps the dust down. We have only just touched freezing point once so far, & the winter this year has up till now not been anything like so severe as it was when we were up at Ramadi this time last year- Perhaps we’ve got a cold January in store for us.

I am writing this before getting up, as the post goes out at 8, supposed to be an English mail, but I doubt if that really matters very much yet. What about these big aeroplanes cruising about the world now? I did’nt see the one that flew from Cairo to Damascus & then on to Baghdad- A wonderful flight was’nt it- And they say London to Calcutta in 4 days, for the mails, & it can’t be a very far cry from that to passenger carrying. The war has certainly advanced flying beyond all knowledge-

We have not yet heard the election results! And polling day was on Saturday & this is Wednesday! It seems pretty certain that Lloyd George will get in, but we are all wondering with what majority, and how many labour candidates got in and all sorts of things like that. So far Reuter has told us very little, but it seems all the women voted eagerly under the new electoral scheme, many more women than men voted it seems. Also election day seems to have passed off very quietly, it was received almost with apathy, Reuter tells us- P’raps he’ll have something to say this morning-

I don’t seem to have got on with answering your letters much, I’ll tackle them another day- one or two officers have been granted leave home, but only on very urgent grounds- In any case I’d prefer to wait till April or May before starting so as to dodge the hot weather. But so far there is not even a rumour as to what leave will be granted. But one likes to think they will be generous- However, expect me when you see me, & not a minute before- I’m making no rash promises this time!

Must get up & also send this to the post.

Best love to all

yr loving son

Ted


1918 had worst GE turnout for at least the next 97 years, 57%.

 
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Posted by on 18 December, '18 in About

 

8 December 1918 – Ted to Gertrude

Dec 8/18

 

Dear Mother

Very many thanks for 3 letters from you which I got 3 days ago- They were dated Sept 30, Oct 1st & 9th. You seemed perturbed about the way you had been addressing my letters, about putting the rgt’s name in. I don’t think that matters much though, but it’s better to leave it out. By now of course you will have started addressing me correct, as I hope my letters of last August with the correct address in have arrived safely. The only fly in the ointment now is “Brigade Major ERPB” which still appears, but I have no doubt that will go next mail I get. The main thing is that the letters are arriving safely so nothing else much matters.

We are having cold raw November days now with a good deal of rain. A good opportunity to wear my trench coat, which is the envy of all beholders. We were going to have that big parade I told you of, but rain put that off and it’s taking place next week some time.

No news as to our movements or chances of leave or anything. Even Rumour is silent once more, after being particularly active and unreliable a few days ago. I got a lot of Nell yesterday; she still goes the whole hog, Brigade-Major, the rgt, c/o Cox, Bombay and 34th Bde! so the poor post people must get a bit bewildered at times. However hers always arrive eventually, so it does’nt really matter.

One of your letters had a ripping little calendar in it; thanks awfully, and another a little card with a calendar on it, both most useful and acceptable. Thanks too for sending a few good things to eat as you say you have done: I’m sure we shall thoroughly enjoy them. How hard things seem to get: Nell said the same about some things she tried to get me in Cheltenham.

What awful nuisances these railway strikes at home are- I see the railways have all been nationalised now & yet they are still striking. I suppose there will be no competition on lines now with the government taking them all over, so train services will be a bit different & probably not as convenient-

The war news at the time you wrote was indeed wonderful, especially the triumph in Palestine- But no one in their wildest dreams seem to have dared to put the end of the war bare 6 weeks after that! You all talked of “this ought to make the war end next year” (& so did we!) & all the time Germany was cracking & toppling over with incredible rapidity. How awfully interesting your next lot of letters will be, & the next after that containing the incredible series of events beginning with Turkey’s capitulation on Oct 30th, & ending 11 days later with that of Germany. I’m longing for those mails to come along-

I see all home letters are stamped with “Feed the Guns” & encouraging  to buy war bonds, & really we seem to be raising an extraordinary amount every week. The world’s casualties in the war make dismal reading don’t they- And yet a nation that can make the sacrifices we have in the cause of right has something to be proud of – and so have the allies too. What wonders the French did, & how marvellously they hung on till the end-

I see the world at large seems to demand the trial of the Kaiser & the Crown prince, & of all the generals who sanctioned atrocities & brutal treatment of prisoners. And quite right too I think, if they escape the vengeance of their own countrymen, who seem to be in a chaotic state just at present. It looks as if there would be a revolution in Germany soon, as no order seems to have been established yet, & there’s no stable government to make peace with-

And what terrible things are going on in Russia, far far worse it seems than the French revolution at its height. Truly the world is all at sixes & sevens for the present, but at least we can look forward to permanent & lasting good coming out of it all- Such upheavals are always followed by long periods of world peace & world prosperity- Tennyson was wonderfully right was’nt he, “the old order changeth, yieldeth place to new”. It’s just got to be, & things will adjust themselves in time. But for the present generation it is far from a peaceful existence.

I got the Academy pictures alright: nothing very striking I thought, the one picture everyone commented on – that Tube scene during a raid – is not in the book! There are one or two splendid portraits I think, especially those by John Lavery: of course one does’nt know if they are like the originals, but they look so awful natural.

Yes Jack Fielding was home about the middle of October, I suppose he just got out in time to be in at the death on Nov 11th.

Please don’t worry about the address, it’s perfectly alright & as I say, as long as I get the letters it does’nt much matter.

Ugh, it is cold & raw today, & there’s more rain about I’m thinking. I wonder what’s happened to Jim, I have’nt heard of or from him since he left last week. Letters take a huge long time to arrive anyhow so I expect I’ll hear in a day or two-

Best love to all

Yr loving son

Ted

I sent you a little packet of pictures of Mesopotamia yesterday. They are’nt bad, best by artificial light I think. I like the mosque ones best, & the ones of Hit & Feluya.


Walter Bayes’ The Underworld (Tube painting)

 
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Posted by on 8 December, '18 in About

 

2 December 1918 – Ted to Gertrude

Dec 2/18

 

Dear Mother

No more mails in since I last wrote, but they say there’s one coming up on the 6th, I hope so anyhow. Since I last wrote we have moved further down the line & are back nearer comparative civilisation again- We are in camp near Tekrit, but I don’t know how long we shall be here- Gorgeous weather now, lovely warm days but quite a cold feeling in the air & nice & chilly at night. We have’nt had any frost yet, though this time last year we had some by this time-

I had Jim to stay a day & a night last week. After many wires (he got most of his after he had met me!) we eventually met at railhead, in fact we arrived there from two different directions at precisely the same time- He as you know of course was on his way to Salonica- He arrived about 10 one day & went about 10 the next. I was most awful pleased to see him looking frightfully fit & well, & full of his experiences in the last show up the Tigris.

We had some good old talks & hoots about everything & generally swapped lies about things in general- I was so glad one of the family has had a chance to meet my present mess-mates- I wish he could have stayed longer, but he had a party of men with him so I don’t quite know how he managed to wangle even a day off! He said I was looking very well, & certainly I am very well, now the reasonable weather has started and we shall be able to live sensibly for a bit.

We are back in the same old camp which we were in before the scrapping the other day. The flies are simply awful, & nearly send one crazy; they crowd round one at meals in an indescribably horrible fashion, literally in millions. I wish a snap of frost would come along and kill ’em off. And to think that one was brought up & taught not to hurt a fly or even kill one!

We are still all ignorant of our fate, but I suppose we can expect nothing definite to be decided just at present- Everyone of course is asking about leave & chances of getting home, and the whole place is a mass of the most impossible rumours. We had some good days’ shooting last week in our last camp, 30 & 50 partridges & suchlike! Ripping it was, & I hope we get some more nice days here. At present we are busy polishing up & practising for a ceremonial parade in a day or two, when the corps commander is presenting some awards given for this last fighting we’ve had-

Jim had his first potatoe for months with us the other night! We had only had them the first time for 6 months the previous day- We gave him a great feed of partridge & mashed potatoes which I think he will remember for many days!

A mail is supposed to go out today for home, but I really don’t know if it will catch anything special. Wonder when they’ll start regular mails from home again.

Best love to all

yr loving son

Ted


It took Jim a long time to become a soldier and it is good to see he finally settled to it. He joined up in September 1914, but didn’t see action until 1918. He didn’t settle well to soldiering, to the point where one senior officer in 1915 asked to have him removed from his command. 

 
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Posted by on 2 December, '18 in About

 

13 November 1918 – Ted to his mother

Nov 13/18

 

Dear Mother

I’m afraid I’ve got very much behindhand with my correspondence lately, but we’ve been very busy all the last 4 weeks. I hope you got a line or two from me giving an account of our doings lately. Strenuous times indeed they were, 10 days’ hard marching with 3 battles in it, & very difficult country to go over, hills and rocks & ravines so different to the usual Mesopotamian dead-level plains. But it all ended wonderfully successfully, 11,000 Turks surrendered on the morning of Oct 30th, with over 50 guns, & 30 hours later an armistice was signed with Turkey.

So the old & battered Mesopotamia E.F. got in one more good blow before the finish, and I am so glad & proud I was there, & in such a fine brigade too, which did splendid work, & we were “well in at the death”, our regiments being in the front line & receiving the first surrenders. Genl: Wauchope is of course fearfully pleased, & he & I agree that we could’nt have wished for a better ending to our personal share in this great war.

Well, of course, THE only thing now is the wonderful news from Europe. So it’s all over at last. It is all too stupendous for the limited human mind to grasp at first, & it must take time for each and all of us to realise what it all means. We can just realise the one fact that there is peace at last, & happier times are ahead for all the world.

The great point is without any doubt that the anxiety of all you dear people at home is relieved now, after more than 4 years of terrible waiting and wonderful patience, courage, & sacrifice. I can’t tell you, Mother, how glad, supremely glad, I am for that reason only, & I know I am expressing the opinion of every one of us in saying so – it’s all, as I say, too big a subject to write on, but it is enough to know that it is all over now.

And is’nt it gorgeous to be on the winning side! Not that one ever doubted for one minute that it ever be otherwise in the end – but that wonderful end so long expected, & now reached – but there have been anxious moments; hours and days, even minutes when it was just touch and go – Well, we’ve got heaps & heaps to be thankful for, both nationally and individually – and that’s enough for the present.

Meanwhile we are sitting on some mud-flats by the river, in wet & rainy weather, making the best of things- Our recent advance up the Tigris landed us many many miles away from tents and railways & we were on short rations & no tents for nearly a month. Even now the men have no tents, and it’s been raining for four days. I managed to retrieve mine, so am all right. But in an advance like this over very difficult country the difficulties are almost insuperable, roads are either very bad, quite impassable, or non-existent. And such as do exist soon get cut up & churned into feet of dust by constant & heavy traffic. I am glad to say we have come back a bit, about 50 miles from our final battlefield, & right glad I am too, as there is no longer any ‘front’ – thank heavens! to be at, it is best to be back near railways & comparative comfort.

We arrived here 2 days ago, & a mail arrived at the same time. I got a line from you, very many thanks. It was dated Sep. 2nd. Thanks awfully for sending the woollie, but it has’nt arrived yet: tho’ doubtless it will in a day or so. The winter is on us now so it will come in very handy.

You ask about several men in the Queens. Of course I am not with them now, as I’m miles away from my old brigade and the regiment an’ all. In any case the regiment, I mean my rgt – left the country some weeks ago for Salonica I think, I suppose there’s no harm in saying these things now, though the censor may see fit to cross it out. I heard from Capt Fox “at sea” yesterday, & he posted his letter at Aden. But of course they could’nt have possibly arrived anywhere in time for anything, though I have no doubt they left the country with much pleasure – The rest of my old brigade is still in these parts, the Euphrates line somewhere I think, but I have’nt heard from them or of them for a long time- You see this is an entirely different brigade.

Jolly lucky was’nt I to get Bde Maj to this Bde, & see this last jolly good show. I’m most awfully pleased about it & it has more than made up for leaving the regiment. I envied them awfully when I heard they were off, as we thought they wd be sure to have some fun, & at the time it looked as if we should get little or none, but as it happens it has turned out just the reverse.

I wired to you the day after the surrender of old Haqqi and his merry men, but we got news that no cables were being sent ex Mesopotamia unless paid for at a post office. You see formerly you could send a wire to the base & they’d send it for you & deduct the cost from your pay, but they suddenly stopped this one day, so my cable never went. And as we were miles from any post office I could’nt send a wire till yesterday when we got to one – I sent one off to old Nell, & then found I had’nt enough to send one to you! & no one else had any money (just a fluke I had a few rupees) so I added “tell mother” to Nell’s wire which I thought was the best way, otherwise I wd have wired you too – I hope it arrived all right.

So sorry to hear about Cyril Manders, but I suppose he will be sent home soon. I had a wire from Jim saying he was fit & well. I have half an idea his rgt went on to Mosul, but I don’t know- I wish we had gone on, it wd have been an interesting trip & a good place to see-

Of course everyone is wondering “what’s going to happen to us out here!” Everyone’s eyes & thoughts turn towards home, but that’s about as far as it’s got at present. I have no idea what they will do with any or all of us. Someone must remain out here of course, but I should think they would clear as many troops out as they can as soon as they can get shipping- I can give you no idea of when I may expect leave, much less when I shall actually get it. But I shall try & wangle some just as soon as ever I can – I feel I want a rest & change somehow.

In your letter of 13th Aug you were at Lauriston Road with Ben & had had some letters from me. The letters were written when I was staying with Jim last hot weather, years ago it seems now.

Nell was 21 on the 11th, a great day all round was’nt it. Easy enough for me to remember now is’nt it with 2 events, Nell’s birthday & peace! Is’nt the child growing up fast! She was only 18 when I left & I shall be in an awful funk meeting her again! But you all say such gorgeous things about her that I expect it will be all right-

Hooray, here’s the sun, the first time for four days & we may be able to dry some of our very damp kit. Lunchtime too, I get infernally hungry these days. I do hope the food position and the coal one too improve rapidly now. But I fear things will take months to become normal again. But it’s worth it is’nt it. But I do want to come home so much.

Best love to all             yr loving son

Ted

 
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Posted by on 13 November, '18 in About

 

23 November 1918 – Ted to Gertrude

This was written a couple of weeks after Armistice day, but is a detailed account of the announcement of the Armistice being shared in the Middle East

For ourselves, I was awakened on a wet miserable night – Nov 11 – by a signaller with a message just saying the Armistice had been signed & hostilities had ceased that morning – I donned a British warm & slippers & went & woke the General up & told him; he grunted, & next morning I apologised for having woken him but excused myself on the grounds that the news was rather epoch-making: & his only reply was “Did you wake me up? I don’t remember it!”


Nov 23/18

 

Dear Mother

A lovely mail turned up 2 days ago, & 3 letters from you came with it. Very many thanks for them, it’s the 2nd mail we’ve had within a week so we have been in luck’s way of late. Your letters were dated 11, 18 & 26th September, & took just 2 months to do the journey you see. I hope they’ll get a bit quicker now & possibly a bit more regular – I see they are starting aerial mails in many places now, but at present I imagine our mails are far too big to expect anything like that from home to here.

Lovely weather now, cold nights & nice warm days. We’ve had some rain & there’s more to come I think, & after that we should get frosty Christmas Card weather. But I’ve got a lovely woolly lined trench coat now, Ben sent it out & it arrived 2 days ago, so I’m quite alright. Fearful extravagance but it should last a lifetime with any luck. We have stopped work on the railway now & are doing “peaceful parades” again.

Turkish prisoners are working on the line, & I’m glad the Brigade has not got to do any more digging, either of trenches or railway embankments. Heaven knows they’ve had enough of both in the last 3 years. I see the King & the Army Council & India Office have all sent us nice messages about these last operations – We are awfully pleased they are so appreciative, & we like to think our little battles out here don’t go quite unnoticed in the welter of fighting on the western front. It was good honest fighting & good hard marching: just the old bullet & bayonet (& the men behind them) no gas or tanks or other modern horrors!

We’ve had two good days out shooting, a party of 6 of us. 30 partridges yesterday. 37 & 16 grouse today. Delightful weather, good sport & cheery company; one would be greedy to ask for more.

I had long letters from Rosamond Jane & Dreda in the mail. It seems you all wrote thinking it was the Christmas mail; apparently the post office advised you to do so. But as you see the letters have arrived in plenty of time. I’m wondering what news you’ve had of me by cable, if any, either official or otherwise. The former is doubtful, but my having had a cable from Nell dated 7th Nov: makes me wonder a bit- There was such a muddle on that day it was difficult to know what to do quite-

You had got my letters of June 10th & 16th, what years ago! Yes, I had a great time with Jim then. I have’nt seen him since our battlefighting – So you had sons advancing up both banks of the old Tigris in that show. I had a line from him a day or two ago telling me his experiences. I’m so glad he got into a fight as he always wanted to “strike a blow for freedom” as he put it. I met some officers of his regiment working on the railway a day or two ago & they said he was going strong. Making roads I think they said.

Delaford seems to have witnessed some cheery weekends of late, & Paul at the top of his form- I suppose he’s busily engaged now in taking over Hun ships – And perhaps the “Great Silent” is a wee bit more talkative now, now that the naval censorship has been removed.

Things seem to be going well all round considering, but I suppose for 6 months or a year yet we must expect muddles and wranglings over extricating them- Elections coming off soon too I see. Presumably Lloyd George & his Coalition party will get in by a largish majority. I hope so, as it means the nation is still determined to pull together in the dangerous & critical years immediately following the war in which it has shown how it can pull together if it likes. Labour looms large on the horizon, though it is a problem & a situation that must be faced someday. They will probably form a powerful & influential party in the next election after this.

From all accounts the wildest scenes took place in London on several successive nights after Peace night, & Reuter gives us glimpses of revels & streets rendered impassable owing to dancers, “many of whom were in fancy dress.” For ourselves, I was awakened on a wet miserable night – Nov 11 – by a signaller with a message just saying the Armistice had been signed & hostilities had ceased that morning – I donned a British warm & slippers & went & woke the General up & told him; he grunted, & next morning I apologised for having woken him but excused myself on the grounds that the news was rather epoch-making: & his only reply was “Did you wake me up? I don’t remember it!”

My cold reception there made me wonder if anyone else would like to hear the news- I decided they would, so slopped off in the mud & rain to the West Kent Rgt next door, & after much difficulty woke their C.O. & 2nd in cmd, who took rather more interest than the General had; they got up & came out of their tents & we watched the next brigade to us- some 2 miles off- entirely losing their heads and sending off Very lights & S-O-S. rockets & various other coloured signals-

Meantime the rain came down harder, & I decided the rest of the brigade must await the news till next morning- I waded back to my tent – wet & muddy & cold, but happy, anyhow! – & wrote out messages for the others & turned in – Next morning at 6 I sent off the messages & a few rounds of cheering told me they had arrived at any rate. We had a bonfire or two that week, & used up all our signal rockets & S-O-S- signals, & since then we have been solemnly digesting the wonderful fact of Peace-

Yes, the coal problem seems critical, & certainly 7 tons does’nt seem a vast amount to last till July! But you were as usual – wonderfully cheery about it & resourceful, & seemed quite content- But as the navy won’t be steaming 8 million miles a month now, p’raps the situation may be eased a bit though it’s bound to be tightish for several months I’m afraid-

In your letter of Sept 11th you say the news is good, & next year will see the end, you really think- It’s incredible to think that that was written just 2 months before the actual end is’nt it. What a rapid finish it was, was’nt it-

So Topher has sailed for Egypt, a good place to winter in anyhow! I’m most awfully glad he got on so well, & all the girls speak so awfully well of him, & they are severe critics enough! What awful bad luck they could’nt go and see him off on account of that rotten strike, so frightfully disappointing all round-

Yes, these last few months fighting in France have recalled many familiar names, Neuve Chapelle & Estaires & Merville & Paradis – I’m so glad we got them all back, as they will ever be associated with the Indian Army, & the inhabitants were always so awfully good to us- Many thanks indeed for the Spectator article on the 39th; I’m longing for it to come. If you can, would you get one or two more copies, I presume from your letter it was in the Spectator of Sep 21st. I should like to send one to the depôt in India for our regimental records, & of course have a copy for myself. I wish it would come along, as I’m longing to read it

I sent you a Christmaas Card a day or two ago. I hope it arrived safely; latish I’m afraid but we only got them a day or two ago. At anyrate it seems as if happier Christmasses & New Year are in store for the world at large- Wonder when I shall be at home for a Christmas day! Remember I left on 24th in 1915 & we had our Christmas at Delaford on 22nd I think- What ages ago!

Best love to all

yr loving son

Ted


Scenes on Armistice day in London & elsewhere

 
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Posted by on 10 November, '18 in About

 

10 November 1918 – Ted to Gertrude

Nov 10/18

 

Dear Mother

A lovely parcel arrived from you today, containing a gorgeous new Shetland woollie and some soap & scent & a wee sponge & some baths salts & cocoa & 2 lavender bags- Most acceptable my dear Mother, each and all of them, and very very many thanks indeed. The soap has arrived in the nick of time, and the bath salts & scent are very welcome, as also is the sponge – it’s very cold o’nights nowadays & sleeping in a tent one wants a woollie & really the grey one you sent me before is rather worn out now- I see the note inside is dated Aug 31st, so the parcel’s not been so very long on the road-

A lovely day today. Being so near the river & down rather low we get thick mists each morning with a watery sun trying to shine through- But later in the day it gets really lovely, warm & sunny but thank goodness the real heat is out of the sun for 4 or 5 months at any rate- The general & I have been riding about all the morning looking at people building railways. I met some officers of Jim’s regiment who were at work on the line. He is up the river a bit, making a road they tell me, & is quite fit & well. His regiment came under a good deal of shell fire in this last show it seems, but did not have much actual infantry fighting-

I enclose a key to some photographs I sent Ben- I am sending you the same set, but the censor rules won’t let us send photographs & the key in the same letter. Of course it does’nt matter now I suppose, but no orders have come round relaxing the censor rules so till then I suppose we must stick to them-

I had a cable from Nell, dated Nov 7th, so now I am wondering why she sent it whether (1) My original cables did go after all, (the ones I sent after the battle of 30th Oct & the Turkish surrender saying I was alright & you were not to worry;) or (2) You have some official news of me : very silly of them if they did send you a wire as there was no earthly need to- You see I sent my 2nd cable to Nell long after the 7th (the one telling her I was alright & she was to tell you, as I had no more money left!) so her cable must be in answer to something, mine or official, before that. What a muddle! Anyhow I’m quite alright & fit as a fiddle.

Lots of love & again many thanks for lovely parcel

yr loving son

Ted

 
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Posted by on 10 November, '18 in About

 

3 November 1918 – Ted to Gertrude

Nov 3/18

 

Dear Mother

I am sending along a very rough and ready description of our doings of the last few days which may be of interest to you. It’s all rather a confused memory, as we were so hurried & pushed & there were times of such utter wearines that I can’t quite remember exactly what happened- It is however a fairly coherent account I think, & I hope you will like it.

It is lovely weather here now, very fortunately for us, as of course we have no kit to speak of- We have bagged a Turkish tent for meals, but otherwise are leading a very primitive existence-

We are still clearing up all the mess and booty left by the Turk on the battlefield. There’s an awful lot of rubbish, but a lot of valuable stuff like guns & machine guns which all has to be laboriously gathered together-

We have heard no terms of the Armistice yet, except that all Turks out here have got to surrender, & that we are to occupy strategical points. That means someone going on to Mosul of course, but I don’t fancy it will be our brigade. I expect we shall go back a bit. It does’nt much matter now going back, as everything is over, & there is certainly more comfort down the line. All the same I’d like to see Mosul very much, being so close to it an’ all.

Austria & Hungary seem on the verge of an armistice now, but news is scanty here just at present.

As usual, our friend Turk has left us a large legacy of flies which are very trying. I ate a whole tin of malted milk tablets one hungry day during the show, a tin you sent years ago, & they came in awful handy. I have no news of Jim or his regt, they are across the river somewhere. My hand & arm are quite all right now & healing up nicely, two tiny little holes which I don’t suppose will show up when they’ve healed up; I got off very lightly – I posted a letter yesterday & will get this off as soon as I can- I’m very fit & well. Lots of love from yr loving son Ted

Nov 6th later just heard news of Austria being out of it- splendid is’nt it…..

 
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Posted by on 3 November, '18 in About

 

2 November 1918 – Ted to Gertrude

Nov 2/18

 

Dear Mother

I have’nt written for ever such a long time, nearly a fortnight now, as you will understand why. We have had a very busy time indeed, as you will probably have seen by the accounts in the papers, but it all ended up successfully with the surrender of the whole Turkish army opposed to us, followed next day by the announcement that an armistice had been declared with Turkey-

So we only got our show finished with one day to spare! But we worked awful hard for it. In 9 days we marched hard, & the last 4 days of those 9 we were fighting most of the time. A fight in the morning, a pursuit in the afternoon, just a short rest for food at nightfall & on again at 1 o’clock in the morning, hard on the heels of the Turk- The men were splendid. We had our first battle on 26th, & fought all that day & did’nt make much progress, & hung on to such ground as we had won by nightfall.

During the night the Turk retired & we followed him up at 12 noon on the 28th & fought him & drove him from a strong position & bivouaced that night on the groud captured. All very tired & hungry & thirsty, but we had to press on again at 6 am on 29th & ran into the Turk once more about noon, & went for him at 3 in the afternoon, but he had a splendid position & our men were frightfully tired, but managed to get right up to the position under very heavy fire, & also got round his flank a bit & then night fell.

The men were digging all night & on the morning of the 30th the Turk surrendered, as we had driven him into the arms of a cavalry force which had crossed the river higher up & got behind him – about 9000 surrendered & 40 guns, a splendid haul & reward for all our efforts- Our casualties were not very heavy but the time was one of the most strenuous I ever spent- I am so glad I took part in it all & saw the best of the fighting, as now I feel I have done something at last to help things on. My brigade had its full share of the fighting, & it was all so interesting to me in my job as Bde Major so of course I had tons of work to do & I was so tired & sleepy at times.

Jim’s regiment was across the other side of the river but I have heard nothing of him- The Turks fought very hard & well & we had a tough job driving him along & we were right glad he surrendered when he did! We began on 21st & finished up on 30th, so had a good long continuous spell. Rather curious I went into the trenches in France for the first time on 29th Oct 1914, & this I expect is my last battle in this war and that was on 29th October, as the Turk surrendered on morning of 30th. We have been busy clearing up the mess on the battlefield since then, asn collecting all the booty & guns & prisoners- It’s the first action my brigade has been in & they did awfully well, & the general is most fearfully pleased of course.

So that’s the end of Turkey, and the end of the War out here & let’s hope elsewhere too. It’s gorgeous to know we were able to give the absolute last blow to Turkey, the very day before the Armistice was signed. I expect you’ve been wondering whether I was in the show or not. I sent you a cable saying I had been very slightly hit, as I found I had been reported wounded officially & I thought they’d be sending alarming wires home, so I thought it best to cable- a shell burst close to me & I got some splinters in my hand & arm, nothing at all serious, but they bled a lot & looked ghastly in consequence! But beyond making my arm & hand rather stiff & painful for a day or two there was no harm done & I only went to hospital to have them dressed but did not stay there. I’m afraid I shan’t even have any marks to show they are so small, less than I was hit before even & they were absurd enough. Anyhow I’m absolutely all right-

We are within about 50 miles of Mosul & hoped to go on there, but now this Armistice is on I suppose that’s off. I wonder what they’ll do with us now, as the Palestine & Mesopotamia armies are now freed- Austria seems tottering & really things are looking much more hopeful & bright all round- we’ve come over some awful rough country, awful hills & fearfully windy roads, very steep in places, in & out of deep dark valleys quite impossible for carts, only men & horses & mules could get along, though in some marvellous way they did manage to get some guns along- We are on very light kit, but fortunately the weather is fine & warm with cold nights. I dunno when we shall see our kit again, not yet awhile I’m afraid. Our post office is 50 miles or more behind so I dunno when I can post this, but I’ll try.

Well, I must end up- Sorry I’ve given such a vague description of things, but it’s all been such a rush & hurry itself for the last 10 days that really I’m not quite clear when or where or how we marched & fought, except that it was long & hard & often & we were absolutely dog tired at times & wondered how on earth we should ever crawl another yard- It’s been a great show & we are all fearfully pleased with ourselves. Best love to all

yr loving son

Ted

 
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Posted by on 2 November, '18 in About

 

Nov 1918, after Turkish surrender – Ted to Nell

Nov 1918, after Turkish surrender:

I suppose Jim has been in the show too, anyhow his regiment has, but on the other bank of the river, but we’ve heard precious little about what’s been going on there-

 
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Posted by on 1 November, '18 in About

 

1 November 1918 – Ted to Nell

Nov 1st/

I say old lady what gorgeous news about Turkey- we got it by wire today, with orders for “hostilities to cease”. Well, there is’nt anybody much left here to go on having hostilities with, as we got the lot (day before) yesterday morning- Anyhow it’s top hole news is’nt it darling, & we got our little fight in just in time- I’ve been awful busy since yesterday & have’nt had a minute to scribble to you in, except the 1st 2 pages of this letter-

By the way dear I find I’ve been officially reported wounded, so I sent you a cable today to put your mind at ease. Absurd my dear to report it, just 2 wee splinters in my hand & arm; I just had em tied up in hospital & was’nt away an hour! And they are perfectly well now- my arm was stiffish & my hand rather painful for a day or two, but I never intended to have it reported. Howver the general seems to have done so, so I hope no alarming wires will arrive home- It’s even less than I was hit in France, & that was absolutely nothing-

Here we are, within 50 miles of Mosul, & then peace with Turkey comes along- I’m terribly glad about peace, but it would have been nice to have got Mosul before would’nt it-

Wonder what’ll happen now dear, ‘spose someone’s got to stay out here & clear up; & they’ll take some of us away & find jobs for us elsewhere- By the way the Divl Genl explained the whole battle by a rough picture in the sand this morning- he showed where our Bde: was with reference to the other Bdes engaged, & said “and these are the people who won the battle & accepted the first surrenders”; very nice of him was’nt it- We got about 10,000 prisoners & 40 guns; nothing compared with what they get in France I know, but still it’s all there was to get, & you can’t do more than that!

I’m feeling much rested now- I was tired after that 9 days marching & fighting, & little sleep & tons of work & worry. But it’s been worth it Nell dear, cos it’s brought me nearer to you, cos the end of the war’s nearer now, & I feel I’ve done something to help things on- Wonder when you’ll get this dear- somewhere around new year I should think- Anyhow I love you still and always will- All my love dear girl – I want you so

 
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Posted by on 1 November, '18 in About