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Category Archives: Paul Berryman

2 February 1916 – Richard to Gertrude

80 Indian General Hospital

June ate this block [ie this pad of writing paper]

Feb 2.

 

My dear Mother.

Many thanks for your letter Jan 12, also the enclosure. So Wiggs at last got home, I expect Ben was too busy to write and tell me all about her adventures. I hope I shall hear soon. Letters seem to come at all times & there must be a bit of a muddle in the various P.O.s. I would suggest Jane goes on the stage, why does’nt she write to Evelyn & get her advice. She knows her address & it’s quite a good profession.

Paul is lucky to get the Malaya, it must be a good job as she’s a big ship. Chubbie has recovered I suppose form her measles and is touring around again. Wonder how she is getting on. Jim expected to be kept in France did’nt he?

The Coat has’nt come from the Aquascutum yet but it rains so little here that I shan’t really want it. Yes write & hurry up Dutton & Thoroughgood. June’s very fit, only an order has come round saying no one of any rank may keep a dog, but as we are not sure of being fixtures here it does not affect me yet. It’s a nuisance though I expect Susan does enjoy a basket, very nice of you to give it to her.

Yes I took those shirts & have sent them to Ted. I was over for 2 nights staying with him & enjoyed it awfully. Their camp is much nicer than ours, much cleaner & so nice having trees about. I went for a long ride all down by the Gulf & picked up some lovely shells that I must try & send you.

We also went from here the other day 4 of us on mules, quite amusing. Otherwise we do nothing much. We’ve had one or two games of hockey & football against neighbouring hospitals, so far we’ve been successful. I met a Peak here the other day, a cousin of the Ashtead lot.

I will cable you when we hear any news.

Best love to all

yr loving son

Richard.


 

The phrase “Jim expected to be kept in France” suggests he’d finally been posted outside Britain, if not to the front.

Wiggs, or Ivan Bennett, was Ben’s fiancé. 

 

19 January 1915 – ‘Digby’ to Gertrude

H.M.S. Iron Duke
c/o G.P.O.

19th Jan/15

My dear Mrs Berryman,

Just half an hour ago, I saw over the side a very smart & good looking naval officer. He had come on board about some job, & then looked me up & had a long talk, over all yours & dear old times. The officer was Paul!

He is very fit & keeping cheery & bright, although life here is rather monotonous & decidedly damp & cold. How delightful it was, hearing all the news of your family – it all seems so strange to hear of them grown up, & how very proud you must be to feel that every son of yours is giving his time & work to the country – it’s grand, simply! Paul was telling me that he was the only one missing from a family gathering which has recently occurred. You must have loved that as it is ages since they all got together like that.

I saw something of the Foxes last June & left Weymouth as Col. Fox was dying. They are still there I believe, though Jo is married & living at Southsea & has Dollie staying with her – Vi (my wife) sees them at times as we have a house at Cosham, where I have a wonderful fat chubby son who is celebrating his first anniversary on 29th of this month. I shall look forward to seeing you all again as soon as this terrible strife is over. I promise myself that if I am spared, I will go on a motor tour with Vi for a holiday, willy nilly so will try & reach Guildford.

I am so glad to hear you are so well & as young as ever dear Mrs Berryman, & the memories conjured up by my talk with Paul has made me sit down at once & write to you a few lines of remembrance & with best love to all

Ever yours affectionately

Digby

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Iron_Duke_(1912)

From Wikipedia: Iron Duke and most of the fleet remained in port during the German raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby in December 1914, though the 3rd Battle Squadron was sent to reinforce the British forces in the area. Iron Duke went to sea with the 2nd and 4th Battle Squadrons for gunnery practice north of the Hebrides on 23 and 24 December. The following day, the rest of the fleet joined Iron Duke for a sweep in the North Sea, which concluded on 27 December. Iron Duke and the rest of the fleet conducted gunnery drills on 10–13 January 1915 west of the Orkneys and Shetlands. On the evening of 23 January, the bulk of the Grand Fleet sailed in support of Beatty’s Battlecruiser Fleet, but Iron Duke and the rest of the fleet did not become engaged in the ensuing Battle of Dogger Bank the following day.

 
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Posted by on 19 January, '15 in Paul Berryman

 

1 January 1915 – Ted to Jane – Christmas Truce 1914

Jan 1st/15

Find I’ve used two bits of
paper by mistake! Sorry

Dear Jinny

Thanks most awfully for your 2 or 3 letters you have written lately. So sorry old thing, I have written but have had very little time. We are out of the trenches now after 25 days on end, & the whole corps is now resting, & we are all – as many as can – getting LEAVE. Is’nt it ripping & all being well I’ll be home today week, on the 8th, sometime during the evening. So anything I don’t tell you in this letter I can tell you then. Your concerts seem to be a great success; if you get any up while I’m at home I’ll help you like a shot. I’ll be home in the evening of the 8th, & leave again on the morning of the 14th, just 5 full days at home.

I’ve got my uniform now & have had a bath – in an old dustbin – but still it was a bath, & I feel so clean & smart, you would’nt know me. Of course I grew a beard in the trenches, & did’nt shave for just a month, but it was’nt exactly a success, & it looked exactly as if I was’nt shaving & not as if I was trying to grow a beard!

I’ve got new news to tell you I think. We are billeted in a little village, very dirty & muddy & fairly comfy; but we were in better billets before. We took 3 days to march here from the trenches, about 5 miles a day, as after standing in water & mud all that time you can’t imagine the state your feet get into, soft & swollen & no good for walking on, just good enough to stand upon & no more.

Going into the trenches.... coming out

Going into the trenches   coming out

Told Mother about our palling up with the Germans on Christmas day. It was most amusing & so utterly out of keeping with the rest of the show that one can hardly realize it happened.

Christmas Day Truce 1914

The above is – liar [sic]  – what happened; but I’ll tell you all about it when I see you. I have’nt seen anything in the papers about it yet. I’m afraid this is a very dull letter but I really can find nothing to say, & I may’nt say it anyhow.

It’s a real miserable day today, cold and wet and miserable, thank goodness we are in houses and not out in those bally old trenches still. I suppose this will all turn to snow soon, & I wish it would freeze or something & dry up the roads a bit; at present the mud is awful, but we are fairly used to that now. I hope you’ll have a nice hot bath waiting for me, as I don’t think I shall have another before I come home, it’s so cold washing in bits. And don’t send anything more out just at present as I shall be starting home before it arrives.

I got a long letter from Paul, he seems very cheery & cold & hints darkly at great goings on in the North Sea. He’s in the middle of the show now anyhow. There has been a lot of heavy fighting lately round here, & some of the Indian troops have suffered very heavily, but we were’nt in it, so are all right, at least fairly so. Tons of love & keep smiling

yr loving brother  Ted

According to Drake-Brockman, the Garhwalis were in billets at Hurionville near Lillers which was the Indian Army Corps Commander’s headquarters at the time as well as their railhead. They arrived there at 2:30pm on December 30th.

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This is Ted’s second mention of the famous Christmas Day Truce of 1914; his first description is in his letter to Gertrude of 31st December 1914.  

The original of this letter is in the Archive of the the Imperial War Museum: Private Papers of Lieutenant Colonel E R P Berryman DSO –  http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1030021700

 

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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.

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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

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24 October 1914 – Ted to Gertrude

24th

Not had a chance to go on with this till tonight, We got here at 10.30 one morning & marched straight out to camp, almost as muddy as the other, but mud of quite a different kind, sort of sticks to your boots. However we are very comfy, & are getting some more equipment etc before we go on. I sent you a p.c. yesterday to say I was all right. We went for a route march this morning, through most lovely lanes etc & gorgeous trees, poplars, & vineyards, all the autumn tints were lovely, & coming up in the train too the country was gorgeous

Thanks awfully for all the things you are sending out, they sound gorgeous & I am daily expecting the parcel. Everyone very fit here & all in high spirits. I have’nt had a chance to go into the town, & all yesterday I was as busy as I could be in office; but I hope once we leave here there won’t be quite so much head work, though the physical exertion will be much greater I expect.

By the way, what’s wrong with an air pillow, a small one, it seems to be the thing to have; so light & convenient, & I’ve had to bang a pillow out of my 35 lbs kit – tell Ben this! – so sleep on clothes & any old bundle, but I have one of the khaki pillow cases Ben made me, which I stuff with grass etc when I can, so manage to be fairly comfortable; anyhow I sleep all right. And there’s some stuff called CREX for tired feet which our Colonel has & says is v. good to put in water when washing; tabloids I think, could you send some along, or any similar stuff. The great thing is small parcels, & by letter post if possible, to ensure quicker & more certain delivery-

Well, my old horse had to go to hospital as I told you, but they are so short of gees, that, though we want 8 for officers, they have only given us one, for our interpreter who has never ridden a horse in his life, so I shall be able to have his. Poor old Araby, I wish he had kept fit; Ben will be awfully sorry. I imagine Ben is arriving about today; how the house will buzz with talk; I wish I could be there to join in it all. I heard from Paul yesterday, just a scrawl wishing me luck. Not so busy today, & I think we’ll be moving on in a day or so.

Must, end up & have this censored. Tons of love to all. Yr loving son

Ted

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30 September 1914 – Ted to Gertrude

S. S. Concordia
Red Sea
30.9.14

Dear Mother

Here we are, well on our way to heaven knows where! All sorts of rumours where we are going to land of course, England, Southampton, Marseilles, Boulogne, everywhere in fact one can think of, but no one knows at all, it’s being kept an absolute secret. My last letter was from Karachi I think, when I told you I had met Ben, & she wrote and told you I expect, & you must have got those letters by now. We had awful fun there, she & I, as we were in dock for about 4 days before we sailed. I used to be fairly busy all day on the ship, but always managed to get off in the evening & go up & have dinner on the Dilwara & sit & talk to Ben till far into the night. Well, one day we got orders to leave the wharf, & next day, the 21st Sept, we sailed, so I have’nt seen Ben since then.

This is a huge convoy of transports, 4 – in all, & we have cruisers & battleships escorting us.  The old Dilwara used to be just alongside of us, but too far off to distinguish people. But ½ way across the Indian ocean she went gadding off on her own, with a small cruiser as escort, most exciting for Ben, was’nt it. She went on to land troops at Aden, & pick up some fresh ones, & this morning I can see the old Dilwara tearing along to catch us up. You see the Konigsberg, that small German cruiser, is still knocking about in these waters somewhere, hence the elaborate precaution of escorts.

Well, we ought to reach Suez in a day or two, but we shall take about 3 days getting through the canal at least, with all these ships, so I don’t suppose we shall leave Port Said till about 4th or 5th October, & then perhaps we may know more where we are going. The Dilwara I know is going to Southampton, & should arrive there I should think – this is only my own idea – about 25th Oct, but no doubt Ben has told you something more definite than this. I expect you could find out from the India office when she is expected if you want to run down and meet old Ben- of course there is just a chance that we may stay a day or two at Suez or Port Said, waiting while we all get through the Canal, in which case I may be able to get over to pay the Dilwara a visit, I hope so. What fun it wd be if Paul & the Gloucester were at Port Said too, & were part of our escort through the Mediterranean, & then we’d be quite a family party on the high seas. We met a small 4-funneled cruiser last night, but could’nt make her out, & I was wondering if she was the Gloucester ordered off East somewhere. Ainsly Talbot was on board the Dilwara, but has been landed at Aden. But Ben will have told you all the Dilwara news I expect.

It was a rough-ish, choppy sort of weather for the first 3 days out of Karachi, & I expect old Ben had to stick to her cabin. Our men, who of course have never seen a ship or a sheet of water bigger than a bucket before, were fearfully ill poor devils, but are much better now. Since the first 3 days we have had a gorgeous voyage, sea like glass, & cool breeze. The first day in the red sea was hottish, but since then it’s been lovely; hot of course, but a good strong head wind to keep us cool. I want to see Ben at P. Said or Suez to see how she stood the voyage so far.

Field lantern with talc sidesBy the way, I want you do to something for me, I want a camp lantern, to take candles, something after this style. If talc sides not procurable, glass will do, but I’d rather have talc if you can get em. You can get them at the [Army Navy] Stores or Harrods or any stores like that I think. They are generally made of black tin, with talc sides which slide in & out, & weigh about 1 lb. If possible I should like a folding one, but never mind if it does’nt fold up, an ordinary one will do. But it should be square shape, as above, & please send out one or two extra talc slides with it to replace hem if they get broken. Anyhow the A & N stores camp furniture dept: would know the thing exactly if you ask them, as I know they keep them, but I expect there’s been a run on them lately. Anyhow, have a shot will you at getting one, p’raps some military stores in Aldershot wd have one. Well, having got it please pack it up ready to send it to me when I can give you an address- of course wherever we land we are bound to sit down for a week or two to get men & animals fit after this long voyage, as we shall all be pretty soft, so we shant go gadding off at once, & there will be lots of time to send it to me. P’raps the India office will publish an address, but if they don’t & if we’re not allowed to tell you where we are (quite possible, this, as they keep things so secret) then you might ask the India office what address to send things to. But they are sure to let you know some address.

The sea here in the Red Sea is a most gorgeous colour, deep blue, & a gorgeous wind blowing. I am feeling most awful fit & well, & so much better than I ever did or do in Lansdowne. I can see the old Dilwara just off our starboard quarter, fearfully nautical these days, but its too far off to distinguish people easily, even with [field] glasses. Funny to think how hot we are now, & in about a weeks time we shall be shivering with cold I expect. We’ve only got think khaki drill kit, so lets hope they give us some warm clothes before we start. I’ve got lots of warm cardigans etc, but our kit is limited to 35 lbs!! So we can’t take much. Ben gave me a lovely Cashmere cardigan jersey, a blue one. I thought my yellow one was too good for this show, so Ben has got it & I’ll wear it all right after it’s all over. She tells me she got the lovely purple scarf you sent, & is very envious, but she’s going to keep that too for me. Thanks awfully for it, I’m simply longing to get hold of it & wear it, as I love those scarves. It arrived after I’d left Lansdowne. I hope you are all fit & well at home. we have’nt heard much war news, just a few spasmodic wireless messages; but what we have heard seems favourable; I wonder what the situation will be when we get there. I will stop this letter for a bit now, & finish it off later, when we reach Suez or P. Said.


Suez

3rd Oct.

Am sending this home by Ben. I believe we are going to Marseilles, but dont know for certain. Awful hurry. Tons of love from

Ted


Note – the first part of this was written entirely as one paragraph, though presumably on several pages of note-paper.  It has been split into paragraphs to make it more legible.

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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.

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17 September 1914 – Ted to Gertrude

We sail on 18th or 19th I think

BRITISH INDIA STEAM NAVIGATION CO., LD.

S.S. Coconada

Karachi Sept 17 1914

Dear Mother

I wrote you a line last week to say Ben might come down & sail with us, & sure enough she has! I’ve seen her, & had all my meals on her boat since we embarked yesterday. It is ripping seeing her again, but so odd somehow, as I left Lansdowne a month ago, & here we are still in India, & Ben stays on for a long time after we’ve gone, & comes home in the same convoy! The Dilwara on which she is is taking home all the wives & sisters etc of us going on this expeditionary force, so is coming home under the same escort of cruisers etc as us. We have H.M.S Dartmouth here, & some more are coming later. As Ben says it only wants Paul on the Gloucester to meet us at Port Said to complete it! Imagine Paul’s face when he saw us!! Quite possible and very likely the Gloucester will be our escort after the canal. Ben ought to be home in about a month’s time now, about the middle of October. She seems awfully fit & well & it’s gorgeous seeing her again. I’m just off to have lunch on the Dilwara, & after that we leave the docks & go out into the Stream about 4 p.m. so I shan’t get another chance of seeing her I dont expect. We might meet if we go ashore at Aden or anywhere.

Very hot down here in docks & I’m afraid Ben will have a hottish voyage, but only during the first part. Anyhow, she’s having quite an experience & her visit to India has ended somewhat differently to what she expected. I hear they are sending more troops from India after we’ve gone. It will be awful being on the sea for such a long time & getting no news. I wonder what will have happened to the war by then.  Good news so far, is’nt it, but at tremendous sacrifice on the part of the British troops, who seem to have done wonders.

I will write again soon as I can- I expect this will miss the mail & reach you a week after Ben’s letter tellng you we have met. “Hanging on an’ all” as Ben says!

Must go and have lunch with her now.

Love to all

Yr Loving son

Ted.

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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

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