The bravest man in the trenches

Many of the former pupils of Reading School were serving with distinction.

O.R. NEWS.

Military Cross

Temp. 2nd Lieut. F.A.L. Edwards, Royal Berks Regiment.- For conspicuous gallantry during operations. When the enemy twice attacked under cover of liquid fire, 2nd Lieut. Edwards showed great pluck under most trying circumstances and held off the enemy. He was badly wounded in the head while constructing a barricade within twenty-five yards of the enemy.

2nd Lieut. (Temp. Lieut.) W/C. Costin, Gloucester Regiment. – For conspicuous gallantry during operations. When the enemy penetrated our front line he pushed forward to a point where he was much exposed, and directed an accurate fire on the trench with his trench guns. It was largely due to his skill and courage that we recaptured the trench. An Old Boy of Reading School, he won a scholarship at St. John’s College. Oxford.

2nd Lieut. D.F.Cowan.

Killed in Action.

Lieut. Hubert Charles Loder Minchin, Indian Infantry, was the eldest of three sons of the late Lieut-Col. Hugh Minchin, Indian Army, who followed their father into that branch of the service, and of whom the youngest was wounded in France in May, 1915. Lieutenant Minchin, who was 23 years old, was educated at Bath College, Reading School, and Sandhurst. After a probationary year with the Royal Sussex Regiment, he was posted to the 125th (Napier’s) Rifles, then at Mhow, with whom he served in the trenches.

After the engagement at Givenchy on December 20th, 1914, he was reported missing. Sometime later an Indian Officer, on returning to duty from hospital, reported that he had seen Lieut. Minchin struck in the neck, and killed instantly, when in the act of personally discharging a machine-gun against the enemy. The Indian officer has now notified that he must be believed to have fallen on that day.
2nd lieut.

F.A.L. Edwards, Royal Berkshire Regiment, awarded the military cross, died of wounds on August 10th. He was 23 years of age, and the youngest son of the late Capt. H.H. Edwards, Royal Navy, and Mrs. Edwards, of Broadlands, Cholsey. He was educated at Reading School and the City and Guilds College, Kensington. He had been on active service 10 months. His Adjutant wrote:

“He was the bravest man in the trenches. All the men say he was simply wonderful on the morning of August 8th. We lost a very gallant soldier and a very lovable man.”

(more…)

Advertisements

“Greater love hath no man than this, than a man lay down his life for his friend”

The parish of Earley was saddened by the death of two of its men, both heroes in different ways: one a regular soldier, the other a teenage recruit who died trying to save a friend’s life.

In memoriam

We record with very great sorrow the death of two of our old Guild boys. The first, Leonard Love, son of Mr Love, 49 St Bartholomew’s Road, was a soldier of many years standing. He served in the Royal Field Artillery and so distinguished himself at Gallipoli that he was offered a commission and had accepted it. He died within two days (apparently) of the evacuation of the peninsula. He had been in close contact with his brother William Love who was among those who fought the rearguard action of the time. His brother Frederick Love is serving in France. From such particulars as have come to hand Leonard Love was in excellent health. On the day of his death he returned to his dug-out after breakfast, and shortly after a shell struck the roof of the dug-out, and his death was instantaneous. He had borne the many hardships of the Gallipoli campaign with never a word of complaint in his letters home. Always cheerful he is reported to have been the life and soul of those about him, and his comradeship will be greatly missed by his many friends. He has left behind him a fine example of Christian courage and manliness.

The other is of a wholly different type. James Benjamin Butler, son of Mr B H Butler, former churchwarden here, was little more than a boy in years when, with his younger brother Charles, he offered himself for service 8 months ago and joined the 605th Co. of Motor Transport. The two brothers had been members of our Scouts Patrol whose rules oblige the members of it to look for opportunities of doing kindnesses, and to embrace them when they occur. His training ended, he left England at the beginning of the year, having made his last communion in this church on Christmas Day. He sailed in the “Palermo City” and in the Mediterranean the transport appears to have struck a mine and floundered. James Butler was a powerful swimmer, but his friend Harold Newbold, who had been a long time billeted with him at his home in Reading, could swim but little. Butler was last seen side by side with his friend in the sinking vessel inflating an air pillow in the hope that it might be of service in the water. He himself could (without unforeseen mishap) have remained in the water a long time and been picked up, but there is little doubt that he determined to remain by his friend, and sacrificed his life in attempting to save him. “Greater love hath no man than this, than a man lay down his life for his friend” and better to die young and to offer one’s life for king, country and friend, than to live at ease for many years and accomplish little. Two more honoured names are added to our roll: the mature soldier and the brave lad of nineteen summers. May they rest in peace.

Earley parish magazine, March 1916 (D/P192/28A/14)

We should have a soldier, a sailor and George Curzon to run the country

Walter Erskine, Earl of Mar and Kellie, was Colonel of the Sutherland Highlanders. His wife Violet (1868-1938) wrote to Ralph Glyn with her views on Gallipoli, and the political situation at home. She was not impressed by the appointment of Queen Mary’s brother Adolphus, Duke of Teck, to a senior army role.

44 Grosvenor Square
Monday 10th Feb [1916]

Ralph dear

I loved getting a letter from you, & I have been a long time answering it, as I was laid low at Alloa for three weeks in January with Flu…

We are here till the first days of March. I wonder if you will be home before that? If so, I would so like to see you.

Yes, that evacuation of Gallipoli must have been too wonderful, & one was relieved to know that that Army was safely away from that crassly stupid Expedition. I have seen Eddy Dudly, who is all right again, & I hear Scatters [Wilson] may be getting a [illegible] leave, as he has a bad foot.

London is depressed & gloomy, & the PM looks as if he hadn’t a care in the world!! I would like to sweep them all away, & have a soldier (which?? Robertson I suppose) or sailor (Jellicoe) & a civilian – George Curzon I think, as a Triumvirate to see this war through. The latter is strong in mind & action. Great administrative abilities, keeping India, Persia & Mesopotamia like his pocket, which none of the other 22 do, & a grasp of detail in every subject, & a glutton of work. Perhaps you may not agree.

Dolly Teck’s appointment is “pour rire”. We are evidently not at war!!

Am going to tea at Buc. Pal. this evening…

Rumour has it that the German Fleet is coming out. Let us pray for a successful issue for us – as there must always be a great deal of luck at sea!…

[Her son] Jock is on Lord Erroll’s Staff. Lowland 65th Div. at Bridge of Allan, which is nice for us…

I envy you being in Egypt. I don’t believe there will be much doing there after all….

Arthur Paget goes off to Russia almost at once to present Czar with Field Marshal’s Baton! Pity you are not here to go with him again!

Yours ever
Violet M.

Letter from Violet, Countess of Mar and Kellie (1868-1938) to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C21)

“Heavenly from my point of view”

Maysie Wynne-Finch told her brother Ralph that she was quite pleased her husband was in too poor a state physically to go back to the front for a while. She also shared an amusing joke about the title selected by Sir John French, recently created Earl of Ypres for his leadership on the Western Front.

Friday Feb 3rd [1916]

You can imagine how delighted I am the doctors flatly refuse to let John go to France for anyhow 3 months. They say it will take two before the new cut in the jaw heals, then it may break out again & until there is no chance of this cannot get any plate in & he has no teeth hardly left now, poor darling. Meantime they are again urging him to take on the Adjutancy at Windsor if only for 3 months, so finally he has consented under the circumstances & on condition they let him go as soon as he can pass for France. So he reports to begin duty this next week now, & we are trying to find a little house down there again. It’s heavenly from my point of view.

Billy got back on leave two days ago. Seems very well. They have been having a pretty lively time from shelling lately it seems. We met Captain Tollemache today – back on a fortnight’s leave. I think you know him. He was on the Dardanelles from June till the evacuation.

These last Zepp raids have cause much excitement. They came so early, & got so far, & stayed so late – Dirty beasts.

Do you know the title Lord French should have taken other than Ypres? … Lord Loos is the answer…

Your ever loving
Maysie

Letter from Maysie Wynne-Finch to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/3)

Lives complete in self-sacrifice

A naval and army chaplain with links to Windsor reports on his experiences at Gallipoli ad in Egypt. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he was open to learning from the non-white and non-Christian peoples he encountered, and respected the Turks as an honourable enemy.

The Vicar has received the following letter from Mr Everett:

Hospital Ship “Asturias”
Alexandria
February 1st, 1916

My dear Vicar

Since I last wrote I have seen so much, and gathered so many new impressions, that I find it difficult to decide what to write, and what to leave out. I have been several times through the Aegean Sea, either from Malta or Alexandria, on my way to Lemnos, the Gallipoli Peninsula, or Salonica [sic], from which places we, of course, brought back sick and wounded…

What thoughts are produced by Mount Olympus – hoary Olympus – once believed of men the home of the greater Gods! There, standing lofty and snowcapped, it has looked down through the ages on the surrounding country and the Gulf of Salonica. What has it seen in the past, and what now! Then, men seeking an unknown God in their own way, making wars, too, or carrying on their simple business, or cultured lives, on land and sea; using their frail ships with their banks of oars, or driven by contrary winds, and now, watching the great ships go by, battle cruisers and hospital ships (two strange contrasts), huge transports for the gathering of armies, and busy torpedo boats, all more or less independent of storm and tempest, and defeating space with their wireless installations.

But my pen has run away with me over my fascinating travels, nd I must turn to twentieth century history. The Dardanelles campaign is over, but I am not likely to forget my brief visits to Anzac Beach or Cape Helles; nor will those splendid men of all ranks, who spent months there and at Suvla Bay, under conditions which are well known. At Cape Helles I was sometimes ashore, and went over ground once held by fire and sword. It would take too long to describe it – the camps, landing places, “River Clyde”, and the town and fortress of Sedd El Bahr; but one enclosed space, of pathetic interest, held me – the little grave yard studded with crosses, some elaborate, but the majority rough and ready, marking the resting places of some of the many on the Peninsula whose lives, though so short, were so complete in their voluntary self-sacrifice. I eagerly scanned the names and rude inscriptions, in case I could recognise some brave friend from Windsor or elsewhere, in order to tell someone at home about it, and bring back a photograph, but found none I knew. I venture to think that the Turk, who has been an honourable foe, now that he is again in possession of Cape Helles, will reverence that little spot. I might add that I carefully looked at the crosses on Lemnos Island, over the graves of those who had died in hospital there, and have also seen the military burying place in Alexandria, but have only come across one name I knew.

(more…)

“They deserved it” – but Staff officers should not get the same kind of medal for safe work

Maysie Wynne-Finch told her brother Ralph how proud she was that her Guards officer husband John had won the Military Cross.

Jan. 22/16
Voelas
Bettws-y-Coed
N Wales
My dear darling R.

You will guess that I am what Jim calls “throwing my chest out” after John’s Military X. It was for that show on Oct. 8th. It’s so awfully nice Billy should have one too. I think they deserved it! Your news of Lord A’s DSO does not surprise me. It’s the usual story. As Becky wrote to John re his X – “he hoped it might be the 1st of many rows – for himself being on the staff of course, he felt pretty safe to finish up with 3 rows at least!” One is all for staff work being honoured but why not make classes & have one for good safe work & another for dangerous jobs whether won by staff or anyone else. Don’t you agree? I am so glad to hear of your new work. It sounds most awfully interesting – & I do hope you’ll be left in place at the one job for a bit. Yes, your DMO went with the rest. I was sure you would be sorry. K seems to become more & more disappointing as far as one can judge by effect. Rumour has it he’s going to marry old Lady Minto. “I should have thought he’d enough to do without the cares of matrimony” as O de B sarcastically wrote to me!! Which reminds me, I [am] sending you rather a nice little Kipling on the Navy & also a collection of various newspaper articles.

I don’t know how much of news John told you in his letter. He went & saw his doctors & jaw man last Mon. the latter thinks another lot of jaw bone has gone – caused by a huge wisdom tooth coming through & setting up inflammation in the already tender jaw bone. Anyhow he was x rayed again & is now waiting to get the report. He will probably have to have another little operation to remove the bad stuff.

George Crichton offered him & urged him very strongly to go to Windsor as Adjutant, however, having got the Docs to say he should, all being well, be fit for France in another two months, he has refused, not wishing to get stuck at Windsor. The Med Board have given him another 3 weeks sick leave to his extreme wrath, to have his jaw treated. He wished & had determined to combine the process with duty at Windsor. I expect we shall go to London next week now to have the op. or whatever it’s to be, he’ll go to Windsor as soon as possible. From all accounts nothing but a miracle can account for that evacuation of that awful peninsula. I had a delightful letter from Capt McClintock saying so, & giving that story no doubt you know of the cruiser, one of the covering squadron, who after the last man had left, drew out of the line & assembled all the ships company & on their knees thanked God & then returned to bombard the enemy. I like that, it has a fine old flavour of sea tradition.

One thing I long for these days all the time is that Mahan had not died before writing this last & possibly greatest chapter of the influence of Sea Power.

Incidentally these last figures of the neutral food supply open people’s eyes a bit. It’s no news to sailors or soldiers of course. Oh God these d— politicians & diplomats. It’s sickening. If America plays the fool & one doubts her pluck too, let her come in & be d— to her.

Isn’t it too ghastly about Ivar. Poor dear Aunt Syb. One hardly dares to think of the black desolation of her sorrow. She writes too wonderfully. No word of complaint or regret, only thankfulness that he so played the game – & by heaven he did….

People from France write rather fed up just now. No wonder – it all sounds too beastly, especially in the weather we’ve had…

Submarines were again in the Irish Channel at New Years time I believe. The mail was held up one day & night till they were cleared off, I believe….

Joan Lascelles writes of some new appointment Eddy has. I was so glad for her about his Mil X – though John heard much adverse comment on the matter in London last week! Ducky Follett is doing well, a wife & a DSO all at once. I was so glad.

Yours ever
Maysie

Letter from Maysie Wynne-Finch to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/2)

The war should arouse the careless to the existence of God

The Bishop of Peterborough wrote to his son Ralph Glyn with thoughts on the church’s response to the war.

The Palace
Peterborough

Jan 20 [1916]

My darling Ralph

We got your letters of 10th safe this morning, & it was delightful to hear of you & your doings. You have plenty to do & it must be delightfully interesting work. The press and country here seem to know that we did right to leave Gallipoli – & it was splendidly done – & quite wonderful to have so entirely bamboozled the wiley Turk that he knew nothing of it till it was all over – what fools they must have felt!

I expect two or three here today, including Bishop Lang, for a conference as to how we can get the Diocese prepared for some effort that will be made in the autumn or next year, for a National Spiritual Revival. We want it, as the Church has not learnt the lesson of the war – & it ought to be a great opportunity, when the war has made the other world so real & near, to arouse the careless to the existence & work of God, which they seem to have altogether forgotten.

John is trying to get some work at Windsor. His Board will not pass him as fit, & he is put back for two months at least.
….
E C Peterborough

Letter from the Revd E C Glyn to his son Ralph (D/EGL/C2/3)

Thankful not to be in the trenches

Wounded officer John Wynne-Finch wrote to his brother in law Ralph Glyn from his convalescence in Wales.

John to Ralph (D/EGL/C2/3
Voelas
Bettws-y-Coed
N Wales
Jan 19th 1916
My dear Ralph

We have most certainly had a lovely long stay here. All thanks to my very “tuppenny-halfpenny” wound which refused to heal. During this time I have done a good deal of shooting, and the total bag for the year is really rather good and has beaten all previous records for the years when no pheasants have been reared. Over 1000 pheasants have been killed, and about 400 partridges, and very little shooting was done before the end of November.

The weather here has been very bad, and there have been many occasions when we have wondered how Jimmy was feeling in the North Sea. The gale here on New Year’s Day was of most unprecedented violence, and did a great deal of damage, bringing down over 100 trees in one wood alone. But owing to the war, one can luckily obtain a very good price for timber, and it is so much in demand that I have been able to sell them all, whereas in the ordinary course of events one can get no sale here on account of the cost of carriage….

The rain has also been a most tiresomely frequent visitor, as Meg found to her dismay, during the week she was here. On this account I have very often felt thankful that I was not biding my time in the trenches of Flanders….

My next Medical Board is due in a few days, when I suppose they will pass me fit for duty at Windsor, whither I suppose we shall have to go, to be there I suppose about 2 months before they send me out again.

The war news of the last few days has not been of the very best. The end of Montenegro will not help us very much in the Balkans I am afraid. I would have expected Italy to have sent troops there, because I don’t suppose it will be any help to her to have the Austrians with a longer sea-board in the Adriatic.

The Persian Gulf business also seems a very tough job. It was most awfully sad about poor Ivar. They seem to have had a very severe handling out there. Nevertheless they seem to be making a slow but sure progress, and will no doubt join up very soon.

As regards myself I have been very lucky in getting promoted Captain, after such few years’ service. But it was all due to the formation of the Guards Division and the consequent augmentation of the regimental establishments.

You probably know that Godfrey Fielding now commands the division, and Cavan has got a Corps, XIV, to which the division is shortly to be transferred, so as to be under his command.

The evacuation of Gallipoli was a most astoundingly wonderful feat; and I am simply longing to hear something about it. I often wonder now after reading the Turkish “official” communiqués what amount of truth there is in what they say as regards the booty etc, which they took. It is always difficult to believe anything these days, from whatever source it may emanate.

Maysie still keeps her pack of hounds; and Connell is as naughty and bad as possible. In the house he is no better than a travelling water-cart.

The whole country seems to be full of soldiers; and London is simply one mass of them. Those on leave from France, looking too untidy and dirty for words. One sees also very large numbers of men, of every class, wearing the khaki armlets of the Derby scheme.

I hope you are keeping fit.

Yours ever
John C Wynne Finch

Lady Mary Glyn, Ralph’s mother, also wrote to him.
(more…)

An awful, awful tragedy

Lady Mary Glyn wrote to Ralph again to let him know how her Red Cross and other war work was going.

Jan 18th [1916]…

We heard of the great doings at the G[reat] E[astern] Rest Room. Over 100 men there last night – 40 sailors, 60 men & then more, and an efficient staff of helpers. All night. Then in afternoon I … called on Recruiting Officer’s wife…

From 6 to 9 (with break for dinner) the Knights Chamber Private Registered Red X Work Party. 32 workers all in caps & white aprons and sleeves, and it is really a joy to see that Room full – all happy, and the long tables covered with clean oil baize, and your old nursery cupboard moved there to hold the material. I hear there is a tremendous “muddle” at Northampton, & as these inanities here appealed to Lord Spencer they have dragged him into their mesh of muddle, and I have written no word & keep silence, but events move, and things must take their course. Sir George Pragnell looks like a bulldog that will not easily let go, and the evidence he took from me was quite sufficient to show misapplication of money, and a vast trickery of the public they feared my action would bring to light. They would have done better to leave me alone!…

I read the papers and wish I knew what to think! Montenegro and its heights to add to the pecuniary burdens of ruined nations, but in the meantime how far adding to their resources?…

My whole love always
Own Mur

Ralph’s sister Meg also wrote to him, with thoughts on politics, and more on the Campbell family’s loss with the death of their cousin Ivar. (more…)

The final run for life

Lady Mary wrote to her son Ralph Glyn with more news of her Red Cross work, and the family’s responses to the death of her nephew Ivar Campbell. She had also heard a first hand account of the last stand at Gallipoli.

Jan 17th [1916]

5.30 service, and then I ran down to the Rest Room & found we were to expect 40 sailors tonight and 60 soldiers, the sailors at 11 pm and the troops at 6 am. So the Canteen had to be replenished & sufficient help made sure.

This morning I had to prepare for the Red Cross Work Room tomorrow, and ghet a cupboard for material, & I collected cutters out to prepare the work, and I cannot tell you how willing and good people have been – and you were right to encourage me. I know nothing more of the town row and the investigation, but evidently my Room is not to be interfered with. I hear rumours of the Enquiry and of the town talk over it….

I saw Colonel Collingwood today for a few minutes. He is always full of enquiry for you, and loves to think of you in Egypt.

The papers are full of indigestible matter, and the accounts from the Tigris will give Aunt Syb a worse horror, for the fighting must have been very severe and one dreads that there must have been delay in moving the wounded down. Aunt Eve has now seen Aunt Syb, and very anxious we should see her, but no, she refused to see dad, & writes, “he will understand”. I think it best to keep away. They all have a shunning of religious expression, and it does so hurt him and puzzles him – dear darling Dad with such a longing to love and to comfort and to help.

I hear of Uncle Henry gone to to the Front from Eisa Middleton, and I do dread its risks for anyone of his age. He goes as the head of the Northern Territorial Division, but for how long I do not know.
Darling, I do so love your New Year’s Eve letter, and when I can bear it more I read it, but letters make me so hungry for you. I so understand all you feel about the Dardanelles, and there was the great venture and the quest. It might have come off, but if the Allies had got to Constantinople it would not have prevented the Balkan imbroglio? And our troops and ships would have been unable to prevent Salonika becoming a base – in the end I believe it will save bloodshed and massacre that the fall of Constantinople is postponed.

We have been seeing here parents of a boy who was left in the rear guard on that night of the evacuation, and I have seen a wonderful letter he wrote to his mother, with the evident belief it would be his goodbye to her. He tells her to think always of the honour done to his family he should be in that lot, and now the Brigadier had given each man his choice, of the chance, little or none of their getting away. Another a wonderful account of the final run for life, 3 miles, while time fuses & bombs were still going off from every part of the trenches. A wonderful story told with the simple joy of the venture, & of the miracle of escape, of a boy of 21.

“That nothing be lost” and in the gathering up of the fragments of that wonderful story the glory of England is not dimmed, and this war will not be won on so many acres of material soil, but by the spirit which is to overcome and master the Brute Beast – a spiritual warfare, and you are all raising and lifting the spirit of man as it has never been raised before, for this, I believe final assault, when Satan is unloosed, to bring in the glorious shout that is to sound through Heaven and an earth renewed – “Hallelujah – for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth”.

I think of you in Egypt, and love to think of you there and hearing the muezzin call to prayer and the still sunlight in the depths of space, the stars and the moonlight, the littleness of European civilisation, and dwarf Roman the parvenu Latin peoples. Is the world war to have an end where east and west shall meet?…

A business/political acquaintance also wrote to Ralph:

1 Howard Street
Strand
London, WC
17th January 1916

Dear Capt. Glyn

I hope you are fit again. I heard you had a bad attack of dysentery at the Dardanelles.

How awfully sad Ivar Campbell’s death is. It must be a terrible blow to the family.

Yours sincerely
Robert Pollock

Letters to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/3; C32/2)

Rumour we paid for safe evacuation of Gallipoli

Lady Mary Glyn informed her son Ralph of the death of his cousin Ivar Campbell.

The Palace
Peterborough

My own darling Ralph

Jan 12. The news has come of Ivar. “Died of wounds” and I know how much you will feel it, and how grieved you will be for Aunt Syb, Joan and Enid – & regret my regret, which I have ever had for “words spoken in haste”, but I love to know it was all made up outside the old Inverary Church the day after his father’s funeral – and it was the old Ivar we will one day meet again, that gave me that kiss & the old radiant smile – for we used to be such friends when he was a little boy, and now he will teach me to be more gentle and to say less, however strongly moved!

I saw Aunt Syb [Ivar’s bereaved mother] on Thursday in last week. She is always brave, and had been cheered by letters from him on Christmas Day & on New Years Day….

I go to bed too tired to write, but first go to sleep. It will get better as I have now got through the worst, & the next Rest Room at the Great Eastern, and the Red Cross Work Room are started & working well & delightful helpers all rallying round me, and I have been happy in it all….

We have lost Swayne. He went yesterday & is a dreadful loss. If he passes the medical, he will be attached to Flying Transport Corps….

Your very own
Mur
Jan 12 1916

Lady Mary’s daughter Meg Meade wrote to Ralph the same day with the latest rumours about Gallipoli:

12th [January 1916]
23 Wilton Place, SW

My own darling Ralph

…Now that you are among the fleshpots your no longer flagging spirits are not dependent on witty letters from your devoted family.

There is a rumour going all round London that we “paid” for the evacuation of Gallipoli in safety. It only goes to show how far people will go in the gossip without foundation…

Your ever very loving Meg

Letters from Lady Mary Glyn and Meg Meade to Ralph Glyn (D/EGLC2/3)

No lights from houses or cars

It was blackout at home as the news came of the successful evacuation of Gallipoli.

10 January 1916

New lighting orders in force. No lights from houses. No headlights to motors.

All troops now evacuated from Gallipoli – only one man injured.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)

“Never before has defeat been so mixed up with victory”

Maysie Wynne-Finch wrote to her brother Ralph Glyn following the safe evacuation of Gallipoli.

Jan 10/16
Voelas
Bettws-y-Coed
N Wales

My darling R.

Meg got your telegram here so we had early news of your move – & it gave us a hint of much else. I should think never before has defeat been so mixed up with victory as in the evacuation of that awful peninsula. One cannot say one was surprised remembering all the talk one had listened to from you & Colonel Sykes – still no-one ever reckoned the cost so low, I suppose…

The list of New Year honours was about the limit, didn’t you think. I was of course delighted at John’s 2nd mention, tho’ he says it’s all rot. It was I think for that fight on Oct 8….

I’ve not been very happy about John lately. His wound ceased discharging & skinned over on Dec 31 for the 1st time, but he also began to feel very ill, & for several days was awfully seedy. Then his jaw started to hurt again like anything. It swelled outside & finally the hole opened in the jaw & it started discharging there. It all points to there being a lot of poison in him still which will out – but what is odd is what causes this poison – so long. Today his wound has opened again, & he feels better! He fairly refuses to go & see the doc in London before his Med Board on the 22nd as he says he means to get “light duty” from a local Board, as he will not go on doing nothing, & any treatment the London doc choose to give him, he mans to do from Windsor! Poor darling, of course I do understand his point of view. He feels he can’t go on doing nothing any more. I only hope he won’t have to have another bit of jawbone removed, but I am a bit anxious.

I do wonder what you think of Ian Hamilton’s despatch….

Your ever loving Maysie

Letter from Maysie Wynne-Finch to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/3)

This is “a war run by a gang of chattering civilians” – but no worse than the French

More secrets are revealed in General Callwell’s latest letter to Ralph Glyn. The general was about to move from overall charge of military intelligence and operations, to a secret mission to our allies in Russia and Japan.

26, Campden House Chambers
Campden Hill, W

30th December 1915

My dear Ralph,

I have no idea where you are or what doing, but send this to Egypt, whither I gather Monro and his big staff have gone. Bell wrote the other day and mentioned that he proposed sending you on to Egypt.
Great changes at the WO consequent on Robertson’s taking over CIGS. Poor old man K is in the corner and quite good – does what he is told. My branch has been split in two, operations and intelligence, Maurice becoming DMO and Macdonogh becoming DMI, a post I still hold pending Macdonogh’s arrival. I go off to Russia with Ralph Wigram in a few days and expect to go on to Vladivostok and Japan – Japan as an excuse for going along the Siberian railway to see how it is doing; one cannot get those Russians to bestir themselves and keep things moving on the line although their munitions from America depend entirely upon it. I am delighted to get out of the WO after seventeen months of it.

It has been an awful scandal about the delay in deciding to evacuate Gallipoli. The withdrawal from Suvla and Anzac was a wonderful performance, but no thanks to the Government for that. I dare not hope that the move out of Helles will be a bloodless affair. When the story of the Government’s vacillations comes to be told, the country will realise what it is to have a war run by a gang of chattering civilians who over-ride the decisions of their own War Council. The only thing to be said for them is that they are no worse than the French gang. The French General Staff now, after we have educated them in London and at Chantilly, quite realise the absurdity of the Salonika affair; but Briand and Co dare not clear out for fear of public opinion and of Sarrail.

Archie Murray goes off tomorrow to take up command vice Monro. He did very well indeed as CIGS and we all liked him, but he did not come in on his own terms and backed by the whole Cabinet like Robertson. K’s visit to the Near East was a blessing in disguise in that the government were, during the interval, told the truth about a number of matters – the lack of men amongst other things, and the majority were got to see that we could not get on without compulsion.
I have not heard from you for quite a long time, but hope you are very fit. I see Dulles has got a division – I wish it was a better one. Give him my love if you come across him.

Ever yours
Chas E Callwell

Letter from General Callwell to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C24)

A wonderful miracle

Lady Mary Glyn, wife of the Bishop of Peterborough, was thinking of her son Ralph, just evacuated from Gallipoli, on Christmas Day.

Christmas Day [1915]
My own darling Scraps

Then coming back here to these sad turmoils & committees & doings which have cost me more than usual time & thought of late, and yet in many ways the best work I have done – because at last a healthy support against mean opposition, and the discovering of the nature of the mean spite of some of these people. Anyway, the Rest Room at the GG was opened by Dad yesterday, with Mayor & Mayoress present, and many people there. And last night, Christmas Eve, Mrs Evans, wife of the Precentor, sat up all night, & 27 men needed the Canteen & Rest, & were so glad of it & grateful, and the railway officials came & begged them to take in some civilians who had been stranded. The troops come through from the east coast by a 4 am train & cannot get on to central England till after 6 am, and they have had to hang about there, or be sent up to the GN, where they have had as many as 135 and 90. It is such a joy we have been able to do this, but it has meant a lot of work & anxiety at one time… People have been too kind – pouring gifts on us for it, and offers of help flow in – and I am so thankful as I know it will do good in many ways, and it is the only way to open people’s eyes to what has been going on to keep me and Dad out of everything by a strange combination of social spite & religious animosity. The Red X workroom is also going to be a very great help towards that needed discovery….

I try to think of the miracles of mercy that are ours, and the miracle of Love that has watched over you all, and how the things one feared have served for songs of deliverance, and from here the Suvla Bay & Anzac affair appears to be as wonderful a miracle as any and though Colonel Collingwood takes the soldier’s view of it, as you all must, “Not since La Rochelles” [sic] – he sees it best that they had courage to do it.

Letter from Lady Mary Glyn to her son Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/2)