Tag Archives: Car Crash

5 December 1915 – Aunt Dodie to Louie Fielding

This letter is from Nell’s Aunt Dodie to Nell’s sister Louie written on either Sunday December 5th 1915 or Sunday 28th November. Ted had orders to report to the India Office in writing, which he did on Monday 29th December. He was to sail on the SS Persia, leaving London on December 15th.

Belmont, Sunday afternoon

My darling Louie

Are you having a good time? And how does the riding prosper?

My dear! What a to do you and Jack made over your drive to Gloucester. It really was dreadful. But HOW Jack would laugh if he could hear some of the reports! I certainly had a good old fright from our old post man. I met him the same afternoon and told him Jack was off again and his eyes almost came together and he gasped out “Not in the grey car!” My dear! I almost felt you in the infirmary or something tragic. Then he gave a me a graphic description of it all, the baker’s van in the bank, and the petrol tank whizzing round the bus which had been thrown in the air like a bomb etc. Also how he had to drag himself and bicycle into safety. And I said “But what about the car?” And then he finished up saying “and the car went on!” I wonder if you at all realised the scene? All the people go out of the bus. Martha Ballinger says she has not felt right since. The old post man was the best, and he is an old brick. He said “I did not tell them who I thought was in it!”

What do you think of poor old Ted going off so soon? We are going up for tea this afternoon. Nell and Jane met us coming out of church this morning. Ted and his sister Ben will be coming this afternoon. Nell seems very quiet over it, but I am so sorry he has to go off so soon.

I dare say all my news is stale, but have you heard that Ben Ballinger has joined the Royal Gloucester Artillery. He is so proud of himself but will not be called up yet. I am going to send Eric Robinson’s address in this for you to give Jack who wanted it.

I hope you will forgive the scribble, but you must remember my poor bandaged thumb. I saw Mrs Birchall on Wednesday. Her children went home on Monday trying to make up their minds which they liked best, Captain Periwinkle or Jack Fielding. I called on Mrs Stephens this week, she really was quite nice and I had quite a nice time with her. Angela is very sorry about Nell’s engagement as she had been looking forward to seeing much of Nell and now feels Nell is very much grown up and out of her reach.

Well dear, can’t think of much more. Mrs Powel sends her love to you and Jack. Between you and me I think he [who?] is feeling very Sunday afternoonish and can’t think of anything else to say, but he says “tell Jack he made all the people in the bus bustle out”. I hope Jack will properly enjoy the jokes.

Jane had a new coat on. Quite nice. Kakhi colour. Three quarter. Very plain. And she can wear it with that old skirt she had of the same colour, and that way gets a complete outfit.

Much love to you and Jack

Your loving Auntie Dodie

Dreda and Ben appear in Nell’s photographs that autum and so does “Jane”, but it’s not clear if Dody is referring to Jane Berryman or someone else.

There was still a Mrs Ballinger living in the village in the 1960s probably the daughter-in-law of Martha Ballinger. Martha’s husband Frank had died of tetanus poisoning in 1912, two weeks after working putting in fence posts. Her son Edward had been killed fighting in France in February 1915. Ben Ballinger survived the First World War and worked as a gardener.

Jack Fielding 1915

Jack Fielding 1915

Possibly Louie Fielding c1915

Probably Louie Fielding, c1915

Letter from Dodie - pg 1

Letter from Dodie – pg 1

Letter from Dodie - pg 2

Letter from Dodie – pg 2

Letter from Dodie - pg 3

Letter from Dodie – pg 3


Posted by on 5 December, '15 in About



3 December 1915 – John Fielding to his son Jack

This letter is from Nell’s father to her brother Jack. And many, many fathers since. 

The Fielding Family, 1915. Jack is seated back left, and his father is seated right, with the dog

The Fielding Family, c1915.
Jack is in uniform and his father is seated right, with the dog

Fielding and Platt

December 3rd 1915

My dear Jack

I rather expected a line from you explaining what had happened to the car. I presume you can hardly have been aware, or you would have mentioned it, [but] when I went out to the station I found that the nearside wings were both so badly knocked about that I have had to order new ones, and the petrol box was missing except for a few fragments. Really, it would have been much better to have missed the train than to have caught it at this expense and risk.

My particular object in writing is to warn you very seriously against the tremendous risks you run when driving a car. The losses and damage to the car are one of the last things to be considered compared with the risk to yourself and passengers. And also the people in the road! One of these days, unless you take much greater care, I am afraid there will be a dreadful trouble. And I am very nervous indeed when I remember that you think of having a car, especially as you might be driving at night on not very suitable roads. I would much rather you didn’t, and I hope you will be satisfied to do with your motor bike and be very cautious even with this. You mustn’t think I am faddy. Remember, that you have had a good many incidents latterly upon which my fears are founded.

I have not heard of any damage being done to the omnibus or the baker’s cart, but inquiries are being made about a grey car, and I believe the petrol box is held by one of the Matson cottagers. I confess, I am not keen about asking for it, and I am making no claim on the insurance company because I don’t think it is a fair risk from their point of view.

What I want to impress upon you is this. That whenever you see other traffic in front, consider it as a danger signal and at once get your car in hand to be able to stop within a yard. Until you do this, you are a danger to the public. The best drivers are the most careful ones and those who will not take risks. I don’t know whether you have a driving licence or not, or whether one is required for a bike, but if anything happened and you haven’t a licence, it would be awkward.

Now to change the subject. Keble[?] writes to say he has a chill and so is prevented from seeing you again. But did you write to him? If not, you had better do so and say you have heard from the office, etc. I hope Louie is enjoying her visit The weather here will not help her much. We had a post card from Marjorie, but I don’t know her next address and it will be no use sending her present one. Mother is much better but has not been out. Nor do I see much prospect in view of the fog and the damp.

How are you situated financially? Let me know. I expect you have had rather an expensive time lately.

Love to Louie and yourself,


It's not clear if this is the car that Jack crashed, but it came from Nell's 1915 photograph album

It’s not clear if this is the car that Jack crashed, but the photo was in Nell’s 1915 photograph album


Posted by on 3 December, '15 in About