Salonika: a splendid place for a rest cure

The books-for-the-troops scheme Ralph Glyn had sponsored was going very well, and there was plenty of money in hand.

55 West Regent Street
24 Feby 1916

Dear Captain Glyn

I am so very glad to have your letter & to note your cheerfulness as to our only interest, the war. I share it, though with me it is more a matter of faith than of information. As it happens, I got your note the morning of a meeting of the ‘Unionist Council’. It was of course purely formal, everyone being re-elected to everything for another year. That having been done, Donald McKay demanded ‘Does anyone know anything about Mr Glyn?’ So McDonald who in the Colonel’s absence was in the chair asked me to read your letter, which I did & I was asked to send you the good wishes of the Company & their hopes for your continued good luck & success.

In regard to the books &c we are continuing to send them, tho’ of course they go now to Salonica or Egypt – I have a young cousin in the A&SH [Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders] who is at Salonica now & writes that it is a splendid place & that he is having a ‘rest cure’ there. Probably the rest won’t last very long.

Down to this time we have despatched rather more than 50 bales of about 50 lbs each. An appeal was made for money at the same time as that for the books &c. Dugald Clark who acts as Treasurer is worried about this. He has between £50 and £60 on hand. The expense of sending the bales to the QAFFF is trifling. We would like to know whether you have any ideas as to how the balance should be expended. We are of course not getting in any more money & we are always spending something; but it would require a very long time – much longer than I think the war will last – to exhaust the money. If you can spare time for a few lines, I shall be glad to know what you think about this. The people who gave the money will imagine it is already spent & won’t of course want any of it back; but it should I think be spent on some purpose connected with the war.

Yours very truly
G A D Kirkland

Letter to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C32/10)

“The Government are now told the truth and they quite like it”

General Callwell reported on the latest changes at the top, with a new sense of realism facing the Government – and absolutely everyone hoping to get rid of Lord Kitchener despite his popularity with the general public.

26 Campden House Chambers
Campden Hill, W

12th November 1915

My dear Ralph,

You are in the thick of things at Mudros. We cannot yet quite make out whether old man K proposes to evacuate Gallipoli or not altogether, but the PM is a fairly downy cove too and I think that we shall get the great man’s intentions out of him. Unless the decision is evacuation there will be a turn-up in the Government as a good many of them were very angry at Monro’s recommendation to clear out not being accepted after he had been sent out with a free hand. By latest news we have frightened the French as to their position up the Vardar valley with the possibility of the Greeks turning nasty and they are inclined to come back out of that, which will be a good thing.

The new plan of a War Council of reasonable dimensions with the sailor-0mean and us properly represented is a great step in advance and the General Staff gets quite a good look in and is listened to. The Government are now told the truth and they quite like it. Archie Murray deserves great credit for pulling things together. I have now got in Bird as Sub-Director in charge of MOI, which takes a lot of work off my hands. Buckley going off with K has been a great nuisance to me as he was my right hand man in many things, but one rubs along somehow and I suppose he will turn up again some time.

We have no idea whether K will return to the War Office. Nobody in it wishes to see him back and I do not think that anybody in the Government does either – even such mighty opposites as “Lulu” and Lloyd George are agreed upon that point. But the Public have implicit belief in him and he may prove a little difficult to definitely shelve.

I hope that you are keeping very fit and are finding adequate outlet for your inexhaustible energy.

Yours ever
Chas E Callwell

Meanwhile Ralph’s proposals for books to be sent from Scotland to the Dardanelles was bearing enthusiastic fruit. (more…)

Ex parte reports are not quite cricket

Ralph Glyn’s officer friend Stephen Pollen had returned from the Dardanelles.

28, Hyde Park Gardens
Nov. 9th [1915]

Dear Glyn

I am so sorry to have just missed you. It was so kind of you to have burdened yourself with a parcel for me & I am only glad to think your trouble was not wasted & that the coat is useful to you.

Many thanks, too, for the cheque although I don’t see why you should pay me a full price for a second-hand article! It is no use writing you all we hear here of what is in the melting-pot about the MEF. The centre of decision & the Decider have shifted to your GHQ.

I am to remain & assist Sir I.H. to finish off his despatches &c, & shall, I fancy, not be available for a few weeks more as we are waiting on various documents from your side. Subla [sic] Bay complicates the matter as ex parte reports have been received at WO & apparently have no small influence which is not quite cricket.

I would have liked to see the show through. It is nice to be home but not nice to come in the way one did! And what a difference being “in” it & “out”! The fortune of war & its no use lamenting.

I hope to be usefully employed again – & after all in this war, if one can be that it should be enough…

Yrs ever
S H Pollen

Mind you make use of me if there is anything you would like done.

Meanwhile a Scottish writer had taken up an idea Ralph had put forward to improve the supply of reading material for the troops.