Category Archives: 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


11 February 1919 – Paul to Gertrude

R.N. Sick Qrs



Tuesday. 11th

Dearest Mother-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Very best love to you all

from your ever loving son


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Posted by on 11 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




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Posted by on 8 February, '19 in About


6 February 1919 – Paul to Gertrude

R.N. Sick Quarters



Feb 6th

Dearest Mother-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your loving son


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Posted by on 6 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


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Posted by on 2 February, '19 in About


2 February 1919 – Paul to Gertrude


c/o G.P.O.

Sunday. 2nd Feb:

Dearest Mother-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

from your ever loving son


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

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Posted by on 1 February, '19 in About


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


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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


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


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Posted by on 12 January, '19 in About