RSS

Category Archives: Lahoal

8 December 1914 – Richard to Gertrude

UNION-CASTLE LINE
S.S. “GRANTULLY CASTLE”

[Incorrectly dated Nov 8th, presumably Dec 8th].

My dear Mother.

Here I am yer see in Bombay on board a transport. I believe we are coming to England, Brighton or the New Forest or somewhere. I dunno’ if this’ll get home before I do, I expect so anyhow. Crowds on board, Hospitals, Regiments, Rats, Ladies, & Stewards.

I’m a Lieut in the I.M.S! [Indian Medical Service] hot stuff in uniform, at present more “hot” than “stuff”.

I daresay Topher is anxious to get back & fight but I imagine from there they have to pay their own passages. I should say stop where he is, there will be plenty of vacancies out in the Argentine nowadays.

I got a letter from you today. Just luck as I got some mail sent to the Taj Mahal Hotel here. They would not tell us where we were going, so I could give no addresses & had all my letters sent home again. I hope I shan’t be very ill on this ship! We’ll probably be a long time getting home.

Well best love to all

yr loving son

Richard.


The Taj Mahal Palace is still one of the most prestigious hotels in Mumbai. According to Wikipedia, it had been built some 12 years before in 1902. It is situated on the waterfront, next to the Gateway of India, itself built only three years before in 1911. In 2008, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel was one of the targets of co-ordinated terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

Get Directions

 

17 November 1914 – Richard to Gertrude

En route Calcutta.

Nov 17

My dear Mother.

Many thanks for your letter. Sorry you had had no mail when you wrote. I think I remember the time I missed. I hope you did not have 50 fits when you got the cable I sent yesterday. Such a pity to go on writing when I am not here & I can’t at present give you any other address. I told you last week about the wire I had, well another came yesterday saying “Please proceed forthwith Quetta and report Asst Director Medical Services for duty, pay etc now under reference to Secretary of State”. Result – I am now on my way to Quetta. Far at all? I suppose it means about 10 days journey! Of course I am missing this mail as it arrives at Lahoal today, a nuisance.

I wonder how you are getting on with the two officers, I hope they are nice men & clean. Many thanks for Long way to Tipperary, I think it’s farther to Quetta!

I had intended coming home with Craigie Manders. He leaves shortly & I will write to him & ask him to go and see you. I saw him only 2 days ago & he can tell you the news.

Old Russell his wife & kid arrived the other day. I fancy he was glad to get back. He’s quite a decent sort of man, but rather an old fool & I could not stay in their bungalow for long. I have not sold “Summer” or “Tu-Tu” but they are being looked after for me by 2 men, & should be alright. You see “Summer” being a race ‘oss & there being no races, no one wants her much, she’s worth £100 but I am afraid I shall not get that.

I shall post this in Calcutta when I arrive, I heard from Paul the other day, he says when he saw the Breslau last she had all her funnels!

Are’nt you glad the Emden is caught, everyone here is of course.

Well cheerioh, sorry I can’t tell you what I am going to do exactly.

Yr loving son

Richard.

Oh by the way, I’ve sent my old bicycle home to you, & a big box full of all sorts. They are to go by the cheapest so I expect they will take a longish time.


£100 in 1914 was worth between £8,068 and £9,769 now, depending on the calculator you use.

Get Directions
 

9 November 1914 – Richard to Gertrude

Lahoal
Nov 9th.

My dear Mother. I don’t think I got a letter from you last week. I heard from Jane and one from Ben from Malta, which had been opened under martial law! I wrote to the girls last night & told them I expected to be coming home. But this morning I got a telegram from Simla saying “Your services may be required military duty abroad very shortly please wire definitely if you will be ready proceed.” I have wired them I’ll be free at the end of this week as my old man is on his way up. Goodness knows what abroad may mean, Egypt or Africa I expect, so there’s no need for you to panic. The worst of it is I shall probably not be allowed to tell you. I fancy I am lucky, as crowds of men are frightfully keen on joining the service in one capacity or another & no one had heard anything yesterday. It’s so lucky it’s come now, as I am just free, but I am sorry not to be coming home.

I wonder if Ben is home by now. She should be & I expect she is glad if she is. Craigie Manders sails on the Kaiser-I-Hind on the 28th, I would have come with him I think if I had’nt been called elsewhere.

I will cable you tomorrow not to write anymore here, it’s better if I can cable you a definite address later.

Awful nuisance trying to sell ponies & everything all of a sudden. I’m afraid they will have to go at a loss. You see there will be no racing this season, so no one is keen to buy a race ‘oss.

I see Dr Baker is commanding the Indian Ambulance Corps. How fat he looks in the photographs, of course if I had been home, he’d have given me a job in that. The casualty lists are dreadful nowadays, I was telling Ben she must know quite a lot of people having been so mixed up in things.

I hope by tomorrow morning’s mail I shall here if she is home or not.

Paul must be more or less in it now, only no one seems to understand exactly what Turkey is doing. I fancy I would rather have been a sailor than a soldier.

I am sorry for you, a poor anxious mother, but I suppose there are crowds of others, & you ought to be very proud if you get 4 sons all more or less fighting for their country.

Best love to everyone

yr loving son

Richard

Get Directions
 

3 November 1914 – Richard to Gertrude

Nov 3rd 1914.

Dear Mother.

Very many thanks for your letter. Please thank Jane for hers. I am wondering if Ben has arrived; today the mail comes in but I don’t think you will have had time to write. Yes everyone seems quite pleased with the Indian troops, I suppose Ted is there by now. Yesterday we heard Turkey were at war, everyone will join in sooner or later I suppose, it’s dreadful.

I am glad to hear George was not badly wounded. The Pringles’ son is dead I see, he’s an only son.

Bob & Ethel I suppose are fairly close to Guildford. Do you know some people Jacks in Guildford, the son is up here somewhere, I met him the other day. I do remember the Charringtons at Winchfield.

I was staying with Craigie Manders last week end. He is off home shortly & hopes to go to the front, but will return to tea when it’s all over. I hope the Turkey business does not upset shipping or mails will take a long time going round by the Cape.

Don’t know yet what I am going to do, will let you know as soon as I decide.

Best love to all

Your loving son

Richard.

Get Directions
 

26 October 1914 – Richard to Gertrude

Oct 26th

My dear Mother.

Many thanks for your letter. Poor George, I am sorry. I hope he’s not badly wounded. And all those others, how dreadful their being killed and hurt. Is Charlie Anderson out there.

I wonder if Ben is home by now. I wish I’d told her to cable me. She ought to be with you by now. I hope she gets out of having to pay for her messing. No I suppose you haven’t much to say about the war, but what I really wanted to know was about our friends out there, & now you have told me. so I am quite satisfied.

Jim wrote to me & I have written to him. He seems very happy. Craigie has been down this way lately & we’ve had long talks over everything.

The Germans are cruel. It’s awful. Jim’s address certainly is a bit long. Fancy having all those men like the Drews have. Do they allow you any money for keeping them? Jim must have been pleased with his meat pies. Rather, I know yours & hope to be able to eat ’em again some day.

I dunno’ what I am going to do yet when this man comes out. So far I don’t even know when he arrives. I shall be sorry to leave here, & yet I feel I ought to come & help, no one dependant on me or anything. Most suitable.

I sang one of Jane’s songs at a War fund concert the other night. Quite good the song is. Old Craigie was singing too.

Well I must stop. Am looking forward to your letter tomorrow.

Your loving son

Richard.

Get Directions
 

18 October 1914 – Richard to Gertrude

Sunday Oct 18th 1914.

Lahoal

My dear Mother.

Very many thanks for your letter. It seems so funny that you do not realize Ben is on her way home, but I daresay if I get a letter on Tuesday you will say something about it. We have during the last few days heard of the fall of Antwerp. I wonder what everyone thinks of that at home. We also hear of awful cruelty to Nurses, cutting their hands off & poking their eyes out. Funny Jim meeting Cyril Manders, I expect he will be quite happy in that Corps amongst decent men. May see Craigie this week, I must tell him. Your apples and pears sound lovely, we can get them from orchards in the hills out here, but they are not up to much. I am getting quite interested in my kitchen garden here. Now is the time we plant out our seeds and the vegetables grow very well, the soil in this garden is good. Of course the drawback is I do not reap the benefit of it as by the time the things are ready to eat I shall have gone. I can’t say definitely what I am going to do. I may possibly join the army! On the other hand I may go to Calcutta & join a man in practice there. I have not heard yet when this other man is coming out, I hope he writes next mail. I have two ponies down here now and am trying to sell them, but no one seems inclined to buy a racehorse nowadays!

Its quite cold in the mornings now and one is glad of a blanket at night, so nice, I think I will start a fire tonight.

Well I hope everyone is fit. Best love to all. Go on writing here, the letters will be forwarded.

Yr loving son

Richard

Get Directions
 

11 October 1914 – Richard to Gertrude

Oct 11th.

My dear Mother.

Very many thanks for your letter. Things don’t seem to be improving much. We have just heard out here that Antwerp has fallen.

I was surprised to hear Jim has come home to volunteer. I hope to hear in your next letter what he intends doing. I somehow feel I ought to come back & help, & when this man turns up if I don’t get a decent job I shall come home & think. I suppose a doctor is sure to be wanted. It’s anxious time for everyone, the Gabbs must be on tenderhooks. I am wondering if Ben has left for England yet. She was waiting in Karachi when last she wrote, & I’ve not heard since.

We’ve practically done with the hot weather now thank goodness, and you could not want for better climate.

I was away in Shillong & I think the change did me good. I got back here to find a fair amount of cholera about, but thank goodness it’s better now, and not so many coolies are dying.

I had a long letter from Winnie Johnson. You remember she lives near Topher. She says his stammering is still bad, I always thought he had got rid of the habit.

I am going to sing one of the songs Jane sent at a concert next week for the war fund. Have you any money nowadays? I am afraid people are very hard up who depend on dividends eh?

Well I must stop.

Best love to all

your loving son Richard.

(on back of envelope)
Yes that must be Killby’s father.


And again we have the casual racism that shows how long ago it was. It is unclear whether or not the ‘coolies’ who were dying of cholera while Richard was at the races were Chinese.  Wikipedia says the word may have originated in India and that it was a generic term for asian agricultural workers, but then discusses indentured workers shipped from China to work elsewhere. Richard worked in Assam, a tea-growing region at the eastern edge of India near to south western China, so perhaps they were using Chinese labour.

Jim (James) and Topher (Christopher) were his brothers, neither of whom was involved in the War at this time.

Get Directions
 

6 October 1914 – Richard to Gertrude

6/10/14

My dear Mother.

Very many thanks for your letters. So sorry I never wrote last mail but I was away in Shillong & missed the day. I had quite a nice time there only things were very quiet of course on account of the war.

Ben wrote me that she is still stuck at Karachi but I expect by this time she has started. She will be glad when she is once at home as I fancy the journey will be fairly uncomfortable.

I must catch the post. I only arrived back yesterday. I hope Sonnie Gabb will be all right.

Best love to all

yr loving son Richard.

Please thank Jane for the songs & her letter.

Get Directions
 

21 September 1914 – Richard to Gertrude

Lahoal
21.9.14.

My dear Mother.

Very many thanks for your letter. The mails are taking a month now instead of 3 weeks, but we are getting them every week now as usual only a bit late.

I am glad Paul is all right, but I suppose you are fussed about Ted now.

The tie arrived all right from Dreda, I am awfully pleased with it.

So cold this morning, I fancy the hot weather must be over!

Ben hoped to sail on the 18th, I fancy she & Ted must have run up against each ether in Karachi. I have a line from her from Lahore. She found it a bit hot there.

I have not heard when the doctor man is coming out, when he does arrive I don’t quite know what I am going to do. I rather fancy joining a man in Calcutta for a few months, but I doubt if I shall like it. I suppose something will turn up.

Yes you told me the bowl had arrived. I expect by this time you’ve heard Ted is going to Europe or somewhere, & I suppose you are having more fits, I can imagine how anxious everyone is about their relations & friends.

Where’s George? He must have gone, no one has said anything about him.

Must stop. Best love to all.

Yr loving son

Richard.

Get Directions
 

15 September 1914 – Richard to Gertrude

Sept 15th.

My dear Mother.

Very many thanks for your letter. You had not got our mail then? Yours was late and I suppose there will not be one tomorrow, we shall have to wait a day or two.

According to the papers we seem to be doing a bit better nowadays, anyhow the Germans seem to be retreating. You, I suppose, when you wrote had no idea who had gone on that Expeditionary Force or you would have said so. Your letter was dated Aug 13 & they had gone by then. By the time you write again lots more will have gone I expect.

Ted must be getting somewhere near there by this time. Ben & I wire & write to each other fairly regularly, she may be off by this trooper on the 18th, but it will be a most fearful squash I should fancy, they will take crowds I suppose. She is quite safe anyhow where she is, but I am sorry I shall miss her. May possibly go to Shillong for a day or so, but the “Pugahs” we meant to go to will be a very tame after (affair?) now. Only two days racing. I hope my pony wins this time.

I am glad Paul is safe. You all seem to be hard at work nowadays dusting & cleaning. I wonder if you will do any cooking. Yes I should fancy Maud will find it rough.

Well I hope to hear from you this week sometime & I hope you are getting my letters. Many thanks for Pelicans etc. Any picture papers acceptable. Daily Sketch etc.

Best love to all

yr loving son

Richard

Get Directions