Nobody trusts the British

Naval officer Herbert “Jim” Meade was married to Ralph Glyn’s sister Meg. He wrote to Ralph with a seaman’s comments on the rival service – not to mention the country’s diplomatic efforts.

HMS Royalist

My dear Ralph

Thank you so much for those maps, they are just what I wanted. I can’t find out how the British part lies from N. to S. but I suppose we aren’t expected to hear that. From a mere outsider’s point of view, I think the last effort of the British Army & its results very good. Of course we haven’t got as much as we wanted, but nobody ever gets that.

What worries me is, to the outsider again, the entire lack of any principle in this war, we shift about all over the place (I’m talking about the talking part of the business) with the result that nobody trusts us. France, Italy, Russia & of course the Balkans all have a fear that our policy may change at any moment, the Germans work this for all they are worth with tremendous advantage to themselves & this Balkan fiasco is a very good instance, unless the FO is much deeper than we have given them credit for. I can’t help thinking that Greece must come in if Bulgaria invades her, but Germany may be able to walk through Servia [sic] without Bulgaria’s assistance & then of course Greece wouldn’t come in. It all depends upon numbers & if we make the Western front the decisive front & not allow anything else to frustrate that we ought to have finished the war off inside three years from the time it started. I think we are well up to time myself. It is a good sign Germany coming to terms with America, they want ammunition & they get a good deal.

Life in this hole is monotonous to the extreme, we do all sorts of stunts & whenever we see smoke on the horizon we wonder if the Naval Armageddon is to take place. It is doubtful if the Germans come out till their submarines are ready, which will not be this winter. What are they doing with their fleet, the re-arming business I don’t believe is possible, but they are up to something. I’ve always been frightened of the Dardanelles touch, whether we could have forced the straits is a matter of opinion, but like most British enterprises, when governed from home we did not go through with it. I believe we would have got at least 4 battleships through if we had gone for it, whether [illegible] would have capitulated on the appearance of these ships is another matter…

Mentor General Callwell wished Ralph well as he set out on his way to the Dardanelles.

War Office
9th October 1915

My dear Ralph

So very sorry not to have shaken you by the hand before you left and to have wished you luck. Thank you very much for your invaluable services while with me; I shall miss you not only as a valued subordinate but also as a pal. I will fix it up for you to be appointed GSO 3rd Grade in the field as you are struck off here. I would write to Sir Ian [Hamilton] about getting you back into the regiment, but for the possibility, that you know of, of your having a new chief. When things shake out I shall know who to write to.
K is back with the news that the 150,000 are to go to Salonika whether the Greeks play up or not – a mad scheme. Joffre apparently approves, but Robertson thinks K has got hold of the wrong end of the stick and until we get the detailed notes of K’s talk with Joffre which are to come over tomorrow we do not quite know where we are. Joffre appears to intend giving up the offensive for the present but even on this Robertson is doubtful. More appreciations of course.
I wrote to Braithwaite early today and told him quite frankly that there was a good chance of his being removed and the reasons – not a pleasant thing to write, but necessary in view of our very friendly relations.

In great haste and with best wishes. Mind you write. Many thanks for notes found on table.

Yours ever
Chas E Callwell

Letters to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/2; C24)

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