Summer 1915 – Richard to Gertrude

03 Jul


Indian Medical Service

My dear Mother.

Many thanks for your letter which has just arrived. What a krewst all those gold hats arriving, & what a good thing Ted was there. I am sure it would be a good thing if you went to Pitney as it’s quite time you had a rest, and I could get over to see you I daresay.

I went through Langport the other day when I went to Plymouth. Jim came to the dance & we all enjoyed it awfully, tell Ben Vinny nearly killed himself going there. Went at 60 mph down the hill from the triangle & of course came off. Bust the bike & ought to have been killed.

Jim is over again today, I must try and get Topher somehow. Fancy Ben & Dreda sleeping in the garden. Mad I suppose. Ben hasn’t got a job yet then. Yes it is nice having the car again. I never knew I owed Specs 50. I will see if I can’t pay him. He lent it then, did he?

The hospital is empty now except for about 1 man. Bournemouth is frightfully full now, everyone on holiday I suppose. Please tell Jane I’ve absolutely cleaned the bath now with Zoy & Brookses & I also washed Susan today in Lux

Many thanks for the slacks. Ask Ted if he can send the derzi 10/-

Best love to all. Yr loving son


It’s difficult to tell when this was written. Richard  says “it’s nice having the car again” and Paul mentions an accident in his letter of the 30th June in reply to a letter from Gertrude, so I have posted this on the first Saturday after then, the 3rd July.

Richard wrote this before Ben got a job in August, but in weather good enough for Ben and Dreda to sleep outside and for Bournemouth to be full of people on holiday. Ted was with Gertrude when she was visited by senior officers (“Gold Hats”), so it was after he was wounded in May but before he was declared fit for service which in August. On 24 August, Paul mentions Dick and Jim looking for dress suits, but they presumably went to more than one dance.  

When I first read this, I wondered who or what was Susan that she could be washed in soap? A dog? A bicycle? We do eventually find out….


Posted by on 3 July, '15 in About


3 responses to “Summer 1915 – Richard to Gertrude

  1. Tamsin

    26 June, '15 at 12:00

    I am beginning to love Dick to bits, just for his sheer chutzpah and insouciance – the English don’t have a word for it. Mother dear, do come right across the country as you need a holiday – I might then salve the tiny whisper of filial conscience and come over to see you. Oh gosh, the fifty pounds (presumably, would hardly be shillings) – a huge sum then – was a loan not a gift – may be I will pay it off. And do tell my sister (can’t be bothered to write to my sisters myself) that a friend of hers rides his bike so dangerously he was nearly killed.

  2. WW1 Family Letters (@FamilyLetters)

    30 June, '15 at 11:32

    You are much nicer than I am. I confess that Dick’s breezy entitlement grates on my nerves, and his letters get shorter and shorter when he gets out to France.

    I mentioned to Ma once that Paul came across much better in the letters than Dick did, and she said that they were quite the other way round in real life. Since Paul was a charmer Dick must have been incredibly charming. I remind myself that as a doctor he dealt with horrors daily – far worse than being in the trenches in some ways, and certainly worse than playing football in Orkney or Rosyth.

  3. Roberta White

    15 July, '15 at 23:06

    And “derzi” = tailor. Was Dick expecting Ted to pay for his (Dick’s) slacks …and maybe he would repay him sometime


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