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Category Archives: Holmwood

18 August 1914 – Richard to Gertrude

Lahoal

August 18th.

My dear Mother.

Very many thanks for your letter. It seems so funny that although you write on July 24th yet you say nothing about any war. It must have come as suddenly to you as to us of course.

I suppose everyone you know is fussed, and of course you are too. Paul in the Mediterranean and now you will hear Ted is off under sealed orders? Ben of course will be all right as I shall get her down here about the middle of next month, only I am afraid she will be a bit dull in the meantime. I wish I was at home as we get such scrappy news here & nothing seems confirmed. On the other hand you are much nearer. How terrible all the slaughter must be, and how dreadful the north sea being all full of mines, goodness knows when it will be safe to go on board ship again. I cannot understand why those people have not sent the bowl, they knew all about it & said they would send it.

I wonder, Holmwood looking tiny to you. Of course I know it would be to me. I am glad the place looked nice. I wonder if Mrs Goodyear ever let go of your hand. What must Violet Maturin be like & where’s Sybil. I can’t imagine the Lloyds either.

I suppose by now you are back from Selsey. I hope the change did you good, only this war must have worried you all a bit. Things go on very much the same here. Extra recruits are joining the volunteer force, why I am not sure as the Germans can never get here. That little lantern sounds very tricky, Jane tells me of it in her letter too. That’s a nice photograph of her. What huge notes! Yes I can see them quite plainly without my eyeglass. I still religiously practice, but I don’t get on very fast.

Well I must stop. Don’t worry about us, I am sure this is the quietest spot on the earth at the present time.

Best love to all. Yr loving son

Richard.

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11 August 1914 – Richard to Gertrude

Lahoal.
August 11th.

My dear Mother.

Very many thanks for your letter. The song arrived safely & many thanks too. I forget if I told you I had had a fever. Funny it was’nt malaria what one generally gets, but a different kind, not so bad really. I have been really very lucky not having had malaria yet, everyone seems to get it. Am writing in the train so it’s a bit shaky when we are moving. I suppose you are at Selsey now, unless the war has interfered with everyone’s arrangements. We get a lot of good news, but we never hear any of the English or French losses. I hope it is soon over, and if the Germans are getting beaten as they seem to be I should think they will soon give in.

Fancy pickling 400 walnuts, you will use a fair amount of vinegar I should fancy. That was’nt Leonard Pullman after all then. I thought you’d remember the Parsy boy, Ben said you were rather friends with Mrs Parsy. One of the sisters is being married out here. I wonder how Holmwood looked, have you arranged to leave the estate to the eldest son. Remember how we used to argue about it. It’s been raining here now for about 16 days on end to make up for a drought we had in July, & June. Wish I had some gooseberries!

Wonder how Paul is getting on in the Mediterranean, he surely must be in a scrap somewhere, he will be pleased I expect. I wish I was at home, it must be so exciting & we who are abroad will never realize what it was all like. I have’nt heard from Topher for a long time, he said he was going to write & tell me where to send some shirts to. No one I suppose talks anything else but war. The last we heard was that 19 German ships had been sunk or captured in the North Sea. Fancy hearing all the firing, it must be very awe inspiring. I am afraid Ted may not get his leave now, but nous verrons.

Well I must stop
Best love to all yr loving son

Richard

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5 August 1914 – Benedicta to Gertrude

Benedicta's first letter of the war

Benedicta’s first letter of the war

August 5th 1914

Lansdowne U.P.

Dear Mother, Very many thanks for your long letter, I must get my mail all off today so as to make more or less sure of catching the train down below. The dress you have got for me sounds ripping thank you ever so much, I shall hear if you’ve sent the box to Calcutta or here but it doesn’t matter much. I can get King Hamilton to send it along if I should still be here as it seems I am for life, the dreadful war has & will upset most things I expect, one can’t make any sort of arrangements, and all leave from here is stopped unless within 48 hrs recall, so at present Ted will not get his for Shillong, but I expect I shall go at the end of Sept now & meet Dick & then go on to him till he is houseless, & if I can’t get home in November I shall go to the Nobles, they will always have me. We hear very little up here of course in a way of what is going on, but it seems pretty dreadfull & at home you must all be in a fuss. I don’t suppose any officer will go from here but there is a chance of course, & they are all of course dieing to be off & everlastingly grumble at being so poked away, it’s all very cheery for us poor females but at the most they’ll be ordered to stations down below to take places of other officers gone, Alix & I can see ourselves stranded but I shall go to Assam, I feel more at home there and & it won’t be too hot by the time anything does happen.

Thank you ever so much for the ninon coat, I’m sure to love it. Jane and Eric don’t seem to have been over successful at Broadwater, but they had fun I expect. Ripping wizzing over in the little car; Jane will be one up on me in driving by the time I get back, as I have forgotten all about it I’m sure. A good idea going to Holmwood I’d love to see it again, the girls won’t remember much at least of course Dreda ought, & I can hear Jane making wild shots & pretending she does! I suppose you did alter that part in our will (nice subject?) didnt you, but you certainly ought to make some sort of compensation for us girls & go on Grandmother’s scheme of the female being provided for! Glad Fay & Mamie have been down- You do seem to have been doing a lot with jam & pickle walnuts & I hope you do the cherries, I rather like brandy cherries. I don’t hear from Burdice, she owes me two letters too, yes Diana seems not on the robust side which is a pity, she’s such a well looking child at least she was, I wonder if Aunt Mary will send her to Margate again. I wish Aunt Nellie could have got the Rowans, it would be nice to have someone we knew there. I am surprised about the Masons, awfully sad for the family, I always thought Mrs Mason looked so sad, as you say they’ll probably be smarter than ever.

I’m glad my room is to be papered, I should like it a plain white if I can, but it will have been started on or rather finished by the time you get this & it doesn’t matter a bit really. I expect it’s the same as Dreda’s as there was some over wasn’t there, I suppose you’d better leave the pictures for me, but I feel I shall never have a moment once I get back! & may I please have the gass taken away & electric light put. I feel I used much more gass as I never turned it down hardly.

Ted is very well but has lectures etc today but I daresay he will write tomorrow, he’s very distressed he can’t be in this war & swears all day, well so does everyone at not being on the spot. What about Paul, I suppose he’ll get in for some of it. tho’ I suppose the Home & Channel Fleets will get most of anything there happens to be. The rains here never cease, I didn’t think it could be as bad as it is, really it’s awfully depressing it gets on your nerves after a bit & we’ve now had it for nearly 3 weeks, we just had two more or less fine days & that’s all, & more rain during July alone, than there is in England in a year. Nothing going on, I don’t see anyone but Alix & even we can’t get to each other some days tho’ we are so near, it means changing both times as no umbrella or coat keeps this rain out, & after a lesson or two one fights shy of chills. I have a fire going, you have to watch your things so carefully, all my shoes go mouldy in one day, I find my brand new soft leather today a mass of mildew!

I am sending off today the little book I got for you, some of the stories are rather nice I think & so quaintly written, its for your birthday & many happy returns of tomorrow Aug 6th your wedding day, I expect the girls won’t forget some flowers, Dreda generally remembers, the excitement of Selsey may have put it out of their head. I do hope you have a nice time. Everything has gone up in price I suppose, one doesn’t in any way realize how dreadfull a war can be, wish we heard more, we get only summaries in the Pioneer & they are never satisfactory somehow.

All leave has been stopped out of this country, I do pity the poor officers who were just sailing for home. We have some kids coming to tea this afternoon so I must make some cakes but I don’t suppose they’ll be able to turn up. Two babies born here last week, oh I told you this before, Mrs Stack is rather a friend of Ted’s & she writes yesterday to say she is going into the drawing & is ready to receive visitors, also Mrs Archie Grey in a rapid recovery!

I would love to be with you at Selsey, I cant say life is very enjoyable up here at present I shan’t be sorry for a change, & I shall be too disappointed if I can’t get home this year as it will also mean I sort of stay about as both Ted & Dick will be houseless! Something of course will turn up & I’ve plenty of friends to go to but I’d set my heart on November, but one can’t tell how bad things will be as yet. Well I must end.

Heaps of love your loving daughter

Ben.

go on addressing here for the present.

(On back of envelope)
I have addressed the book to Delaford it will take longer than this, B.


Benedicta, known as Ben, was staying with Ted in regimental station in India. As we shall see, she was getting over an unhappy romance and had plans to visit Richard in Assam, but when war broke out she decided to come straight home.

She seems incapable of using fullstops let alone paragraphs and her spelling is poor.  This has been split into paragraphs to make it easier to read, but some of her spelling has not been altered.

Holmwood, near Hartley Witney, was their mother Gertrude’s old family home. It had been let since her mother died, but several of the children had been born there, and it was not far from Laverstoke, where their father had been rector before going to Camberley.

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