Category Archives: Jim Berryman

5 October 1914 – Paul to Gertrude

October 5th

Dear Mother.

V. many thanks for your two letters- 16th & 21st- they arrived together 2 days ago. I am glad to hear Jim has come home & enlisted – the last letter I had from him, he was fearfully keen. Ted by now I suppose must be well up at the front.

I can’t quite make out why you have’nt got many of my letters – I’ve sent a good few off – but they may have been censored. I wrote you a fairly long account of our little scrap with the “Breslau” – but you have never told me whether you got it – so I suppose that one was anyhow. We have had some cuttings sent us from various papers re our show – truly amusing – The “Morning Post” one was quite the best – did you see it.

We have also had heaps of scarves etc from the Navy League – they seem to be doing a great deal in that line, but I can quite see that it can be overdone.

One thing about this war – anyhow from our point of view is that we can save a lot of money – you see I have’nt been ashore now for 8 weeks – so we have only our food onboard to pay for; so if you want some money (cash) – I can send you a remittance thro’ the Admiralty for £5 or so which might help along the larder for a week or so – now mind you let me know.

There seems to be a certain amount of stagnation in the war now – anyhow where our fellows are fighting- This 23 days’ battle seems to get no further either way – how fearfully exhausted they all must be.

Yes I see that Lawrence Russel is killed now – also George Moodie wounded – how I should have loved to have been in that charge the Scots Greys did.

Jane tells me you are trying to get a Belgian lady (refugee) to stay!

Well I can’t think of any more news-

I am quite well- & I hope all of you are too.

Very best love from

Your ever loving son Paul

It’s frustrating that Paul’s letter about the Gloucester’s encounter with the Breslau is lost. Chapter 7 of Geoffrey Miller’s book “Superior Force” describes the encounter.

£15 in 1915 converts to £215 in 2005 values.


25 September 1914 – Paul to Gertrude

25th Sept.

Dear Mother.

V. many thanks for your last letter (6th Sept) – You must have had one or two more letters from me by now I expect. A mail apparently takes about a fortnight to get here, as the last papers we have are the 12th.

So Ted is going to have a look in – He must be pleased – but it will be ages before you hear where he has gone- He may be in Egypt- Yes poor Ben! She must feel a little lonely- suddenly being left – but what a good thing Dick is fairly close.

More news of disaster in the North Sea – CressyAboukir & Hogue – Big ships too – but we have no details as yet- what really happened.

I know quite a lot of officers in the casualty list- I noticed Lawrence – there’s that Henstock boy who used to be at Irving’s with me & 4 or 5 others I know.

No. You need’nt send those pillow slips now- thank you very much though, but they might so easily get lost.

We have had heaps of woollen things sent to us already from the Navy League. I had a special one from Joy Dolphin – who was asked to send it to someone she knows from the ladies of Cheltenham League or something like that – I could’nt quite understand who – but at present it’s miles too hot even to look at anything woolly out here-

I hope you are all well at home- I am in blooming health. I had a letter from Jim the other day- he seems very sick at being stuck in Porto.

My very best love to you all.

Your ever loving son Paul.

Jim Berryman lived in Portugal and worked in the wine trade there.


Honey still for tea

Not all the letters are grim.

I am surprised how much time some of them spent in England. Not Paul, at sea in the Navy, but Richard was a doctor and was posted in troop hospitals on the English coast during 1915. I am not sure what Jim was doing in England at this time (few of his letters survive) and Ted was either on leave or training troops during this day trip straight out of Betjeman:



My dear Mother. I expect you’ve heard of Ted’s & my trip to see Mrs Hughes Hewett. We enjoyed it awfully & it was a pity Ted had to come away so soon. He missed so much of the motor part. It was so nice seeing Blanche again, & Diana is a dear little girl.

I motored back here & found nothing doing. No wounded & the place empty. I wonder whatever they will do with us. I must try & get up to see you all again soon. I miss Ben, she has not written yet, but I suspect she is busy with her new job. Please tell her I have been to Swanage today. Quite a nice little place & such a good tea. Honey – cream – lovely bread & butter & gorgeous cakes! I took Miss Twining.

I am wiring to Jim tonight to get him over for a dance tomorrow. He’s been here on Sunday. Lovely weather nowadays. I bathed today and enjoyed it.

Best love to all

Yr loving son


Wherever he is outside the trenches, Richard stays in the best hotels and his letters are full of pretty girls, dances, motorcars, race-horses and occasional tallies of figures as he works out how to pay for them all.