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18 February 1917 – Ted to Gertrude

Feb 18/17


Dear Mother

Very many thanks for your letter of Jan 11 which I got a fortnight ago, & since then we have had no mails, though there are rumours of one arriving tomorrow. So Jim has really sailed, & Hong Kong is quite a good place I believe, & I have always heard fellows say they like it. A new part of the world for him anyway. I can’t quite understand how Topher has managed to get a job with Dick, but I suppose many things are possible now that one never thought of before.

Please apologise to the family for my not having written much, but I have been frighfully busy these last few days. I have managed to get out for a few games of tennis & have been out to dinner once or twice, on Sunday picnics with the Ricketts, but otherwise I have been pretty hard at work.

I am under orders for Mesopotamia, & we shall probably start about the middle of next month, but of course we don’t know yet. But please don’t worry, mother, I’ll be all right & will take great care of myself. Conditions out there have improved out of all knowledge, & now ice & electric fans & magnificently equipped hospitals are the order of the day, & they are sparing no money or trouble to make no mistakes this time. It is a picnic compared to what it was, & though I expect there are many discomforts still, & there simply must be on a campaign like this, yet it’s ever so much better than it was and not a bad place at all.

Of course I’m awfully excited & pleased at the prospect, & I do hope it won’t add too much to your anxieties, which must be heavy enough. Don’t worry to send me anything, as things must be hard enough to get at home. A few sort of lemon drops are good things to suck when one is thirsty I’m told, & water sterilising tablets might be useful, & possibly a little eau-de-cologne with menthol in it to make it cool. Ever so many thanks for getting Nell her gloves; I haven’t heard from her about them yet but I ought to hear next mail.

Today the Ricketts took me out to tea & a joy ride in their car; awful nice of them and it’s ripping having such good friends as that, & they have been awfully good to me. The news from Mesopotamia continues good, and I suppose there will be big things doing in Europe soon now. This submarine campaign seems to be the chief danger at present, but even that they seem confident of breaking down within the next few weeks. I hope it’s not making things too unpleassant for you at home, but from all accounts it’s quite hard enough.

Yes, my sword has arrived, but I have’nt retrieved it from the rly: station yet, & now we are just off, I suppose I shan’t need it after all.

Better stick to Cox for an address, as I don’t know what Brigade or division we’ll be in, but I’ll let you know as soon as I can. Address letters very carefully, as I hear they still go astray a lot out there. Lots to read will be welcome I should think. And will you tell them to send me “the Saturday Review” every week; let me know what the subscription is, for one year would do I should think, & I’ll tell Cox to pay you. I don’t know that it’s a particularly good weekly, but one wants a paper like that just to help one keep up to date with current ideas, & we take in the Spectator in the Mess, so I thought the Saturday Review would be a good paper to take in on my own.

Must run over & post this now, as the mail goes at 5.45 tomorrow morning. It’s been much warmer here these last 2 or 3 days. P’raps a little asperin or quinine would’nt be out of place in Mespot if you are thinking of sending anything along, but please don’t worry to send parcels, as I ‘spect we’ll get all we want out there under the improved conditions.

Best love to all & wish me luck

ever yr loving son


This letter is endearing with its mixture of excitment and concern, and the comic-timing of the simultanious arrival of his orders and his dress sword is perfect.

Ted last saw action when he had been wounded in May 1915 and had spent most of 1916 in India, latterly as part of the Viceroy’s escort in Delhi.The army was his career, and he was frustrated when the chance for action went to volunteers who got promotions in months that he had worked years for. He also missed friends who had been killed and found it hard not to resent their bright-eyed replacements, and this fed into his survivor’s guilt. So he was pleased that his time on the side-lines was soon to be over. 

The seige of Kut had been brutal, and the Arabian pensinsula was important not only because it protected the sea routes to India, but also because oil was now the life-blood of the Royal Navy since Churchill had shifted the ships from coal.

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Posted by on 18 February, '17 in About



2 February 1917 – Ted to Gertrude

Dear Mother

Very many thanks for your letter last Sunday, dated Jan 3rd. There was an extra mail out on Tuesday this week, & I know I wrote to you by that mail, but I don’t seem to have jotted it down in my diary, a thing I always do nowadays & I find it most useful. My sword has’nt turned up yet, but Cox is retrieving it from the Customs & various other obstacles & says he is sending it along very shortly.

Yes I sent off those rugs at last; I’m afraid I did’nt send them all to you, but I wrote the address of each of the girls on 5 of them & sent one to you. I hope I did’nt promise them all to you originally! But I suppose most of them will find a resting place in Delaford eventually. Thanks awfully for getting Nell the gloves; she had’nt got them when she wrote last mail but I know she’ll love them.

I can’t understand how Topher has managed to join Dick, as Dick is with Indian cavalry & there are no Europeans in the Indian cavalry except the officers; but perhaps things are a little more elastic in France, anyhow it’s awful nice for them both. I see one of the Yeatman boys has been wounded again; that’s Harry in the Wilts is’nt it; was’nt he wounded before, I remember him being at Delaford one day, & is’nt he the one in the flying corps now? I hope he’s all right. So glad Willie Perkins has got home on leave at last; he certainly deserves it.

Poor old Dryden hard at work again in the Bank. How I hate the idea of her being there & I shall be awful glad the day she chucks it. I think it’s most frightfully good of her to stick it the way she does, splendid, but I’m sure she could find somewhere where the work would be far more genial & less tiring, & I think she’s wasted in a stuffy old Bank. I haven’t eaten the plum pudding yet; I’ve been dining out such a lot lately.

I have been out to dinner once or twice, & various teas & tennis, & a dance last night, so I’m very frivolous are’nt I! A regular Cordwalles dinner at the Miles the other night, Metcalfe & I were there, & Ricketts who was at Stoke Poges next door, you remember we used to play them at cricket & footer. I wish you’d look up the Cordwalles Chronicle of 1897 & see how we fared against Stoke Poges at cricket that year, & if any of us made any runs, especially Ricketts, who swears he was playing for Stoke Poges & made a lot!

How we talked & rattled up the past; Miles came to the conclusion that he remembered being a robin in the acting, when Metcalfe & I were an old man & his wife, & we recalled a thousand & one incidents long forgotten. I loved it all & I think I must write and tell Mr Fowler, I think he would be interested, on the mantlepiece in their drawing room was a photograph of Poppy Gough, Lady Miles’ best friend! A small world, & now I remember surely the Goughs were at Cordwalles later on were’nt they? Lady Miles told me one had been killed & one wounded. Poppy calls herself Mona now, & they write to each other every mail so I sent various messages to Poppy, though I can’t say I ever knew her very well. I remember her frizzy hair well, & of course we all went to all those dances together.

I had a tremendous Guildford F.F. with Mrs Moss when I dined there last Wednesday. She says she will certainly come round & see you when she gets a chance. I dined with Fox & some lady friend of his at the Club last night & there was a very cheery dance afterwards. Everyone was in such good form & everyone knew everyone else so it was quite a good show.

The Viceroy gave away various medals & decorations to Indian troops at Viceregal Lodge last Tuesday, quite a good show but rather long & boring, as there were 200 recipients of medals! However it was a gay scene & lots of colour. I have been playing tennis & teaing with the Bingleys too, & have made great friends with them, they are awfully nice people; I told Mrs B. you remembered her quite well, I thought it was best to!!

Must change for dinner. Turned nice & cold again now after the rain. We have had 6 new officers in the last week, so are now quite a big mess.

Best love to all

Yr loving son


Photos from Cordwalles School, 1890s

Viceregal Lodge today






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Posted by on 2 February, '17 in About



19 January 1917 – Ted to Gertrude

Jan 19/16.
[Ted dated this 1916 out of habit]


Dear Mother

We’ve been nearly a fortnight now without a mail, I can’t think what’s happened, as we have’nt heard of anything happening to any of the mail boats. I suppose it is held up for censor reasons somewhere.

I have had really quite a busy week & have met a whole lot more people lately, which I always think is a good thing don’t you. I had dinner out last Saturday with some friends called Blakeney, quite nice people with rather a pretty daughter. He commands a Garrison Bn: of the Bedfords quartered in the fort here. Afterwards we all went on to a dance at the Club which was quite good fun, though I did’nt dance of course, but there were a whole lot of people there & the evening passed pleasantly enough.

In the afternoon I had lunch with the Cruickshanks, Mrs Cruickshank being a very old friend of mine; you may have heard Ben speak of her as Molly Ormsby, she’s the daughter of Col Ormsby in Lansdowne who used to command one of the Gurkha regiments there, & I knew her awful well. Her husband is in the I.C.S. but has joined up for the war & is at present on Sick leave from Mespot. They were here two days and I had various meals with them in their hotel & wound up by seeing Mrs Cruickshank off on Monday at the station, as her husband had to rejoin his rgt at some out of the way place, & she was going to friends for a few days. Ripping meeting old friends like that again; I hadn’t seen her since we left India in 1914.

On Tuesday the Wilts came in from next door & dined with us as regimental guests, just 5 or 6 of them to represent the rgt. We had a very cheery dinner, marvellously served by our Cook, who is really an artist. One dish was sort of cutlets, made of pâté de foie gras, each cutlet being cased in a different coloured sauce, green pink & blue & all colours! Most alarming to look at, but no one is any the worse for eating them I fancy. In the afternoon I played tennis at the C-in-C’s house with one of his ADC’s & his wife by name Nelson, very nice people, & a nice Englishy grass tennis court, so much nicer than the hard gravel ones you nearly always get out here.

Wednesday I played tennis with Mrs Bingley & had tea there afterwards. She asked to be remembered to you & wanted to know if you were still working in the hospital. I like her, she’s nice & homely & the Kid Barbara is an awful dear. In the evening I dined with a pal at a hotel, he was giving quite a large party & we all went on to a sergeants’ dance afterwards & put in an appearance for an hour or two there, great fun.

I met a fellow called Miles at dinner, in a Terrier Bn: of the Somersets out here, he was at Cordwalles with me & I remembered him well when he said so but I should’nt have known him if I had met him casually. He is a Baronet now! & a very nice chap, Lady Miles is also a very cheery little person, & we had a tremendous F.F. & altogether it was a highly amusing evening.

How we laughed at that old sergeants’ dance! Rather funny Metcalfe & Miles & me all meeting here, & none of us had met since Cordwalles days! And then a chap called Maclean has just joined us, he was at Canterbury with me, & another fellow is just joining us who was on the Persia, called Miller-Hakett, so would you say I was raking up any old acquaintances! I strolled into tea with the Reids yesterday, very pleasant, & in the evening there was a big dinner & dance at the Club, & I dined with Col Armstrong of the Wilts and it was a very cheery evening. I had another Camberley F.F. with Mrs Mackenzie, she’s awful nice & a general favourite. Quite a giddy week was’nt it.

I’ve had very busy mornings otherwise as there still seems to be lots to do. We had some heavy rain too this week, & it’s laid the dust nicely. Still nice & cold here, morning & evening; but quite warm at midday. Cox has got my sword, but it has’nt arrived here yet. The Viceroy & C-in-C are both back now, but it has’nt made any difference, & I don’t think there’ll be much official entertaining, though private entertaining seems to be going strong.

Must wind up

Best love to all

ever your loving son


Cordwalles was the prep school all the Berryman brothers had been to between the ages of 8 and 14.

FF was family slang, probably for Face-to-Face.

Colonel William Blakeney

Lt.-Col. Sir Charles William Miles, 5th Bt.

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Posted by on 19 January, '17 in About



5 January 1917 – Ted to Gertrude

Jan 5/16
[Ted has written the year incorrectly out of habit]

Dear Mother

Ever so many thanks for the lovely silk hankie which I think is too fascinating, also Mr Britling, which I am delighted to have & will read with pleasure I know when I have time, as I hear it is so awfully good, also for the plum pudding which arrived safely, but I have not tackled it yet.

I’m ever so sleepy tonight as it is past eleven o’clock, & I’ve got to go over to the post yet to post this, as the mail goes out at 5.45 tomorrow morning.

I have’nt done much this week since I last wrote. Things have been fairly quiet; Jack Hogg commanding our 3rd Batt has been down here on leave and I dined with some pals in the Wilts in their mess, they had a ladies’ dinner party first & we all went on together. And Oh yes I must tell I met a Mrs Mackenzie who used to be Dorothy Massy at Camberley years ago; I did’nt remember her much, but I expect you or the girls would. Her father was at the Staff college. She called off all our names without mistake or hesitation, and asked after everyone, & of course we had a tremendous Camberley F.F. Her husband is comptroller to the Viceroy’s Household; awful nice meeting an old friend so to speak, though we did’nt actually remember each other.

I have been playing tennis all this afternoon, & here it is fearfully late & I am very sleepy. I met the Ricketts this afternoon, & they have asked me to go out sort of picknicking on Sunday, to go & see some of the local sights in the car, which should be rather jolly.

I hear from Cox that my sword has arrived in Bombay safely, so I ought to get it up here soon now, after signing about a million papers & forms. Thanks awfully for sending it out. Yes, I have got Dick’s address & must write to him. He seems quite pleased at having got a job with a cavalry regiment, & it’s ripping him & Topher meeting is’nt it. Jolly good idea that putting the dining room at the Tommies’ disposal, & I bet they appreciate it no end.

At last we have got some pictures of the Tanks. I simply could’nt picture them to myself before, so we are very glad that some photographs have been published at last. They must indeed be awful things to see coming along and there seems to be no escape from them.

The fire has gone out here & it’s so cold so I’ll just nip over the post with this, as it’s after 12 now.

Best love to all

Yr loving son


Mr Britling Sees It Through by H.G. Wells



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Posted by on 5 January, '17 in About



22 December 1916 – Ted to Gertrude

Dec 22/16


Dear Mother

I have two letters of yours to answer this mail, as I got one via Lansdowne as usual on Monday & yesterday I got another directed straight to Delhi. The first one was dated 17th Nov: & the other 23rd. Thanks most awfully for them. I think I must have told you in the ‘Arabia’ mail to address my letters c/o Cox & Co Bombay, as one’s address is so likely to change suddenly these days and I think it’s safer to have some permanent address. You see I can always keep Cox acquainted with my movements much quicker than I can you, so I think it would be best if you did that in future. Of course Delhi is good enough for the present, but in case of a move it would mean telling all the offices here which I should probably forget to do, & I’m sure a lot of letters would go astray.

Christmas is on us now & it is bitterly cold here now. There is a fair amount going on in the Christmas week, a travelling company is here for 2 nights, there is a dance at the Club, and a variety Entertainment, and some regimental sports, so the time will pass pleasantly enough I expect.

Yesterday I went to the Sergeants’ dance of the Wiltshire Rgt next door here; rather fun, but I had had enough when I came away at half time. I dined with Ricketts & his wife, you remember him in the hockey team at Sandhurst I expect. He has a staff job here & I see a good deal of him, & his wife I met for the first time last night, she seems awfully nice & I have a standing invitation for any meal anytime there, rather nice. Ricketts & I had great talks over old R.M.C times, & a good many laughs. He has a whole heap of photographs & cuttings about most of the matches we played in.

What fun Dick & Topher meeting in France. Yes poor Topher must find it very rough as a Tommy & I expect he would like a bit of a change now and get a commission & perhaps it would be better for him in the end. I expect they are getting a rum lot in the ranks now & I expect all his pals are scattered about for various reasons.

Very many thanks for suggesting a book for Christmas; I shall love to have one.

I hear from Ben fairly regularly & she seems much better. I try & get letters off to her most mails but I’m afraid I miss one or two. I have been out shooting all this afternoon, to try & bag a peacock for Christmas, but it was a complete dud as far as they were concerned for I never saw any. I only got a hare & a partridge, but I had a day in the country which is always pleasant. Nothing very definite about Jim’s Portugal job is there, though I should have thought they would’nt have hesitated as he knows the language & people so well.

What a splendid speech Lloyd George made did’nt he, & he certainly put it pretty plainly before the public that things can’t be as comfortable next year as they have been. But as he rightly says if everyone is ready to make some form of sacrifice things won’t be so hard but everyone will be alike & it will be much better for the country and for all concerned. I wonder if your home made bread shop will come off. I should think it would be styled a luxury & Lloyd George would probably be after you! But I bet it would be very popular & pay well.

The sword has’nt turned up yet, but I told you the B. Warm had did’nt I & it’s much admired & envied.

Your other letter I got yesterday & it was written from the Kitchen Club and you were having a lovely dinner of coffee & sandwiches, which sounds most attractive, especially as I am very hungry now after my afternoon out & have had no tea. However, the 1st Mess bugle has just gone so I shan’t have long to wait now. I have 2 guests dining with me tonight, two fellows who were attached to the rgt: in France & are here on job posts. What a huge crowd they are, like Hay or Guildford; lucky you could say you could’nt have any. I remember we billeted the C.O. of the 14th Northumberland Fusiliers was it? & great preparations were made in that top room for his comfort, & then Alec Black came round next day to pay you!

I hope the plum pudding turns up eventually; it will be equally welcome whenever it does; I’ll warn people about the 6d ! So glad you like the Carpet & that it reached home safely; do use it on the floor; it’s what it’s meant for after all! I have 6 more of those felt rugs awaiting despatch to you. I will finish this after dinner.


I’ve been much later than I thought & here it is ½ past 11 and my two guests only just gone! and I have to be up at 5.30 tomorrow for parade, as we are parading 5 miles off, and have to be there by 9, which means leaving here at 7.

Yes, is’nt the Xmas no. of Punch good; I have just flipped through it, but have’nt really had a good look at it yet. What a narrow escape Harry Yeatman had, but then all flying must be one perpetual narrow escape I think.

It’s so late & I must write a line to Nell, & then I’ve got to walk nearly ½ a mile to the post to post this so as to catch the 5.45 tomorrow morning.

Lots of love to all

Yr loving son


Lloyd George’s speech & response from Asquith and others

14th Northumberland Fusiliers

Possible Yeatman – Percy, but his father was Harry Percy

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Posted by on 22 December, '16 in About



9 December 1916 – Ted to Gertrude


Dec 9th


Dear Mother

Very many thanks for your letter last week. Fancy Dick being a captain now, he’ll be pleased won’t he. And I hope Jim gets his job on the Portuguese Staff as it’s always a good thing is’nt it. I should imagine he is sure to get it if the W.O sent for him.

Nothing much doing here; I am sending you along ½ doz of those rugs, but at present they are peacefully reposing in my tent, each sewn up in a piece of canvas, waiting to be addressed. I really must get them off some old time. Many thanks for sending off the coat & sword; the latter seems to have caused a good deal of bother; so sorry.

Very cold here still, & I have’nt got to know many people yet; I’ve been too busy really, & next week we are out on manoeuvres from Tuesday to Friday so I shan’t meet anybody then. There is a dance here on Monday, but I don’t think I shall go to it; I’m no use at a dance, & I’m not very keen to go. However Fox is thinking of going so I may go with him.

Bukharest gone I see, the 2nd Capital that the Germans have captured in the War; but I suppose the Roumanian army is still intact. Where ever the real Germans seem to push, they always break through, except against us & the French. I suppose the Roumanians will burn the oil fields, but it seems a ghastly waste somehow.

What is going on at home I wonder. At the time of writing (a trifle spinky this) Lloyd George I see has accepted the premiership but heaven knows what will have happened by the time you get this. However I expect the new ministry, however constituted will be a strong one & will get a move on, & develop England’s man-power. That seems to be the chief difficulty nowadays, such millions of exemptions, & as soon as they get that going we ought to be able to put in a pretty big army sometime next year.

I went to the pictures the other night, “Britain prepared” but I did’nt think much of it, it was too long & so much sameness about it, though some of it was quite good. I hear the Somme films are out here now, I hope they wander up this way.

The C-in-C has gone away for about a fortnight so with him & the Viceroy away the place is quite normal. It’s most fearfully cold still, but I love it, & it’ll get hot quite soon enough so we need’nt worry ourselves about that.

I don’t think I shall be going away at Christmas, chiefly because the C.O. is going away on 10 days, & as I’m doing 2nd-in-command now I shan’t be able to get away if he goes; and I don’t know quite what I should do with 10 days’ leave, I could go out shooting of course, but I’ll see what turns up.

I’m still without a horse; it seems absolutely impossible to buy one here, and horse flesh is very scarce. I have been playing a certain amount of tennis lately, & have just come in from a game now. The Club here is very nice but very empty always except on band nights. Our band is very busy & full of engagements, plays every day somewhere.

Love to all

Yr loving son


“Britain Prepared” directed by Charles Urban

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Posted by on 9 December, '16 in About



2 December 1916 – Ted to Gertrude

Dec 2/16


Dear Mother

Very many thanks for your letter last mail, dated Nov 1st. Thanks awfully for sending off the sword & Coat. What awful nonsense it seems does’nt it, not being able to send arms by post. But it was a bright idea to send it through Cox, because if they can’t do it I should’nt think anyone can. The Coat is badly needed, as it is bitterly cold here in the evenings & mornings, & I only have an old British warm which is warm enough but very shabby. But I hope it arrives soonish as I hear this place begins to warm up in March or thereabouts.

Delhi is very full now, and invitations are beginning to roll in, at least I have dined out 3 nights this week, not very exciting and I’m not a great diner out, but I don’t see how one is to get to know anybody otherwise. We go about in the car a good deal, & I am playing tennis pretty often, but we have lots of work to do & don’t have really much time for recreation. I have met heaps of fellows I know here and have’nt seen for years, but there are hundreds of people I don’t know of course.

I had a line from Dick last mail in France; he seems to be very glad he’s got to France at last, I wonder how he will like the cold. Still I suppose he won’t be up much, being with cavalry, but will be mostly behind, unless they do a huge push & break through with the cavalry. Roumanian news not very good is it, but something big will have happened by the time you get this. But I don’t think any successes in Roumania will help the Germans much, as the R’s have had heaps of time to remove or destroy most of their stuff.

Topher seems to be having a gay time in the Flanders mud; I suppose it’s just as bad as ever, though I should think they’ve got the place rather better drained now, but any amount of drains are’nt much use in that flat fen country.

What a treat for Jim if he gets a job with the Portuguese army & a jolly good thing too I should think, as he will be on the Staff and be quite a tin hat. Every letter from home seems to refer to his final leave, but it never seems to come off! Two more Zepps down in the North I see; how wonderfully our defences must have increased & improved in the last year.

Thanks awfully for sending my purple scarf out, it will be most useful here. What a brain wave you had in the middle of the night about my swords; yes, it’s a good thing to put a little vaseline on as a sea voyage is always apt to rust them, though mine is a plated hilt so should’nt rust.

Our mail is very late this week, & only reaches Bombay today, 3 or 4 days overdue, so we shan’t get our mail for 3 days yet, that’ll be 10 days since the last one.

I believe this is the Christmas mail, so I must wish you & all the family the usual things, & pray God the New Year will be a bright one and see the end of this ghastly business. I am sending you some more of those rugs as you seem so pleased with the last lot, & hope you’ll find a place for them.

Best love to all

Yr loving son


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Posted by on 2 December, '16 in About